New FCC filings have been found that reveal Google is conducting some tests in New Mexico that include some high power radio signals. The heavily redacted filing is for a 100KW radio transmitter that Google is operating out of Spaceport America in New Mexico. The FCC documents do not reveal the purpose of Google’s testing leaving us to speculate as to what Google may be up to.
The radio transmitter itself is licensed for several power levels including 2.5GHz, 5.8GHz, 24GHz, 71-76GHz, and 81-86GHz. Sources have noted that the top end range has an effective power that is used by FM radio stations in the United States. Google’s test differ from FM radio though in that they are using high gain antennas with beam widths that are less than half a degree versus the omnidirectional waves that radio stations use.
Interestingly, Google’s experimental radio call sign, WI9XZE, does not show up in the FCC database. Google does indicate their tests will not cause interference with other experiments or radio uses in the area.
Leading contenders for what Google may be up to include Project Loon and Project Skybender. Both of these projects are aimed at supplying high speed Internet service via airborne craft, balloons and drones respectively. Project Skybender in particular has been getting tested at Spaceport America where Google appears to have already determined the 5G signals they hope to provide fade in a short distance when transmitted in the 28GHz range. Google may be exploring how the use of high power radio can be used to supplement these efforts.