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Florida Translator Faces Fine

Ace of Hearts was overpower repeatedly, FCC says

A company in Florida faces a $13,000 fine for operating an FM translator with too much power.

The FCC Enforcement Bureau’s Tampa office issued a notice of apparent liability against Ace of Hearts Disc Jockey Service, which holds the license for translator station W277AN in Cape Canaveral, Fla. That translator apparently rebroadcasts programming of WMEL(AM). Ace of Hearts also has a translator in Wabasso and applications for translators in several other communities.

The translator is at 103.3 MHz. In late 2009 and early 2010, the FCC said, it measured field strength at 82 mV/m and 92 mV/m, rather than the 47 mV/m to be expected at legal operation. Subsequently the agents inspected the transmitter site and said the meter on the amplifier showed power output of 172 watts, 280% over authorized power.

“The president of Ace of Hearts stated that he was unaware of the station’s overpower operation and that it could have been caused by a problem with the amplifier,” the commission wrote. “However, the agents found no record of any problems with the amplifier in the station’s technical operating logs. Ace of Hearts promptly reduced its transmitter output power to 61 watts during the inspection.”

But in late 2010, the commission said it responded to a complaint of interference and again found field strength indicating overpower operation, and saw the meter at 140 watts. The commission says the translator also used a two-antenna array but is only licensed to operate with one antenna.

It gave Ace of Hearts 15 days to confirm that it is operating at authorized power levels and with its authorized antenna.