Original URL: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2009/10/28/ofcom_pilots/
Ofcom swoops on kiddie's bedroom
Avast yea, no pirates here
A dodgy TV aerial managed to generate enough signal to interfere with passing aircraft, until shut down by Ofcom investigators.
The UK regulator was investigating complaints of interference with radio communications from aircraft approaching Luton airport, and suspected pirate radio operators might be responsible. But earlier this month an engineer on the ground established that the interference was across the radio spectrum, and was tracked to a malfunctioning TV signal booster in a kid's bedroom.
The kit was a fifteen-quid signal booster with attached antenna, which had apparently been in use for the last couple of years, though how long it had been interfering with pilot's communications we don't know. The Telegraph has a picture of the offending kit, complete with grinning child.
It seems likely the booster was generating an increasing degree of interference, prompting the complaints to Air Traffic Control from pilots that led to the investigation. We'll never know for sure, as the Ofcom investigator told the family to bin the offending aerial.
Those who think that putting TVs into kids bedrooms is a bad idea usually rely on arguments about social awareness and family spirit, but perhaps they're missing a trick and parents would be more concerned if they thought a plane might come crashing down if they equip their ankle biters with goggle boxes. ®