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History :: Wireless / Radio :: Unlicensed Dont be a FOOL; The Law is Not DIY

Radio History
- Radio Invention
- 1902-06 US Navy
- 1906-08 Interference
- 1908 Early Reg
- 1912 Titanic
- 1913-26 WWI
- FRC to FCC
- Unlicensed / WiFi

- Wifi
- - Theft
- - Proceedings
- - WISPs
- 3G
- 700 Mhz
- Bluetooth
- Satellite

In the beginning, of course, all was unlicensed. And all was spread spectrum (in other words, early radios broadcasted all across the frequencies). [Spread Spectrum Scene] [FCC NOI 1981 ¶ 4]

And then came a cacophony of interference that led to the Federal Radio Commission and the licensing of all radio stations.

"In 1938, the Commission allowed devices employing relatively low level RF signals to be operated without the need for individual licensing as long as their operation caused no harmful interference to licensed services and the devices did not generate emissions or field strength levels greater than a specified level that was chosen to ensure that the device generally would not cause interference.12 Typical kinds of equipment operated under these regulations were wireless record players, carrier current communication systems (such as, campus radio systems) and remote control devices."

"At the time the original unlicensed standards were adopted, most Part 15 RF devices were designed to operate below 30 MHz and compliance with the field strength limit was relatively easy to achieve. However, as the industry designed products intended for operation on higher frequencies, it became more difficult to meet the field strength limit because the allowable field strength level decreased as the operating frequency increased. Over the years the Commission amended and expanded Part 15 of the rules to permit the non-licensed operation of devices at higher field strengths in certain higher frequency bands in those cases where it could be determined that the wide-spread use of such products would not result in harmful interference to authorized radio services." [FCC UDELWG p 7]

Hedy Lamarr Tribute

Spread Spectrum

Spread Spectrum technology had its origins, as with many technology innovations, in military necessity. The Nazi's were intercepting and jamming allied communications. [Ether's Ack-Ack] [Wenner] Hedy Lamarr and George Antheil, a music composer, wanted to provide a solution. They were looking specifically for a way of preventing the Nazi's from jamming Allied radio controlled torpedoes. If a radio transmission came over one frequency, the Nazi's could simply jam that frequency - the solution was to spread the transmission out over multiple frequencies, hopping about in a way that the Nazis could not anticipate and could not successfully jam. [FCC NOI 1981 ¶ 6 ("It was originally developed for military applications concerning covert communications and/or resistance to jamming.")]

Lamarr and Antheil were granted a US patent for "Secret Communication System" in 1942. [Spread Spectrum Scene]

"Patent 2,292,387: Secret Communication System

Hedy Kiesler Markey [Lamarr], Los Angeles, and George Antheil, Manhattan Beach, Calif.

Application June 10, 1941, Serial No. 397,412

This invention relates broadly to secret communication systems involving the use of carrier waves of different frequencies, and is especially useful in the remote control of dirigible craft, such as torpedoes.

An object of the invention is to provide a method of secret communication which is relatively simple and reliable in operation, but at the same time is difficult to discover or decipher.

Briefly, our system as adopted for radio control of a remote craft, employs a pair of synchronous records, one at the transmitting station and one at the receiving station, which change the tuning of the transmitting and receiving apparatus from time to time, so that without knowledge of the records an enemy would be unable to determine at what frequency a controlling impulse would be sent. Furthermore, we contemplate employing records of the type used for many years in player pianos, and which consist of long rolls of paper having perforations variously positioned in a plurality of longitudinal rows along the records. In a conventional player piano record there may be 88 rows of perforations, and in our system such a record would permit the use of 99 different carrier frequencies, from one to another of which both the transmitting and receiving station would be changed at intervals. Furthermore, records of the type described can be made of substantial length and may be driven slow or fast. This makes it possible for a pair of records, one at the transmitting station and one at the receiving station, to run for a length of time ample for remote control of a device such as a torpedo."

. . . . .

Text not available

Lamarr and Antheil turned their ideas over to the US Navy for development, where frequency hopping disappear for decades - part of the historical problem is that as much of this is military history, much of this is classified. Many histories note that the fruition of frequency hopping awaited the development of the transistor.

"In the 1950s, the Commission adopted new technical standards for devices such as radio receivers and low power transmitters operating in the 27 MHz band and above 70 MHz." [FCC UDELWG p 8]

"In the 1960s through the 1980s, additional provisions were made under Part 15 to permit the operation of equipment such as wireless microphones, telemetry systems, garage door openers, TV interface devices (e.g., video cassette recorders), field disturbance sensors (e.g., anti-pilferage systems for retail stores), auditory assistance devices, control and security alarm devices, and cordless telephones." [FCC UDELWG p 8]

As information about spread spectrum became declassified, much research and literature about it was produced in the late 1970s, and private companies began to build toys. They ran into the rather significant problem that the operation of their spread spectrum civilian transmitters did not comport with FCC rules. Therefore these companies began to petition the FCC.[FCC NOI (Del Norte Technology)] The FCC issued several Special Temporary Authorities, waiving its rules, in order to spread spectrum research. [FCC NOI (AMRAD, Equitorial)]

A major policy objective of the FCC is the eliminating of radio interference. The mechanism for achieving this goal is traditionally the licensing frequencies. Spread spectrum permitted the FCC in the 1980s to experiment with an alternative solution to interference.

We are proposing in this Notice of Proposed Rulemaking rules that would authorize the use of spread spectrum under conditions that prevent harmful interference to other authorized users of the spectrum. We anticipate that this authorization will stimulate innovation in this technology, while meeting our statutory goal of controlling interference. - Notice of Proposed RulemakingPDF Dkt 81-413 (1984)

The FCC adopted Part 15 rules as a paradigm shift, carving out a piece of the spectrum landscape specifically for unlicensed use.
Blazing Saddles :: Hedley Lamarr


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