First, lets understand where the digital signals will be transmitting at.
All stations, except for stations that transmit on the VHF-L band (Ch 2 through 6), will transmit on their current analog channel assignments. Only
stations transmitting on the VHF-L band will relocate to a new channel.
The digital transistion will not make it any easier, or harder for pirate tv to be located. It will remain the same. A digital tv signal occupies the
same bandwidth (6Mhz) as the old analog signal does.
The only difference is the modulation used. Digital signals use the 8VSB moduation technique, analog uses the SSB/sub-carrier technique.
There are so called "pirate" digital transmitter kits and full assembled units out on the market, and have been for the last several years.
Pirate broadcasting has been around for a very long time, and will no doubt continue well into the future. There is always that need for alternative
media outlet when big corporate owned radio just dont cut it..which IMO is about 99 percent of the time.
Some pirate operations actually abide by the technical aspects of the FCC rules, even some exceeding commercial licensed station specifications. Most
also offer competative programs, to which IMO is the most reason why commercial stations complain, because someone is pulling their audience and is
not licensed to operate, its just basically their feathers get ruffled so they cry like a baby.
With internet streaming however, pirate radio does not have its full glory as it used to. Unless you got a good HF rig to transmit on the shortwave
frequencies, and no one wants to listen to a good tune on static filled frequencies in mono that fades in and out due to atmospheric skip, many of the
pirate station operators have turned to the interent, both radio and video.
It will be interesting to see where it goes next after digital FM and AM come about.
(RFBurns is a 20+ year broadcast engineer...and once ran his own little pirate thing....SHHHHHHH dont tell anyone!!