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FCC Fines Ham Radio Licensee $25,000 for Operating Unlicensed FM Station:

from The ARRL Letter on November 8, 2018
View comments about this article!

FCC Fines Amateur Radio Licensee $25,000 for Operating Unlicensed FM Station:

In an FCC Enforcement Bureau case going back to early 2015, a Paterson, New Jersey, Amateur Radio licensee has been penalized in the amount of 25,000 dollars for allegedly continuing to operate an unlicensed FM radio station. The FCC issued a Forfeiture Order on October 30 to Winston A. Tulloch, KC2ALN, a General-class licensee. The fine followed an April 2018 Notice of Apparent Liability for Forfeiture (NAL issued to Tulloch for alleged "willful and repeated violation" of Section 301 of the Communications Act of 1934, as amended, by operating an unlicensed FM radio station on 90.9 MHz in Paterson. Tulloch did not respond to the NAL, the FCC indicated.

"Commission action in this area is essential because unlicensed radio stations do not broadcast Emergency Alert Service messages and therefore create a public safety hazard for their listener," the FCC said in the Forfeiture Order. "Moreover, unlicensed radio stations create a danger of interference to licensed communications and undermine the Commission's authority over broadcast radio operations."

Following up on February 2015 complaints regarding pirate radio operations in Paterson, FCC agents spotted a signal on 90.9 MHz that "appeared to be an unauthorized radio station." Agents determined the signal was emanating from a multi-family dwelling and noticed an FM antenna on the structure. The measured field strength exceeded the limits allowed for Part 15 unlicensed devices.

Through a solicitation broadcast on the station for advertisers and a vehicle parked outside the building, the FCC agents were able to determine that the telephone number in the announcement belonged to Tulloch, and the car was registered in his name. FCC agents made several visits to Paterson in late 2015 and early 2016. In October of 2016, agents returned to Paterson and determined that the signal source had relocated to another nearby multi-family structure. A Notice of Unlicensed Operation (NOUO) was posted on the door of the building, and the following month, the FCC mailed an NOUO to Tulloch.

Subsequent visits revealed that the station was still in operation and, at some point, had moved back to its prior location. Additional NOUOs were issued. Finally, on September 15, 2017, two agents returned to Paterson and determined that the station no longer was on the air. Read more


The ARRL Letter

Member Comments:
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FCC Fines Ham Radio Licensee $25,000 for Operating Unlicense  
by KK6HUY on November 9, 2018 Mail this to a friend!
We see this time and again; no equipment will be confiscated, the fine will be appealed and dropped, the station will continue to operate. The operator won't lose his license.

The FCC really needs to start enforcing for real, or admit that they can do nothing and get out of the game of regulating radio entirely. Because the way things stand now, they're taking taxpayer money to NOT regulate the airwaves. If they're not going to do their jobs I'd prefer to not pay them for their inaction.
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