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ARRL General Bulletin ARLB003 (1999)

ARLB003 FCC warns alleged major amateur offenders

QST de W1AW  
ARRL Bulletin 3  ARLB003
From ARRL Headquarters  
Newington CT  January 14, 1999
To all radio amateurs 

ARLB003 FCC warns alleged major amateur offenders

The FCC has issued strong warnings to two amateurs in Indiana and a
third in New York who are on the Commission's top ten list of
alleged major amateur offenders. The FCC's amateur enforcement point
man, Riley Hollingsworth, K4ZDH, says the warning letters sent
earlier this month are the last step before the FCC initiates formal
enforcement proceedings. One case primarily involved malicious
interference on VHF repeaters, while the other two involved
interference to an HF net.

''We have been cutting bait a while, now it's time for us to fish,''
said Hollingsworth, the legal advisor for enforcement within the
FCC's Compliance and Information Bureau.

The FCC did not make the names or call signs public, but
Hollingsworth said all those who received the letters were put on
the FCC's Alert List with FCC field offices. ''The Alert List is the
FCC equivalent of an all-points bulletin,'' Hollingsworth explained.
He said Field Office monitors would be making a special effort to
listen for further violations by stations on the Alert List.

Since taking over Amateur Radio enforcement within the CIB last
fall, Hollingsworth says he's sent out dozens of warning letters of
a much milder nature. ''Now, we're distilling that activity to the
worst offenders,'' he said, adding that  similar actions were
imminent in other major cases.

The letters sent out January 7 and 8 spell out the agency's
expectations in no uncertain terms. In the case of the alleged HF
offenders, Hollingsworth's letters state that the Commission ''has
additional evidence that you have been deliberately and maliciously
interfering with the operations of other licensed amateurs,''
primarily a 75-meter net. Both hams--whose cases are
related--already had received official Notices of Violation last
fall for similar conduct, and the FCC had imposed restricted
operating hours on one of them. But the FCC says that the
troublesome behavior has continued.

Hollingsworth said the alleged illegal activities not only put the
hams' licenses in jeopardy but open them up to possible fines and
even put transmitting equipment at risk of seizure. He said he also
has cautioned the controllers of the net involved to not engage
hecklers or those attempting to harass or interfere, nor to call up
the net on a busy frequency. ''One thing these nets have to
understand is that the nets don't own the frequency,'' he said.

The case of the alleged VHF offender had a similar pattern. The
amateur license of the ham in question already had been suspended at
one point, but violations are said to have continued, even during
the suspension period. Beyond amateur violations, Hollingsworth said
that the FCC's evidence indicated the amateur had threatened FCC
employees and others. He told the ARRL that additional warning
letters went out to eight other individuals whom he described as
''cohorts'' to the alleged prime VHF offender.

Hollingsworth requested that all of the amateurs involved contact
him immediately to discuss the allegations.


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