Tuesday, December 29, 2015

FCC Proposes $25,000 Fine for Interference (But That's Not the Whole Story)

The FCC has proposed fining a California ham $25,000 for alleged intentional interference to a net on 75 meters this past August. But the FCC's history with William Crowell, W6WBJ (ex-N6AYJ) goes back 15 years and his 2007 license renewal application was put on hold and then designated for hearing in 2008. To the best of our knowledge, no hearing has been held and Crowell's 2007 renewal application is still listed as "pending."
In the current case, the Commission responded to complaints that Crowell was deliberately interfering with the Western Amateur Radio Friendship Association net on 3908 kHz on multiple occasions in August 2015. Agents reportedly tracked the source of interfering transmissions to Crowell's station in Diamond Springs, California, and noted that the transmissions included music as well as "racial, ethnic, and sexual slurs and epithets." It proposed fining him $25,000.

Curiously, the Notice of Apparent Liability makes only a single reference in a footnote to the fact that Crowell's license renewal application was designated for hearing seven years ago. Reasons for that designation included allegations of intentional interference, transmitting music, indecent language and one-way communications on amateur frequencies. 

When a renewal application is listed as pending, the licensee may continue to operate even though his/her license has technically expired. There is no indication in any publicly-available FCC documents as to why the hearing process is dragging on nearly through the entire term of the license renewal that the Commission has thus far denied.