Tuesday, March 05, 2013

Florida Ham Issued $25000 Fine for Operating an Unlicensed Radio Transmitter ...

On March 1, the FCC issued a Notice of Apparent Liability for Forfeiture (NAL) in the amount of $25,000 to Terry L. VanVolkenburg, KC5RF, of Cocoa, Florida. The FCC alleged that VanVolkenburg "apparently willfully and repeatedly violated Sections 301 and 333 of the Communications Act of 1934, as amended…, by operating a radio transmitter without a license on…465.300 MHz and for interfering with licensed communications." VanVolkenburg holds an Advanced class license.

In September 2012, FCC agents in the Tampa Office received a complaint of radio interference from the Brevard County Sheriff's Department. The Sheriff's Department -- licensee of call sign WQCW384 -- utilizes a wireless radio communications system in the county jail in Sharpes, Florida. According to the complaint, the Sheriff's Department experienced intermittent interference to its radio communications in the jail on the frequency 456.300 MHz on at least 14 days during September and October 2012. According to the NAL, audio recordings taken by the Sheriff's Department suggest "that a male individual interfered with the prison's communications by transmitting vulgar language, sound effects, previously recorded prison communications and threats to prison officials over the prison's communications system."

On October 28, the agents used direction finding techniques and traced the source of the interfering radio frequency transmissions on 465.300 MHz to a residence in Cocoa, Florida. The frequency 465.300 MHz is allocated to public safety stations; as an Advanced class licensee, VanVolkenburg does not hold privileges to operate in this portion of the spectrum. In addition, the FCC's records showed that no authorization was issued to anyone to operate a private land mobile station at this location.

"Approximately two hours after locating the source of the transmissions, agents from the Tampa Office inspected the radio stations in Mr VanVolkenburg's residence," the FCC noted. "The agents recognized Mr VanVolkenburg's voice as the one interfering with the prison's communications system. Mr VanVolkenburg initially showed the agents an Amateur Radio [that was] incapable of transmitting on 465.300 MHz, but eventually produced an Alinco DJ-C5 portable radio transceiver that could operate on 465.300 MHz."

According to the NAL, VanVolkenburg "did not specifically admit that he had interfered with the prison's communications system, but when asked about the transmissions on 465.300 MHz and the interference to the prison's communications systems, he stated that he chose 465.300 MHz because the prison's transmissions on that frequency were strong; that he was only using 300 mW and did not think that he 'could talk over anyone and therefore wasn't interfering with anyone'; and that the interference would not happen again."

Although VanVolkenburg holds an Amateur Radio license, it does not authorize him to operate on public safety frequencies. "Part 15 of the Commission's rules sets out the conditions and technical requirements under which certain radio transmission devices may be used without a license," the FCC explained in the NAL. "In relevant part, Section 15.209 of the rules provides that non-licensed transmissions in the 216-960 MHz band is permitted only if the field strength of the transmission does not exceed 200 μV/m at 3 meters. The agents observed the transmissions on 465.300 MHz at a distance of approximately 2 miles from VanVolkenburg's residence. Given the distance from the source, the agents determined that the transmissions' field strength exceeded allowable Part 15 levels."

Read more on: http://www.arrl.org/news/florida-ham-issued-25-000-fine-for-operating-an-unlicensed-radio-transmitter-and-interfering-with-li
Jaisakthivel, ADXC, Tirunelveli, India