Calif. Ham Must Pay FCC Fine in FM Case

Even though he said he had no malicious intent, ham radio operator Brian Ragan, KF6EGI, in Suisun City, Calif., will have to pay an FCC fine for making unlicensed FM broadcasts and not opening his door to the FCC. The commission has upheld an earlier ruling, though it reduced the amount of his penalty.

In 2012 the commission traced signals on 104.9 MHz to Ragan’s garage. Agents heard the station identify itself on the air as KBRS. According to its account at the time, the agents tried to inspect but no one answered. Ragan later told the FCC he’d been afraid to open the door when he heard them identify themselves as being with the agency’s Enforcement Bureau. He also admitted to having operated the FM for six months, according to the FCC account.

This led to a notice of apparent liability for $17,000 for operating an unlicensed station and failing to allow FCC personnel to inspect. Ragan didn’t contest the facts but appealed, saying that he’d had no malicious intent and saying he had immediately complied with the notice of unlicensed operation. (Ragan also submitted a written statement, as required, stating that he is in compliance with Section 301 and no longer engaged in unauthorized operation.)

The FCC now has confirmed most of its finding against Ragan — “the commission need not demonstrate an intent to violate a rule to make a finding that a licensee engaged in willful misconduct,” for example — but it reduced the fine to $13,600 because of his history of compliance as an amateur licensee.

But it reiterated that, as a licensed ham for at least six years, Ragan should be aware that, among other things, radio equipment at his station must be made available for inspection when requested by the FCC.
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Comment List:

Those 25-watt and higher, Chinese-import transmitters are all over e-bay. I thought the FCC was going to get them shut out.
By Ken English on 3/22/2014
No Dave, very little. I've not been there for years! I just weatnd to do it to prove to myself that I could.At the moment I've disadvantaged myself. If I were to go to the USA now and operate, I'd have to use my General class licence which has less privileges than if I were to operate using my own callsign and the CEPT agreement. Hence why I'll be studying for the Amateur Extra exam.
By Arshpreet on 3/20/2014
His plea holds no water. The fact that in order to qualify for an amatuer radio license one must sucssessfully pass a profiency test. In this test is a chapter on rules of transmitting and station inspections. It was no new news to Mr. Ragan he knew full well the implications of his activities and he knew it was malacious in nature as he was not licensed to ytansmit in the M Broadcast region. Tough crap Mr. Ragan
By WE0Z on 3/12/2014
That's still a pretty stiff fine! He must have been running some significant amount of power to get nailed THAT hard! If all he was running was a few hundred milliwatts (or so) then I'd say this is a grossly excessive fine. If he was running a hundred watts? Maybe.
By Willie Barnett on 3/10/2014

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