A Florida man faces a $15,000 fine from the Federal Communications Commission for allegedly operating an unlicensed station and deliberately and repeatedly disregarding FCC rules.
The situation started with a request from the Federal Aviation Administration. It complained last summer to the Miami FCC office about an unidentified FM station operating on 102.1 MHz and transmitting a false signal on a frequency assigned to U.S. military aeronautical operations.
Enforcement agents used mobile direction-finding to track the source to an antenna at a church building in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., where the agents also observed a signal on the military frequency originating from the same antenna, according to a commission summary. After taking field strength measurements, they determined that the transmissions on 102.1 MHz exceeded limits for operation under Part 15 of FCC rules and therefore required a license.
The FCC said church pastor Kedner Maxime is president of a company called N.E.W. Community Development Center, which owns the church. It said agents spoke to Maxime and advised him that the unlicensed station at his church was not only in violation of its rules but was causing interference to air traffic communications.
According to the summary, Maxime said that he had been operating the station for about a month and that he would turn it off. Agents followed him to the church where he unlocked and opened the main doors, disconnected cables, turned off and removed the transmitter, and voluntarily relinquished possession of the transmitter. They issued him a Notice of Unlicensed Operation and warned that continued operation could result in additional enforcement action.
Four months later, the Miami office received a complaint from a licensed FM station of interference from a signal on 89.1 MHz in Broward County. It found signals being transmitted at a commercial building in Oakland Park with the same address as Maxime’s business office. Agents determined he was again the operator.
“Mr. Maxime’s deliberate disregard of the commission’s warnings warrants a significant penalty,” the enforcement bureau wrote in a Notice of Apparent Liability, issued on Aug. 12. “Commission action in this area is essential because unlicensed radio stations create a danger of interference to licensed communications and undermine the commission’s authority over FM broadcast radio operations.”
The commission declared his actions apparently willful and repeated, and announced an intended $15,000 fine. He had 30 days to pay or appeal.