FCC Ups the Ante in Proposing Huge Fine on CB Operator
Right on the heels of a whopping $14,000 proposed forfeiture for a Florida CBer for failing to allow a station inspection, the FCC Enforcement Bureau is recommending a $22,000 fine for a New York CBer. The FCC issued a Notice of Apparent Liability (NAL) in the case of James Engle of Lewiston, New York, on August 28, alleging that he interfered with the communications of other CBers, operated with an external linear amplifier, operated without authorization, and disregarded earlier FCC warnings.
“Mr Engle was warned repeatedly in writing by the Enforcement Bureau that his actions violated the law, and his apparent disregard for the Commission’s authority warrants an increased penalty,” the FCC said in the NAL.
The FCC said that last October 23, agents from the Commission’s Philadelphia office, responding to a complaint from a CB operator on 27.325 MHz, CB channel 32, tracked the interfering transmissions to Engle’s station and “heard him repeatedly interrupt ongoing transmissions of another CB operator.” The following day, the agents inspected Engle’s CB station and discovered two linear RF amplifiers. The FCC said Engle “admitted that he used one of the power amplifiers” the previous night. Testing showed the unit was capable of putting out nearly 150 W.
The FCC pointed out that while its Part 95 rules do not require individual CB operators to obtain licenses, CBers who operate “in a manner that is inconsistent with the CB rules” are required to have an FCC authorization. “The Commission will presume an individual has used a linear or other external RF power amplifier, if the amplifier is located on the individual’s premises,” the NAL said, “and if there is other evidence showing that a CB station was operated with more power than allowed by the Rules.” FCC rules also prohibit using an external RF amplifier with a FCC-certificated CB transmitter.
Transmitting without FCC authorization merits a base forfeiture of $10,000, the FCC noted, while the base forfeiture for interfering with other communications is $7,000.
“The fact that Mr. Engle operated with a linear amplifier to cause intentional interference to other CB operators despite being warned twice in writing demonstrates a deliberate disregard for the Commission’s requirements and authority,” the FCC, in making an “upward adjustment” of $5,000 in the proposed forfeiture.
Engle has 30 days to pay the fine or file in writing seeking reduction or cancellation of the proposed fine.