Posted by: GW7AAV | December 11, 2010

Roadblocks to find radio pirates

The authorities in Brunei are having problems with pirate radio operators. The two metre band in Brunei extends from 144 to 148 MHz, but radios manufactured in places like China have the ability to operate from 137 to 174 MHz and unlicensed operators have been interfering with communications among government agencies, police and military operating within those bands. As a result the Authority for Info-Communications Technology Industry (AITI) and Royal Brunei Police Force (RBPF) joined forces in conducting a roadblock in Sengkurong to inspect and ensure that amateur radio operators, or ham radio enthusiasts, are following the correct procedures and regulations.

The roadblock was carried out to ensure that amateur radio operators do not have an expired license or are using unapproved equipment. “If such an issue like unapproved equipment arises, the police have the authority to confiscate the said items under Section 37,” said Senior Technical Officer Hj Suhaili Hj Kawang.

One of the problems that AITI and RBPF had to handle was that some amateur radio operators use small hand portable radios that are hard to detect and could be hidden in somewhere in the car out of sight

In just under two hours, five people were detained for having either unapproved equipment and/or expired licensed while two passed the inspection for following procedures appropriately and having valid licenses. The police also made sure that drivers observed road rules such as wearing safety belts and untinted window. This is the third joint operation conducted by both agencies and similar roadblocks will be held next year.

For some reason I could not see the authorities in the UK bothering with such an operation, but with the number of wide band transceivers on sale via places like eBay we may experience similar problems here. Way back in the dim and distant (1980’s) I remember similar roadblocks to find illegal CBs. Strangely during one of these roadblocks, after the UK introduced legal FM CB, I was waved on despite having a car festooned with antennas. Maybe someone on that roadblock knew who I was or maybe they knew who they were looking for, I wonder!

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