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Avoiding complaints

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Avoiding complaints

The FCC does not do any kind of active monitoring or patroling or trying to catch anybody, they do not function like a poiice agency. If they want to bust somebody they must call the local police themselves.

The rules are for deciding if they can punish you AFTER they investigate you. Something has to provoke them to investigate you, which means somebody must file a complaint.

The important topic to me is how to avoid a complaint. What causes complaints :

-- you are getting out all over town and people notice you, especially commercial broadcasters

--you are interfering with another signal somebody else cares about

-- your signal is getting into other electronic equipment like your neighbors stereo speakers or wired telephone. 

--somebody sees your antenna and doesn't like it being there, especially a problem with home owners associations.

-- you are putting out some kind of content that somebody doesn't like, such as politics or curse words.

you could think of more I'm sure.

Sources

You make many claims in your post.  What experience or sources do you have for this?

Neil

 

I have read the FCC's own

I have read the FCC's own enforcement actions and I have observations of what the FCC actually does. People think it is a police force like the FBI but that is not the case. 

Read enforcement actions for yourself here

http://transition.fcc.gov/eb/sed/ulo.html

The FCC is a regulatory body like the Federal Trade Commission or other similar commisions. 

I'm not sure I agree

"The FCC does not do any kind of active monitoring or patroling or trying to catch anybody, they do not function like a poiice agency. If they want to bust somebody they must call the local police themselves."

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QIGAOLJh-XE

FCC Monitoring Locations:

http://willsnook.com/maps/fcc

Druid Hills Radio AM-1710- Dade City, FL. Unlicensed operation authorized by the Part 15 Department of the FCC and our Resident Hobby Agent.  

The FCC does not randomly

The FCC does not randomly monitor or randomly drive around looking for small time hobbyists to bust.

Here are the actual enforcement actions of the FCC and you can tell what they are after and how they operate.

http://transition.fcc.gov/eb/sed/ulo.html

Its pretty clear they are going after the pirate stations. 

The FCC does not randomly

The FCC does not randomly monitor or randomly drive around looking for people to bust. 

So who's sitting at Vero Beach or Powder Springs? The Good Humor Man?

Druid Hills Radio AM-1710- Dade City, FL. Unlicensed operation authorized by the Part 15 Department of the FCC and our Resident Hobby Agent.  

Do not think that there is

Do not think that there is some FCC employee whose job is to randomly go after hobby am transmitters with 100 milliwatts.  Please check out actual enforcement actions, it is on their website. 

http://transition.fcc.gov/eb/sed/ulo.html

I didn't say that.

I didn't say that.

YOU said: "The FCC does not do any kind of active monitoring..." I ask what do you think these monitoring stations are for?

Druid Hills Radio AM-1710- Dade City, FL. Unlicensed operation authorized by the Part 15 Department of the FCC and our Resident Hobby Agent.  

I think they are primarily

I have said my opinion pretty clearly.  

You are hijacking this thread by the way, the topic is how to avoid complaints. 

There has been no hijacking

There has been no hijacking here.  As I stated in the other thread that you started, if you're going to put forward your opinions in the Forum, you'd better be prepared to back them up.  Someone disagreeing with you (and quite rightly, I might add), is not 'hijacking' the thread.

I was discussing facts

This is rediculous , please delete all of my comments and my account. 

skywave stated "The FCC does

skywave stated "The FCC does not do any kind of active monitoring or patroling or trying to catch anybody, they do not function like a poiice agency. If they want to bust somebody they must call the local police themselves."  That's the opening statement of the original post in this thread.

That is an opinion, period.  And there are plenty of examples that contradict that opinion.   Including at least one in this thread.

The conclusion of the original poster appears to be based upon that erroneous opinion - because the FCC does not actively seek out violators, you won't get caught if no one complains.

I would not bet the farm on that conclusion.

In actual fact, if you are attempting to operate legally (such as using a certified transmitter, ensuring that you're not broadcasting over an existing signal, etc.), then you have no reason to fear anyone complaining about you (particularly on FM, where your signal is unlikely to be heard very far off your property unless someone is using a particularly sensitive radio, such as a car radio).

FCC Monitoring stations

The FCC apparently closed all 12 remaining monitoring locations about 11 years ago, so the info in post # 4 by Druid Hills citing willsnook.com is a bit outdated. 

https://groups.google.com/forum/#!msg/rec.radio.cb/Yd1L5ZxVjqs/CjREXoxn-_IJ

For example, the one in Belfast, ME is long gone, but is on the map cited by willsnook.com.  A friend of mine lived right across the street from it, but has been a vacant field now for many years.

FCC ACTIVE MONITORING

DHR, I enjoyed the vid clip of the FCC engineer and vehicle. Very cool!  However I beieve this only happens after a complaint is received. If I am mistaken, and FCC engineers are patrolling the whole country looking for Part15 stations in violation technicalities, then I'd say the FCC needs to get its priorities re-organized, and probably have its budget reduced by 80% or more.

Jim Henry HBR Radio 1610, serving Honey Brook, PA. and NW Chester County.

Rules and This Site

I believe the issue is whether we respect and try to follow the rules and is not what we think we can get away with without being caught.  Call me old fashioned but I believe that conscience is what you do when no one is looking.

Neil

 

Well, here's what I think...

We really have to guess a bit based on available information.  Can someon epoint to a NOUO that starts with "While conducting our routine surveillance monitoring of the City of New York, we happened upon a signal....".  No, I don't think so. To think that the FCC has the resources to send cars around the country, up and down every road, street and alley, seeking out tiny Part 15 signals is just silly.  However I would be easily convinced that in areas where there is known active and regular pirate activity, yes, I'm sure the FCC has active monitoring programs in effect.

The idea that the FCC issues vioations, inspections, etc without calling the local police is obviously wrong.  Yes, in some cases this is necessary, but I'll put money on less than 1% of Part 15 or pirate violations involve any form of law enforcement. I've read hundreds of these FCC reports.  Local LE being called in is extremely rare. I imagine in Florida things may be different, since there a pirate would also be violating state law, so more than FCC regulations would be involved. 

Basically, if you are found to be in violation, in most cases, you won't even SEE an FCC agent. I'm sure this depends on the size of the violation and the judgement of the agent. You WILL shortly see a NOUO in your mailbox. It will spell out the details of the violation.  You must stop operating illegally and you must respond.  Note that no NOUO that I've ever read says you have to go off the air, throw out your equipment, or go into hiding. You certainly have the right to make the necessary repairs, adjustments or modifications to your operation to BE legal, and respond to the notice that you have taken corrective actions are are now operating properly. For example, this would be a proper response to a NOUO that, perhaps, told you your FM signal was at 800 uV/m at 3 meters:

"Dear FCC: Thank you for your notice alerting me to the fact that my FM transmitter was operating outside of Part 15 rules.  I was operating a FCC certified XYZ brand transmitter that was installed exactly according to the provided instructions.  I have since obtained the services of a broadcast radio engineer, Mr. Tom Smith, of LMNOP Broadcasting, FCC license number 1234567.  He was able to verify that indeed my transmitter was exceeding the limit.  He was able to make internal adjustments to my transmitter to bring it within the requirements of Part 15, taking field intensity readings with the TUGH57 meter, a device commonly used in such work.  I am quite certain that my transmitter is now operating within the Part 15 rules.  I invite your office to visit and verify this if you feel it is necessary.  Again, thank you for bringing this to my attention.  Sincerely, AJ Radioguy. "

Notes: Remember, you do not have to have a certified transmitter to operate. You can certainly build your own, or do whatever you want to the one you have, as long as the signal meets the field strength rule. Being certified does not excuse you from being responsible for operating within the law, and you can certainly do what you need to a certified device to make it legal.  Obviously, you also don't have to get a licensed engineer -- the letter could just have easily explained that YOU picked up a Potomac FIM, did your own readings, made your own adjustments, and believe that you have adjusted things to legal.  A NOUO doesn't say SHUT DOWN, it says STOP ILLEGAL transmissions.  If you take steps to make it legal, get on with it. On AM, if you get a notice that you have a long ground lead, your AM antenna is to long, etc.  FIX it, respond, and continue.  Be cordial and professional.

Obviously, many of the suggestions to avoid complaints above are quite valid. Most inspections leading to a NOUO are going to come from a complaint.  If you go on the air ranting against the government, swearing and talking crude, playing what most would consider horrendous music, you may get a complaint. Now, you DO, at least on part 15, have freedom of speech, and you can certainly broadcast suich things, but if you do so you better make damn sure your system is 100% legal, so when the inspector drops in you're good. They can't get you on content broadcast, but this content can easily lead to complaints and an inspection.

So torqued off people listening is a source of a complaint.  Another major source of a compllaint would be other stations managers, owners, and engineers. If your FM causes interference for the guy next door, or across the street, who enjoys listening to the FM classical station 60 miles away, and his reception is marginal, or he put up an antenna to get it, and you come on blasting your ganster rap on the frequency (because you didn't check to see and consider that someone might be trying to listen to a distant station) you can be pretty sure he'll complain.  He may not call the FCC, he may call the station complaining that he's getting interference.  They'd likely send their engineer to investigate, and HE may discover you and file a complaint.  So run a clean signal and make sure you're not on a frequency that's got a signal there, no matter how weak it is. 

Hams are another source of a complaint. Either because some of them enjoy playing enforcer, or because someone they know mentioned your station to them, or you're bragging about coverage that can't be legal, etc. If you have a concern, maybe you, or someone you know, kows a local ham.  Talk with them, tell them about your station, explain what you're doing.  Word will spread that you're not a crackpot pirate and they just might help you out. 

Commercial station management is generally very paranoid about ANY sort of competition. Even your puny Part 15 will likely be perceived as competition, especially if they think you're not legal, and stealing listeners or, heaven forbid, advertisers! This is likelly to get a complaint.  There's nothing illegal about selling ads on your Part 15.  But make sure you're legal, so if a complaint comes in you can proudly show the FCC man your clean, legal, station. 

So, yes, avoiding complaints in the first place is a good idea. 

Obviously when the FCC busts a full blown pirate running hundreds of watts they're probably not going to expect a letter response to their NOUO that they've adjusted the transmitter to legal.  And naturally they have to make their enforcement action a bit more agressive.  There's a big difference from their point of view to busting some buy with a little transmitter in his house that's maybe a couple hundred uV/m over the limit, compared to a full blown operation with hundreds of watts and antennas on the roof.  Just like the DEA doesn't bring the SWAT team for a guy caught with a joint in his living room.

Like my kids say just DBAD. (Don't be a dick) and it will help a lot!

TIB

Blind Man Walking In Traffic

As I drive the streets beyond range of my own part 15 AM or FM stations, I listen to "my" channels to observe what they sound like as I roll along.

On AM 1680 I drive in and out of all kinds of part 15 violations, including leaky DSL lines on the poles that flood the band with hashy-trashy buzz, heavy moaning from power transformers, even "unknown" radio stations that appear and disappear without identification, so it would take awhile to stop and determine if they were licensed in some far away place.

On FM 89.5 I am on the fringes of 3 low power stations located in a triangle all around me. Most of the drive I here a mix of un-intelligible traces, but in certain spots I get a clear reading for about 10-feet and wonder... "Is this one of the low power licensed stations or could it be a pirate?"

IF I was a rule enforcer looking for violaters I would be working 20-hour days tracking down light bulbs, arc-welders, verifying licensed signals and eventually taking short-cuts by ignoring most of it so as to allow time for lunch.

My plan is: be ready if the door knocks, be wearing a shirt and tie with freshly baked goodies for the welcoming tour so the FCC man can do his job.

In 10-years of operation no visitors have arrived.

Carl Blare

As usual, in life (and this

As usual, in life (and this Forum) the devil is in the intent, and details.

If your intent is to give advice on operating legally, then avoiding complaints is a good idea, as they're symptomatic of not doing that.  It's kind of like saying, if you're teaching someone about the rules of the road - you should avoid crossing a busy highway outside of a crosswalk, as bad things can happen.

But if the intent is to give advice on how to avoid complaints so that you can operate illegally and not get caught, which appears to be the case here, then there are issues with that, at least in this Forum.

And to state that the FCC doesn't care if you operate somewhat illegally (whatever that means) as long as you don't generate complaints is just not being responsible, to your fellow Part 15 broadcasters or to newbies.  The FCC DOES care - their actions over the years (and not just a small sample size) have demonstrated that.  Whether they're acting on specific complaints, or they've just found out about a station (however they do that) and decided to investigate is not always apparent, and most of the time those outside the FCC will never know.

The intent of this Forum is not to frighten, but to inform.  Not to speculate about the FCC's intent, but to clearly lay out the rules and parameters for those whose intent is to operate legally, which hopefully, is every member of this Forum.

My intent now is to give this subject a rest.

Timinbovey said: " Another

Timinbovey said: " Another major source of a compllaint would be other stations managers, owners, and engineers. If your FM causes interference for the guy next door, or across the street, who enjoys listening to the FM classical station 60 miles away, and his reception is marginal, or he put up an antenna to get it, and you come on blasting your ganster rap on the frequency (because you didn't check to see and consider that someone might be trying to listen to a distant station) you can be pretty sure he'll complain.  He may not call the FCC, he may call the station complaining that he's getting interference.  They'd likely send their engineer to investigate, and HE may discover you and file a complaint.  So run a clean signal and make sure you're not on a frequency that's got a signal there, no matter how weak it is. "

 

This is why I’m adamant about checking especially in the summertime for temperature inversions (Otherwise known as the ducting effect or sporadic E) whereas a distant station that comes in sometimes like early mornings only.

 

Tim hit the nail almost on the head with what I’ve been talking about. Most complaints against other Radio hobby broadcasters is due to the fact that the operator fails to use good judgment when picking a frequency in which they will begin broadcasting on.

 

Skywave has a very valid point too and I don’t see why people don’t see his points as valid. There is really NO WAY you can 100% tell your FM signal is indeed legal unless you do as Timinbovey done and get a hold of a field intensity meter and know how to use it. Who has the $15K laying around their house?

 

Oh well back to your regularly scheduled life of fear.

Progressive Rock (Album Rock, Deep Tracks), Classic Rock

http://thelegacy.shorturl.com

More Power for Hobby Broadcasters

http://the-initiative.boards.net/

TheLegacy, I suggest that you

TheLegacy, I suggest that you reread the previous posts for the reasons why there was concern about skywave's diatribes (including being unwilling to listen and respond civilly to opposing points of view).  If one is attempting to operate legally (which includes ensuring that you are broadcasting on a frequency that generates no interference), then there is no reason to fear complaints at all.

And yes, there is no way to know for sure if you are operating legally unless you can measure field strength.  But you can get a pretty good idea by your range, which under FM is severely restricted.  Anyone who has done any sort of research before just buying a transmitter, plugging it in and broadcasting should know that.  Enough said.

Here is Powder Springs taken in 2017

https://www.google.com/maps/dir//33.862333,-84.723833/@33.8645644,-84.7235558,134m/data=!3m1!1e3

Notice the cars in the parking lot.

Druid Hills Radio AM-1710- Dade City, FL. Unlicensed operation authorized by the Part 15 Department of the FCC and our Resident Hobby Agent.  

Another

https://www.google.com/maps/dir//21.376,-157.995583/@21.3766237,-157.9960367,305m/data=!3m1!1e3

 

Druid Hills Radio AM-1710- Dade City, FL. Unlicensed operation authorized by the Part 15 Department of the FCC and our Resident Hobby Agent.  

Somebody mentioned Hams

Somebody mentioned Hams turning you in. True. The FCC certifies certain Hams with the "Extra" license to go around signal hunting. They are well equipped to bust you, leading to a cut-it-out letter.

 

 

Centinel

CENTINEL Reveals a Little Known Inside Secret

Hearing about a "deal" or "agreement" between the FCC and designated HAMs is no surprise.

Are such "Extra" HAMs trained for this effort?

Are these HAMs able to differntiate between legal part 15 stations and actual violators?

Carl Blare

 I I think rather than

 I I think rather than looking at Johnny quarter-mile the FCC has far bigger fish to fry. Check out the initiative website look under FCC information and look for the Post which talks about these Ham operators which are rule violators. I posted the links on the Alp site and I could go to my site in a little bit and copy and paste the links themselves.

 

 now hear this one you won't believe it. Some of the rule violators that were cussing and doing racist comments along with jamming were... The extra class ham radio operators. So with that being revealed I bet the FCC will change their stance on that one.

Progressive Rock (Album Rock, Deep Tracks), Classic Rock

http://thelegacy.shorturl.com

More Power for Hobby Broadcasters

http://the-initiative.boards.net/

This is old news.  It happens

This is old news.  It happens all the time.  Luckily, the ham violators are few and far between, compared to the total number of amateur radio operators.  Unfortunately, their signals are often heard around the world, due to the frequencies being used.

I used to listen in occasionally on 3.840, the old Art Bell net, for a laugh, as a number of these idiots used to congregate there. 

The entire situation is different on the ham bands, though.  You're only affecting other hobbyists, you're not affecting businesses, and you're also not affecting the same number of listeners (usually, only other hams).  Most ignore these yahoos.

The ARRL and the FCC are well aware of the violators.  Many lose their licenses, although some have been doing it for quite a while.  And even if they do lose their license, they can pop up again, as it's not all that hard to purchase the equipment and operate without one (much like broadcast band pirates).

Focusing on others that are violating FCC rules doesn't do anything to advance the Initiative to get more power for hobby broadcasting (if that is indeed the intention).  Just as focusing on the violations of licensed stations, as some do, does little good either.

I've always found it better to worry about your own situation, which you can control.  You can't control the other stuff.

Very Informative Stuff

The postings from TheLegacy and ArtisanRadio about HAM activity does a lot to fill me in on that side of radio life.

As interested as I am I have not found the time to spend much time listening to HAM transmissions or getting a sense of how well organized and responsible they are as a group.

Especially good was Artisan's perspective on the great difference between what HAMs do and what we do with Part 15.

To recap somewhat, Part 15 stations are right there mixed in with the AM FM stations heard by the general public, which is a whole different neighborhood than the more esoteric HAM frequencies and sometimes the special technology required to hear them, such as SSB.

Years ago I had a Panasonic radio with a 2-meter VHF HAM band and listened to conversations... and was blown away when some of them started exchanging gossip about members of a local orchestra that I knew personally. Wow! Like listening in on a private phone call.

Carl Blare

To continue on about amateur

To continue on about amateur radio for a little more, usually (not always, but usually) listeners on the ham bands are also amateur radio operators, and the purpose of listening is to establish a two way conversation.  Totally unlike Part 15 broadcasting, where there is a one to many (at least in theory) relationship between a radio station and its listeners, and only one way 'conversations'.

Because of the differences, amateur radio tends to be highly self-regulating, as abusers affect everyone's ability to converse.  I believe it's also this that causes hams to be highly intolerant of broadcast band abusers,

Of course, there really is no reason to abuse privileges in amateur radio - you're allowed up to 1000 watts output, multiple dedicated frequencies, a wide variety of communication modes, etc.  But then, there are always those few that are intellectually challenged, and think that it's amusing to attempt to bother others.

Here is the thing it hurts

Here is the thing it hurts more than just the hobbyist that are on that frequency or that 40 meter amateur radio band and here's why.

 

  Leaders from other countries often monitor the shortwave bands to hear what is going on in the rest of the world. Let's say someone from Germany who is a leader of the country happens to monitor 7200 kilohertz. An amateur radio operator says F all Germans let's kill the Germans and send them out of this country. Well that could start a war against our country because it shows other countries that we are nothing but warmongers and it gives them a reason to try and send a nuclear bomb to the United States.

 

We are already in a very tight and fragile relationship with Iran and yet this one amateur radio operator was talking about how Michigan was being taken over by Irain and How Michigan folks need to take back their land even by violent Force. The leaders from Iran could pick up that signal there's nothing stopping that from happening and in retaliation they could start trouble with our country.

 keep in mind that the 40 meter amateur radio band is not like 6 meters or 2 meters where it only will stay within the country of the United States 40 meters can travel around the world two or three times depending on how much power you're driving to your antenna.

 

Some of these lids have continuously done these sort of crimes on the to band one of which is K9RSY and N2FUV followed by K3VR.  k1LEM  has been doing a very good job of trashing the 40 meter band both on 78th200 kilohertz and 7185 and 7188 kH. Every once in a while they go up to 14.313 megahertz.

 

 in case some of you folks don't realize that the if frequencies for many radios and mini amplifiers and TVs reside between 10 and 15 megahertz. How many times have you ever heard a shortwave station come in on your amplifier or computer speakers? I have heard it in the background of my speakers a few times. It usually doesn't last long but at the same time I have heard it.

 

 whether or not sm you could receive sideband these loud noises that some of the hams were generating could possibly cause potential interference. They would sound like dead carriers or some sort of weird noises but none-the-less could still leak into nearby radios and if the DX conditions are just right could come in two other if devices Nationwide.

 

 one ham operator made a comment that it was a victimless crime. Not so much because this crime could cause issues with our country and there could be many victims of the casualties caused by these folks running at the mouth and not thinking about what they're transmitting over the air worldwide mind you.

Progressive Rock (Album Rock, Deep Tracks), Classic Rock

http://thelegacy.shorturl.com

More Power for Hobby Broadcasters

http://the-initiative.boards.net/

Really? Evidence please.

I've been a ham since 1969. I've been a broadcast radio engineer with a First Phone since 1978.  I have never heard a word that the FCC certifies hams to go around signal hunting.

I would be most interested in seeing any sort of documentation that such a program exists.

There IS, however the "OO" program (Official Observer) sponsored by the ARRL.  However, this effects ONLY hams, and the "OO" notifies the ham operator that they appear to be violating some rule, and is a system designed to PREVENT the FCC from issuing a violation by having an OO lst them know about the issue first.

I have, lo these many decades, been unaware of hams being certified to drive around signal hunting.  Please point to some information about this.

Here's the most recent on the OO program:

 

Official Observer (OO)

Please note:  The ARRL and the FCC are currently working together to update and to make changes to the Official Observer/Amateur Auxiliary program.  Because of these expected upcoming revisions and changes, ARRL has placed a moratorium on applications for new Official Observers and new Official Observer Coordinators at this time.

 

The Official Observer (OO) program has been sponsored by the ARRL for more than 85 years to help Amateur Radio operators assist each other to operate their stations in compliance with Federal Communications Commission (FCC) regulations.

Official Observer appointees have assisted thousands of Amateur Radio operators to maintain their transmitting equipment and comply with operating procedures and regulations. The object of the OO program is to notify amateurs of operating and technical irregularities before they come to the attention of the FCC and to recognize good operating practices.

The OO program serves as the first line of "eyes and ears" for the FCC. It is the backbone of the Amateur Auxiliary. OOs are certified in the Auxiliary by passing a mandatory written examination.

The OO performs his/her function by observing rather than transmitting.  They keep watch for such things as frequency instability, harmonics, hum, key clicks, broad signals, distorted audio, over deviation, out-of-band operation and other potential problems. The OO completes his/her task once the notification card is sent.

In substantive rule violations cases, OOs refer problems to ARRL HQ.  After review by HQ staff, the OO may be requested to provide additional information that may be forwarded to the FCC for possible enforcement action.

Responsibilities :

  • Reporting to the ARRL Section OO Coordinator monthly on Form FSD-23.
  • Sending out advisory notices as needed.
  • Submitting good operator reports as warranted.

Requirements:

  • Recommendation of ARRL Section Manager
  • Pass an examination based on study of the ARRL's Amateur Auxiliary Training Manual
  • Full ARRL membership
  • Technician class license or higher for at least four years

You can follow the link above for information on the Amature Auxiliary.  Notice this is all for AMATEUR to AMATEUR ONLY.  

Obviously hams are more aware of things happening on the bands and if they suspected a pirate operation might investigate and/or report.  But none I've ever heard of has ever been certified by the FCC to cruise around sluething the bands.

TIB

Where do you guys get this stuff?

Much of what getting posted on this site is becoming nonsense: not grounded in fact.

Druid Hills Radio AM-1710- Dade City, FL. Unlicensed operation authorized by the Part 15 Department of the FCC and our Resident Hobby Agent.  

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