Thursday, April 24, 2014
Incidental Radiator Fine
The FCC has cited a Woodinville, Washington, resident for operating an “incidental radiator” — apparently some sort of lighting device — that has been causing harmful interference on Amateur Radio frequencies. The Commission has ordered Thomas Edward Rogers to “take steps to eliminate all harmful interference” or risk substantial fines and seizure of equipment. The Enforcement Bureau action came in the wake of repeated complaints last year of interference to Amateur Radio operations. To date, Rogers has not responded to several communications from the Commission.
“Commission agents have made multiple unsuccessful attempts in writing and via phone calls to contact Mr Rogers regarding unauthorized and unlicensed radio frequency emissions emanating from his property,” the FCC said in a Citation and Order released April 24. The Commission directed Rogers to “cease operation of the incidental radiators immediately, until the interference is resolved.”
Last year, agents from the Enforcement Bureau’s Seattle Office twice visited Rogers’ neighborhood and confirmed through direction-finding techniques and the use of a spectrum analyzer that “signals on frequencies between 7 and 8 MHz were emanating from Mr Rogers’ residence,” the FCC recounted. The C&O said Rogers failed to reply to an “RFI Letter” and a subsequent Warning Letter, and the interference complaints continued.
The FCC said Rogers is violating Part 15 rules that prohibit the operation of an unlicensed intentional, unintentional, or incidental radiator that causes harmful interference to a licensed radio service. Rogers was ordered to respond in writing within 30 days stating that he has ceased operating the incidental radiators and tell the Commission what he has done to eliminate all harmful interference. The FCC warned Rogers that he faces “severe penalties, including fines of up to $16,000 per day,” if he fails to take action to resolve the interference issue.
In March, FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler tapped Travis LeBlanc as acting Chief of the Enforcement Bureau, and ARRL CEO David Sumner, K1ZZ, said the Bureau already appears to have become more responsive.
“The Seattle Office’s prompt investigation of an amateur’s complaint in May 2013 set the wheels in motion leading to this Citation,” Sumner said. “Today’s announcement provides further evidence that with the recent change in leadership of the Enforcement Bureau, there’s a new sheriff in town.”
A Texas radio amateur has agreed to turn in his Amateur Extra class license as part of an agreement with the FCC to settle an enforcement action against him. The FCC earlier this year issued a Notice of Apparent Liability for Forfeiture (NAL) to James R. Winstead, KD5OZY, of Coleman, Texas, after determining that Winstead “apparently willfully violated” FCC rules by interfering with Amateur Radio communications. The Commission had proposed a $7000 fine. The action was in response other radio amateurs’ complaints of intentional interference on 7.195 MHz.
“Mr Winstead has admitted that his actions violated the Commission’s rules and agreed to voluntarily relinquish his amateur license and make a $1000 voluntary contribution to resolve the [Enforcement] Bureau’s investigation,” the FCC said in an Order released April 22. The Order adopted a Consent Decree between the Enforcement Bureau and Winstead that spells out the details of the settlement.
According to the Consent Decree, Winstead will make his “voluntary contribution” to the US Treasury in 12 installments. He also agreed to relinquish his Amateur Radio license, prior to signing the Consent Decree. Such agreements between the FCC and violators have become more common recently in both Amateur Radio and non-Amateur Radio cases.
ARRL CEO David Sumner, K1ZZ, gave kudos to the Enforcement Bureau “for bringing the matter to a prompt conclusion.”
Last January 21 an agent from the Commission’s Dallas Office used direction-finding techniques to positively identify the source of interfering transmissions as Winstead’s address. After monitoring the transmissions from the station for about a half-hour, the agent heard Winstead “replay multiple times short sentences or conversations that had just been transmitted, and occasionally speak the word ‘George.’”
“Mr Winstead replayed recorded conversations so frequently that other licensees were unable to complete their conversations,” the NAL stated. The agent estimated that Winstead disrupted approximately 20 minutes of conversation over a 30 minute period by making up to 15 minutes of short transmissions. The agent subsequently inspected Winstead’s station, observing that his radio equipment was tuned to 7.195 MHz.
“During the inspection, Mr Winstead showed the agent how he recorded and retransmitted other amateur licensees’ communications,” the FCC said. “He also admitted that he intentionally interfered with amateur communications on 7.195 MHz and had an ongoing disagreement with another amateur licensee named George.”
The FCC said the evidence in the case was sufficient to establish that Winstead had violated Section 333 of the Communications Act of 1934 and Section 97.101(d) of the FCC Amateur Service rules.
As part of the Consent Decree, the Enforcement Bureau, “to avoid further expenditure of public resources,” agreed to terminate its investigation and not to use facts developed in its investigation to institute any new proceeding against Winstead “concerning the matters that were the subject of the investigation.”
source: de KN7S
HOW TO READ PROPAGATION NUMBERS
The A index [ LOW is GOOD ]
- 1 to 6 is BEST
- 7 to 9 is OK
- 11 or more is BAD
Represents the overall geomagnetic condition of the ionosphere ("Ap" if averaged from the Kp-Index) (an average of the eight 3-hour K-Indices) ('A' referring to amplitude) over a given 24 hour period, ranging (linearly) typically from 1-100 but theoretically up to 400.
A lower A-Index generally suggests better propagation on the 10, 12, 15, 17, & 20 Meter Bands; a low & steady Ap-Index generally suggest good propagation on the 30, 40, 60, 80, & 160 Meter Bands.
SFI index [ HIGH is GOOD ]
- 70 NOT GOOD
- 80 GOOD
- 90 BETTER
- 100+ BEST
The measure of total radio emissions from the sun at 10.7cm (2800 MHz), on a scale of 60 (no sunspots) to 300, generally corresponding to the sunspot level, but being too low in energy to cause ionization, not related to the ionization level of the Ionosphere.
Higher Solar Flux generally suggests better propagation on the 10, 12, 15, 17, & 20 Meter Bands; Solar Flux rarely affects the 30, 40, 60, 80, & 160 Meter Bands.
K index [ LOW is GOOD ]
- 0 or 1 is BEST
- 2 is OK
- 3 or more is BAD
- 5 is VERY VERY BAD
The overall geomagnetic condition of the ionosphere ("Kp" if averaged over the planet) over the past 3 hours, measured by 13 magnetometers between 46 & 63 degrees of latitude, and ranging quasi-logarithmically from 0-9. Designed to detect solar particle radiation by its magnetic effect. A higher K-index generally means worse HF conditions.
A lower K-Index generally suggests better propagation on the 10, 12, 15, 17, & 20 Meter Bands; a low & steady Kp-Index generally suggest good propagation on the 30, 40, 60, 80, & 160 Meter Bands.
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