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FCC Denies Petitions on Call Sign Usage, Expanded Privileges


On August 9, the FCC denied two Petitions for Rule Making: one to prohibit what the petitioner called “the false or unauthorized use of an Amateur Radio call sign,” and one to wishing to expand privileges on the 15 meter phone band for General and Amateur Extra class licensees.

Eric R. Hilding, K6VVA

Eric R. Hilding, K6VVA, of Morgan Hill, California, filed a Petition for Rule Making in November 2009, asking the FCC that Part 97 of the Commission’s Rules “be amended to prohibit the false or unauthorized use of an amateur radio call sign.” Hilding, in his Petition, made the argument that “the grant of an Amateur Radio operator/primary station license and call sign is actually a federal fingerprint and federal identity that is unique to one, and only one, individual person or club entity, using the same principle as assignment of unique federal Social Security numbers. Any unauthorized use or identity theft of a person’s Social Security number is rightfully a federal crime.”

Hilding cited several instances where a “psychotic individual” allegedly used valid call signs of well-known amateurs and DXpeditions to post on “multiple international anonymous Internet proxy servers to post non-international goodwill content foul trash. Clearly, many of these ongoing posts are a form of electronic ‘harassment’ and ‘stalking.’ Some of the postings constitute a form of ‘electronic hate crime’...very disturbing is that the perpetrator of these electronic crimes is most likely an FCC Amateur Radio licensee.”

Hilding proposed changes to Part 97 to reflect his belief that using someone else’s call sign is a form of identity theft. He called on the FCC to add language to Part 97 stating that “[a]ny misrepresentation or unauthorized use of a Federal Communications Commission licensee’s unique call sign identity, whether made over the public airwaves, Internet packet cluster system postings, cellular or non-cellular telephone connections, electronic based communications or print media formats of any other nature, shall be considered a form of federal identity theft and a federal crime,” and wanted those who violated this provision to face consequences of jail time up to five years and/or fines up to $50,000. Hilding wanted his proposed amendments to be effective retroactively as of January 1, 2007.

In its denial of Hilding’s Petition, the FCC said that Part 97 of the Commission’s Rules regulates only the Amateur Radio Service: “Regulations regarding other forms of communications would be beyond the scope of Part 97. Given that Part 97 already prohibits amateur stations from transmitting false identification, we conclude that the rules already address the misuse of amateur call signs to the appropriate extent, and that your Petition presents no grounds for amending Part 97.”

Richard Ebeling, K2UTC

Richard Ebeling, K2UTC, of White Plains, New York, filed a Petition for Rule Making in December 2009, requesting that the FCC amend Part 97 to authorize more spectrum for voice communications, specifically, to increase the segment in the 15 meter band authorized to General and Amateur Extra class licensees for phone emissions by 75 and 50 kilohertz, respectively.

In his Petition, Ebeling argued that the frequency segment available for phone emissions allotted to General class licensees in the 15 meter band should be returned to what it was prior to the Commission's Incentive Licensing decision in 1967. The FCC noted in its denial letter that Ebeling believed that taking away these privileges “unfairly disadvantaged General class licensees.”

The FCC pointed out that it recently increased the spectrum amateur stations could use for voice communications in various amateur bands, specifically, that the spectrum that General class licensees may use for phone emissions in the 15 meter band was increased by 25 kilohertz. “The Petition does not address this action, or otherwise present evidence that the current amount of spectrum in the 15 meter band available for voice communications is inadequate,” the FCC said. “Consequently, we conclude that the rule change you request is not necessary.”



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