Southern California radio stations are among those affected by apparently bogus applications being made to the FCC via its online database system.
Here’s the report from Doug Lung, columnist for Radio World’s sister publication TV Technology:
Saturday, Howard Fine at Pacific Television Center called to warn me that several bogus applications for station modifications appeared in the FCC Media Bureau’s Consolidated Database System (CDBS) late last week.
One of the applications increased the ERP of a KABC-DT CP from 182 kW to 1,000 kW. Another dropped the height of KABC analog from 1,877 m AMSL to 1,785 m AMSL and increased power. At least one of the bogus applications had a forged certification with my name on it.
It appeared whoever filed these applications copied legal and engineering certification data from other applications, as the forgeries matched the names of the consulting or corporate engineers who had signed previous applications for the licensee.
The applications do not appear on the station’s CDBS account page, as they were all filed under FCC Registration Number (FRN) 0011372539, which the FCC Registration Search Page shows belongs to Ronald A. Molina. The FRN was registered Aug. 11, 2004.
Searching through my Oct. 24, 2004 version of the CDBS TV engineering database spreadsheet (available at www.xmtr.com/fcc/tvdb.zip), it appears the first filings were for KABC, with the changes mentioned above as well as an application for an auxiliary DTV CP at 1,000 kW. These applications carry a file date of Oct. 18.
The following day, another apparently bogus application appeared for modification of the analog facilities of KTLA-TV. Oct. 20, applications were filed for KGTV, KFMB-TV, KTTV, KCET, KCBS-TV, KNBC and KWHY-TV. The last applications show up Friday and affect KWHY-TV, KCAL-TV, and KUSI-TV.
So far, the bogus application I’ve discovered carry application ID numbers between 1020374 and 1021811 and application ARNs from 20041018ABS through 20041021AFN.
What I found interesting is the hacker appears to have done a reasonable job picking many of the antenna patterns, orientation and beam-tilt, although some of the choices are a little strange. The KNBC-DT and KABC-DT CP applications both specify a high-gain Dielectric TFU-36DSC-R C170 antenna with 0.75 degrees electrical beam-tilt and 2.75 degrees mechanical beam-tilt, and a KWHY-TV auxiliary DTV application specifies an Andrew antenna with a Dielectric model number. However, no exhibits with antenna patterns were attached to the applications, as required by FCC rules Sec. 73.625.
Bob Gonsett, a broadcast consulting engineer and president of Communications General Corp., has been working on this issue and advised anyone with information on the fraudulent applications to e-mail email@example.com. He also found some bogus applications affecting southern California radio stations.