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Managing RF at the 58th Presidential Inauguration
January 30, 2017

Broad Comm teamed up with federal agencies to manage the radio frequencies for the 2017 Presidential Inauguration in Washington, D.C. from Jan. 17 to Jan. 21, and Broad Comm Vice President Lee Miller documented the job.

President Trump travels in the Presidential Motorcade with several vehicles that create what is referred to by many as the “bubble” that disrupts RF signals around the motorcade as it passes.

As a part of the Radio Frequency Enforcement Team, Miller and Broad Comm worked to document, permit, and ensure that each person and entity using a radio frequency did not interfere with one another. They worked with hundreds of news broadcasters and government agencies such as the British Broadcasting Corporation and the Secret Service.

Broad Comm has done radio frequency management for several of the last U.S. inaugurations.

“This was my first time on the team for the inauguration,” Miller said. “We help manage by first doing a frequency survey analyzing the spectrum in the location, which started back in early December.”

Photo taken from Lee Miller’s Facebook page along with the comment: “From my office today…wow.”

Miller explained that a frequency survey documents each and every entity using any kind of radio frequency. This year’s survey was 78 pages of hundreds of frequencies that needed management. Then, Miller and the team helped agencies obtain permits to use a certain frequency and operate in a certain space, such as the Lincoln Memorial, the location of the Celebration Concerts. Finally, Miller and the team went out looking for people who had not obtained a permit to operate, either accidentally or intentionally.

Lee Miller, Morgan Miller, Lee’s daughter, and Melton Miller, Lee’s brother, pose before the Great American Ball. (Photo by Lee Miller)

“From the time the event starts, we’re chasing those stray frequencies, especially ones interfering with others permitted for the channel,” Miller said.

During the inauguration, Miller was stationed on the roof of the Newseum, a museum of news on Pennsylvania Avenue. He was charged with helping primarily foreign news itinerants like BBC and Eurovision maintain their frequencies, and he had a clear view of the stage on which President Donald Trump was inaugurated.

Miller also said he had a hard time picking a favorite event at the inauguration because he enjoyed almost everything from the concerts at the Lincoln Memorial to the inauguration itself. He attended the Great American Ball along with other team members from Lufkin, Morgan Miller and Melton Miller.  He said the energy during the ceremony and the other events was very high.

“The energy level was very, very intense,” he said. “It was very celebratory. When Trump actually walked out onto the steps, the cheers throughout the entire District of Columbia just gave you shivers. It made your hair stand up. It was just incredible.”


More pictures and some behind the scenes are available on Miller’s Facebook page.

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