Friday, April 11, 2014

The Very Strange Case of W9NTP and the FBI

Don Miller, W9NTP, is well-known in amateur radio as a pioneer in slow-scan TV techniques and a leader in promoting the use of the mode. Back in 1972, he was recognized for his efforts as Dayton's Radio Amateur of the Year. Don has also traveled extensively and in the course of his travels over the past eight decades, has amassed a huge collection of artifacts from all over the world. These artifacts, which had been stored at Don's home in Waldron, Indiana, are now in the hands of the FBI, which seized the entire collection in early April, trying to determine if any of the materials had been obtained or imported illegally. 
Several Indiana newspapers and TV stations showed photos of a massive FBI presence outside Miller's home, with tents set up around his property and a variety of vehicles. An FBI spokesman told CBS that neither the total number of items in Miller's collection nor their monetary value had been determined, but said "the cultural value of these artifacts is immeasurable."

The FBI is cataloging each item and trying to determine where and when each one was obtained, which is important because some may have been collected before various laws and treaties regarding cultural artifacts took effect. As of our deadline, Miller had not been charged with any offense, and he told CBS he was cooperating with the FBI but maintained that he "absolutely" had rightful ownership of everything in his collection.