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Ham Operator Hit with $8k Penalty

FCC says Cincinnati amateur radio operator repeatedly violated interference and transmission guidelines

As every amateur radio operator knows when he logs on, there are a few key rules to follow. Don’t cause interference to other operators. And every 10 minutes, transmit your assigned call sign.

That’s a lesson that a Cincinnati amateur radio operator has been reminded of — the hard way— when the FCC slapped an $8,000 fine on Daniel R. Hicks for allegedly intentionally causing interference to other amateur radio operators and allegedly failing to provide his proper station identification. The interference violation was by far the higher of the two, with the FCC proposing a $7,000 fine for interference and a $1,000 fine for failing to provide station identification.

The two alleged infractions go hand in hand: Amateur radio frequencies are shared and licensees may not monopolize any frequency, and failing to transmit call sign information means others can’t identify transmission’s source.

After receiving several complaints in 2014 and 2015, the FCC Enforcement Bureau used mobile direction-finding techniques to determine that the source of the transmissions was the address of record for Hicks’ amateur station KB8UYZ. Monitoring the transmissions in stealth in March 2015, the FCC said its agent heard Hicks’ station transmit several prerecorded messages, which were preventing other amateur licensees from communicating over the frequency. Section 97.101(d) of the FCC rules states that “[n]o amateur operator shall willfully or maliciously interfere with or cause interference to any radio communication or signal.”

In addition, the FCC found that Hicks did not transmit his assigned call sign during that hour-long transmission, but instead used a false call sign that’s assigned to another amateur licensee.

Based on the evidence, the FCC found that Hicks apparently willfully violated the FCC Rules. He has 30 days to submit payment or offer evidence as to why the penalty should be reduced or cancelled.