Leaky Cable Signals are interferring with government communications. There is a side to this that really deserves some thought. If the signals can
interfer with airline traffic, what can it do inside your home? Or, what can be done with the signal?
I quote the article, since a membership is required.
HOUSTON -- At any given time, more than 36,000 cable users in a city the size of Houston have a signal that is leaking, television station KPRC
The leaks are not harmful to people, but if they are left unchecked they have the potential to interfere with some critical forms of communications.
Like other cable users in the Houston area, meterologist Frank Billingsley was more than a little skeptical when he got home and found a notice
hanging on his front door concerning a problem with his cable.
"I thought it was a scam," Billingsley said. "I thought it was somebody trying to figure a way to get into the house by saying, 'Oh, we need to
come fix your cable.'"
The notice told Billingsley and other cable customers that their systems needed to be fixed immediately because they were leaking their signal -- a
signal that can interfere with aeronautical and government communications.
"I just thought the cable, being a closed system ... How in the world does it transmit a signal that could interfere with an airplane 5 miles up?"
TV stations, police and fire department radios, and airplanes are all considered primary users of the airwaves. Cable is considered a secondary user.
Because cable uses many of the same frequencies as the others, its signal has to be contained. If that cable signal leaks, it can interfere with the
other forms of communication being transmitted.
A leak can cause something as simple as bad reception on your TV or as complex as interfering with communications between a pilot and an air traffic
The Federal Communications Commission requires all cable companies to fix a signal leak when it reaches 50 microvolts.
Time Warner, which services the Houston area, will fix a leak when it reaches 20 microvolts.
"If you have any break or crack, or any kind of loose connection, (a leak detector) will pick it up," a Time Warner repairman said.
Cable companies first pinpoint which houses have leaks by constantly driving neighborhoods measuring microvoltage leaks. After a leak is detected, an
engineer has to pinpoint the source.
Every line is checked and when the detector goes silent, the source of the leak is found.
In Billingsley's case, the leak was caused by something simple -- loose connections.
But the most common reason for signal leaks are the do-it-yourselfers.
"The problem happens when a customer might add a new TV set. They do the wiring themselves and they're using wiring that is subpar and not up to
cable standards," Time Warner Cable spokesman Ray Purser said.
"Satellite users have no need to worry. Satellite dishes do not cause problems because their signal uses a different frequency that does not conflict
with the primary users of the airwaves. "
"Time Warner told KPRC that customers have seven days to schedule a repair call or their cable will be shut off." End-
I find this interesting- as I was never aware of leaking cable signals from homes. And then again, could it be a mass "calibration"? You gotta
admit, it does make one wonder.