Ham Operator Gets $22,000 Fine for Hogging Frequency

WASHINGTON—A Michigan ham radio operator is being fined $22,000for frequency hogging. Specifically, Michael Guernsey of Parchment, Mich., is being cited for “intentionally causing interference to other amateur radio operators and failing to provide station identification,” according to a notice from the Federal Communications Commission.

According to the FCC, several complaints from other hams have been filed against Guernsey for monopolizing 14.313 MHz, going back as far as 2003. This last March, field agents from the commission’s Detroit office tracked the interference to the address on record for Guernsey’s station, KZ80. They monitored his transmissions, which a prerecorded song and animal sounds.

“The agents heard Mr. Guernsey intentionally interfering with other amateur licensees by transmitting a prerecorded song and various animal noises. These transmissions were a deliberate act to monopolize the frequency and prevent other amateur radio operators from conducting legitimate communications,” the notice stated.

The interference was said to be aimed at two other has with whom Guernsey “has had a longstanding and well-documented dispute,” it said.

During the 40 minutes field agents monitored KZ80, Guernsey also failed to transmit his call sign, which is required at 10-minute intervals.

The base fine for interference is $7,000, while ID failure is $1,000. However, the commission increased Guernsey’s fine to $22,000 based on his “deliberate disregard” of several warnings from the FCC’s Enforcement Bureau.

“Mr. Guernsey has been repeatedly warned in writing by the Enforcement Bureau about causing interference to other amateur radio operators. This history of noncompliance, combined with Mr. Guernsey’s deliberate disregard for commission authority, warrants a significantly increased penalty,” the notice stated.