Monday, December 7, 2009

Liechtenstein / Overloading EMR / Wi Fi beamed / EMR 'safe' travel trailer / France antennas / Public Hearing / Dangerous to children / CRTC / Toyota EMF / Better safe / Navy / County / Environmentally friendly /

Will Liechtenstein call time on the mobile industry?
Jeremy Green

Liechtenstein's proposed new limits are ten times stricter than the existing regulations

A victory for the campaigners for stricter limits will have implications for operators in other countries

Overloading of Towns and Cities with Radio Transmitters (Cellular ...
Radio Wave or Microwave Sickness Known for 75 Years. Seventy-five years ago in August 1932, the German doctor Erwin Schliephake published ...

High-speed Internet beamed to rural areas

Telus makes $1.6 million investment to bring new service to Valley customers


Telus is beaming a high-speed Internet lifeline to some rural parts of the Comox Valley, where lack of fast web access has been a long-standing issue.

Much of Dove Creek and Forbidden Plateau, for example, have been off-limits for speedy downloads, unless people have paid for costly satellite links or premium access via cell phones.

In several local areas, there is no phone company ADSL service and no alternative from Shaw, as that company's cable network does not reach many rural households.

But now Telus says it has invested $1.6 million to bring a new 3G+ over-the-air network to the Comox Valley, part of a much bigger $600 million province-wide commitment to 'High Speed Packet Access Plus' technology.

People wanting access to the new service need a Telus wireless Internet key with USB connector to plug in to their computer. They can then receive signals transmitted in parallel to the cell phone network.

That device costs $79, and then there's a basic subscription cost of $35 a month to maintain access.

Extra antenna have been added to Telus cell phone masts to allow the service to operate.

"Customers can now get ... blazing fast Internet anywhere they can use a Telus wireless device," said Jeremy Baxter of Telus media relations.

However, he accepted that subscribers get access to just one gigabyte of data a month - although Baxter noted that was the equivalent of about 250 downloaded songs or as many as 25,000 e-mails.

That's certainly a big step forward from slow dial-up downloads via fixed phones, but still not what campaigners in places like Dove Creek were hoping for - especially with Internet content become more and more sophisticated and intense.

For the past three years, residents and small businesses in that area have campaigned vigorously for high-speed links, arguing that fast Internet is no longer a luxury but a necessity for many people.

One of the leading campaigners, Sarah Nicholson, told the Echo yesterday it was great news that Telus has invested in improvements to its service.

While it was a step forward, in her view there were still significant limitations in terms of download capacity and the cost of using the service.

The company had also taken a long time to move on the issue, and in the meantime telecoms rival Rogers had moved in with an alternative through its similar 'Rocket Stick' device, which some people in the area had already adopted.

She still firmly believed a thriving community like Dove Creek, which was geographically very close to urban Courtenay, ought to have ADSL access to the Internet.

Telus's service manager for the local area, Dick Jezierski, insisted the company's substantial investment "uses the most innovative wireless technology available anywhere in the world today."

He added: "Our customers in Courtenay and Comox are among more than 30 million Canadians who can now take advantage of this fantastic network."

Jezierski also noted Telus rate plans had been changed and simplified without a system access fee so subscribers could see clearly what they had to pay for any service.

Using the new network to access the Internet on a computer or laptop does not stop a cell phone being used for a call at the same time, as the networks are being run in parallel.

In all, Telus claims its new network will extend high speed Internet to 2,100 communities and neighbourhoods in B.C. and Alberta that never had it before.

Cell Tower Topic of Siting Council Public Hearing
We have so much electromagnetic frequency saturating us. Please consider the people and animals that have to live near the cell towers," Ms. Szemkus ...
"Is the cellular phone dangerous to children"? 
In the article "Is the cellular phone dangerous to children"  it is exposed that after leukemia brain tumors became the 2nd cancer in children. The article asks if it is related to the cellular.  Dr. Sadezky is interviewed, saying that children are more sensitive to environmental causes and that although the causal link between adults and brain tumors is not proven there are red lights that point to suspicion for increased risk of brain tumors, acoustic neuroma and parotid glands. She tells of her visit to the US senate where "I talked on the potential damage and I called the american scientific community to join to the studies. Even if the results are not final we need to take into account that today there are more than 4 billion users including children so it is needed to take precaution steps, to reduce the use and to increase the distance between the phone from the body and ear.  There are 254,000 children who use cell phones in Israel, age 12-15. The annual expense of the parents is 320 million shekels (1$ is about 4 shekels). A survey done by the industrial-commerce ministry shows that 66% of the parents are interested that Israel will make a law that limits the use of children and some of them want to limit the sales so they can save money. "Who knows, maybe the hole in the pocket will influence health" is the last sentence of the short article.
Iris Atzmon
The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunication Commission (CRTC) has announced that, on August 31st 2011, the Over-the-Air (OTA) television stations must cease analog (NTSC) transmission. The Digital Television (DTV) post transition plan has been negotiated between Industry Canada (IC) and the Federal Communication Commission (FCC) and this plan was publicly released on December 23rd, 2008.
A chance for input, but only till December 20. 

Here's the reference article for digital TV conversion. They've obviously already spent big bucks planning this!  <>>  It even lists all the stations and what cost for each transmitter. 

Proceedings open to public comments: <>

CRTC's toll-free phone number: 1-877-249-CRTC (2782)

Bianco On Cars: Toyota Recall Rapid Acceleration Gremlins' Fault

West Hollywood, California (Thursday, December 3, 2009) - Last Sunday, the Los Angeles Times published another article in its series investigating sudden acceleration in Toyota vehicles. The article identifies the likely cause of sudden acceleration to be the throttles used by Toyota, not the floor mats crushed up against the accelerator pedal.

Todd "Evan" Bianco has written about cars and Los Angeles on his website from his West Hollywood base for many years.

My original article on Toyota Recall: Sudden Acceleration on November 2 suggested that "electronic gremlins" were more likely to be the cause of this problem and I pointed to the drive-by-wire/electronic throttles.

Some of the statistics the Times dug up are startling. Toyota first installed electronic throttles in the Toyota Camry and Lexus ES sedans starting in the 2002 model year. Sudden acceleration complaints jumped from 26 annually to 132; more than 5 times the previous rate.

In 2005, when Toyota switched to electronic throttles in the Tacoma pickup truck, sudden acceleration complaints jumped more than 20 times, on average, during the following three years.

Those are large percentage increases; but still a small number compared to the millions of Toyotas running around. Today, every new Toyota (including Scion and Lexus) uses an electronic throttle and most people can't tell the difference.

The units increase acceleration accuracy and fuel efficiency. And they are very reliable - except when they aren't.

It's nearly impossible to recreate an electronic glitch. Anyone who has used a computer knows that sometimes software just crashes and you have to reboot. There is no explanation and you can't recreate it.

The same applies to the software, sensors and the electronic control units (ECUs) – miniature computers – in every modern vehicle.


In my view, the most interesting and important potential cause of the sudden acceleration is found in a test conducted by the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) on a Toyota throttle when researchers exposed it to a magnetic field. The throttle exhibited "unusual behavior" when the engine speed surged by 1,000 RPMs. Hum...

We live in an age where there are all types of electromagnetic radiation and countless numbers of electronic devices and high-voltage power lines around us every moment of every day – including when and wherever we drive.

We all know that area where your cell phone drops a call or static hits your radio. Satellite radio signals can be interrupted by a microwave oven. Anyone that has a Blackberry or other smartphone knows that the push email signals interfere with the speakers on your computer.

Perhaps the reason that sudden acceleration problems are higher in the Tacoma is because trucks are more often in industrial areas with higher amounts of background radiation and electromagnetic fields. Just a thought.

The companies who manufacture the throttles, referred to as OEM (original equipment manufacturer) suppliers, believe the systems are safe and reliable. Layers of shielding and multiple redundancies are built into the systems.

Three years ago, an unidentified Japanese supplier of electronic throttles for Toyota underwent tests ordered by the NHTSA and no problems were identified. But that doesn't mean an unidentified source of electromagnetic radiation couldn't affect the throttles.

Toyota is responsible for the software that interfaces the ECUs with the hardware. And the one thing that Toyota didn't do is incorporate a safety feature that shuts off the throttle when both the brake and throttle are engaged. Bad Toyota, very bad.

The truth is that most cases of sudden acceleration are cases of human error. We are not perfect and sometimes the electronic signals from your brain don't translate properly to your feet. You think you are stomping on the brake, but you're not.

In the modern age, electronic systems can be corrupted just like your brain signals. Unlike your brain, however, engineers can rewrite software to compensate for corrupted signals in an electronic throttle.

Toyota recently announced that it will implement two fixes (aside from removing or anchoring floor mats): First it will cut off the bottom of the existing gas pedal and later install a newly-designed pedal. Second, it will add a "smart pedal" with software that cuts the engine power anytime both the accelerator and brake pedals are depressed at the same time.

In my previous article, I pointed to the software fix as the likely long-term solution to the problem. Toyota has now confirmed this.

BMW first introduced an electronic throttle in 1988 and today the units are in common use by almost every manufacturer.

The LA Times article notes that the safety feature that cuts engine power if both pedals are depressed has already been adopted by manufacturers including Volkswagen, Porsche, Audi , BMW, Nissan and Chrysler. I believe Mercedes should also be on that list.

Automotive industry safety standards are being developed by the International Organization for Standardization, a nonprofit consortium of industry members, to protect vehicle electronic systems.

In most cases, the IOS standards are higher than governmental regulatory standards. New standards were recently issued for vehicle electronic systems.

The fact that Toyota didn't include this feature as part of its adoption of electronic throttles is a deep embarrassment to Toyota and it's going to cost Toyota dearly both in terms of dollars and reputation.


Better safe than worry

Posted by Editor on Dec 4th, 2009 and filed under Karl Muller, 

Karl Muller

[By Karl Muller] A fair degree of heat has been raised recently over the possible hazards to health and the environment posed by cellphone and broadband wireless masts.

In all of this, only one thing is certain: no-one knows what the long-term effects are of bathing the landscape in digitally pulsed microwave radiation at levels millions of times above the natural cosmic microwave background.

Prof Leif Salford of Lund University in Sweden describes the proliferation of cellphone technology as "the single biggest experiment ever carried out on the human race". Salford found and recently confirmed permanent brain damage in rats exposed to just two hours of cellphone radiation at levels comparable to those found near base stations.

Salford's research findings — along with thousands of other scientific studies — indicate that there may be severe risks to microwave exposure. But no-one knows what the ultimate results of this "experiment" will be.

What does one do in such a situation, where there is evidence of possible harm, but no certainty?

There is, in fact, a very deep moral, political and legal principle that has been developed over the years to meet exactly this contingency.

It's called the precautionary principle (PP), and in some legal systems — such as the European Union — it is a general and compulsory principle of law.

Its legal origins date back to the concept of "duty of care" in English common law of the late 1800s. This says that where a person undertakes an activity that might cause damage, "a duty arises to use ordinary care and skill to avoid such danger".

In everyday life, this principle is expressed in terms such as "better safe than sorry" and "an ounce of prevention is better than a pound of cure".

Perhaps the most relevant statement of this concept in the SA context is principle 15 of the Rio Declaration of 1992, the UN "Earth Summit", which says: "In order to protect the environment, the precautionary approach shall be widely applied by states according to their capabilities. Where there are threats of serious or irreversible damage, lack of full scientific certainty shall not be used as a reason for postponing cost-effective measures to prevent environmental degradation."

This embodies a pragmatic attitude which takes account of the different capacities of states to take action, but where precaution prevails over the necessity for full scientific proof when preventing possible harm to the environment.

SA was not only a signatory to this declaration, but hosted the next World Summit on Sustainable Development in 2002 in Johannesburg — so we have a special responsibility to try and implement these internationally agreed policies.

With regard to health policies and electromagnetic radiation, the government of SA has deferred completely to the World Health Organisation. What is the WHO's attitude towards the precautionary principle and electromagnetic radiation?

In 2003, great excitement was generated when the WHO released a draft position paper that called for the PP to be applied both for power line and radio frequency fields. But as reported in Microwave News of May/June 2003, the WHO then did a major "flip-flop", with Michael Repacholi, director of the WHO's International EMF Project, saying the organisation had decided not to invoke the PP: "We have not changed our minds, and have not made a 180-degree turn, but rather we have developed a comprehensive risk management framework in which precaution plays a role at every stage, thus there is no need to evoke it."

Repacholi later went on to say, "Precautionary policies should not be applied to electromagnetic fields", and told MW News: "It is not WHO's job to be recommending 'prudent avoidance' to national governments."

He also argued: "The lower the limits, the greater the public concern."

This last argument is one which industry has played upon: they say that invoking the PP will "alarm" the public, and this should be avoided. It seems that governments, the WHO and industry would far rather put your life in possible peril, than — God forbid! — "alarm" you.

The WHO has so successfully avoided "evoking" the PP that — to the best of my knowledge — not one word of warning or any hint of precaution has been made by any authority in SA.

Governments in Russia, the UK, Italy, Austria, Switzerland, Israel, France, India and other countries have all issued warnings, especially regarding exposure of children to cellphone radiation.

Looking specifically at the environment, several studies have found that microwave radiation affects insects, birds, amphibians and trees. The Skrunda radar station study in Latvia, for example, found that pine trees were stunted in the beam of the mast, and tree rings showed that this stunting started with the radar's operation.

In SA, the Oppenheimer family has funded a million-rand research project into the effects of cellphone radiation and other factors on insect life.

The first results were presented by Dr Max Clark in March 2008 at the Oppenheimer's Brenthurst home.

The most significant initial finding was a 10% decline in ant species in areas with high cellphone radiation levels at both 900MHz and 1 800MHz. These are entire species disappearing from the landscape; a one-in-ten reduction is literally a decimation of ant species.

I asked Prof Shirley Hanrahan, head of zoology at Wits University and a world-renowned entomologist, who was at the presentation, whether this was of evolutionary significance. "Yes of course", she replied.

Dr Clark also referred to research at the University of Landau, which showed that just 7% of bees exposed to digital cordless phone radiation found their way back to the hive, as opposed to 40% of non-radiated bees.

He concluded that although there was much research to be done, there was enough evidence from these insect studies to call for the precautionary principle to be invoked.

No-one can accuse bees and ants of displaying "hysterical", psychosomatic symptoms; and even ant species that are for some reason sensitive to microwave radiation have a right to exist. No-one can tell what will happen when we start removing a range of species from the ecosphere because they are not "microwave compliant". Remember, extinction is forever.

It's time we observed the most basic duty of care to our environment, and found ways to limit the proliferation of masts across the landscape.

Navy researchers kick off program to improve electronic warfare and signal processing

Posted by John Keller

ARLINGTON, Va., 4 Dec. 2009. U.S. Navy researchers plan to award several contracts aimed at improving electronic warfare technology and electronic warfare signal processing in the RF, electro-optical, and infrared portions of the electromagnetic spectrum.

The Office of Naval Research (ONR) in Arlington, Va., is soliciting industry proposals for the Electronic Warfare Discovery and Invention (D&I) program, which is expected to yield research contracts worth $3 million per year from 2011 to 2013.

This program seeks to provide the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps with improved threat warning systems; decoys and countermeasures against weapon tracking, and guidance systems; electronic attack against enemy command, control, communications, computers, intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (C4ISR); and electronic protection of Navy and Marine Corps weapons and C4ISR from intentional and unintentional interference.

Electronic warfare pertains to controlling the electromagnetic spectrum by exploiting, deceiving, or denying enemy use of the spectrum while ensuring its use by U.S. and allied forces.

The ONR's broad agency announcement (ONR BAA 10-007) is asking industry for proposals to develop and demonstrate technologies for next-generation components and systems in electronic warfare.

White papers and subsequent proposals should address technology developments in ways to monitor the RF, electro-optical, and infrared portions of the electromagnetic spectrum, classify and locate emitters, as well as monitor and track enemy forces.

The Navy is particularly interested in network-enabled electronic warfare; data-link requirements for distributed electronic warfare; information management of distributed electronic warfare systems; and small unattended electronic warfare systems on unmanned vehicles or in unattended locations.

Navy interest also extends to inexpensive electronic warfare receivers, particularly with integrated and chip-scale components; wideband apertures that combine compact size with high gain; improving isolation between emitting and receiving apertures on small platforms; reducing size, weight, and power (SWAP) of electronic warfare components; common signal processing protocols and database techniques; and control of a dispersed array of electronic warfare systems.

Navy researches also would like to improve electronic warfare adaptive signal processing ability to detect and identify weak RF, electro-optical, and infrared signals in strong interference, as well as coordinated electronic warfare techniques.

Potential solutions might include passive coherent location (PCL) systems, anti-radiation homing (ARH) sensors, infrared search and track (IRST) systems, adversary electronic warfare systems, and acoustic detection sensors.

Potential funding for this program is $3 million per year from 2011 to 2013 to be shared among several contractors. An industry day to brief companies on program details will be 10 a.m. 7 Jan. 2010 in Arlington, Va. To register for the industry day -- and to get an e-mail notice of the location, log on to a secure server at

White papers are due no later than 2 Feb. 2010. Only those submitting white papers are eligible to submit full proposals. Proposals are due to ONR no later than 11 May 2010.

For technical questions contact the ONR's Peter Craig by e-mail at, or David Tremper at




County to "Beef Up" Wireless Antenna Rules

Board of Supervisors Direct Staff to Examine Tightening Up Telecommunications Ordinance

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

At Tuesday's Board of Supervisors hearing, dozens of Santa Barbara County citizens — from pro surfer Shaun Tomson and actor Billy Baldwin to realtors, parents, and everyday homeowners in Montecito, Goleta, and beyond — spoke out against the 39 new wireless antennas proposed for utility poles throughout residential areas of the South Coast, citing health concerns related to electromagnetic frequency (EMF) radiation and worries over decreased property values. The supervisors then voted unanimously in directing staff to examine ways to "beef up" the county's telecommunications ordinance, but the moratorium desired by 1st District Supervisor Salud Carbajal, whose constituency has been loudest on this issue, was not seconded and died on the floor.

1st District Supervisor Salud Carbajal
Click to enlarge photo

Paul Wellman

1st District Supervisor Salud Carbajal

The day's first speaker was Tomson, who recently adopted a son named Luke, a couple years after his teenage son died from an accident. "For me and my family, this is totally unacceptable. And for what—an improved cell signal?" he asked, later concluding, "Please let our baby sleep peacefully and safely in his crib." His concerns were echoed by nearly three dozen others who complained about the lack of scientific proof that these antennas were safe, frequently comparing them to claims of cigarette safety. Others worried that new antennas would lower the selling price of their homes and that their pole-top aesthetics — which one woman called "Christmas trees with laser swords pointing in the sky" — were not compatible with other design guidelines.

Speaking on behalf of NextG Networks — the San Jose company proposing the antennas that would carry signals for MetroPCS and possibly other carriers in the future — was attorney Paul O'Boyle. "I actually empathize regarding [concerns over EMF] — it's challenging, there's no doubt about it. Unfortunately, it's pre-empted by federal law," explained O'Boyle, referring to the law that impedes local jurisdictions from blocking cellular towers due to health concerns. He further explained that the county's own expert had tested the proposed devices and found that they emitted less than one percent of the allowable EMF. "This is exactly the solution you should be looking for," he argued. "This is what you should be pushing for, not against."

Other than the NextG representative, only one man spoke in favor of the antennas, explaining that the coverage in Montecito was "dreadful" and that a complete network is needed for businesses in the area. Carbajal then asked him if he would give his address to the county staff so that a wireless antenna could be placed outside of his home, and he replied, "It's the least I could do."

When it came time for the supervisors to speak, Carbajal advocated passionately for a moratorium, arguing, "This is fundamentally important and, when you consider all the things we spend money on, it's one of the most important investments we can make when it comes to our constituencies." However, his usual progressive-minded allies — namely 2nd District Supervisor Janet Wolf and 3rd District Supervisor Doreen Farr — did not come to his aid, worried that a moratorium would open the discussion too broadly or that a legal challenge would result in a worse outcome. Instead, all of the supervisors agreed to direct staff to examine options for "tightening up" the telecommunications ordinance.




 We must become more   

THE article 'Bahrain has vision and huge potential' (GDN November 30) can be both correct and realistic. However, how can vision produce results?

From various articles appearing frequently it seems that planning is simply not there. A small yet popular example is the total lack of planning of the telephone masts being scattered all over Bahrain.

Citizens have often complained about the not so well planned development of Bahrain. Buildings are short of electrical supply, inadequate sewage, drainage and treatment and a widespread increase of phone masts are some of the most popular issues.

A reader on November 21 clearly defines that there is more to development than Bahrain's skyline, and highlights the leaking sewage in many areas of Manama.

Another reader on November 19 questions the need for so many mobile masts and both readers somehow complain about what seems to be the same issue.

The issues are different types of pollution, that at ground level, come from a dated and insufficient sewage system.

Another type of pollution is the electromagnetic radiation exposure at a few meters from ground level, thanks to an anarchy of telephone masts.

Regarding mobile phone towers, it is no secret that even a plethora of telephone masts strategically placed can justify a mobile network aiming at extensive area coverage based on mobile towers with low signal strength.

However the sight of two or three masts together indicates that this is not the case and this multiple number of masts is possibly attributed to a high number of providers, perhaps not fully justified for a small kingdom like Bahrain.

The number of masts must be defined from a national telecom strategy but this should conform to standards, not add health risks to Bahrain citizens.

It is also suspected that mast locations are not based on an organised matrix to improve coverage but on the first space available willing to accept them. It seems no one has heard of "network sharing", a concept that can reduce telephone masts and reduce costs among mobile phone providers.

One needs nothing sophisticated, elaborate, high tech or expensive to divert from the present unpleasant conditions.

Efficient sewage collection, treatment and recycling will have multiple benefits for Bahrain.

An organised matrix for telephone masts without an uncontrolled number of providers and even "network sharing", will limit any possible negative health impacts from electromagnetic emissions. Building Green villas instead of luxury ones, as well as designing Green buildings instead of low cost high rise ones, can reduce our carbon footprint and make all the difference both on the ground and in the air.

All that is needed is a change in philosophy and approach, the willingness to move away from what we did in the past and embark on what should be done from now on. We should be aiming to contribute to a healthier Bahrain environment and to a healthier community

This should be part of the vision for a new and improved Bahrain.

For how long can the state subsidise electricity to consumers? How long can the state can subsidise water to consumers? How long we can afford to irrigate with desalinated water? How long can the state keep building power stations? How long can this island sustain the ever increasing CO2 release from the chain of power stations needed to cover the habit of energy abuse, these are all questions that can seriously limit Bahrain's potential in the years to come.

Under the present adverse global economic conditions all Bahrain developmentprojects must follow a different strategy.

They must offer values, features and marketing advantages that will make investment in Bahrain attractive and drive investors here. These include:

Cleaner and healthier environment.

Controlled carbon emissions program.

Well-planned and adequate infrastructure.

Up-to-date environmental philosophy.

Strict public health criteria.

Certainly housing, villa complexes and other developments are not aimed only at local buyers and investors? It is our duty to incorporate first and then point out to foreign investors the strong differences, uniqueness and advantages offered in Bahrain development projects.

We have to emphasise, among other things, that Bahrain is a more alert and conscious state to environmental and public health issues ... and we must be confident that these factors will certainly affect and nurture Bahrain's true and unique potential.

Dr. Theodore P. Metsis