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Texas Radio Amateur Gives Up License As Part of Enforcement Action Settlement

04/22/2014

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.”


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