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Author Topic: FCC issues warnings for ham infractions and unlicensed operations  (Read 3644 times)

WA4STO

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FCC Issues Warnings for Amateur Radio Infractions, Unlicensed Operations

The FCC’s Enforcement Bureau recently made public warning letters to several individuals for alleged infractions of the Part 97 Amateur Service rules or Section 301 of the Communications Act of 1934, as amended. On August 9, Special Counsel Laura L. Smith wrote Jack Hartley, K4WSB, of Tampa, Florida, citing evidence received from members of the Amateur Auxiliary (Official Observers) that Hartley had operated outside of his Advanced class privileges while attempting to work a station on Kwajalein Atoll in the South Pacific.

“According to the OOs, the operator refused the contact noting that you were not authorized to be operating in the band,” Smith wrote. “This was your 4th attempt to contact this operator. As a result of your three prior attempts to contact the operator, the OOs had sent you three OO advisory cards for out-of-band operation. Rather than sending you a 4th advisory, they contacted the Commission and asked us to remind you that your continued attempts to contact the operator on Kwajalein Atoll constitute a violation of our rules, as you are not authorized to be operating in that band.” The three prior instances occurred in 2007 and 2008.

Smith cautioned Hartley that continued operation outside the parameters of his license could lead to enforcement action that could include revocation or suspension and fines. “It could also jeopardize any attempts to obtain an upgraded Amateur Radio license,” she added.

In August, Smith sent identical warning notices to Charles W. Johnson and Mark W. Althaus, addresses withheld and unavailable, warning them of unlicensed operation. “It has come to the attention of the Federal Communications Commission that at multiple times in the last several months you have made radio transmissions on 26.735 MHz, in the so-called ‘freeband,’” Smith said. “Operation in this band is prohibited.”

Smith emphasized that transmitting outside of authorized frequencies violates Section 301 of the Communications Act of 1934, as amended, and could lead to the imposition of substantial fines and seizure of radio equipment as well as possible criminal action. up to and including imprisonment. “Because unlicensed operation creates a danger of interference to important radio communication services and may subject the operator to severe penalties, this warning emphasizes the importance of complying strictly with these legal requirements,” she concluded.

On July 8, Smith warned James E. Richburg, address withheld and unknown, against unlicensed radio operation in the Amateur Radio bands. “It has come to the attention of the Federal Communications Commission that at multiple times in the last several months you have made radio transmissions in the amateur band, for which a license is required,” Smith wrote. “You have no such license.”

Smith pointed out that operating transmitting equipment without a valid FCC license violated Section 301 of the Communications Act of 1943 as amended, “and may subject the responsible parties to substantial monetary forfeitures, in rem arrest action against the offending radio equipment, and criminal sanctions including imprisonment.”

“Unauthorized operation of this radio station must cease immediately,” Smith told Johnson, Althaus, and Richburg, giving each 10 days to respond to the respective warning notices, stating specific actions taken to comply with the FCC’s rules. Copies of the letters to Johnson and Althaus went to the FCC’s New York Field Office and the Northeast Regional Director. A copy of the letter to Richburg went to the Norfolk (Virginia) Resident Agent and the South Central Regional Director.

On June 24, Smith sent identical warning notices to Eric J. Christianson, KNØCW, and Thomas E. Barnes, N7OVC, both of Reno, Nevada, to inform them that the trustee of the WA7DG repeater in Sparks, Nevada, had requested that they refrain from using his repeater. “The written request was issued as a result of your failure to follow operational rules set forth by the licensee/control operators of the repeater system for their users,” Smith said. “The Commission requires that repeaters be under the supervision of a control operator and not only expects, but requires, that such control operators be responsible for the proper operation of the repeater system. Control operators may take whatever steps they deem appropriate to ensure compliance with the repeater rules, including limiting the repeater use to certain users, converting the repeater to a closed repeater or taking it off the air entirely.”

Smith advised the licensees that the FCC expects them to abide by the repeater owner’s request and “any other similar requests to cease operations on any other repeaters by any other repeater licensees, control operators or trustees.”

She said continued use of the WA7DG repeater could subject them to “severe penalties, including license revocation, monetary forfeiture (fine) or a modification proceeding to restrict the frequencies upon which you may operate.”

All of Smith’s warning notices concluded with this advisory: “Fines normally range from $7,500 to $10,000.”

 

KK0G

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Re: FCC issues warnings for ham infractions and unlicensed operations
« Reply #1 on: October 03, 2013, 08:58:41 PM »
The solution to the first guys problem is extremely simple............. upgrade to Extra class and then you won't get notices from the FCC about transmitting in the Extra class portions of the band! Duh :o


The next two rocket surgeon "freebanders"............ you can't fix stupid.


Moron #3 - get an amateur radio license, it's really not that hard. On second thought, no, just smash your radio, we really don't need morons like you on the amateur bands.


The last two that were banned from the repeater - I have no idea what the back story is, maybe they're real asshats or maybe the trustee is an asshat, I don't know but I do take issue with a duly licensed amateur radio operator being banned from transmitting on frequencies they're fully authorized to use. Just doesn't sit right with me.
"Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety" - Benjamin Franklin

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n0boe

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Re: FCC issues warnings for ham infractions and unlicensed operations
« Reply #2 on: October 04, 2013, 05:08:48 PM »
Re: Repeater banning.

I'm with you in not knowing the full story. But I would venture to guess that in most cases where someone has been asked not to use a repeater, it's because they are in clear violation of Part 97 (probably .113 - or as you put it... being an asshat) and the repeater owner is trying to cover his own ass, since he is ultimately responsible for everything that his repeater transmits. 97.105a says "The control operator must ensure the immediate proper operation of the station, regardless of the type of control" - This to me says that if a repeater owner must ask someone not to use his repeater to ensure proper operation, it's not only his right to do so, but he's required to do so under this rule.

At this point, there's nothing saying these guys are banned from transmitting on any frequency, but they have been asked not to use that repeater. They can still use that very same frequency anywhere else, just as long as they are out of range of that repeater. 

As the letter says, if they continue, they may face license restrictions that WILL ban them from using that frequency. The FCC can append a restriction to your license saying you are NOT allowed to operate on a certain band or frequency range, despite what your license class is. If that happens, then it will no longer be a matter of a duly licensed operator being banned from an authorized frequency, as they will no longer have the authorization to operate on said frequency.

This has happened. There's a certain well known lid that has a license restriction banning him from a certain portion of the 20 meter band. I'm sure there's more than one such restriction out there.

But overall, I'm with you, getting banned from a frequency just doesn't seem quite right. However, I'm pretty confident that in the few cases where the FCC actually does that, it's well deserved and justified under Part 97 rules that we are bound to.

KK0G

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Re: FCC issues warnings for ham infractions and unlicensed operations
« Reply #3 on: October 04, 2013, 05:23:51 PM »
Re: Repeater banning.

I'm with you in not knowing the full story. But I would venture to guess that in most cases where someone has been asked not to use a repeater, it's because they are in clear violation of Part 97 (probably .113 - or as you put it... being an asshat) and the repeater owner is trying to cover his own ass, since he is ultimately responsible for everything that his repeater transmits. 97.105a says "The control operator must ensure the immediate proper operation of the station, regardless of the type of control" - This to me says that if a repeater owner must ask someone not to use his repeater to ensure proper operation, it's not only his right to do so, but he's required to do so under this rule.

At this point, there's nothing saying these guys are banned from transmitting on any frequency, but they have been asked not to use that repeater. They can still use that very same frequency anywhere else, just as long as they are out of range of that repeater. 

As the letter says, if they continue, they may face license restrictions that WILL ban them from using that frequency. The FCC can append a restriction to your license saying you are NOT allowed to operate on a certain band or frequency range, despite what your license class is. If that happens, then it will no longer be a matter of a duly licensed operator being banned from an authorized frequency, as they will no longer have the authorization to operate on said frequency.

This has happened. There's a certain well known lid that has a license restriction banning him from a certain portion of the 20 meter band. I'm sure there's more than one such restriction out there.

But overall, I'm with you, getting banned from a frequency just doesn't seem quite right. However, I'm pretty confident that in the few cases where the FCC actually does that, it's well deserved and justified under Part 97 rules that we are bound to.


Yes, chances are it was warranted, but of course without the rest of the story we're just guessing. Either way I don't have a dog in this fight, repeaters aren't my thing and there's no sense in making a mountain out of a molehill.


By the way, welcome to the forum.
"Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety" - Benjamin Franklin

KK0G

Archangel320420

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Re: FCC issues warnings for ham infractions and unlicensed operations
« Reply #4 on: October 04, 2013, 11:02:57 PM »
Welcome aboard, N0BOE.

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