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Oklahoma Town Agrees RFI Ordinance Does Not Apply to Hams

08/09/2010

Acting on behalf of an ARRL member in Midwest City, Oklahoma -- who had been sent a notice by the town asserting that he was in violation of a town ordinance regarding radio frequency interference (RFI) -- the ARRL notified Midwest City officials that only the FCC is empowered to regulate such matters. Two weeks after ARRL General Counsel Chris Imlay, W3KD, sent the letter to town officials, Midwest City Assistant City Attorney Randal D. Homburg sent an e-mail to the ham to let him know “the previously delivered notice is hereby rescended [sic]. There will be no citations issued and thus, the issue is moot.” Midwest City is in the Oklahoma City metropolitan area.

Calling the ordinance “null and void,” General Counsel Imlay said the notice stated the ham “was in violation of the ordinance as the result of radio frequency interference appearing in a neighbor/complainant’s home electronic equipment. The licensed radio amateur was ordered to remedy the problem in one day, under penalty of a sanction assessed against the real property of the radio amateur.”

The ordinance in question -- Midwest City Ordinance 27-3(9) -- reads: “In addition to other public nuisances declared by other sections of this Code or law, the following [is] hereby declared to be [a] public nuisance: Operating or using any electrical apparatus or machine which materially and unduly interferes with radio or television reception by others.” Section 27 of Midwest City’s Ordinances deals with nuisances.

“As previously indicated, it is the city’s position that the ordinance cited in the notice, MCO 27-3(a)(9), does not apply to RF transmission devices licensed by the FCC as to their operation and use pursuant to the license,” Homburg’s letter read. “In the event there are future complaints from any citizen about a neighbor's use of these licensed devices, the city will direct the complaining party to file their complaints with the FCC.”

Homburg went on to say that there is no issue with the language of the ordinance: “This council adopted the ordinance over eleven (11+) years ago, pursuant to the procedures for adoption such ordinance provided for under the city’s charter. Your issue with the ordinance has been with the application of the cited section to the use of your licensed transmitting device. That is no longer an issue. This e-mail is the official position of the city. There should be no need for further inquiry from any other city official.”



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