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QRZ Warned by the FCC

Discussion in 'Amateur Radio News' started by AA7BQ, Jul 10, 2008.

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  1. AA7BQ

    AA7BQ QRZ Founder QRZ HQ Staff QRZ Page

    Recently, a QRZ member notified us that we were permitting the sale of "Banned Radios" in the QRZ Online Swapmeet. The list of radios, published by the FCC, is well known and includes some well known models such as the RCI 2970 since it can be easily be modified to operate on the CB band by so-called Freebanders.

    The QRZ editorial staff discussed the issue and we came to the conclusion that while the FCC does (and rightly, should) prohibit the importation, sale, and marketing of these radios (previously available in truck stops), we concluded that the rule was obviously aimed at dealers, importers, and in general, commercial interests. Upon reaching this decision, we informed the member that QRZ has no objection to private individuals trading and/or selling these radios among themselves on the website.

    Upon hearing our response, the member then reported us to the FCC, or perhaps more accurately, "asked the FCC for their opinion". Here's what the FCC said in an email that I received today:

    (John Doe) is correct in that you cannot market these devices on the internet, regardless if you are marketing them to amateurs or not. The devices cannot be marketed in the United States by any person. The RCI 2970 and the RCI 6300F150 can easily be modified to operate on the CB band. That is why the Commission has not allowed them to be certificated and that is why the FCC does not permit the "marketing of these devices by any person. See the attached Citation which explains our position. (we didn't get the attachment -fred)
    I am going to forward the information down to the Spectrum Enforcement Davison for further investigation and comment.
    David Dombrowski
    FCC Philadelphia Office

    So, the FCC is telling us in essence that private sales between individuals is indeed "marketing" and that such activity is illegal.

    In our laymans opinion, this position, while not exactly unprecedented (eBay caved on the same issue), is completely counter to a host of constitutional as well as common sense reasons.

    First of all, it is not illegal to own one of these radios. No permit of any kind is required for an individual to possess one. I've been trying all day to draw a parallel between other goods in the United States for which marketing is prohibited whereas the unlicensed or unprescribed possession is not and I've drawn a complete blank.

    Speaking in terms of fairness (note: I have no legal training), it seems to me that when the government prohibits the sale of property that you legally own then they have in effect seized its value and rendered it worthless. Therefore, they have taken your property without due and just compensation.

    Now, let's ask some perfectly reasonable questions that test the limits of the FCC rule:

    1. Since the marketing of such devices is prohibited, it is apparently perfectly okay to give them away. Is it then OK to list them on QRZ if they are FREE, i.e. for give-away only?

    2. Since amateurs are specifically allowed to build their own radio equipment, what happens when an experimental radio is built using parts and/or components from a banned radio, for example, one of its plastic knobs?

    3. Does the FCC patrol hamfests around the country and arrest hams who might have an old, broken RCI-2950 in a box of junk for sale?

    4. Does the FCC target internet websites such as eBay and QRZ because it's something they can do from their padded office chairs in Pennsylvania?

    This entire issue strikes me as an absurd exercise in mindless government bureaucracy. For starters, these radios aren't very desirable, they are now all considered old technology, no new ones are being imported into the United States, and, with the band conditions the way they are these days, nearly useless anyway. Despite all of this, we now have employees of the federal government spending resources to protect us from this awful scourge. Oh, and one or more mischievous QRZ members that are very proud of themselves for raising the issue in the first place.

    So in conclusion, let us know what you think, right here in the Forums. Tell how you might think that it's even remotely reasonable that the FCC can prohibit you from selling something that you legally own and that requires no license, permit, or prescription of any kind to have in your possession.
    ZS1SBW likes this.
  2. N8YX

    N8YX Ham Member QRZ Page

    The FCC (and eBay's staff, for that matter) isn't doing squat about the "...problem..." on eBay.

    Good luck with getting an auction featuring a "forbidden" item delisted - even a blatantly obvious one. Want one of those newfangled "export" radios? Dozens appear daily.

    In light of QRZ being singled out for such 'activity', there appears to be some sort of double standard in place...
  3. NN3W

    NN3W Ham Member QRZ Page

    If a radio is being banned by the FCC, how are you owning it legally?

    The distinction between a dealer and a message board is garbage.

    You obtain 5 pounds of marijuana in Jamaica. Obviously, you can't buy it from Walmart. Its illegal. But you bought it in Jamaica where its pseudo legal. By your logic you can sell it in the United States because its from your personal collection.

    Sorry, no.
  4. AA7BQ

    AA7BQ QRZ Founder QRZ HQ Staff QRZ Page

    The FCC did not ban the radio. They only banned the MARKETING of the radio.

    The marijuana argument is senseless in this context. Hmmm..
  5. NN3W

    NN3W Ham Member QRZ Page

    No, they ban the marketing and importation of the radio. Since the radio is made in China/Malaysia/Singapore, it is illegal to import it and you can't find it domestically manufactured. Once imported, it is considered contraband merchandise.
  6. K7PEH

    K7PEH Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    Personally, I think the whole idea of banning a radio because it might be used illegally is itself silly and should not be allowed. It is not illegal to own certified ham radio transceivers but it is not legal to operate them without a license. Therefore, extending the FCCs position a little bit means that it would be illegal to buy and sell ham radio gear just because it might possibly be used in an illegal manner. Think of all the unlicensed widows who sell their diseased spouse' radio gear -- that too would be illegal in this scenario.

    I would be willing to bet that a constitutional claim against the FCC might win our rights back but who has the money to do such a thing.
  7. KA8GMD

    KA8GMD Ham Member QRZ Page

    If i have a radio that has not been modified or even if it has been modified & i don't use it on the cb freq. Why can't i own it & use it where why license says i can. Just because the fcc has problems with these radios does that mean everyone who owns one is guilty? Go get the ones who are misusing them, not the ones who are using them as they were intended to be. Go talk to our president & tell him to allocate more monies for enforcement & you wouldn't have had that problem in the first place. Don't come crying to me mr. Fcc

  8. AJ3U

    AJ3U Ham Member QRZ Page

    Owning a gun is legal
    Shooting someone with it is not

    Owning one of these radios is apparently legal
    Selling one is not?

    Wouldn't it make more sense for the FCC to use eBay and the QRZ swap meet as a resource to find and to go after the sellers? John Doe QRZ member seems to have a lot of free time on his hands... maybe he could go through ad by ad and help turn them in. :cool: It seems to be what he enjoys in life...

    Have you seen some of the crap on Craigs list? Tons of illegal items and activities being marketed - but you don't see Craig's list being shut down. Instead, the cops use it as another tool to find the bad guys doing the bad things. Makes sense to me.
  9. WY3X

    WY3X Ham Member QRZ Page

    This about covers it all. 73, -KR4WM

    Section 302(b) of the Act provides that "[n]o person shall
    manufacture, import, sell, offer for sale, or ship devices or home
    electronic equipment and systems, or use devices, which fail to comply
    with regulations promulgated pursuant to this section." Section
    2.803(a)(1) of the Rules provides that "[e]xcept as provided elsewhere
    in this section, no person shall sell or lease, or offer for sale or
    lease (including advertising for sale or lease), or import, ship or
    distribute for the purpose of selling or leasing or offering for sale
    or lease, any radio frequency device unless in the case of a device
    subject to certification such device has been authorized by the
    Commission . . . ." Section 2.815(c) of the Rules provides that "[n]o
    person shall manufacture, sell or lease, offer for sale or lease
    (including advertising for sale or lease) or import, ship, or
    distribute for the purpose of selling or leasing or offering for sale
    or lease, any external radio frequency power amplifier or amplifier
    kit capable of operation on any frequency below 144 MHz unless the
    device has received a grant of type acceptance . . . ."
  10. N2RJ

    N2RJ XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    Fred, just do the right thing and just ban the sale of the freeband radios on QRZ, please.


    It's appalling to see a mainstream ham radio site wanting to have anything to do with 11 meters or bootleg/freeband.

    One only has to browse T&O as well as Q&A to see that the forums are circling the drain, in terms of ham radio content. There is more freeband/11m/bootleg garbage on this site than there was 6-7 years ago when I first joined.

    Why is this so, Fred? Why'd you let it go on? Is it because you believe in freedom of speech? Or are the ad dollars the driving force? Don't be afraid to answer "Yes" to any of those. Nothing is wrong with either of those things. I work in the (web) business, so I can appreciate generating site traffic.

    But I think there has to be a line drawn between what is right and what is wrong.

    And personally I'd hate for more of the 11m/freeband/bootleg element to be welcomed into amateur radio with open arms. That's not the amateur radio I know and love. Many people agree with me.
  11. KB3LIX/SK2023

    KB3LIX/SK2023 Ham Member QRZ Page

    I would be interested to see the response from someone higher up in the FCC chain of command.
    I think that hearing it from the horses mouth would be more appropriate.

    I don't know that Field Offices can speak for the "Legal Eagles" at the commission. They should be the final word, not a field office.

    By the way, I personally would not own one of those pieces of junk !!!!!
  12. NN3W

    NN3W Ham Member QRZ Page

    Thank you.

    That pretty much sums it up.

    No person - a person is a legal entity (a corporation) or an individual. Facilitation of the sale is equivalent.

    Can we close the thread now?
  13. W2JGA

    W2JGA Ham Member QRZ Page

    Might as well pull all the 706's from the market too. (insert other brands here)

    706 is just as easy to modify for 11 meters as the RCI 2970 I'm sure. :rolleyes:
  14. KG4ULT

    KG4ULT Ham Member QRZ Page

    First of all, the person who wrote such a letter to the FCC should be banned from participating on this forum in my opinion. He or she is just looking to stir up trouble. Who appointed him/her the radio police. I understand that these and other types are illegal in the U.S. Guess what people, if they dont buy them from others here in QRZ, they can well get them elsewhere. Its just like the drugs argument; no matter what anyone does the problem will never go away. The best we can do is not become one of the guilty ones in using these radios outside the amateur bands. It is that simple. Quit being so "thin skinned and sensitive" and leave people alone. I am not saying turn a blind away, just quit being such ninnies.

    This site was made by amateurs for amateurs and those interested in the hobby, and that is all it is a website. You guys keep this garbage up and i wouldnt be surprised if the owner just dumps the site and leave us all out in the cold...that is what i would do.

  15. NN3W

    NN3W Ham Member QRZ Page

    Hello, a field office is equivalent to the HQ office. A FCC agent in the field has the same enforcement power as the General Counsel in DC or Chairman Martin.

    Are you saying that unless the word comes down from HQ, no administrative ruling is valid? Wow, tell that to the customs inspectors i deal with at U.S. ports on a daily basis.

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