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FCC Crackdown on Pirate Broadcasters Targets at Least One More Amateur Licensee


A recent flurry of FCC Enforcement Bureau correspondence to alleged unlicensed broadcasters has targeted at least one more radio amateur — this time in the Greater New York City area. It’s not the first time Winston A. Tulloch, KC2ALN, of Paterson, New Jersey, has heard from the FCC, which has had Tulloch in its sights for at least several months regarding a pirate FM station on 90.9 MHz. Last November, the Enforcement Bureau sent Tulloch a Notice of Unlicensed Operation after receiving information that he was operating a radio station. FCC agents used direction-finding techniques to zero in on a signal on 90.9 MHz coming from his residence.

“The field strength of the signal on frequency 90.9 MHz was measured at 105,451 microvolts per meter (µV/m) at 101 meters, which exceeded the maximum permitted level of 250 µV/m at 3 meters for non-licensed devices,” the FCC said at the time.

Tulloch was sent a second Notice of Unlicensed Operation on June 8, after Enforcement Bureau agents from the FCC’s New York Office on May 2 responded to a complaint of an unlicensed FM station operating on 90.9 MHz in Paterson. This time the signal, measured at 176,526 μV/m, was determined to be emanating from another residence about 1 mile from Tulloch’s. The FCC said someone at the residence identified Tulloch as the station’s operator.

A third Notice of Unlicensed Operation followed on June 30, after Enforcement Bureau agents following up in the unlicensed FM station investigation in Paterson on June 12 confirmed by direction-finding techniques that the signal on 90.9 MHz was continuing to come from the same residence. On that occasion, the agents measured the signal at 5,705 µV/m at 185 meters, still greatly exceeding the maximum permitted under FCC Part 15 rules for unlicensed devices.

FCC Enforcement Bureau Region 1 Director David C. Dombrowski now has advised Tulloch at least three times that the unlicensed radio operation on 90.9 MHz “must be discontinued immediately.” The Commission’s enforcement resources are already suffering from last year’s closing of FCC field offices and the layoffs of field agents, however, and the current administration’s budget allocates less money for the FCC.

In late May, the Enforcement Bureau issued a Notice of Violation (NoV) to Lyle E. Hilden, KD6LUL, of Vista, California, alleging that he had engaged in pirate radio broadcasting on the FM band.

In the past week, the Enforcement Bureau also sent Notices of Unlicensed Operation to other individuals in the Greater New York City area as well as to individuals and couples in Massachusetts and Florida.




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