THE TELECOMMUNICATIONS Unit in the Division of Energy and Telecommunications has reminded amateur radio operators and citizen band radio operators (CBers) that they must not operate their equipment at power levels which exceed the legal limit.
Telecommunications Officer, Ishmael Cadogan, explained there were some hobby CBers and amateur radio operators who were using excessive power, and this was causing interference with televisions, radios, telephones and even pacemakers in their neighbourhoods.
He said that the practice was not only a nuisance but could also pose possible health issues because of excessive radiation. He noted that while CBers were allowed four watts on the AM band and 12 watts on the single side band, amateur radio operators were allowed up to a maximum of 500 watts, depending on the frequency.
Investigations of interference by the Unit have revealed that some people were using between 1 000 and 5 000 watts in their efforts to be in touch with people all over the world.
“This needs to stop, and if it doesn’t, we will be enforcing the law. Our legal options include confiscating equipment and taking offenders to court,” Mr. Cadogan warned.
Both Cadogan and fellow Telecommunications Officer Jason Haynes stressed the vital role that CBers and amateur radio operators played, especially during the hurricane season and other disasters.
“We would therefore want to encourage them to continue to operate but also to do so safely,” he urged.
Haynes noted that there were fewer issues with the amateur radio operators because of the requirements for successfully obtaining a licence. These included a two-part written examination at the end of a lengthy training course; a greater financial start-up cost; radio equipment; and a minimum number of contacts required before officially becoming a licensed operator.
The CBers on the other hand, he explained, simply had to apply for a licence. Upon inspection, as long as they possessed the required approved radio and supporting equipment, they were allowed to operate.
There are 140 licensed CBers and 155 licensed amateur radio operators in Barbados. Haynes said that while the interference problems being experienced involved “a select few”, it was important to deal with the offenders because of the impact their actions were having not only on their communities but on fellow radio operators.
Persons suspecting interference from this equipment in their communities are asked to write the Chief Telecommunications Officer, Telecommunications Unit, Trinity Business Centre, Country Road, St Michael, or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. (BGIS)