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FCC Alleges Deliberate Interference, Failure to Identify in Proposing Substantial Fines for Two Radio Amateurs

07/29/2014

The FCC Enforcement Bureau came down hard on two radio amateurs this week, proposing substantial fines for alleged deliberate interference to other Amateur Radio communications — in one case by transmitting music and animal noises — and failure to properly identify. In similar Notices of Apparent Liability for Forfeiture (NALs) released July 22, the Commission proposed fining Michael Guernsey, KZ8O (ex-ND8V), of Parchment, Michigan, $22,000, and Brian Crow, K3VR, of North Huntingdon, Pennsylvania, $11,500. In both cases, the FCC said the evidence indicated that the transmissions at issue were aimed at interfering with other radio amateurs with whom each “has had a long-standing and well-documented dispute” that had spilled out onto the air.

The FCC in both instances responded last March to “several complaints of intentional interference” on 14.313 MHz. Commission agents used radio direction-finding techniques to pin down the source of the transmissions. According to the NAL issued to Guernsey, the FCC agents monitored transmissions from his station for approximately 40 minutes on March 7, 2014, “and heard him transmit a pre-recorded song and various animal noises on the frequency.”

According to the NAL issued to Crow, FCC agents monitored transmissions from his station for approximately 3 hours on the morning of March 14, 2014, and heard him transmit slow-scan television (SSTV) signals and “a pre-recorded voice transmission of another amateur station on the frequency.”

“These transmissions prevented other amateur licensees from communicating over the frequency,” the NALs said, adding that neither Guernsey or Crow transmitted their assigned call signs while the agents were listening.

The FCC agents later the same day visited Crow’s residence and asked to inspect his station, which they confirmed was capable of operating on 14.313 MHz. Crow denied operating his station that morning, however, and claimed that he was not at home when the interfering transmissions occurred.

The Enforcement Bureau has warned both Guernsey and Crow in the past regarding interference to other Amateur Radio operators. In Crow’s case, the FCC said the fact that he subsequently interfered with other amateur operators “demonstrates a deliberate disregard for the Commission’s authority,” and warranted an upward adjustment of $3500 to his proposed base forfeiture. Guernsey first came to the Enforcement Bureau’s attention in the late 1990s and, the FCC said in the NAL, “has a history of causing interference to the communications of other Amateur Radio operators and has been warned repeatedly in writing.” Guernsey’s lengthy history with the Commission warranted an upward adjustment of $14,000 to his proposed base forfeiture.

The Commission gave both licensees 30 days to pay their fines or to file written statements “seeking reduction or cancellation of the proposed forfeiture.”

The NALs to Guernsey and Crow came in the wake of a June 5 Notice of Violation (NoV) alleging that Thomas Ryan Price, W7WL, of Sweet Home, Oregon, caused malicious interference to other radio communications on 3908 kHz, transmitted music on the same frequency, and failed to properly identify. The FCC said issuance of the NoV “does not preclude the Enforcement Bureau from further action if warranted, including issuing a Notice of Apparent Liability for Forfeiture for the violations cited.”

 

 



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