FCC Proposes to Fine Texas Radio Amateur $7000 for Malicious Interference
The FCC has issued a Notice of Apparent Liability for Forfeiture (NAL) to James R. Winstead, KD5OZY, of Coleman, Texas, after determining that Winstead “apparently willfully violated” FCC rules by interfering with Amateur Radio communications. The Commission proposed a $7000 fine. The action was in response to complaints from other radio amateurs of intentional interference on 7.195 MHz.
According to the NAL, released February 19, an agent from the Commission’s Dallas Office on January 21 used direction-finding techniques to positively identify the source of the interfering transmissions as Winstead’s address. After monitoring the transmissions from the station for about a half-hour, the agent heard Winstead, an Amateur Extra class licensee, “replay multiple times short sentences or conversations that had just been transmitted, and occasionally speak the word ‘George.’”
“Mr Winstead replayed recorded conversations so frequently that other licensees were unable to complete their conversations,” the NAL stated. The agent estimated that Winstead disrupted approximately 20 minutes of conversation over a 30 minute period by making up to 15 minutes of short transmissions. The agent subsequently inspected Winstead’s station, observing that his radio equipment was tuned to 7.195 Mhz.
“During the inspection, Mr Winstead showed the agent how he recorded and retransmitted other amateur licensees’ communications,” the FCC said. “He also admitted that he intentionally interfered with amateur communications on 7.195 MHz and had an ongoing disagreement with another amateur licensee named George.”
The FCC said the evidence in the case was sufficient to establish that Winstead had violated Section 333 of the Communications Act of 1934 and Section 97.101(d) of the FCC Amateur Service rules. Both sections prohibit willful and malicious interference to radio communications. Citing its Forfeiture Policy Statement and Section 1.80 of the rules, the FCC determined that Winstead was liable for a $7000 forfeiture. “We caution Mr Winstead, however, that future violations of this kind may result in significantly higher forfeitures,” the FCC stressed. Winstead has 30 days to pay or contest the fine.