FCC Cracking Down on Property Owners From Which Pirate Broadcasters Operate

Discussion in 'Amateur Radio News' started by K5XS, Dec 18, 2020.

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  1. K7JEM

    K7JEM Ham Member QRZ Page

    Since these are pirates, X marks the spots of the transmitters.

    K9RJ likes this.
  2. K7JEM

    K7JEM Ham Member QRZ Page

    The landlords are given notice that something illegal is happening on their rented property. They are either unknowing, or involved in the operation. In any case, they can make it stop, and probably avoid further problems with the FCC, if they were unknowingly involved. Maybe not so lucky if they actually own the transmitter.
    K3XR likes this.
  3. W1YW

    W1YW Ham Member QRZ Page

    Of course that is true.

    But as I mentioned, many leases now have an 'eviction clause' that allows for removal of the tenant for illegal activities. The problem for many years has been difficulty in removing such tenants. If the landlord now gets a warning notice from the FCC they may, presumably. be able to use that to remove the tenant as per that clause in the lease.
    WQ4G and K9DWB like this.
  4. K7JEM

    K7JEM Ham Member QRZ Page

    Well, it's more than that. The landlord could be deemed responsible for the pirate being on the air if they refuse to do something about it:

  5. W1YW

    W1YW Ham Member QRZ Page


    I don't personally see a problem with that. Why? Because landlords want to remove tenants conducting illegally activity. It lowers their rent rate when they have illegal stuff known to go on there, or in the neighborhood.
    WQ4G likes this.
  6. N0TZU

    N0TZU Platinum Subscriber Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

    Is pirate broadcasting a criminal offense? Or is it a civil offense?
  7. K3XR

    K3XR Ham Member QRZ Page

    Would need to do some research unless familiar with the regulations. It would appear in general the FCC can pursue both civil and criminal proceedings depending on the violation.
    G. Criminal Prosecutions
    Section 501 of the Act authorizes the FCC, in cooperation with federal prosecutors, to impose a fine of not more than $10,000 and/or the criminal penalty of imprisonment for up to a year for a party convicted of willfully and knowingly violating the Act.
    56 A second conviction for violating any provision of the Act is punishable by a fine of not more than $10,000 an/or imprisonment for up to two years. The FCC itself has no authority to initiate criminal action; instead it must refer the matter to the DOJ.
    There's quite a bit to digest here. Click on "enforcement overview" in the top left for a PDF copy.

    N0TZU, WQ4G and W1YW like this.
  8. WQ4G

    WQ4G Ham Member QRZ Page

    There are quite a few of them and the enforcement division spends a lot of time busting them. They are probably getting tired of spending all their time and effort on pirate stations.

    A map showing the number of FCC enforcement actions against pirate radio stations, from 01/03/2017 to 07/01/2020 can be found at this link:


    Notice how many there have been in Florida. Almost all of those were found in South Florida (Miami). Click in the circle to see the stats pop up on the right side of the screen. Then click the links to see the detail...

    Dan WQ4G
    Last edited: Dec 20, 2020
    N6HCM, K9RJ and K3XR like this.
  9. WQ4G

    WQ4G Ham Member QRZ Page

    Alright - jail time...

    K3XR likes this.
  10. WQ4G

    WQ4G Ham Member QRZ Page

    The FCC sends out a lot of letters making the operators of these pirate stations, and the property owners, aware that they are in violation of the law. Those operators and owners then promptly ignore the FCC.

    For example, a couple of years ago I made an RFI complaint about a malfunctioning Neon Sign that was QRM'ing my station. Over the course of a year the FCC sent out several letters informing the sign's owner/operator of the violation and asking them to correct the problem, or cease operating the sign. All of their letters were ignored and the sign continued to operate. Luckily the business sold the property about three days before the FCC Agents were due to show up, and the sign was eventually destroyed by the new owner.

    The FCC is probably getting tired of being ignored and needed some teeth to make the owners/operators of these stations cease and desist.

    Dan WQ4G

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