Pirate radio stations are certainly not new. These are radio transmitters operating without permission by the FCC and their origins can be traced to the very earliest days of broadcasting. In fact, before computers became the youth distraction they are today, it wasn’t uncommon for young, tech-savvy lads to buy an inexpensive transmitter kit, goose the output a bit with a decent antenna dangling out their bedroom window, and actually transmit radio broadcasts for several blocks—until the neighbors complained. The FCC’s mandatory $10,000 fine effectively reduced the hobby, but I’m sure it’s still done and many have gotten away with it for years.
They key, of course, is scale and a recent story in the
Hollywood ( )
Sun Sentinel newspaper provides an example of how NOT to pirate. It seems someone rigged up an FM transmitter
to broadcast Florida Caribbean music on 104.7MHz. Unfortunately, he didn’t realize that the
frequency and the way his antenna was constructed allowed for something called
“harmonics”…that is, the signal showing up elsewhere on the electromagnetic
spectrum. The bottom line: the associated frequency just happened to be
the same one used by Lexus, Ford, Mercedes, BMW, and other car manufacturers for
keyless entry systems. For several
weeks, car owners couldn’t figure out why their cars would suddenly and
inexplicable lock and unlock at random times.
Car dealers and repair shops were stumped too. Anyway, it’s all better now that the culprit
has been found and the transmitter shut down.
Oh, and the fine? $10,000, of