FCC Denies Amateur Operator Renewal

Bringing to end what may be the most protracted amateur license renewal effort in recent memory, the U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has denied an appeal from a California man in connection with the renewal of his amateur license.

In a Memorandum Opinion and Order issued in late February, the Commission upheld a ruling by FCC Chief Administrative Law Judge Richard Sippel to dismiss the license renewal application of William Crowell, an amateur radio operator. The basis for Sippel’s dismissal was Crowell’s failure to appear at a 2017 hearing in Washington, D.C. on his renewal request, in which Crowell was expected to address a number of allegations regarding his illegal or improper use of the amateur frequencies.

Originally filed more than 10 years ago, Crowell’s renewal request was designated for a hearing by the Commission’s Wireless Telecommunications Bureau in February 2008 due to the allegations of illegal or improper amateur radio activity. However, the process was interrupted for several years as Crowell petitioned to disqualify the appointed judge. Then, in 2017, claiming financial constraints, Crowell petitioned the Court to have the hearing location moved to Sacramento. But Crowell never provided the Court with information supporting his claim of hardship, resulting in the denial of his claim and prompting another round of appeals.

In its action upholding Sippel’s dismissal of Crowell’s license renewal, the FCC determined that Sippel “properly exercised his discretion not to transfer the hearing to California,” and that “the public interest favored a Washington hearing.” The FCC also rejected all of Crowell’s claims that Sippel and the Court acted improperly in adjudicating his case.

Read the complete text of the Commission’s Memorandum Opinion and Order in connection with Crowell’s license renewal request.  

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