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San Diego Cell Service Possibly Affected by New Operator in Mexico (nbcsandiego.com)
88 points by Treblemaker 9 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 33 comments

I remember when there was a pirate radio station that was broadcasting from just over the Mexican border. It was in English and it was alt-rock, and their DJs would just swear and violate all the FCC rules and no one could do anything about it.

It's amazing how radios don't care about international borders. :)

There are definitely international agreements and institutions in place to regulate and help avoid this exact situation. The ITU-R sets the rules and encourages int'l coordination between countries on spectrum. Borders are a big concern. I'm guessing the Mexican gov't didn't prioritize enforcement, and that they'd be getting diplomatic pressure from the US if the transmitter interfered with an existing US station (esp. if in a major market).

As an example if you are coordinating a new licensed fcc part 101, point to point 6 or 11 GHz link near the Canadian border, it requires analysis of the field strength as received by existing licensed links in Canada. Both the FCC ULS data and IC TAFL are used by private coordinators for this purpose. The same also applies the other way around.

91X broadcasts out of Tijuana as well, I believe. Broadcasting stops at midnight for the Mexican national anthem before resuming.

Mexican national anthem at midnight and 5AM, as well as a lot of mexican public service announcements and election advertising.

I am from San Diego and it is actually a little weird because you'd be driving along rocking out and routinely there is like a government propaganda style commercial from some agency in Mexico being read in English by someone with a faint Spanish accent in a way that was simultaneously enthusiastic but also clearly being read off of a page. It is usually about something like "don't worry we are making the government suck less especially if you vote for us" if I recall correctly.

I now live in Mexico. The burger place next door plays an American radio station and it seems to be one that never has those messages.

I too am in San Diego. Can confirm: 91X transmits from a tower in Tijuana, MX, and fairly frequently you hear political messaging. It may be propaganda, I don't know: maybe it is, maybe it isn't. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯.

For the American readers: Imagine a political candidate's radio or TV commercial. They usually go like this "[so-and-so] cares about [thing-and-such]. [yadda-yadda], Your right to [thingers] means [blah]. I'm [so-and-so] and I approve this message.". Replace the candidate's name with a political party and you get a sense for what the advertisements are like. Are they "propaganda" or simply "getting the word out" for a political cause? I'm not sure myself....

I agree with ilaksh - it is a "little weird" to be in the U.S., listening to main-stream U.S. music, and to have the only interruption be some political message about Mexico.

If anyone is interested, I can record some and post them -- not to push any agenda one way or the other; just to share.

Edit: Here's a youtube video that I found. This video sounds like a montage of commercials. It's representative of what you'd hear between songs in one single go. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7x_052zci7Y

Curious what your thoughts are about living in Mexico.

It's a great deal for me right now since my startup isn't making money and my income is very low. Live on the beach instead of basically the ghetto in San Diego. Many people speak English in Playas and so my limited Spanish hasn't been a big problem. Work from home so don't have to commute over the border. Can afford medication here -- for example one that is $400 in the US is less than $40 here.

Overall cost of living is more than 65% lower (random guess, maybe more).

If I decide to move on from this startup and my income doubles (which would not necessarily be very hard since it's so low right now) then I will probably move back to San Diego or at least the US. Even though 95% of the time it's great, the occasions when they turn the water off to fix leaks in the aqueduct or there is an electricity blackout or there are bad smells, all of that adds up to being less than ideal. But again, since that only happens a small portion of the time, it is still a good option for me right now. The neighborhood I am in (max Mex-touristy Playas de Tijuana) seems safe by the way.

I had the opposite experience. Moved from Mexicali to San Diego. It’s expensive of course, etc, but in my case, I had three home robberies (one at gunpoint, I was 5). The best of living in the states was a sense of security. I know it can happen here too, but I don’t miss that.

Well San Diego is great and I would like to move back there when I can. My sister-in-law was born in Mexico and seems to not like to visit her original country much, and I think it is related to not feeling secure or something.

But as far as the home robberies, I am guessing it is a similar situation in Mexicali as it is in Tijuana or other places, in that security seems to depend on the neighborhood and also sometimes the particular building or location?

For example, my understanding is that there are many unsafe neighborhoods in Tijuana where crime is somewhat common. I also would like to believe that Playas is not one of those neighborhoods. Especially this particular neighborhood, it is a tourism area near the boardwalk, and there are a lot of restaurants around and multiple police cars normally patrolling the street (although not every single hour of every day). Also my building has several apartments and I am on the top floor.

It doesn't really seem unsafe in this particular location. However, I can imagine a quiet street away from everything, and a house with a yard that was not too close to neighbors, would be slightly more attractive for burglary. There are a lot of big fences and big dogs even in Playas so there must be a reason.

Yeah I always enjoy jumping onto 91x all the way up at the north end and keeping it all the way to the border.

Thats how commercial radio in the Netherlands started: "pirates" transmitting from ships just outside national waters where they could play any tunes at any time.

Fun movie about UK pirate radio broadcasting from a boat https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Boat_That_Rocked

> It's amazing how radios don't care about international borders. :)

Indeed they don't https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Radio_Free_Europe/Radio_Libert...

Radio Caroline too, from a ship in international waters!


Radio Free Europe worked (works?) on the same principle.

Heh, I used to listen to that station when driving from college in LA to Vegas. It was pretty fun, and of course when they took it down you could drive a stretch between Barstow and Baker where your 'autosearch' radio would just go around and around the dial. I had it all dialed in, KFI to Victorville, pirate radio to Baker, then the Vegas radio stations were tunable. All AM of course, FM didn't have the reach.

The same issue if you are near Canada border in Michigan. Specifically along the lake north of Port Huron. (Lakeport State Park etc).

Every time we go to that area my phone is “hijacked” by Rogers or Telus. And I can’t get the phone to stay with AT&T. Then ATT will start informing us we are on international roaming.

I’ve explained to ATT many times we are in Michigan. No dice. So we just switch to airport until we get back to Port Huron.

Can’t understand how ATT is overpowered by Canadian cell services which is across the lake!

But no issues when I’m in Port Huron and Canada is across the river!

I kinda always wondered how that worked. I wonder if people near the border call 911 and get Canadian dispatchers... Hopefully there is a protocol though for both sides of borders to transfer to the right agency in case of a emergency of some sorts.

I have a prepaid plan so no roaming for me... but some day I’ll get a actual plan but it’s nice to save money, but have to ration data but have WiFi most of the time. But sounds like if lived in a border town I might be stuck getting a better plan if it wants to roam even while still at home. If I went to more places instead of being home on WiFi mostly or traveled a bunch definitely upgrading. Kinda undecided on what carrier yet but much more choices than when I got my first phone in middle school and kept the same number since.

Huh. I've had reception issues in certain parts of UTC. Which is a bit farther up than North Park.

My experience is that many areas along San Diego's coast have weird deadzones because of its topography. When I was on Verizon, any time I went to the southernmost parts of Point Loma, my phone would roam to Tijuana and throw up warnings about extra charges for placing calls. There's no land mass between the lighthouse on Point Loma and TJ's hills.

Last week, on T-Mobile, I stumbled into a few spots along Sunset Cliffs that resulted in a complete drop of coverage. I suppose the center of Point Loma's hill blocks wherever the nearest tower is? I haven't noticed any fake palm trees in residential areas like that.

I used to work as a contractor on the base by the lighthouse, and can help explain this. The Navy is doing all kinds of radio experiments there, and (what I was told), it hugely impacts reception in the area.

Have you seen any interesting aircraft?

I think that's normal. Walking around La Jolla, a lot of places have no reception (on Sprint).

> on Sprint

Found the problem!

Seen it for other networks as well (TMo, ATT, Verizon).

Yeah, the reason I'm with Verizon and not T-Mobile is the better reception. I haven't noticed problems in that one area until recently.

I work in Sorrento Valley and have experienced pretty consistent reception issues here. Spent the weekend in Poway and no trouble there.

Who do you have for a provider?


Funny, people in the r/sandiego reddit thread have been complaining about sudden problems with Verizon service


Is it? It's a freakin border town, what did you expect??

Nearly every border city in the world has a blended population...

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