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Should you boost your radio station’s wattage to defeat pirates? (hint: no)

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[dancestudionation.com]

Shake108fm has posted details of an interesting problem and his tentative solution on our forums pages. “I have pirate stations in my area on same frequency,” he writes. “One temporary idea is to overpower them until they realize I am not going away and I am fully legitimate station.”

So he proposes to “crank [his] transmitter” to 500 watts (it currently operates at 100 watts) for several weeks. “Will this work?” he asks.

Another of our forum participants has responded, suggesting that this is a very bad idea.

“Do NOT crank your transmitter any higher than authorized!” Bongwater writes. “You WILL face a devastating fine and a ruined reputation with the FCC and fellow broadcasters – at LEAST. Your license could also be in serious jeopardy. Unauthorized power increases are considered pretty serious offenses.” 

Bongwater suggests these alternative measures:

“Contact the nearest FCC field office and report the pirates. Does your station stream online? Keep an online feed for worst case interference plagued listeners. And create a page on your station’s web site with a comment form about the pirate interference problem. This can help you get further action as the comments are evidence. And professional broadcasting engineers are very expensive. They won’t help you break the law either. Be pro-active, not reactive.

Temporarily raising power however will require you to file an STA (Special Temporary Authority) form with the FCC. You will likely be denied as they are pretty strict about the LPFM rules and I don’t think pirate interference would qualify anyone for a power increase when they can track down the pirate signal and send an NOUO (Notice Of Unauthorized Operation) to the pirate. If that doesn’t shut them up, a raid will.”

“You paid to play the game,” his response concludes. “So don’t discredit yourself by playing fast and loose with the rules.”


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