Tuesday, August 1, 2006

Could BPL be a clear and present danger to national security?


By Fred Stevens

Your latest article, "Why are we giving BPL all this coverage?" (at http://www.computingunplugged.com/issues/issue200608/00001818001.html) of the series on Broadband Over Powerline (BPL) is disappointing, to say the least. As an Amateur Radio operator (first licensed in 1961) and a veteran of the US Army Signal Corps (24 years Active and Reserve, Lieutenant Colonel, two wars), the article made several unfortunate, albeit perhaps unintentional errors of omission, presumptions, and unwarranted innuendoes.

An initial word on the term "Amateur Radio". To most uninitiated persons, the word "amateur" brings to mind the image of "rookie", "beginner", "novice" or "dabbler" in a field of endeavor. Every one of us Amateur Radio operators has had to pass a rigorous exam just for an entry level FCC license and most of us are anything but "tyros", having learned in-depth knowledge of electronics and electrical principles, radiowave propagation, satcom, wireless technology, radio design and operation, regulatory and procedural requirements, and, indeed, computers among other subjects.

"BPL will adversely affect military tactical communications."

Our ranks include many, many professional persons in such related fields as electrical engineering, physics, electronics, broadcasting and broadcast engineering, electronics research and design, military communications, and, of course, computer software and hardware engineering, design, and creation, to name only a few professions.