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Ruminations on the FCC and rule-"breakers"


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Does anyone remember item number one on their FCC GMRS license application?

I sure do. I might not remember it word-for-word, but I remember the premise. Rule number one basically ties an individual to the FCC's assumed authority. Remember, government of the consented. In order to be issued a FCC radio station license, the very first requirement is that you waive any right or expectation to use naturally-occurring electromagnetic phenomena, such as radio waves. The FCC controlling radio waves is essentially a government entity coming forward and declaring "OK GUYS we are going to control every flashlight that can shine blue light" radio waves are electromagnetic phenomenon, same as visible light.

 

So can the FCC come after someone who isn't licensed? I'm not asking your opinion. I'm asking for cold hard past history. Someone with no FCC license has never ceded their right to manipulate naturally-occurring electromagnetic phenomena. Like the color red. Or blue. I have never waived my right to shine the color green.

 

Now if someone were to blast a bright green light at an airplane, that is very much illegal simply because it endangers normal operations. But the color green is not in and of itself prohibited, or limited to licensed users only. Causing interference to other machinery that utilizes the color green, making it operate poorly or dangerously, can bring consequences. Shine a green light causing interference and you might have the sheriff show up at your door. But Bill or Bobby out in the woods shining a green light at another guy on a hill with a red light, that cannot be legislated because it is natural phenomena. Visible light energy. And no one has waived their right to anyone to use the color green as they see fit.

But apply for a license and you waive your rights and consent to operate under the organized rules set forth by an agency appointed by us to regulate the use of that phenomena, and you subject yourself to their rules. Never do that, and how can they mess with you if you aren't endangering life or normal operations?

Just some thoughts...

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The FCC does actually go after pirate radio stations very aggressively - not just the pirates but also going after the people/landlords that own the houses/land that they broadcast from and by definition none of those guys signed up for a license.

Source: https://www.fcc.gov/enforcement/orders 

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4 minutes ago, DominoDog said:

Ok so what I keep seeing pop up is reference to the "Communications act of 1934" so... that's how they do it I guess.

I like to ask the hard questions, especially if I find the topic interesting.

The Communications Act of 1934 establishes the authority of the FCC to regulate the airwaves, which they do through regulations that they pass using the NPRM process (even if they completely disregard our comments when they want to). 
https://www.ecfr.gov/current/title-47
 

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57 minutes ago, DominoDog said:

Conversely, the gas station at the top of the hill has been broadcasting about 1600w of wide band energy in the 400-700nm range onto oncoming road traffic for the past decade. Can the FCC look in to that?

Sure, but someone needs to report it first. 

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2 hours ago, DominoDog said:

Conversely, the gas station at the top of the hill has been broadcasting about 1600w of wide band energy in the 400-700nm range onto oncoming road traffic for the past decade. Can the FCC look in to that?

Don't quote me on that, but I do not think that the FCC has jurisdiction over that part of the natural phenomenon. 😇 Again, it might be some visibility issue on my end ... 🤔

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Not even certain if you are actually asking if the FCC has enforcement over visible light, or if they can enforce a non-licensed RF user.  It's all sort of gray here.

Far as record of them going after non-licensed operators using RF spectrum, yep, they are called pirate radio station operators.  They come up from time to time in the FM and AM broadcast band.  The FCC does go after them, there is a history of this, and it continues to be the case. 

Now, specifically, lasers and aircraft.  I think you have the wrong agency.  I would be looking for the FAA not the FCC to be involved here.  It's a danger to flight operations.  You mentioned a tower or something that is generating output in the 400 to 700nm range.  Well that's the 'visible light' spectrum.  What sort of radiation is present?  Is it a danger to flight operations?  Is there a standing NOTAM for this area?  Outdoor concert venue's are sometimes marked as no-fly zones at night due to visible light lasers being used during a performance.  And there are other instances where they can't use lasers in outdoor venues, or they have a combination of NOTAM's and regulation for the maximum angle the lasers can be with regard to the horizon.  Again, nothing to do with the FCC.  All that is done through the FAA.

There is a bit of crossover with the FCC and the FAA however.  And that comes from tower obstruction lighting.  The FAA sets the requirements for when a tower is required to be lit.  First regulation is a structure above 199 feet in height.  There are a very few instances where this requirement is waved, like being in the presence of other towers that are lit and taller than your structure, but for the vast majority, if you are 200 foot or higher, you have lights.  There are pages of additional regulations involving obstruction lighting, but since this mostly effects radio towers, the FCC is the registration arm for those regulations.  They issue the ASR numbers for the towers. 

So, if you could explain your issue, link to something posted you read about or give a better explanation of what it is you are talking about, that would help to figure out what's going on here. 

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I think this is more of a "what gives them the right?" sovereign citizen take. I'm pretty sure that the writers of the Constitution never quite envisioned the possibility of a wireless communication system back in 1789. At best, they left it up to the People and the individual States with the 9th and 10th amendments. Pretty sure nobody pays much of any attention to the 9th and 10th since the Wickard v. Filburn decision.

Feel free to fight the battle. I doubt I'll invest in your fight, but I'd be thrilled to read the legal arguments once you make it to the Supreme Court.

I do recall a company called TeraWave who was going to be using Infrared light as an unlicensed high bandwidth beam between buildings. They did some amazing things in the Lab, but once they got out in the real world & put up some systems on rooftops, they discovered that there are some real world problems like fog and rain that played havoc on their systems. Not sure if the FCC got involved in that one, I think all it took was economic reality. Giving up a few hundred MB of bandwidth in exchange for a licensed microwave system with Six Sigma reliability was the winner.

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4 hours ago, Radioguy7268 said:

Pretty sure nobody pays much of any attention to the 9th and 10th since the Wickard v. Filburn decision.

Try to save your pregnant wife's (or daughter's) life in Texas when complications are threatening it!

Or try to regulate guns near schools in any state (United States v. Lopez [1995])

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Lets put how our legal system works... or SHOULD work:

  1. Does your action have a direct effect on someone else's life or wellbeing/living?
  2. Is your action able to be construed as malicious or harmful?
  3. Is your action only going to affect YOU?

If you cannot answer "no, no, yes" to the above - the rule exists for good reason. The FCC exists because while you can gnash your teeth about "laws" and "natural phenomena" or whatever else... it boils down to simply this. There is only so much EM spectrum in the current technical realm - and anything YOU can do with it will directly affect someone else's non-malicious use of it as well. The decision will come down to that - pure and simple. The FCC acts as a traffic director more than a law enforcement agency so the idea of "enforcement" doesn't have much weight behind it on its own - but that is not to say the FCC is "useless" or "toothless".

TL;DR: Don't be a prick and do things that will affect how someone else uses the same spectrum you think you have the "natural right" to use. Problem with that is - there's way more people spewing this "sovereign citizen" take than not - which makes me think the FCC's enforcement bureau needs to step up their game instead of taking a knee. I pay good money for my licenses, equipment, and my "time is money" for doing all of it as well, and I will gladly move everything I own 100% to Part 90 coordinated if it means having the ability to go after malicious interference with actual legal precedent at my back as well.

The only reason I even care to comment at this point is because THIS type of BS is what the FCC looks at while an NPRM is open, and will laugh their way to the bank as Midland gets to vendor-lock an otherwise "self regulating" service. So please, either get with the program or find another service like CB that has been relegated to being an RF trash can. 

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  • 4 weeks later...
On 1/4/2024 at 1:24 PM, OffRoaderX said:

The FCC does actually go after pirate radio stations very aggressively - not just the pirates but also going after the people/landlords that own the houses/land that they broadcast from and by definition none of those guys signed up for a license.

Source: https://www.fcc.gov/enforcement/orders 

Why are so many pirate broadcast stations in Miami, FL?  That's interesting.  I suppose continuous broadcasting is obviously much easier to "triangulate" though.  I would love to hear what these 'pirates' are broadcasting...

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16 minutes ago, Sheldon said:

Why are so many pirate broadcast stations in Miami, FL?  That's interesting.  I suppose continuous broadcasting is obviously much easier to "triangulate" though.  I would love to hear what these 'pirates' are broadcasting...

I don’t know, but if you read through the entire document describing the serial offender Abdias Datis, it’s like the fcc was playing whack-a-mole for five years:

https://docs.fcc.gov/public/attachments/FCC-24-10A1.pdf

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23 minutes ago, Sshannon said:

I don’t know, but if you read through the entire document describing the serial offender Abdias Datis, it’s like the fcc was playing whack-a-mole for five years:

https://docs.fcc.gov/public/attachments/FCC-24-10A1.pdf

 

that's funny a simple google search of "unique fm in miami, FL" comes up with some videos of them transmitting from a small desk.  LOL~

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46 minutes ago, Sheldon said:

that's funny a simple google search of "unique fm in miami, FL" comes up with some videos of them transmitting from a small desk.  LOL~

I’ll have to look for that.  I’m curious what was so important for him to broadcast that he just keeps (you know it’s not over) throwing himself at the FCC.

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1 hour ago, Sshannon said:

I’ll have to look for that.  I’m curious what was so important for him to broadcast that he just keeps (you know it’s not over) throwing himself at the FCC.

Apparently pirate-broadcasting hip-hop and R&B and live-streaming it on Facebook is worth the risk of punishment by the FCC. 🤔 

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  • 2 weeks later...
On 1/4/2024 at 3:59 PM, DominoDog said:

So can the FCC come after someone who isn't licensed? I'm not asking your opinion. I'm asking for cold hard past history. Someone with no FCC license has never ceded their right to manipulate naturally-occurring electromagnetic phenomena. Like the color red. Or blue. I have never waived my right to shine the color green.

Only if your radio has gold fringe. Then it's an admiralty radio and you can do whatever you want 

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