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ARRL General Bulletin ARLB081 (1998)

ARLB081 FCC shifts Amateur enforcement duties

QST de W1AW  
ARRL Bulletin 81  ARLB081
From ARRL Headquarters  
Newington CT  September 29, 1998
To all radio amateurs 

ARLB081 FCC shifts Amateur enforcement duties

The Federal Communications Commission has announced a change in how
it handles Amateur Radio Service enforcement actions. On September
1, all investigation, evaluation, and processing of Amateur
Radio-related enforcement matters were transferred to the Compliance
and Information Bureau. The change was made ''by internal
arrangement'' between the CIB and the FCC's Wireless
Telecommunications Bureau. The Wireless Bureau handles amateur
licensing and, for the past several years, has shared enforcement
duties with the CIB.

The main objective of the change, the FCC said, was to ''facilitate
the Commission's pursuit of compliance,'' especially in the area of
resolving interference complaints, a hot-button issue within the
amateur community.

''Amateur enforcement should have gotten more direct attention over
the years,'' conceded Riley Hollingsworth, K4ZDH, the CIB's legal
advisor for enforcement. ''A lot of people think the FCC doesn't

Hollingsworth will be the FCC's point man in handling the
complaints. He says FCC Chairman William Kennard ''wants greater
respect with respect to enforcement'' at the FCC. Hollingsworth said
putting enforcement in the CIB's hands should mean ''a much faster,
more effective response.''

ARRL General Counsel Chris Imlay, W3KD, says he's ''cautiously
optimistic'' that the change will improve the dismal amateur
enforcement situation. ''Now, CIB doesn't have to just gather
evidence and forward it to another bureau,'' Imlay said. ''It can act
on it when it is ready.  That's a good situation compared to where
we were.''

The FCC's public notice-issued nearly a month after the change-said
the CIB staff now handles Amateur Radio enforcement matters ''from
initiation to resolution.'' That includes complaints, amateur testing
issues, warnings, monetary penalties, revocation hearings, and ''in
extreme cases'' equipment seizure and prosecution through the
Department of Justice.

The Wireless Bureau continues to handle Amateur Radio licensing,
including new applications and renewals, as well as all Amateur
Radio policy and rulemaking matters. The change is expected to have
no impact on the Amateur Auxiliary.

Under the new arrangement, all amateur enforcement questions and
complaints should be directed to the Compliance and Information
Bureau, Compliance Division, Attention: Amateur Complaints, 1919 M
St, Mail Stop 1500E1, Washington, DC 20554.

The FCC also has instituted an ''Amateur Enforcement Line'' at
202-418-1184. The automated system prompts callers to leave a name,
a number, and a brief message. A CIB staffer is supposed to return
the call within the next business day.


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