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Old 04-02-2013, 06:22 PM   #46
GlenBarrington
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Agreed. While I think it is a silly rule, I do comply with it.
I just keep thinking that if the Plane DOES go down, I would be thinking the whole way down, "My Fault! My Fault!". At least I spare my conscience that final uncertainty.
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Old 04-02-2013, 06:26 PM   #47
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It looks like they are really only concerned with the radio transmitter aspect so it would have been ideal if there was a way to easily detect it. I thought there must have been a reason why such a device wasn't already announced.
Detecting radio signals is trivial. Pinpointing those signals is the real issue. At best they could use a directional antenna, which would let them know roughly what direction the signal is coming from. Even then I'm not sure that it would work well because large chunks of metal (e.g. the airplane body) tends to distort those signals. Do a search on antenna patterns and ground plane to get a rough idea of what I'm talking about.

I'm guessing that the radio transmitter, and perhaps receivers, are the only aspects that they are worried about. Electronics do tend to spit out a lot of radio noise, even if they don't have a radio transmitter, but that should be relatively low power (especially for portable devices). Again, I'm not an expert in this field so I cannot be certain, but I do have a background in physics. If you are interested in this sort of thing, you can get an introduction to how electricity and the electromagnetic spectrum works by looking at a grade 12 physics textbook. There is also a lot of accessible materials produced for radio amateurs which will give you a grounding in what's happening.
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Old 04-03-2013, 12:16 AM   #48
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If you are interested in this sort of thing, you can get an introduction to how electricity and the electromagnetic spectrum works by looking at a grade 12 physics textbook. There is also a lot of accessible materials produced for radio amateurs which will give you a grounding in what's happening.
Hahaha - thanks. Not interested enough to start learning all this stuff, just trying to take advantage of knowledgeable folks to yay or nay my random thoughts.

I just figured if there is a general move to start allowing some of this stuff and the main concern is safety from consumer radio transmissions and there are other concerns about people (passengers and attendants) not really understanding what is transmitting and what isn't that there might be a way of making the whole thing a bit easier to manage.

But it's never as simple as we'd like I guess.
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Old 04-03-2013, 12:32 AM   #49
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I just keep thinking that if the Plane DOES go down, I would be thinking the whole way down, "My Fault! My Fault!". At least I spare my conscience that final uncertainty.


Thanks for the giggle.
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Old 04-03-2013, 04:52 AM   #50
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Old 04-07-2013, 10:57 AM   #51
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Thanks for posting this link. Hopefully the revamp will actually come to fruition.
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Old 04-07-2013, 11:30 AM   #52
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Put a functioning blackberry near a speaker phone and you'll get a sense of the problem.
Inverse square rule - the strength of a radio signal drops by the distance squared. A transmitter held 12 inches away from a radio has 1/144th the signal as one held 1 inch away.

That said, takeoff and landing are critical times, and it's worthwhile to extend the concept of the "sterile cockpit" to include chance interference from the cabin, remote though it may be. But I can still be cynical about it.

Regardless, you won't eliminate all interference, caused mostly from well meaning but dopey folks like myself who stow their phones and sometimes forget to turn it off though, as oppose to from anarchistic rebels. what you will do is reduce the interference from folks who have no idea what an airplane mode is.
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Old 04-07-2013, 12:34 PM   #53
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Detecting radio signals is trivial. Pinpointing those signals is the real issue. At best they could use a directional antenna, which would let them know roughly what direction the signal is coming from. Even then I'm not sure that it would work well because large chunks of metal (e.g. the airplane body) tends to distort those signals. Do a search on antenna patterns and ground plane to get a rough idea of what I'm talking about.

I'm guessing that the radio transmitter, and perhaps receivers, are the only aspects that they are worried about. Electronics do tend to spit out a lot of radio noise, even if they don't have a radio transmitter, but that should be relatively low power (especially for portable devices). Again, I'm not an expert in this field so I cannot be certain, but I do have a background in physics. If you are interested in this sort of thing, you can get an introduction to how electricity and the electromagnetic spectrum works by looking at a grade 12 physics textbook. There is also a lot of accessible materials produced for radio amateurs which will give you a grounding in what's happening.
frankly, i think it would be worthwhile to have some form of detector that measures if there are active signals beyond a certain threshold. I mean we're already walking, driving and flying through a soup of electromagnetic radiation, so it's primarily a matter of degrees.

I heard a funny story (that may be apocryphal since I'm not sure the technology is in place for it) about a pilot announcing, before pushback, that someone still had a cellphone on and that they wouldn't leave until it was turned off. After several announcements and much double checking by passengers, he announced sheepishly that he had found the culprit phone, and it was his.

I recall in the 60s and 70s there was a big to do about using FM receivers in aircraft because they caused interference with the navigation. Heck, i remember them using it in one of those mystery movie specials where it was used by villain as an attempt to kill some David Cassidy-esque pop star by having his plane lost crossing the Atlantic.
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