Bad Design Practices from the Aviation Industry Ruin It for the Rest of Us

The aviation industry skimped on designing their altimeters by not including bandpass filtering to prevent interference from outside of their authorized operating band. Now it’s short sighted reckless drive for profit has caused so much economic disruption for the Telco’s that the FCC may have to double the regulatory burden on ALL electronic receiver manufacturers who use any radio band for any purpose including simple toys.

The aviation industry’s slowness in fixing altimeters may lead to the FCC cracking down on bad wireless receivers. In April, the FCC voted unanimously to launch an inquiry into poorly designed wireless devices that receive transmissions from outside their allotted frequencies.

The inquiry could result in new receiver regulations similar to the rules that already require wireless devices to transmit only in their licensed frequencies. “To avoid harmful interference, we typically have rules about how and when transmitters can operate,” FCC Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel said at the April meeting. “But wireless communications systems involve transmitters and receivers… so we need to rethink our approach to spectrum policy and move beyond just transmitters and consider receivers, too.”

Source: FAA: Airlines must retrofit faulty altimeters “as soon as possible” | Ars Technica

TWiT Network Ridiculous Whining

Ian and Leo on TWiT, and others on other shows this week, were whining because US newspaper companies don’t want to spend a bunch of money so that they can continue to give free stuff to Europeans without fear of legal financial penalties.

Leo has even admitted it cost his tiny company 40 hours of labor some if it lawyer time. Obviously Leo feels his company will at least break even on the expense so of course he should make the effort. I am confident the newspapers calculated that it will result in only a net loss so it would violate their fiduciary responsibility to waste money complying with GDPR.

Update: just watched Mac Break Weekly and Alex brought up how GDPR is a no profit, only losses, situation for businesses who don’t have EU customers. I should have expected this bit of sanity since Alex is a very smart business person (as well as one of the most amazing media production experts around).

Cell Phone & GPS Jammer FCC News

Jamming devices are not only illegal they put others at risk, e.g. jammers can prevent timely response to a medical emergency. In its never ending battle to keep the radio spectrum functional for all of us the FCC has taken the following actions.




Warns Consumers to Immediately Remove Online Jammer Ads; Issues Consumer Alerts in Spanish and Mandarin Chinese.



The Enforcement Bureau Releases Chinese and Spanish Language Versions of an Enforcement Advisory Warning that Signal Jamming Devices May Not Be Advertised or Sold in the United States.


Official Citation to Scott Sandlin Word DOC, PDF, TXT

Official Citation to Keith Grabowsky Word DOC, PDF, TXT

Official Citation to Joseph Hundley Word DOC, PDF, TXT

Official Citation to George Conde Word DOC, PDF, TXT

Official Citation to John Bering Word DOC, PDF, TXT

Official Citation to Dancing Bear Technologies Word DOC, PDF, TXT

The FCC’s Herculean Task

The FCC has a nearly impossible duty that seems to be growing out of control, stopping the sale and usage of signal jammers. Somehow I missed the story when it was in the FCC daily digest last month but this week I saw it in this article from IN Compliance magazine.

Last month the FCC issued a citation to for selling GPS jammers, FCC Citation No.: C201132340002. Clearly the Chinese owners of the site have no intention of complying with US law since they are still offering many different jammers at All of the products offered on those two pages are illegal to import, sell or use in the USA and most, if not all, other countries.

A Google Search for the product description from the citation yields 75,500 results and most of the top results are sites that will sell you the illegal device. I can not think of any legitimate use for a GPS jammer and the comments at DealExtreme’s Product Forum clearly show why people would buy these devices.

it’s great for stealing tracked trucks, and ‘sell’ them back latter

From Taylor73: My job uses a handheld device that has a L1 GPS device within it. Most of the time I’m pretty honest but every now and then I leave work early or might be late to where I’m supposed to be.

So, as far as I can see the people who buy and use these devices are either criminals or dishonest employees looking to screw over their employer. It seems to me that straight forward fairly simple statistical analysis of the data collected by the employer can discover the fraudulent activity of the employee. So I wouldn’t be surprised if Taylor73 is looking for a job in the near future.

Here are a few older posts of mine about jammers:

Colorado Hotels cited by FCC

I’ve never seen this type of action from the FCC before. On November 19th the FCC cited five hotels around Colorado for excess emissions in the aeronautic radio bands from their non-cable multichannel video programming distributor (MVPD) systems. FCC field personnel measured these problems between June 21st and August 6th. These hotels are spread all around the state so my guess is they all have the same brand or installation company for their MVPDs.


Why did it take so long? FDA Orders Zicam Nasal Off the Market

You’ve probably seen this story at many blogs recently.

FDA Advises Consumers Not To Use Certain Zicam Cold Remedies

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration today advised consumers to stop using three products marketed over-the-counter as cold remedies because they are associated with the loss of sense of smell (anosmia). Anosmia may be long-lasting or permanent.

The products are:
–Zicam Cold Remedy Nasal Gel
–Zicam Cold Remedy Nasal Swabs
–Zicam Cold Remedy Swabs, Kids Size (a discontinued product)

While this is good news, what took so long for the FDA to act on this? As pointed out at What’s The Harm? What’s the harm in homeopathy? (Lisa Weatherington & 339 others) Zicam settled a lawsuit over this issue nearly 3 1/2 years ago.

By Sandra G. Boodman
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, January 31, 2006

The manufacturer of Zicam Cold Remedy has agreed to pay $12 million to settle 340 lawsuits brought by consumers who claim the popular over-the-counter zinc nasal gel damaged or destroyed their sense of smell.

Full article: Paying Through the Nose –

Did the FDA really need over three years to act on this problem? Are the 130 injured mentioned in the FDA notice in addition to the 340 from the 2006 lawsuit?

Lets see, the science has shown a potential problem since 2004 and further documented in 2006, the manufacturer settles a lawsuit in 2006, then finally the FDA acts in 2009. The FDA should have acted much sooner!

For some interesting additional information info on the men behind the company see: The Men Behind Zicam –

FDA links:

Cell Phone Jammer News

The District of Columbia Department of Corrections received special temporary authority (STA) from the FCC to conduct a demonstration of a directional cell phone jammer designed for prisons. The STA allowed a test on January 8th for 30 minutes sometime between 11:30 a.m. and 1 p.m. However the DC DoC cancelled the demonstration on 1/7 with no official statement why the test was cancelled.

My hope is that the DC DoC realized that using technology to render a smuggled item useless is stupid compared to preventing the smuggling in the first place. Whatever route is being used to smuggle cell phones into prisons also allows weapons to enter a prison. Even if the DC DoC hadn’t stopped the test on their own, the test would likely have been stopped by the courts.

CTIA seeks to block cell phone jamming demo at DC jail

Operation of such jamming technology is flatly illegal under Section 333 of the Communications Act, and the commission lacks the statutory to authorize violations of this congressional directive protecting the rights of authorized users of the wireless spectrum, stated CTIA in a petition filed at the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. Moreover, the decision to authorize the demonstration  made without notice to the public or affected parties, without opportunity for comment, without consideration of any evidence regarding the potential consequences to legitimate transmission of operating the contemplated technology, and with no exigent public-safety need is the very essence of arbitrary and capricious decision-making.

CTIA went to court after failing to get regulatory relief from the FCC.

While we believe that prisoners should not have access to wireless phones while incarcerated, there are other, non-interfering and legal ways to find and take the phones out of their hands, said Christopher Guttman-McCabe, VP of regulatory Affairs at CTIA. There are several companies that provide wireless detection systems that can be used by jails to identify and confiscate phones, and that do not interfere with wireless communications. As the FCC previously acknowledged, Congress has been clear in prohibiting the use of jammers in state prisons.

For the manufacturers spin on this story read this article, they don’t think that prison officials should stop the cell phones from being smuggled into the prison or find and confiscate the phones that are there. Instead the prisons should buy their equipment to make the cell phones not work, vested interest much. My feeling is that if prison officials can’t stop the smuggling of cell phones into a prison they also can’t stop the smuggling of weapons, money and other banned items into prisons. What kind of insanity does it take to think that prison officials don’t need to stop weapon sized items from being smuggled into prisons. The public will be vastly safer if all smuggling of contraband into prisons is stopped.

Assuming prison officials aren’t going to stop the phones getting into the prisons, why don’t they take advantage of the situation. They should use the currently available legal gear to monitor cell communication of prisoners, trace the call to the recipient and then have the recipient arrested for the crime being done. The recordings of the calls would be great evidence in a court to prosecute the criminals that are helping prisoners intimidate witnesses or perform other illegal activities. Nah, they’ll never do that since it would require actual work rather than flipping a magic switch like a commenter on a previous post wanted.