As folks may recall, the primary opponents of opening the broadcast white spaces for use, the broadcasters and the wireless microphone manufacturers — notably our good friend and radio pirate Shure, Inc. (official slogan:”We get to break the law 'cause we sound so good”) — insisted that the FCC conduct field tests on the white spaces prototypes. Of course, because these are concept prototypes and not functioning devices certified to some actual standard, everyone knew this would leave lots of leeway for the broadcasters and the wireless microphone folks to declare the tests a “failure” regardless of the actual results. Which, of course, they did. Needless to say, Phillips (which makes one of the prototypes) said the opposite, and it all depends on whether success means “the device functioned perfectly as if there were actually some standards for building a functioning device” or “the device proved it could detect occupied channels at whatever sensitivity the FCC decides is necessary.” The FCC engineers, wisely, made no comment and went back to their labs to analyze the actual data.
But one of the nice things about field testing is that you learn the most amazing things that you can never learn in a lab, as demonstrated by this ex parte filed by Ed Thomas for the White Spaces Coalition, the industry group that backs opening the white spaces. Apparently, in front of eye witnesses (including the FCC's engineers), both broadcasters and unauthorized wireless microphone users in the Broadway field test operated wireless microphones on active television channels, at power levels well above what white spaces advocates propose for mobile devices. All apparently without interfering with anybody's television reception or even — in the case of the unauthorized Broadway users — screwing up the hundreds of other illegal wireless microphones in the neighboring theaters.
A few rather important take aways here: (1) the danger of interference claims by broadcasters and Shure are utterly bogus, as the wireless microphones do not screw up either television reception or each other; (b) the broadcasters and Shure know their interference claims are bogus. If they actually cared one iota about possible interference, they would not casually operate wireless microphones on the same channel as active television broadcasts and as each other. Instead, they are so unconcerned about interference that they can't even remember to pretend to care about following the interference mitigation rules when they are conducting a field test in front of the FCC's own engineers.
If they gave out Darwin Awards for this stuff, the broadcasters and Shure would surely qualify. You insist the FCC conduct field tests with your unauthorized users, you accuse the FCC of bias and heckle them throughout the testing, you try to hijack the results by loudly proclaiming the prototypes failed no matter what the actual result, and then you operate on occupied TV channels??? You think FCC engineers aren't going to notice that you are full of crap when you claim to be terribly, terribly worried about how white spaces will destroy TV reception or bring down the Grand Ole Opry but can't even bother to practice the spectrum equivalent of “safe sex” with your own devices?
Yes, I get that when you break the law as long as Shure has, you get a mindset. The fact that their “defense” to our complaint was “it's the FCC's fault for not changing the rules to make what we do legal, we don't interfere, but keep white space competitors out because they will” indicates that these guys are not 'thinking strategically.' But to flaunt it in front of the FCC's engineers, after you drag them out there for more ridiculous field tests that you intend to denounce as “failures” no matter what the actual result, has to rank pretty high in the “failure of judgment” category.