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NTRC now policing the spectrum

NTRC now policing the spectrum

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Persons who may have been entertaining the idea of operating radio stations without licences will have to do business in the approved fashion.
The National Telecommunications Regulatory Commission (NTRC) has equipment to monitor Radio Frequency (RF) Spectrum. {{more}}
The Spectrum monitoring vehicle and other equipment is valued at over $500,000 and will be used to keep radio and telecommunications operators in check. It will also make sure that there is no illegal use of the spectrum in SVG.
The NTRC also acquired some Spectrum management software that will be used for engineering purposes, and can help in assigning the best frequency to an applicant. The software can give ideas of the coverage and signal levels of the network here and also include software modules for billing and licensing.
According to Head of the NTRC, Apollo Knights, “one of the NTRC’s main functions is the management and regulation of the Radio Frequency (RF) Spectrum in St. Vincent and the Grenadines.”
He said two persons; Radio Communication Engineer Rowald “Fellie” Derrick and Information Communications Technology (ICT) Officer Nadine Hull received six weeks of intensive training on the use the equipment. A company called Tadiran Electronic Systems Limited manufactured the equipment in Israel. It is mounted on a white Toyota Land Cruiser jeep.
Knights revealed that over the years, there had been at least one incident where someone was operating on an illegal radio frequency somewhere in Arnos Vale. The homemade set up, which can be bought at a store anywhere in the United States, said Knights, sometimes interfered with legal frequency operators as the set up lacked proper filters. He noted that complaints have come from local radio stations, that other stations were causing interference. Telecommunication companies have at times complained of interference.
Radio Communication Engineer Derrick, described the acquiring of the equipment as very positive for SVG.
“With the liberalisation of the telecommunications industry,” said Derrick; “it is necessary to have this equipment to monitor the radio spectrum as we can’t have illegal users using the spectrum.”
Derrick said that they were never able to monitor the spectrum before but that scheduled visits would be made to various parts of the island.
Recently the NTRC of St. Vincent and the Grenadines and the NTRCs of the other OECS islands (St. Kitts & Nevis, Dominica, St. Lucia and Grenada) acquired equipment to manage and monitor the RF Spectrum in their respective countries as a result of the OECS Telecommunications Reform project. There is a fixed base station that monitors transmissions on a continuous basis, and a mobile station that goes out on scheduled visits not covered by the fixed station.
This mobile unit can locate any emission from a transmitter that is using the RF Spectrum. On a regular schedule, data is collected by this mobile at any site and replicated at the base station. This data can be used to demonstrate to users how they are operating on their assigned frequency, and if they are complying with conditions of license and frequency authorization. The mobile is equipped with a GPS and a laptop, which gives exact location of transmitters on a map of SVG.
A release from the NTRC states that RF Spectrum management includes, keeping an accurate database of all frequencies assigned in a country, and those in its proximity, the Management and control of accidental or non-restricted emission of the electromagnetic spectrum, and the management and control of the use of the electromagnetic spectrum from, to and within SVG.
The NTRC assigns frequencies within the provisions of the telecom act and a Frequency Authorization is issued to successful applicants who allow that user to use the relevant frequency under certain terms and conditions. It is then the responsibility of the NTRC to ensure that these authorised users operate within the conditions of their guidelines so that they do not cause harmful interference to other users locally, regionally and internationally. It is just as important that the NTRC monitor illegal use of the spectrum as this can cause harmful interference to authorised users of the RF spectrum. To achieve this objective the NTRC carries out regular monitoring of the RF spectrum. To do this job efficiently requires highly specialized equipment.
The National Telecommunications Regulatory Commission (NTRC) was established by the Telecommunications Act of 2001, to efficiently regulate the Telecommunications Sector in collaboration with the Eastern Caribbean Telecommunications Authority (ECTEL) and provide advice and direction to the Minister of Telecommunications on policy and regulatory issues relating to Telecommunications.


What is Radio spectrum?

According to an article on the Internet written by Marshall Brain for his publication which is called “How stuff works”, a radio wave is an electromagnetic wave generated by an antenna.
Radio waves have different frequencies, and by tuning a radio receiver to a specific frequency you can pick up a specific signal.
In St.Vincent and many other countries, a regulatory body decides who is able to use which frequencies for which purposes, and it issues licenses to stations for specific frequencies. When you listen to a radio station and the announcer says, “You are listening to let’s say 91.5 FM The Rock!” what the announcer means is that you are listening to a radio station broadcasting a FM radio signal at a frequency of 91.5 megahertz.
Megahertz means “millions of cycles per second,” so “91.5 megahertz” means that the transmitter at the radio station is oscillating at a frequency of 91,500,000 cycles per second. Your FM (frequency modulated) radio can tune in to that specific frequency and give you clear reception of that station. All FM radio stations transmit in a band of frequencies between 88 megahertz and 108 megahertz. This band of the radio spectrum is used for no other purpose but FM radio broadcasts.
The RF Spectrum is a natural resource that makes up part of the Electromagnetic Spectrum. Perhaps the most familiar part of the electromagnetic spectrum is the Visible Light Spectrum. The light with which you are able to read this page is, in reality, radiation-covering part of the electromagnetic spectrum. Infrared and x-ray also make up part of the Electromagnetic Spectrum.
The RF Spectrum starts from ELF (extremely low frequencies) to EHF (Extremely high frequencies). These frequencies are used for wireless communications and are not as harmful as x-ray with direct exposure. When you tune in to a FM station on your radio receiver, you are tuning into the frequency of the waves of the RF spectrum that the station is using to broadcast its information. Television remotes, cordless telephones, cellular phones and VHF radios are all devices that use the frequencies that make up the radio spectrum.

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