FCC Fines Pennsylvania Ham $11,500 for Causing Intentional Interference
The FCC Enforcement Bureau has affirmed an $11,500 fine against Brian Crow, K3VR, of North Huntingdon, Pennsylvania, for deliberately interfering with other Amateur Radio communications. The FCC had first proposed the fine last July in a Notice of Apparent Liability for Forfeiture (NAL), and it released a Forfeiture Order on January 13.
The FCC said it imposed the financial penalty because of Crow’s “willful and repeated violation” of Section 333 of the Communications Act and of Sections 97.101(d) and 97.119(a) of the Amateur Service rules “by causing intentional interference to licensed radio operations and failing to transmit his assigned call sign.”
The FCC said that Crow did not respond to the 2014 NAL and that, based on the information before the Commission, affirmed its proposed fine. On July 22, 2014, the FCC also issued a similarly worded NAL to Michael Guernsey, KZ8O (ex-ND8V), of Parchment, Michigan, proposing to fine him $22,000. 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 licensee “had a long-standing and well-documented dispute” that had spilled out onto the air.
In both instances, the FCC said, it responded in March 2014 to “several complaints of intentional interference” on 14.313 MHz, and Commission agents used radio direction-finding techniques to pin down the transmission sources. According to the NAL issued to Crow, FCC agents monitored transmissions from his station for approximately 3 hours on 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,” both NALs said, adding that neither Guernsey or Crow transmitted their assigned call signs while the agents were listening.
The FCC agents 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 had 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,” warranting an upward adjustment of $3500 to his proposed base forfeiture. Guernsey’s case is still pending.