Tuesday, June 21, 2022

FCC Proposes Huge Fine for Firefighter QRM

The FCC has proposed fining an Idaho ham $34,000 for what it called willful and repeated transmissions on fire control frequencies during a wildfire operation in the state in 2021. According to the ARRL Letter, the FCC says Jason Frawley,WA7CQ, of Lewiston, repeatedly interfered with U.S. Forest Service and Idaho Department of Land firefighting personnel by transmitting on government frequencies on which he was not licensed to operate. Frawley reportedly told the FCC he was trying to help, not interfere, by passing along information about the area in which the fire was burning, with which he said he was very familiar.

The Commission didn’t buy Frawley’s argument, noting that this was the largest fine it had ever imposed for this type of interference. The case even drew the attention of FCC Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel, who said the transmissions “put fire suppression and public safety itself at risk,” noting, “You can’t interfere with public safety communications. Full stop.”