Thoughts on Rule Interpretation

We see on a regular basis varying interpretations of FCC rules generated by "an agent".

You can, wihtout too much trouble, find people who insist 1710 is a perfect frequency to use.

You can find people who insist having their transmitter on top of a tower or roof with a short wire connecting their transmitter ground to the structure as a legal short ground lead. Of that a long ground lead was OK as it was "lightning protection". 

And the list goes on.

And they often say "Well, I had an FCC agent out here who inspected my station and said everything was fine".  NEVER in one of these cases do we have ANY documentation of this FCC agents visit.  Where is his report?  I'm sure he had to file something. I would specifically ask an agent for something written that stated I was in compliance. Where is the agents name?  The date of the inspection? 

Now, lets say that an actual FCC agent came and did an inspection and approved a long ground lead, or a non-compliant frequency, or whatever.   Does the fact that he approved it change the law?  NO.  Yet so many seem to think so.  "Well, now that we know a long ground lead is OK....".  NO.  The law didn't change. 

If I get pulled over driving down the freeway at 80 in a 65 MPH zone, and the officer decides not to give me a ticket, does this mean the speed limit has changed to 80?  NO!

I find all these "the agent says it was OK" stories to be sketchy at best.  And even if they were all true, not ONE of them changes any law. 

TIB

Carl Blare's picture

Tim reports:  "The law didn't change."

I'll do you another.

Some people have said that "FCC regs are RULES and not LAWS."

The only comparison I can think of is the couple that strolled past my yard while their loose cat tried to kill my rabbit.

I called, "The law says your pet has to be leashed!"

The guy shouted back, " That's not a law, it's an ORDINANCE!"

Oh well, I thought, if it was just an ordinance...

Carl Blare

Thelegacy's picture

I also did a search on 1710 kilohertz because I picked up a station on the web SDR on 1710 kilohertz and it was the Springfield Armory. I did find that government installations are allowed to use that frequency.

 

Now here's where things get a little interesting and I think that's where the rumors had started that it became legal. I found an application for a rule change this was around 2009 or 2010. The applicant stated that since government installs were allowed to use 1710 kilohertz for broadcast they were trying to use or change the ruling so that low-powered part 15 stations and travelers information stations could use 1710 kilohertz. Reading down the application a little bit more we find that at one time 1708 kilohertz was used for aeronautical purposes.

 

As I read further we see that that frequency has been abandoned and the applicant asked that the FCC allow the frequencies for citizens to use for low-power broadcasting. However the app was never approved that I could see so unless something has changed I don't see anything stating that it is 100% legal to use therefore I'm kind of like Artisan radio is I wouldn't go and use that frequency  unless you want to take a risk on getting a NOUO which is really not worth it.

 

And while we speak of rule interpretation when the agents came to my place and I do have their numbers and emails we talked about advertising and paid advertising at that. If you do paid advertising and there is anything out of the ordinary going on with your unlicensed broadcast they do take a harder look at that because at this point you are not considered hobby broadcaster anymore you're considered as a competitor to commercial broadcasting.

 

I was told this by the agent that I have good relations with now and another agent of the enforcement Bureau as well so I did get a second opinion. They both told me that I need to use certified part 15 transmitter and observe the part 15 rules and at the same time not to start doing paid advertising. For example I can say this station has been brought to you from proceeds from Aaron's lease to own. But I cannot say by this Phillips 50 in HDTV at Aarons because at that point it is considered paid advertising and you are not considered as a hobby broadcaster.

 

Also the office of engineering and Technology was mentioned and there are certain things that they do not go for. The rest of the FCC has to follow what is laid out by the office of engineering and technology or otherwise known as oet. This is where you get your oet bulletins. My best suggestion for you if you have a question to call the public number for the FCC and ask a question. After all my experience with them they are not monsters or evil entities like some people may think. Their concern is keeping the airwaves clean from interference and from those who seek to use it and abused it. If you're not out there to cause trouble there should be no reason you should be afraid to call the FCC and ask them a question.

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

http://thelegacy.shorturl.com

More Power for Hobby Broadcasters

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

ArtisanRadio's picture

Until such time as they change the rules, using frequencies such as 1710 or 87.9 etc. is not operating within the rules.  And it's not like you can say that you didn't realize what you were doing (as you can try with FM field strength).

While accepting paid advertising may get you closer scutiny by the FCC, it still isn't operating against any rules or laws.  It just means you had better be compliant.  Using Tim's analogy, they aren't going to let you off without a speeding ticket, whereas they might otherwise.

Moral of the story - operate within the rules as best you can.

radio8z's picture

Law, rule, or ordinance?  What's the difference if violation of same can result in penalities?  Changing the name won't change the outcome.

I  have several friends in law enforcement and they mostly tell me that they are interested in compliance rather than collection unless it is near the end of the month and their supervisor advises them to make their quota.  They also tell of the sometimes humorous stories people will spin to try to get out of a citation.  Point being, they have discretion and this is then used by those who "get a break" from enforcement as rationalization to bend the rules.  It is just human nature.

Having studied the Part 15 rules I don't recall any reference to hobby vs. commercial use of license free operation so is this just another interpretation by someone or did I miss this written in the rules?  In fact, Part 15 rules governing license free broadcasting are likely the most unrestrictive in terms of what is transmitted as compared to other FCC regulations.  This doesn't mean that broadcasting objectionable material will not attract close scrutiny, just that it is not in the rules.

I believe that Parts 15.209, 15.219, 15.239 and some of the others pertaining to what we are doing are simple and clear.  Even the much discussed ground lead length is simple.  They become complicated when we try to find loopholes or redefine terminology.

Neil

 

timinbovey's picture

There are No rules, laws or ordinances relating to paid advertising, or if you're competing with a commercial broadcaster. The rules also do not refer to any difference between hobby broadcasting or commercial broadcasting, etc. Nor is content regulated. 

An agent may decide to be more strict if he thinks you're commercial, but it is certainly no violation of any rule. And any violation in reference to paid ads or being commercial certainly would not stand up. However, the same rules for compliance would be in effect no matter what you're broadcasting. An agent may decide to cut a clear hobby guy some slack over a commercial operation, but that is not a rule, and just his personal preference to do so.

Any FCC rules that change will be published. They're not kept secret. Up until that time, any changes are rumors at best.

TIB

timinbovey's picture

This is a CLEAR example of agents making things up:

 

"I was told this by the agent that I have good relations with now and another agent of the enforcement Bureau as well so I did get a second opinion. They both told me that I need to use certified part 15 transmitter and observe the part 15 rules and at the same time not to start doing paid advertising. For example I can say this station has been brought to you from proceeds from Aaron's lease to own. But I cannot say by this Phillips 50 in HDTV at Aarons because at that point it is considered paid advertising and you are not considered as a hobby broadcaster."

The rules clearly allow for a non-certified transmitter, as long as the rules are met.  There are ZERO rules stating you need a certified transmitter if you're "commercial", nor do the rules specify any differences or alternate rules for hobby or commercial Part 15 transmissions.  These are CLEARLY agents who  are MAKING THIS UP.  They may be the nicest guys on the block, but they are full of BS. 

Anything the OET comes up with still must be made into a rule and be published before it can be enforced. 

TIB

ArtisanRadio's picture

You do have to use a certified transmitter in Canada.  BETS if you're broadcasting, RSS210 for any other intentional transmitting.  That's for the Canadian members here who may think that the FCC rules apply to Canada.  They don't.  In many cases they're similar, but FCC certification is not good enough here.

 

Carl Blare's picture

The notion that the FCC functions as a "public trustee" to administer the "public airwaves" is past history in today's corporatacracy, but some semblence of public service would be retained if the FCC assigned staff to contribute on our two forums.

By clearing up matters of rule by speaking directly, a lot of speculation and guesswork could be settled.

I doubt that the hobby section of the part 15 rules is important enough in the age of big money to warrent much thought on the part of the Commission, so changes that might be reasonably made are unlikely to see ink.

Yet, at the same time, uncertainty and ignorance benfits the low power forums because unless we keep repeating the same few rules and opinions over and over again there would be nothing else to say and the forums would go dead.

 

Carl Blare

Mark's picture

If you are having paid advertising it may not be a rule in the part 15 rules with hobbybroadcasting but there's another rule that has been missed and that is the rule that if you are having paid advertising and making money at this you are now running a business and getting an income and that comes under a different rule....like you need to keep books and PAY TAX! The gov't doesn't like it when you have income but don't pay tax. This is why the agents said keep it a hobby and no paid advertising.

In Thelegacy's case he got a visit because his Chinese transmitter was causing interference and he even knew of the interference it was causing(according to his facebook page) so they said use a certified transmitter so this won't happen. They were just suggesting how to not let this happen in the future. A reasonable request and he's good to go. Don't cause interference.

I think that here in Canada where nothing is written in stone in the BETS-1 rules(IC or CRTC) about paid advertising if you are using this to make money you are now transferred to the rules of running a busness and paying tax(just my opinion though)

 

 

Thelegacy's picture

I believe keeping the agreement with the agents I made is a good idea.

I beleive your right Tim about the commercials however I think I'll do as was discussed at my table and on the phone and keep a good relationship with these agents who see my drive to keep Album Rock alive and have been more than willing to help me do so and continue to broadcast LEGALLY!

 

I also know your allowed to use kits but when I asked if there was a way to get my FM transmitter fixed and operate they said NO and that those Chinese transmitters are junk.  When they asked me how many I had and I said I had to replace them every 6 months they said "That is because they are junk and cause all sorts of issues on the spectrum and are not worth fixing!"

 

On a happy note they DO LIKE the Decade MS-100 but told me I would not get the range I wanted with it and that Album Rock will sound OK on a Procaster, Rangemaster, or maybe the Talking Sign.  I told them about the Talking House but they didn't think I could get Album Rock quality as I describe to them.

 

Before I buy a TX I ask them "Will I get Album Rock quality audio?"  The Electronics engineer should know as I am sure he has heard Album Rock stations when it was king in the 70s.

 

Range of 1.5-2 miles is obtainable!!

This is great news because the Deltaville Market is only 1 1/4 miles away so I am so happy to hear that news from the Electronics Entineer who came to my house and knows how far it is from my house.

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

http://thelegacy.shorturl.com

More Power for Hobby Broadcasters

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

timinbovey's picture

If you are running it as a business and making money, you report the income and pay tax. this is completely 100% out of the jurisdiction of the FCC and is the domain of the IRS.  In addition to reporting the income you also gain the benefit of deducting your business expenses.

FCC agents have nothing to do with if you're collecting money.  Just like the IRS won't send you a notice if you're over the field strength limit. 

My station is registered with my state as a business, right along with my 4 other businesses. The business expenses, as allowed are deducted, and the income is added to my regular income taxes like any other business.  However, none of these forms are filed with the FCC. 

 

TIB

timinbovey's picture

it's probably a smart idea to remain in the good graces of your local agents, no argument there. But they're still full of crap, LOL.

I grew up listening to "album rock" in Minneapolis/St.Paul in the 70's.  A rather large market.  We had ONE FM album rock station.  ONE. KQRS-FM. 99% of the album rock I heard was heard on AM radio. 

I assume you're talking about a 1.5-2 mile range being piossible on AM.  It is NOT possible on legal  FM.  No engineer on the planet can change the laws of physics.  I think you could be amazed with the quality of sound with a Procaster, and with a Rangemaster too assuming you get a processor and set it up right.  Trouble with AM is most receivers made in the last 20 years don't even take advantage of the bandwidth available.  e.g. we're transmitting greater audio frequency range than most receivers can handle. 

 

TIB

Mark's picture

Trouble with AM is most receivers made in the last 20 years don't even take advantage of the bandwidth available.  e.g. we're transmitting greater audio frequency range than most receivers can handle.

How true! The IF chips used in the average radio cut of at 3 to 4 Klz at most so it doesn't matter your transmitter and processing or the frequency response of the Procaster.

And how do you convince people get a used Carver tuner or a GE superradio or the Grundig field radio(newest version) with AM wide band, or just get a better, older radio so they can listen to a little better fidelity on AM? Problem...no one cares enough.

Thelegacy's picture

Well the fact that I used to broadcast on FM and gained listeners that way might be able to convince them to do this. I am really going to have a strong campaign for high-sensitive radios along with letting people know about my station.

 

I do have the folks at Waterside Graphics on my side so I'm thinking of having a sign for my station and then on the back of the sign it would have pictures of high-sensitive radio. Also the loop antennas that you can buy and place on top of the radio or beside it might actually help to make my station come in better for listeners as well. If listener see that the only way they're going to get good Album Rock is to have a good radio they might actually do it. Not everyone can always have internet in the workplace but can have a high sensitive radio.

 

It was sort of like when I was doing FM and the listeners couldn't hear me in their house but they could hear me in the car and they called me and asked me what to do. I think the same will apply here it's worth a shot to see what can be done. Once the word gets around that hobby stations exist with good formats more people will buy the better radios and we can simply use the resources we already have.

 

On-air promotions are something to do too. I could do one that simply says if your a.m. sounds like this and then talk with my nose plugged then say then you need a good radio such as a Yamaha, Carver, Tecsub for a portable or an HD Radio.

 

The initiative really needs to start a major campaign as well to start getting certified part 15 AM stereo transmitter on the market. Maybe we could convince procaster to have 1.

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

http://thelegacy.shorturl.com

More Power for Hobby Broadcasters

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

jimhenry2000's picture

This is akin to people asking police officers for legal opinions.  All the police officers I know are great people, but they are NOT lawyers!  I remember when I got my first license to carry a firearm in PA, back when there were not so many of them that the Sherriff's office actually did live in person interviews, the Deputy told me, "Now remember, you must always keep your firearm CONCEALED. I politely told him that I was not looking for an argument, and that I considered open carry to be tactically stupid and had no plans to do it, but it was perfectly legal.  I then gifted him a free copy of the Pennsylvania Gun Law guide as I was the official retailer for the book in PA!

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

http://www.airpower.com/HBR.htm

Mark's picture

Look at this from Ccrane. Seems to be a revised version of this to rival the GE Superadio.

Has continuous wide band adjust. May be good for your listeners to get this to listen to you.

https://www.ccrane.com/item/rad_ccradio_cepro/100/ccradio-ep_pro

 

 

Thelegacy's picture

IIt just may work.

 

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

http://thelegacy.shorturl.com

More Power for Hobby Broadcasters

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

Thelegacy's picture

IIt just may work.

 

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

http://thelegacy.shorturl.com

More Power for Hobby Broadcasters

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

wdcx's picture

"Rules and administrative codes issued by governmental agencies at all levels, municipal, county, state and federal. Although they are not laws, regulations have the force of law, since they are adopted under authority granted by statutes, and often include penalties for violations."

Druid Hills Radio AM-1610- Dade City, FL. Unlicensed operation authorized by the Part 15 Department of the FCC. We do not censor free speech and hide public information.

Morningdj's picture

Most states, if not all, have laws AND rules.  They include a statement that says basically--'it is a violation of the law to break a rule'.  So, in reality, there really is no difference between a law and a rule (or regulation).

Carl Blare's picture

The one difference between rules, laws, and the like might be the severity of the penalties attached to violation.

Carl Blare

wdcx's picture

A fine for a radio pirate is maxed out at $5,000 if the FCC does not get involved. Radio piracy is a 3rd Degree Felony.

Druid Hills Radio AM-1610- Dade City, FL. Unlicensed operation authorized by the Part 15 Department of the FCC. We do not censor free speech and hide public information.

Thelegacy's picture

Speaking of piracy Michelle Bradley the agent for the FCC was stating in the part 15 am and FM radio broadcasting page that the FCC was going to start monitoring Facebook and any mention of piracy could result in a person's account being deleted from Facebook.

 

What's funny is some people are still Towing the line and they are actually not trying to work with the agents. Myself I see it at us an opportunity to try and get at least the ground rule changed 4 a.m. . At this point we are at a turning point where as if we all work together we might actually be able to get some things changed. I'm starting to see more people asking questions rather than making assumptions this is something that should have happened a long time ago.

 

Maybe it's time for the broadcast industry 2 actually have talks with habias and come up with a reasonable solution as to what's acceptable and what is not.

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

http://thelegacy.shorturl.com

More Power for Hobby Broadcasters

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

wdcx's picture

Michelle Bradley does not work for the FCC.

Druid Hills Radio AM-1610- Dade City, FL. Unlicensed operation authorized by the Part 15 Department of the FCC. We do not censor free speech and hide public information.

Mark's picture

She is like one of us who has a Facebook Group although quite knowkedgable of things.

Thelegacy's picture

I do apologize I could have sworn I read it in either one of these forms the ALPB or this one that she had actually worked for the FCC. I do know that she seems to have a very close relationship with them. Okay well maybe she has just as much relationship as I do.

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

http://thelegacy.shorturl.com

More Power for Hobby Broadcasters

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

rock95seven's picture

I was thinking the same thing John, "Michelle Bradley does not work for the FCC."
however she does advocate low power radio "Part 15".

She will not hesitate to let you know your station is not compliant though.

 Barry of 1200 AM BBR http://www.geocities.ws/bbrcomms/ - WQYY 664

jimhenry2000's picture

Well one very real difference is that laws are made by elected legislators who are accountable to the people.  Rules are made by beaurocrats who have absolutely no accountability to the people.

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

http://www.airpower.com/HBR.htm

Thelegacy's picture

So are you saying that the FCC are more in the realm of beaurocrats?  Don't they have go by what the congress would want?  And where does the constitution come into play with all of this?

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

http://thelegacy.shorturl.com

More Power for Hobby Broadcasters

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

ArtisanRadio's picture

JimHenry2000 said "one very real difference is that laws are made by elected legislators who are accountable to the people.  Rules are made by beaurocrats who have absolutely no accountability to the people"

I'm not sure that's true.  Bureaucrats are appointed by elected officials, and those officials are affected by their actions.  I'm sure that the FCC's net neutrality rules are going to affect the current U.S. administration, one way or another (depending on which side of the political fence you're on).

Ultimately, both rules and laws boil down to the same practical effect.  You follow them, or you suffer the consequences.

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