Brockton MA Fire Dept shuts down Pirate

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voguy
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Brockton MA Fire Dept shuts down Pirate

Post by voguy » 08-22-2013 04:15 PM

Pirate radio station in Brockton flagged for interference Brockton shuts down pirate radio station interfering with fire calls
By Morgan True - Enterprise Staff Writer - Posted Aug 17, 2013 @ 06:00 AM




Firefighters driving to work at the Pleasant Street station on the edge of downtown started reporting interference on their car radios this week.

Then on Wednesday, music started playing over the speakers in the station used for dispatching fire engines and garbling emergency communications.

“In the station, those speakers are used to alert firefighter to an incident, and that’s how we get the type of call and location,” said Deputy Fire Chief Kevin Galligan. “Any interference is a serious issue.”

Galligan called officer Scott Uhlman, the Brockton Police Department’s radio guru, and City Councilor Dennis DeNapoli to help him find the source of the interference.

DeNapoli arrived with a frequency finder, an electronic device that can track the source of radio signals. They discovered a satellite dish and an FM antenna on a radio mast directly across the street from Fire Station 1 at 69 Pleasant St..

The antenna extended nearly 60 feet in the air and an unlicensed station was broadcasting on 88.9 MHz, right next to WERS in Boston, DeNapoli said.

“The headline on this is public safety,” DeNapoli said. “That interference put residents at risk.”

The antenna was atop a one-story building that houses several storefronts, one advertising shipping to Haiti and another the Cardoso Driving School.

Uhlman said they approached a group of Haitian men hanging out behind building and asked who owned the radio equipment.

The men did not give a straight answer, but when Uhlman climbed on the roof with a pair of wire cutters, they quickly found the owner, he said.

The station was shut down immediately and the next day, the antenna and radio equipment were gone.

Pirate radio stations have proliferated in Brockton. Both DeNapoli and Uhlman said they are aware of several currently operating in the city.

“It’s a cultural thing. In Haiti and elsewhere, they don’t have licenses for radio stations, and radio is how they share music and get the news out in the community,” Uhlman said.

Part of the problem, DeNapoli, said is that there are no new FM allotments in the region, making it impossible for newcomers to get licenses from the Federal Communication Commission unless a current license goes up for sale.

Ulhman added that among licensed FM broadcasters, there’s a dearth of foreign-language offerings, driving the market for pirate stations.

“A lot of times they’re picking up broadcasts from Haiti or wherever their home is and just amplifying that signal,” DeNapoli said.

But DeNapoli, who worked in radio for a number of years, said the pirate stations undercut licensed ones by selling advertising while not paying taxes.

For the most part, the stations fly under the radar. In 2011-2012, FCC investigators shut down only 96 pirate radio stations nationwide.

In March, federal agents shut down a pirate radio station on the north side of Brockton because it was interfering with one of the primary frequencies used by pilots to communicate with air traffic controllers in the Boston area.

Still, enforcement can be slow. Documents from the U.S. Attorney’s Office revealed the FCC had been trying to shut down that pirate station since 2010.

Morgan True may be reached at mtrue@enterprisenews.com follow him on twitter @truemorgan_ENT.

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"I predict future happiness for Americans if they can prevent the government from wasting the labors of the people under the pretense of taking care of them." - Thomas Jefferson

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kbot
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Post by kbot » 08-22-2013 07:37 PM

Brockton's a scary city......

What's funny is that when my wife and I are at the beach over at Jamestown, across Narragansett Bay there is a company that flies helicopter tours over Newport and adjoining communities. As we're on the beach listening the the local radio stations, whenever a helicopter flies over, their signal interferes with regular broadcasting. Happens all the time.

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BenSlain
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Post by BenSlain » 08-24-2013 12:49 AM

kbot wrote: Brockton's a scary city......

What's funny is that when my wife and I are at the beach over at Jamestown, across Narragansett Bay there is a company that flies helicopter tours over Newport and adjoining communities. As we're on the beach listening the the local radio stations, whenever a helicopter flies over, their signal interferes with regular broadcasting. Happens all the time.


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