FCC Makes it Official: $22k Fine for Amateur Radio Operator

The U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has now ordered a Detroit area amateur radio operator to pay a fine of $22,000 for illegally interfering with licensed radio operations.

In a Forfeiture Order issued in July 2015, the Commission imposed the fine against Michael Guernsey of Parchment, MI, for intentionally causing interference to other radio operators and for failing to provide regular station identification as required by FCC rules. The Commission issued the Forfeiture Order despite denials by Guernsey that he was responsible for the interference, and his claims that Enforcement Bureau field agents did not inspect his station and could have confused his signal with that of other nearby amateur operators.

According to the original Notice of Apparent Liability for Forfeiture issued in July 2014, the FCC’s Enforcement Bureau in Detroit received complaints in March 2014 from neighbors of Guernsey of intentional interference. Field agents from the Enforcement Bureau’s Detroit office then used mobile direction finding techniques and tracked the source of the interfering transmissions to Guernsey’s residence. During more than 40 minutes of monitoring, agents reported hearing the continuous transmission of a prerecorded song as well as various animal noises, but no transmission of his assigned call sign.

Footnotes to the FCC’s Forfeiture Order reveal that Guernsey had a long history of alleged violations of FCC rules regarding interference. Guernsey reportedly received warning letters from the FCC’s Enforcement Bureau on at least seven separate occasions dating back to 1998 related to instances of radio interference.

Read the complete text of the Commission’s Forfeiture Order against Guernsey.

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