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California Ham Cited for Operating Unlicensed Radio Station

07/02/2012

On July 2, the FCC issued a Notice of Apparent Liability for Forfeiture and Order (NAL) in the amount of $17,000, accusing Brian R. Ragan, KF6EGI, of Suisun City, California, of “apparently willfully and repeatedly violating” the Communications Act of 1934, as amended by operating an unlicensed radio transmitter on frequency 104.9 MHz and failing to allow an inspection of his station by FCC personnel. The Commission said that Ragan, “as a licensed Amateur Radio operator for at least six years, should be aware that any radio equipment at his station must be made available for inspection at any time when requested by the FCC, and also should be aware of the proper operation of his amateur station in accordance with the Rules.”

In February 2012, an FCC agent used direction-finding techniques to locate the source of radio frequency transmissions on 104.9 MHz. The agent traced the source of the transmission to. Ragan’s residence. About two weeks later, agents again used direction-finding techniques to locate the source of the same frequency after hearing the unlicensed station identifying itself over the air as “KBRS.” The agents determined that the signals on frequency 104.9 MHz exceeded the limits for operation under Part 15 of the Commission’s rules and, as such, required a license. Commission records showed no authorization issued to Ragan or to anyone else for operation of a broadcast station on frequency 104.9 MHz in Suisun City, California. The agents heard the station operating in the garage and attempted to inspect Ragan’s station, but he did not answer their knock at his door. The agents posted a Notice of Unlicensed Operation (NOUO) at. Ragan’s front door for operating an unlicensed FM broadcast station.

Two days after the agents posted the NOUO, Ragan contacted the FCC concerning the NOUO. “During his conversation with the agent, Ragan admitted to operating the broadcast station on frequency 104.9 MHz for six months,” the NAL stated. “Ragan also stated that he was present at the time when the agents were knocking at his door, but was afraid to answer the door because he heard the agents say that they were with the FCC. Because Ragan, by his own admission, consciously operated the station and did so on more than one day, the apparent violations of the Act were both willful and repeated.”

Besides being ordered to pay the $17,000 fine (the base forfeiture amount for operation without an instrument of authorization is $10,000, and the base forfeiture amount for failure to permit inspection is $7000) by July 31, 2012, Ragan must also submit a written statement by that date “pursuant to Section 1.16 of the Rules, signed under penalty of perjury by Mr. Ragan, stating that he is in full compliance with Section 301 [of the Communications Act of 1934, as amended] and is no longer engaged in the unauthorized operation on frequency 104.9 MHz or any other frequency for which he has no license, and will make his authorized amateur station available for inspection as required by the Rules.” While Ragan may request a reduction or cancellation of the $17,000 forfeiture, he must still provide the written statement.



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