FCC fines amateur radio licensee $ 25,000 for operating unlicensed FM station

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11/01/2018

In an FCC Enforcement Bureau case dating back to early 2015, an amateur radio licensee from Paterson, New Jersey was penalized $ 25,000 for allegedly continuing to operate an unlicensed FM radio station. . The FCC has issued a Confiscation order October 30 to Winston A. Tulloch, KC2ALN, General Class Licensee. The fine follows one month of April 2018 Notice of apparent liability for forfeiture (NAL) issued to Tulloch for “willful and repeated violation” of section 301 of the Communications Act of 1934, as amended, by operating an unlicensed 90.9 MHz FM radio station in Paterson. Tulloch did not respond to the NAL, said the FCC.

“The Commission’s action in this area is essential because unlicensed radio stations do not broadcast emergency alert service messages and therefore create a danger to the public safety of their listener,” said the FCC in the press release. Confiscation order. “In addition, unlicensed radio stations create a risk of interference with authorized communications and undermine the Commission’s authority over broadcasting operations.

Following the February 2015 complaints about pirate radio operations in Paterson, FCC agents spotted a 90.9 MHz signal that “appeared to be an unauthorized radio station.” Officers determined the signal was from a multi-family dwelling and noticed an FM antenna on the structure. The measured field strength exceeded the allowable limits for unlicensed Part 15 devices.

Through a solicitation broadcast on the station for advertisers and a vehicle parked outside the building, FCC agents were able to determine that the phone number in the ad belonged to Tulloch, and the car was registered with his. name. FCC agents made several visits to Paterson in late 2015 and early 2016. In October 2016, agents returned to Paterson and determined that the source of the signal had moved to another multi-family structure nearby. A Notice of unlicensed operation (NOUO) was posted on the door of the building and the following month the FCC posted a NOUO in Tulloch.

Subsequent visits revealed that the station was still in operation and, at some point, had returned to its previous location. Additional NOUOs have been issued. Finally, on September 15, 2017, two officers returned to Paterson and determined that the station was no longer on the air.

In the Confiscation order, the FCC has incorporated by reference the details of the investigation set out in the previous NAL.

The Tulloch case is one of dozens that the FCC Enforcement Bureau has launched over the past two years in an attempt to shut down pirate broadcasters across the United States, the vast majority of which are not FCC amateur license holders.

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