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ARRL Calls for Timely, Visible FCC Amateur Radio Enforcement:

from The ARRL Letter on April 3, 2014
Website: http://www.arrl.org/
View comments about this article!

ARRL Calls for Timely, Visible FCC Amateur Radio Enforcement:

In comments http://apps.fcc.gov/ecfs/document/view?id=7521096114 filed in response to the FCC's February 14 Report on Process Reform (GN Docket 14-25 http://hraunfoss.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/DA-14-199A2.pdf), the ARRL has called for a more visible, responsive Amateur Radio enforcement program. The League also said it was concerned that FCC policies for adjudicating certain complaints of interference to radio amateurs, especially those involving electric utilities, provide no incentive for the utilities to resolve them. The ARRL was further critical of the fact that FCC petitions for rule making and spectrum allocation proceedings often take years to resolve. But the League confined the bulk of its comments to perceived shortcomings in the Amateur Radio enforcement program.

"[T]he visibility of the Commission's enforcement program for the Amateur Service is wholly inadequate, resulting in a widespread, albeit inaccurate, public perception that there is no active enforcement in our service," the League's comments asserted. The ARRL said "deterrence based on visibility is a critical component of a successful compliance campaign."

The most successful -- and visible -- period of Amateur Radio enforcement in recent years was between 1997 and 2008, the ARRL said. According to the League, compliance during that period was a result of "the visibility in the Amateur Radio community of a single member of the Commission's Enforcement Bureau staff at Amateur Radio events" and of keeping the Amateur Radio media fully informed on what was being done to resolve a particular enforcement issue.

FCC-imposed constraints in the past few years have had "a devastating effect on the entire philosophy of the program and its success," the League told the Commission. Among other factors, the ARRL pointed to the "extensive approvals" required before the release of enforcement correspondence. Enforcement actions that are taken, the League continued, are not released to the Amateur Radio media. "This deprives radio amateurs of the knowledge that the Commission is indeed investigating and responding to a given enforcement problem," the ARRL said. "The result is the perception that nothing is being done in a given case, and frustration builds rapidly among the radio amateurs who have to endure the rule violator on an ongoing basis."

"[L]imitations imposed on the visibility of enforcement actions in recent years have significantly reduced the effectiveness of the program," the ARRL stressed, and "directly resulted in notable and unacceptable increases in rule violations, most especially malicious interference." Further, the ARRL said, Enforcement Bureau personnel responsible for Amateur Radio enforcement should be empowered with greater autonomy to address problems as they arise.

The League faulted the FCC's websites -- old and new -- for being "woefully out of date" and not well maintained or presented. "The fact that there are two separate listings of Amateur Radio enforcement actions on two separate FCC websites is, frankly, ridiculous in any case," the ARRL concluded.

The ARRL also urged the FCC to make better use of the Amateur Auxiliary -- the ARRL Official Observer Program -- in resolving enforcement complaints. "It is unclear why none of the evidence gathered by OOs is usable other than as a predictor for Commission District Office staff to use in investigating the matter themselves -- if and when their time permits," the League said. "The program is authorized by legislation. It would increase the Commission's efficiency if the work of these volunteers were put to a better use."

The ARRL pointed to cases where chronic rule violators who were the subject of hundreds of hours of OO surveillance and off-the-air recordings have "been allowed to continue those activities for periods of years without more than a warning letter."

The League said the Report "makes good recommendations" in addressing years-long delays in resolving rule making petitions and open-docket proceedings. As an example it cited the League's 2012 Petition for Rulemaking http://apps.fcc.gov/ecfs/document/view?id=7022073018 seeking a new Amateur Radio allocation at 472-479 kHz. "To date, a year and a half after it was filed, this Petition for Rule Making has not been afforded a file number, nor has public comment been solicited on it," the ARRL said.

In a Public Notice http://www.fcc.gov/document/fcc-seeks-public-comment-report-process-reform the FCC said its Report "seeks to further the goal of having the agency operate in the most effective, efficient and transparent way possible." The League said it was not being critical of any individual FCC staffers or managers. "Rather, the remarks are directed at the Commission's policies and processes" and address issues that "result, in large part, from the unenviable necessity of allocating scarce (and in some cases inadequate) human resources available to the Commission."

Source:

The ARRL Letter

Member Comments:
This article has expired. No more comments may be added.
 
ARRL Calls for Timely, Visible FCC Amateur Radio Enforcement  
by NY7Q on April 3, 2014 Mail this to a friend!
I think the FCC is just plain tired of amateur ops.
 
RE: ARRL Calls for Timely, Visible FCC Amateur Radio Enforce  
by W1ITT on April 3, 2014 Mail this to a friend!
It's about money, personnel (which translates to money), and priorities (which are driven by money). With all the other demands on our taxation, the chances of the FCC receiving an ongoing allocation to police the ham bands are slim. Years ago there were many licensed amateurs who found their way into the Commission, but they have mostly retired and the lawyers and bureaucrats who staff the FCC now look upon us as an eccentric curiosity. But wouldn't it be nice....
 
RE: ARRL Calls for Timely, Visible FCC Amateur Radio Enforce  
by K0YQ on April 3, 2014 Mail this to a friend!
Oh Riley where art thou?
 
ARRL Calls for Timely, Visible FCC Amateur Radio Enforcement  
by WB6MMJ on April 3, 2014 Mail this to a friend!
It`s about time !!!!
It`s way over due.
 
ARRL Calls for Timely, Visible FCC Amateur Radio Enforcement  
by K1DA on April 4, 2014 Mail this to a friend!
If we are not careful they'll solve the problems the bureaucratic way, by pulling the switch. Nothing says we HAVE to have amateur radio, now does it?
Running like crybabies to the nanny state invites a nanny state soultion. Be careful what you ask for.
 
RE: ARRL Calls for Timely, Visible FCC Amateur Radio Enforce  
by N0YXB on April 4, 2014 Mail this to a friend!
I believe it is fair in a democracy that that we have expectations of how our government works and we should voice our concerns and suggestions when we see it falling short.
 
ARRL Calls for Timely, Visible FCC Amateur Radio Enforcement  
by WS4E on April 4, 2014 Mail this to a friend!
Why not delegate some stuff to the ARRL. Maybe the actual field work could be authorized to some trained ARRL members and they could gather all the evidence, act as authorized field agents etc and the FCC would just have to be the official paperwork/legal fine part of the process. This could maybe just be an extension of the OO program, or each district could have a designated set of signal hunters, evidence collectors etc.

If it would help keep our frequencies and privileges, a number of people would pitch in and help.
 
ARRL All Expenses Paid FCC Enforcement  
by W6EM on April 4, 2014 Mail this to a friend!
A careful read of the ARRL Comments reveals [that] they reimbursed the former Special Counsel for Enforcement's expenses to attend Amateur Radio events. Apparently, they are now denied that privilege (as it should be, IMO) and they don't like it.

I found it rather odd that on one occasion, ARRL did something highly unethical with their VEC program administration and were not prosecuted or at least publicly reprimanded for theft of a callsign. This, despite many complaints to the Commission and its Inspector General.

It seems clear now why there was no FCC action.

As to "visibility of Enforcement," it always made little sense to me to publish the warning letters. Too much opportunity for malicious, baseless complaints. Granted, I suppose, Notices of Apparent Liability made sense. At least at that level, some objective investigation by Enforcement Bureau Staff had to have occurred and not just a "kangaroo court" of a ham complainant.

I only saw one or two retraction letters in all that were posted over the career of the former Special Counsel. Hard to believe that there weren't more mistakes made and reputations damaged via plastered letter warnings.

Always tagged on the bottom of inquiry letters was the threat of prosecution for untruthful responses. Where were such warnings to untruthful complainants? Cuts both ways.

73,

Lee
 
ARRL Calls for Timely, Visible FCC Amateur Radio Enforcement  
by ND6H on April 4, 2014 Mail this to a friend!
I had an s9+10 power line interference issue that went on for 7 years. The FCC (Mrs Smith) sent PG&E a letter advising that they needed to correct the interference problem. The letter indicated an expectation that the interference problem should be corrected within 60 days. Mrs Smith, the FCC and the Arrl were all kept apprised of my situation from the time Mrs Smith sent out the letter right after she assumed Hollingsworth duties until mid 2013 when the interference sources were finally corrected. Because of the FCC failure to enforce the regulations which cover power line interference PG&E did and reported still does not give any concern to FCC regulations as long as power is getting to the customer. And what remedy do I have for the loss of 7 years of use of my amateur radio station. A big fat nothing not even a change to ensure that no one else has to go thru what I went thru

John W. Heinrich
 
RE: ARRL Calls for Timely, Visible FCC Amateur Radio Enforce  
by ZENKI on April 5, 2014 Mail this to a friend!
The FCC needs to enforce the laws in a viscous manner. Any offense like jamming or deliberate interference will result in your ham license being cancelled for 1 year. The second offense 3 years and son.

The FCC's resources would be better spent enforcing the EMC compliance laws in regards to the crap equipment that is coming in from China with fraudulent EMC marks. These importers should be hit with million dollar plus fine.

The best result would come when the FCC no longer accept EMC certification from places like China and that every piece of equipment should be certified by a US certified test house. This is the only way that the FCC is going to deal with this program in the long term. Besides there are many US based labs that would want the business and can do the job in honest manner. These same comments apply to the European market which is suffering from the same corrupt conduct by the importers of chinese equipment.
 
RE: ARRL Calls for Timely, Visible FCC Amateur Radio Enforce  
by KG4RUL on April 5, 2014 Mail this to a friend!
"The FCC needs to enforce the laws in a viscous manner."

How thick should they lay it on?
 
RE: ARRL Calls for Timely, Visible FCC Amateur Radio Enforce  
by W6EM on April 5, 2014 Mail this to a friend!
"The best result would come when the FCC no longer accept EMC certification from places like China and that every piece of equipment should be certified by a US certified test house. This is the only way that the FCC is going to deal with this program in the long term. Besides there are many US based labs that would want the business and can do the job in honest manner."

The FCC's Office of Engineering and Technology is supposedly the agency that conducts testing itself or contracts for the testing of devices to be sure that prototypes comply with applicable regulatory limits. Perhaps, as in type-acceptance, their should be FCC ID numbers issued to help track the validity of claimed compliance to relevant regulations.

"Viscous" enforcement hit the nail on the head. Perhaps it is time to add a little solvent to help things flow a little more smoothly. Gummed-up, for sure.
 
ARRL Calls for Timely, Visible FCC Amateur Radio Enforcement  
by WB6MMJ on April 5, 2014 Mail this to a friend!
I believe that the F.C.C. is trying to let Amateur Radio go the way of C.B.
Just look at the History of C.B. and you will see that the F.C.C. is doing the same thing to Amateur Radio.
Deregulation, no enforcement.
I believe there will be a day where if you want to be a Amateur Radio Operator all you will have to do to get a license is to sign a document that states that you have read and understand the part 97 rules. Then you will pay a fee and you are in.
It`s coming to that.
After all, things today are all about the mighty $$$$.
 
ARRL Calls for Timely, Visible FCC Amateur Radio Enforcement  
by K4RAF on April 5, 2014 Mail this to a friend!
Amateurs pay the very LEAST into the system, yet we DEMAND the most response from the system [over minuscule issues in their eyes]...
Thus the ARRL is whining, once again, just like they did about their last #Strawman, also known as BPL [anyone remember that?]...
Mark my words, it will be met with a !YAWN! & prompt dismissal...
The ARRL: NO Bars, ANY Place!!!
 
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