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Ham Radio Operator Handed $17,000 Notice of Forfeiture

FCC says N.Y. operator has deliberately interfered with the Amateur Radio Service

A ham radio operator who was repeatedly warned not to deliberately interfere with other amateur radio operators has been slapped with a $17,000 forfeiture.

Commission’s rules are clear on the issue: Amateur radio licensees may not monopolize the ham radio frequency for their exclusive use. Yet the Enforcement Bureau at the Federal Communications Commission said New York resident Harold Guretzky has not followed those rules and is instead an alleged “repeat offender” who has long misused the local amateur radio service by interfering with other operators.

Guretzky, licensee of station K6DPZ in Richmond Hill, N.Y., has been the center of numerous complaints over the last several years over his attempts to prevent other amateur licensees from using the local ham radio repeater.

[Read: Pennsylvania Ham to Pay $7k Fine for Intentional Interference]

Back in June 2017, the bureau issued a warning letter to Guretzky, advising him of the nature of the allegations against him and directing him to refrain from using the repeater going forward. Additional complaints came forward again in August 2017; the bureau said that Guretzky had also begun making threats against other operators.

Agents came twice in 2018 to Richmond Hill to check on Guretzky. The first time, agents advised Guretzky in writing that he was prohibited from using the local repeater. The second visit revealed that Guretzky was again allegedly interfering again with the local repeater and making threatening comments toward other amateur operators. This was followed by a phone call from the Regional Director of the Region One Enforcement Bureau who cautioned Guretzky, again, to not use the repeater.

The commission moved to take action against Guretzky with a formal notice of apparent liability for forfeiture. The bureau said that Guretzky deliberately violated the Communications Act and the FCC Rules — despite receiving multiple notifications that he cease this activity.

As a result, the commission found that Guretzy’s “repeated, intentional and egregious apparent violations” warrant a fine of $17,000, which is an upward adjustment of the $10,000 base forfeiture often assigned in cases like these. Any future violations by Guretzky may result in additional forfeitures, the commission said.

Guretzky has 30 days to pay the forfeiture or to respond to the commission.

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