Interference complaints over the last five years - December 2012

Radio related FOI responses by Ofcom to be posted into here for reference & discussion!
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Interference complaints over the last five years - December 2012

Post by sde-1104 » Sun Jan 04, 2015 9:32 pm

Thank you for your request for information regarding pirate broadcasts and
interference with emergency networks which we received on 27 November 2012 and have
considered under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (‘the Act’).

It is important to stress that Illegal Broadcast (‘IB’) transmitter installations do not operate
under the terms and conditions of a licence. .

The radio transmitters used by IB broadcasters are not compliant with the Radio Equipment
and Telecommunications Terminal Equipment Regulations (derived from the similarly named
EU Directive). In addition radio transmitters have to meet the requirements for electrical and
other safety aspects.

1) How many reports of radio interference have Ofcom received by the emergency services,
or Airwave, in the last 5 years which was credited to "Pirate" radio broadcasts.

Non Airwave:

2008 - 9
2009 - 4
2010 - 0
2011 - 1
2012 - 1


2008 - 0
2009 - 0
2010 - 0
2011 - 5
2012 - 1

2) Could you please provide me with or cite any studies or other references that Ofcom uses
to form its opinion that "Pirate" radio stations operating on the FM band interfere with the
emergency services radio network

Illegal broadcasters intend to broadcast within the FM waveband but often the equipment
used malfunctions or is not properly installed and produces spurious emissions into other

Ofcom receives reports of this interference direct from the emergency services (and other
critical services such as National Air Traffic control) and each case is investigated by
engineers to establish the cause. Where the cause is found to be Illegal broadcasting,
enforcement action is taken to remove the source of interference to resolve the issue – as
was the case in the complaints highlighted above.

Further information on illegal broadcasting can be found on our website: ... adcasting/

3) How many "Pirate" radio operators were prosecuted in the year 2010-2011 where
interfering with the emergency services radio network was used as part of the prosecutions
evidence / cause of action.


Mr F
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Post by Mr F » Sun Jan 04, 2015 9:38 pm

I think that probably they play on it for a bit of propaganda occasionally, but at the same time you can quite imagine what with the air band being so close to fm that they do actually get interference fairly regularly. Especially when you factor in the amount of badly installed, unswred (made up a word there?) antenna. Also the amount of rigs floating about that have been retuned all sorts of times, cranked up in power to beyond their original design parameters. I mean fortunately the air band just switches frequency when comms are poor otherwise fucking yeah, planes will fall fam!

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Re: Interference complaints over the last five years - December 2012

Post by james_wilson16 » Tue Apr 14, 2015 3:51 pm

I have looked at copious amounts of evidence to do with the interference of the emergency services in particular, and from the horses mouth pretty much evidence points toward there being no interference from pirate radio stations. That said I did chat to an OFCOM officer in some dept about a station based very close to Heathrow which was interfering but was a badly constructed rig, lets face it, the serious amongst the pirates are dedicated to clean outputs in order to cut the risk of being caught. OFCOM do take serious any broadcasts on 108FM, based on the fact that it is close to the air band and although this frequency is listed on the commercial band, it is a "non licensable"frequency, and raids against stations on this frequency are imminent without the need of interference complaints.

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