In reply to an earlier post about malicious interference on Toronto-area repeaters, Neil, VA7DX offers this post about the situation in the Greater Vancouver area.
We’ve experienced similar malicious interference problems in the Greater Vancouver Area off and on over the last 5 years and have developed an approach that has had success in dealing with these problems.
As you already know, Industry Canada are fully occupied with their paying customers regarding commercial spectrum, licensing and enforcement issues. To exacerbate the situation, elimination of the annual licensing fee for the Amateur Radio Service, although greeted by many Amateurs as a good thing, merely eliminated a revenue stream that had in the past provided some leverage to support enforcement activities on major issues affecting the Amateur Radio community.
Having said that the simple truth is that we can do some things to identify and reduce, if not eliminate, malicious interference.
A few ideas that worked well for us were:
1) Combine forces – when faced with wide spread interference issues, we formed a group with representation from most of the clubs in the Greater Vancouver area. Not only did this prove useful in terms of gathering intelligence, it gave access to a larger pool of resources for tracking down the source of the interference.
2) Relationship with IC – no matter whether we feel IC is abrogating its responsibility or not, the truth is we have to work with them. Establish a positive working relationship with the local IC office. Keep your expectations of IC’s involvement reasonable.
3) Create a tracking team – In general IC expect Hams to do the initial legwork in tracking interference. This takes a lot of time and energy. My advice is to select a small group of people who are willing and able to relentlessly hunt and identify the locations of your malicious interference problems. I’d be happy to share information on our techniques and tools to those who are seriously interested in pursuing this.
4) Engage IC – once you’ve identified the source, that information should be passed to IC. It’s helpful to have some knowledge of what they require from an evidentiary standpoint and align your information with that. Be aware that they have to validate the information and typically undertake their own investigation before action can be taken. If you’ve identified the target and location it makes it easier to engage their resources.
5) When all else fails – if you still don’t get action, take parallel paths. Continue your consultation with IC but also engage your MP. A well written petition or letter to the MP responsible for the riding where the interference is occurring may get some action. Don’t take this step too quickly……it takes months to build relationships and an instant to destroy them… and more importantly always have a Plan B.
Following these steps has also netted success working with the FCC and the Amateur Radio community south of the border to resolve some significant interference problems caused by the now ex-K7VNI.
I can’t stress enough how important relationships and a competent, credible and professional approach to dealing with these interference issues are in contributing to success.