FCC Issues $10,000 Fine to Missouri Man for Unlicensed Operation on 14.312 MHz
On February 25, the FCC issued a Notice of Apparent Liability for Forfeiture (NAL) in the amount of $10,000 to Jared A. Bruegman, ex-KC0IQN, of Bolivar, Missouri. The FCC said that Bruegman “apparently and willfully violated Section 301 of the Communications Act of 1934, as amended by operating an unlicensed radio transmitter on the frequency 14.312 MHz in Bolivar, Missouri.” Bruegman -- who does not currently hold an Amateur Radio license -- was operating in the phone portion of the 20 meter band that is assigned to the Amateur Radio Service on a primary basis; his Amateur Radio license expired in 2010. As a former Technician class licensee, he did not have privileges to operate in that portion of the 20 meter band when he held an Amateur Radio license.
In December 2012, the FCC’s office in Kansas City received a complaint from an Amateur Radio operator, reporting interference on 14.312 MHz. Upon investigation, agents from that office heard a male voice transmitting on the frequency 14.312 MHz. Using direction finding equipment, the agents located the source of the radio frequency transmissions to a transmitting antenna mounted on a pole next to Bruegman’s residence. The agents determined that the signals on 14.312 MHz exceeded the limits for operation under Part 15 of the Commission’s rules and therefore a license was required to transmit. The agents further discovered that Bruegman did not hold a license to operate a radio transmitter on 14.312 MHz at or near that location.
The agents determined that the source of the transmissions was an unlicensed radio transmitter in a bedroom at Bruegman’s residence. “Mr Bruegman was the only person present in the bedroom and the only male in the residence during the inspection,” the NAL stated. “Mr Bruegman admitted to the agents that he owned the radio transmitter. The agents observed that the transmitter was turned on and tuned to 14.311 MHz. Mr Bruegman told the agents that he had no current Commission licenses, but that he previously held an Amateur Radio license, call sign KC0IQN. Mr Bruegman told the agents he would remove the microphone from his transmitter and only use it as a receiver.”
Section 503(b) of the Communications Act provides that “any person who willfully or repeatedly fails to comply substantially with the terms and conditions of any license, or willfully or repeatedly fails to comply with any of the provisions of the Act or of any rule, regulation, or order issued by the Commission thereunder, shall be liable for a forfeiture penalty.” In addition, Bruegman was found to be in violation of Section 301 of the Communications Act, stating that “no person shall use or operate any apparatus for the transmission of energy or communications or signals by radio within the United States, except under and in accordance with the Act and with a license granted under the provisions of the Act.”
Bruegman has until March 27, 2013 to pay the forfeiture in full, or file a written statement seeking its reduction or cancellation.