Congressman Intercedes with FCC Chairman on Amateur Radio Interference Concerns
New York Congressman Peter King has asked FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler to put some Enforcement Bureau heat on those interfering with various radio communication services, including Amateur Radio, in the New York City Metropolitan Area. While visiting Capitol Hill to promote the Amateur Radio Parity Act, ARRL Hudson Division Director Mike Lisenco, N2YBB, and General Counsel Chris Imlay, W3KD, recently met with King, a Republican representing New York’s 2nd District, to discuss the interference issue. King is among the original of the 118 cosponsors of the Amateur Radio Parity Act (H.R. 1301) in the US House.
“Rep King, a long-time supporter of Amateur Radio who is also very concerned about the malicious interference of licensed services, offered to send a letter to FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler on our behalf,” Lisenco said. “Like many areas of the country, the Hudson Division has been plagued with malicious interference on our VHF and UHF repeaters for years. There has been no relief from the FCC, despite repeated pleas for remedy made by ARRL. All requests for help have consistently fallen on deaf ears.”
In his January 15 letter to Wheeler, King pointed out that while multiple perpetrators have been involved, the identity of the “ringleader” is well known to the Enforcement Bureau. He reiterated that the malicious interference had “been allowed to continue for too long,” and he called for “timely and visible enforcement” to deter others.
“The Amateur Radio repeaters on Long Island that are rendered useless by this individual are used for emergency preparedness exercises and were used extensively in Hurricane Sandy disaster relief efforts,” King told Wheeler. “This individual has been allowed to proceed without any apparent Commission enforcement for well over 2 years, despite repeated complaints from ARRL, NBC engineering staff, and at least two Long Island Amateur Radio clubs. NBC remote pickup units and public safety radio systems also have been troubled by malicious interference. In earlier correspondence with the FCC, King noted, he had expressed concerns regarding interference caused by “pirate radio operators” who impact public safety.
King said he realizes that FCC Enforcement Bureau resources are limited and that he appreciates the attention the Commission has paid to such issues as pirate radio investigations, but he asked for a tougher stance.
“[D]eliberate interference with public safety, broadcast program production, and Amateur Radio public service communications, such as what is exhibited in this case, must be swiftly and visibly addressed,” King concluded.
Lisenco said King’s willingness to cooperate in addressing the interference problem is “an indication that our legislative efforts are building a brand with legislators” that goes beyond any specific bill, such as the Amateur Radio Parity Act. “It underscores the importance of maintaining a presence in Washington through both our consultants and our own efforts,” he said, “and it offers us avenues of redress that, until now, we were unable to access.”