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Kneller: Radio Networks Should File Comments Detailing Affiliates Who Use C-Band

He is concerned engineers are too busy, or stations feel they can’t pay the $435 filing fee to register their downlinks

We have been hearing a lot about C-Band satellite dish registration lately. 

It is critical that the Federal Communications Commission understands how pervasive C-Band receive dishes are at radio (and television) stations throughout the United States and its territories before they open the band up to 5G interference. 

I am, however, concerned that many engineers are too busy to bother or stations feel they can’t spend the $435 to pay the filing fee to have their dishes registered.

While I think the FCC should have waived that fee, regardless, here is an alternative idea that might help the commission understand the plethora of C-Band dishes actually in use. 

During the comment period, I would hope that every one of the various radio networks who distribute their content via C-Band satellite — as well as the networks who lease transponder space from other networks — will file comments complete with a detailed list of call letters and locations (by city and state) of their affiliates. 

Certainly those networks know who their affiliates are today because receivers have to be permissioned (authorized) to receive the signals and the networks have these records. If every network files this information with the FCC, the commissioners will have a robust, accurate list of the scope of this situation — and the potential disaster that is awaiting if they try to share this spectrum with carriers opening up 5G services.

In addition, those who feed translators and full-service stations by satellite (thinking NPR, EMF, Salem, Moody, etc.) on a full-time basis could be particularly hard hit and should file that same list with the commission.


This brings to mind issues we had in Florida (as well as in other coastal areas) post-9/11 when Airborne Early Warning and Control System sentries were patrolling with their very high-power radar turned on. 

This was a major issue for me and many other engineers in our area. About every 20 seconds, our receivers would mute for about 1-2 seconds and come back on. We purchased a filter and installed it on our feed horn, but that did not solve the problem. 

Initially, the USAF denied they were causing this interference, but enough complaints surfaced that they changed their ways to eliminate the problem (that they had not been causing in the first place), and it went away. That was transitory and was solved. 

In my case, we have two cellular providers on our 400-foot tower at the studio, which is also one of our FM station’s transmitter site. We have our C-Band receive dish approximately 50 feet from that tower. I can’t imagine trying to eliminate co-channel interference at that range. Many other engineers will be in a similar situation. 

We should stop this before it gets started.

Kneller is a consultant to Solmart Media LLC.