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Florida Man Cited for Causing Harmful Interference to Radio Amateurs

04/24/2013

The FCC has issued a Citation and Order to Ruben D. Lopez Jr of Pomona Park, Florida. The Citation, issued April 23, is in response to several complaints about a well pump at Lopez’s residence that was acting as an incidental radiator and causing harmful interference to local radio amateurs.

In July 2010 and February 2011, the FCC received complaints from radio amateurs regarding interference on the MF and HF Amateur Radio bands. Upon investigation, the FCC found that a well pump at Lopez’s residence was causing the interference, and advised Lopez of the complaints and of the rules regarding interference to licensed radio services. The FCC instructed Lopez to resolve any interference.

According to the Citation, in October 2012 -- in response to another interference complaint -- FCC agents “used direction finding equipment to identify Mr Lopez’s well pump as the source of transmissions on the frequency 1800 kHz. The agents…confirmed that Mr Lopez’s well pump was the source of the interference by conducting on/off tests -- the interference ceased when the well pump was turned off. The agents informed Mr Lopez that he must cease operating his well pump until the interference could be resolved. After the October 23, 2012 inspection, the [FCC’s] Tampa Office received information that Mr Lopez tried to eliminate the interference by replacing the A/C line filter for the well pump, but the new filter did not resolve the interference.”

Lopez was found by the FCC to be in violation Section 15.5(b) and (c) of the FCC’s rules by operating an incidental radiator and causing harmful interference. He was instructed by the FCC to “take immediate steps to ensure that he does not continue to cause harmful interference, including repairing or replacing his well pump and associated control circuitry.” The FCC advised Lopez that if he continues to violate the Communications Act or the FCC’s rules, it “may impose monetary forfeitures of up to $16,000 for each such violation, or in the case of a continuing violation, up to a maximum forfeiture of $112,500 for any single act or failure to act. In addition, violation of the Communications Act or the [FCC’s] rules also can result in seizure of the equipment through in rem forfeiture actions, as well as criminal sanctions, including imprisonment.”

If he desires, Lopez has until May 23 to respond to the Citation, either through an in-person meeting with the FCC office in Tampa, or via a written statement that should detail any actions Lopez has taken “to ensure that he does not violate the Communications Act or the [FCC’s] rules governing the operation of incidental radiators in the future.”

 



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