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FCC Affirms Penalty for Unlicensed Amateur Operation, Making False Distress Call


The FCC has affirmed a $23,000 penalty against Daniel Delise of Astoria, New York, for operating without an Amateur Radio license on 147.96 MHz and for transmitting a false officer-in-distress call on a New York City Police Department (NYPD) radio channel. The FCC’s December 5 Forfeiture Order follows its August 31 Notice of Apparent Liability for Forfeiture (NAL), which detailed a history of complaints and alleged illegal radio operation by Delise dating to 2012.

“The penalty represents the full amount proposed in the Notice of Apparent Liability for Forfeiture, and is based on the full base forfeiture amount as well as an upward adjustment reflecting Mr. Delise’s decision to continue his misconduct after being warned that his actions violated the Communications Act (Act) and the Commission’s rules,” the FCC Forfeiture Order said. The FCC said Delise’s response to the NAL offered “no reason to cancel, withdraw, or reduce the proposed penalty.”

Last summer, ARRL Hudson Division Director Mike Lisenco, N2YBB, credited the intervention of New York Rep Peter King with getting the case “off the back burner and up to the front of the line.” Lisenco and ARRL General Counsel Chris Imlay, W3KD, met with the Republican congressman in January to discuss ongoing interference issues in the Greater New York City/Long Island area. King subsequently wrote FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler to urge “timely and visible enforcement.”

Lisenco also praised the direct involvement of FCC Enforcement Bureau Region 1 Director David C. Dombrowski “and his willingness to work with us and to use information we provided as potential leads,” as well as “a system of grass-roots reporting that depicted the current pattern of intentional interference with legitimate amateur communications on local repeaters,” coordinated by Richie Cetron, K2KNB, an ARRL Official Observer and Assistant Hudson Division Director. Lisenco said FCC Special Counsel Laura Smith had been “a great help in keeping us informed and in the loop.”

The September 15 response to the NAL did not deny that Delise violated the Communications Act and FCC rules but argued that the FCC should reduce or cancel the fine because he is currently incarcerated and has no income or assets of any kind. The FCC turned away that argument.

“We decline to reduce or cancel the forfeiture on this basis,” the FCC said in the Forfeiture Order. The FCC said Delise did not provide any documentation to substantiate his claim of inability to pay.

Last April the FCC Enforcement Bureau issued a Notice of Unlicensed Operation, after determining that Delise was transmitting on 147.96 MHz, a repeater input. Not long after, the NYPD informed an FCC field agent that police had taken Delise into custody for “sending out false radio transmissions” over the NYPD radio system and for possessing radios capable of operating on NYPD frequencies, in violation of state law.

The FCC has given Delise 30 days to pay the fine. If he fails to do so, the case “may be referred to the US Department of Justice for enforcement of the forfeiture,” the FCC said in its Forfeiture Order. He could have been fined more than $140,000, under the provisions of the Communications Act. Delise now is serving prison time resulting from the false police call and guilty pleas to other charges.



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