Second Ham Fined for Frequency Interference

WASHINGTON— A second ham radio operator has been busted this week for interfering with the operations of his fellow amateur radio station operators. Brian Brow of North Huntingdon, Penn, was fined $11,500 by the Federal Communications Commission for “intentionally causing interference to other amateur radio operators and failing to provide station identification.” Ham frequencies are shared. Licensees are not allowed to monopolize them.

“Deliberate interference undermines the utility of the Amateur Radio Service by preventing communications among licensed users that comply with the commission’s rules,” the FCC censure stated. “In addition, the failure to transmit call sign information disrupts the orderly administration of the Amateur Radio Service by preventing licensed users from identifying a transmission’s source. Mr. Crow was warned previously in writing by the Enforcement Bureau about causing interference to other amateur radio operators, warranting an increased penalty.”

Crow was the second ham operator this week to be fined by the FCC. Michael Guernsey of Parchment, Mich., was fined $22,000 for monopolizing the ham frequency with prerecorded music and “animal sounds,” according to the Notice of Apparent Liability for Forfeiture describing his violation. Guernsey was said to be involved in a “long-standing and well-documented dispute” with fellow ham operators on the frequency. (See “Ham Operators Gets $22,000 Fine for Hogging Frequency.”)

Crow, who received the lesser fine, is licensee of K3VR in North Huntingdon, where FCC field agents found him to be transmitting slow-scan television and “a prerecorded voice transmission of another amateur station on the frequency,” during a three-hour period. Crow was not heard to broadcast his call sign, which is required at 10-minute intervals for hams using the frequency. Upon a site inspection, Crow told field agents he was not at his station location—his home—when the interfering transmissions occurred. The FCC said it didn’t matter whether he was there or not, and that his operation was interfering with open use of the frequency.

Crow’s violations merited an $8,000 base fine, which the FCC upward adjusted to $11,500 based on a finding that he continued monopolizing the frequency after the commission warned him not to do so.