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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.  

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