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FCC Snares Ham Operators

Agency proposes more than $33,000 in fines for apparent interference

The FCC proposed a total of $33,500 in fines against two amateur radio operators for intentionally interfering with other hams and failing to identify their stations on-air while transmitting.

Michael Guernsey, licensee of KZ8O in Parchment, Mich., faces a possible $22,000 penalty and Brian Crow, licensee of K3VR North Huntingdon, Pa., faces a potential $11,500 penalty. Amateur radio frequencies are shared and licensees may not monopolize any frequency for their exclusive use, according to the commission, which adds deliberate interference undermines the utility of the ham radio service.

The Enforcement Bureau has repeatedly warned both Guernsey and Crow about interference, said the agency in its decisions. Investigating several complaints from international radio operators in March on 14.313 MHz, agents traced the source to Guernsey’s station. They heard him transmit prerecorded songs and various animal noises for some 40 minutes, preventing another operator from using the frequency. He also didn’t ID his station.

During the same investigation, agents also traced another source of interference on the same 14.313 MHz frequency to Crow’s station one day in March when they monitored K3VR for three hours and heard him transmit Slow-Scan Television emissions and a prerecorded voice transmission of another amateur station. Crow, too, didn’t transmit his assigned call sign, according to agents.

During an inspection Crow claimed he wasn’t home that morning and didn’t send the interfering transmissions. The agents dispute his version.

The base fine for interference is $7,000 and omitting a station ID is $1,000. The proposed fines were raised for both men because of the seriousness of the violations and the fact that they continued the illegal behavior after being warned about it several times, according to the bureau.

The commissioned warned Guernsey and Crow that future violations may result in significantly higher forfeitures or revocation of their amateur licenses. They have 30 days to appeal or pay the penalties.