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                           Before the
                Federal Communications Commission
                     Washington, D.C. 20554


In the Matter of                )
                                )
Paul E. Holcombe                )                                
                                )              File No. 99-HU-077
Licensee of Amateur Radio Station K4TOF )
Houston, TX                     )          NAL/Acct.No. X3254-002


           NOTICE OF APPARENT LIABILITY FOR FORFEITURE

                                      Released:  January 13, 2000

By the Enforcement Bureau, Houston Office:


                        I.  INTRODUCTION

     1.  This is a Notice of Apparent Liability for Forfeiture 

pursuant to Section 503(b) of the Communications Act of 1934, as 

amended (the ``Communications Act''),1 and Section 1.80 of the 

Commission's Rules,2 against Paul E. Holcombe (``Holcombe''), 

licensee of Amateur Radio Station K4TOF, Houston, Texas.  We find 

that Holcombe operated his Amateur Radio station so as to 

willfully and maliciously cause interference to radio 

communications in apparent willful violation of Section 333 of 

the Communications Act3 and Section 97.101(d) of the Commission's 

Rules,4 and transmitted unidentified communications in apparent 

willful violation of Section 97.119(a) of the Commission's 

Rules.5  For the reasons discussed below, we conclude that 

Holcombe is apparently liable for a forfeiture in the amount of 

$8000.


                         II.  BACKGROUND

     2.  From 1993 through 1999, the Commission's Houston Office 

received complaints of alleged intentional interference to users 

of the Memorial Emergency Repeater Association's 145.470/144.870 

MHz repeater in Houston, Texas (``MERA repeater'').  The 

interference was allegedly caused by stations transmitting 

unidentified tones, inflammatory or derogatory remarks, and 

unmodulated signals, none of which were identified with an FCC-

assigned call sign.

     3.  On May 25, 1999, a Commission agent, using a mobile 

automatic direction finding (``MADF'') vehicle to monitor the 

MERA repeater, observed a radio signal consisting of unidentified 

tones and remarks being transmitted on the input frequency of the 

MERA repeater.  The agent simultaneously monitored the output 

frequency of the MERA repeater and observed that this signal 

would transmit immediately after other stations would commence 

transmitting, resulting in interference to communications already 

in progress on the MERA repeater.  At about 8:08 p.m., using the 

MADF equipment and direction-finding techniques, the agent 

determined that the source of the unidentified interfering 

transmissions was a silver Toyota bearing Texas license plate 

DVZ74F.  This vehicle was registered to Paul E. Holcombe, license 

holder of Amateur Radio Service license K4TOF.  Immediately 

thereafter, a Commission agent conducted an interview with 

Holcombe and an inspection of amateur radio equipment inside the 

silver Toyota.  An amateur radio transceiver was found inside the 

vehicle, tuned to the MERA repeater frequency pair and capable of 

transmitting on the MERA repeater frequency.  Holcombe admitted 

owning the vehicle and the amateur radio transceiver, and 

admitted to being the licensee of Amateur Radio Station K4TOF.  

Holcombe denied intentionally making any radio transmissions that 

day.

     4.  On June 2, 1999, the Commission's Houston Office issued 

to Holcombe an Official Notice of Violation citing violation of 

47 U.S.C.  333 and 47 C.F.R.  97.101(c) (willful or malicious 

interference), and 47 C.F.R.  97.119 (failure to identify 

amateur communications).6

     5.  On June 5, 1999, the Commission's Houston Office 

received a letter from Holcombe dated June 4, 1999, in response 

to the Official Notice of Violation.  In the response letter, 

Holcombe stated that although his amateur radio station may have 

been inadvertently activated on May 25, 1999, Holcombe denied any 

intent to interfere with other stations.  Holcombe also stated 

that he suffered from a nerve disorder in his hands making it 

difficult for him to manipulate the controls of the amateur radio 

transceiver in his vehicle.


                        III.  DISCUSSION

     6.  Section 333 of the Communications Act and Section 

97.101(d) of the Commission's Rules both prohibit willful or 

malicious interference to radio communications.  Section 

97.119(a) of the Commission's Rules prohibits the transmission of 

unidentified communications in the Amateur Radio Service.

     7.  Section 503(b) of the Communications Act and Section 

1.80(a) of the Commission's Rules both state that any person who 

willfully or repeatedly fails to comply with the provisions of 

the Communications Act or the Commission's Rules shall be liable 

for a forfeiture penalty.  For purposes of Section 503(b) of the 

Communications Act, the term ``willful'' means that the violator 

knew that it was taking the action in question, irrespective of 

any intent to violate any provision of the Communications Act or 

the Commission's Rules.7

     8.  Based on the evidence before us, we find that on May 25, 

1999, Paul E. Holcombe did use his Amateur Radio Station K4TOF to 

transmit radio communications and, in so doing, willfully and 

maliciously interfere with Amateur Radio communications already 

in progress, in apparent willful violation of Section 333 of the 

Communications Act and Section 97.101(d) of the Commission's 

Rules; and failed to identify those communications, in apparent 

willful violation of Section 97.119(a) of the Commission's Rules.  

The interference was willful and malicious in that Holcombe timed 

his transmissions to commence just after other stations had begun 

transmitting, resulting in harmful interference to communications 

already in progress.  Also, both violations were willful in that 

Holcombe sought to conceal his identity by altering the sound of 

his normal voice and omitting the required FCC identification.

     9.  The Commission's Forfeiture Policy Statement, which 

became effective October 14, 1997, sets a base forfeiture amount 

of $7000 for intentional interference and $1000 for failure to 

identify.8  In assessing the monetary forfeiture amount, we must 

also take into account the statutory factors set forth in Section 

503(b)(2)(D) of the Communications Act,9 that include the nature, 

circumstances, extent, and gravity of the violation(s), and with 

respect to the violator, the degree of culpability, any history 

of prior offenses, ability to pay, and other such matters as 

justice may require.  Applying the Policy Statement and statutory 

factors to the instant case, a monetary forfeiture in the amount 

of $8000 is warranted.


                      IV.  ORDERING CLAUSES

     10.  Accordingly, IT IS ORDERED, pursuant to Section 503(b) 

of the Communications Act and Sections 0.111, 0.311 and 1.80 of 

the Commission's Rules,10 that Paul E. Holcombe is hereby 

NOTIFIED of his APPARENT LIABILITY FOR MONETARY FORFEITURE in the 

amount of EIGHT THOUSAND DOLLARS ($8000) for the willful 

violation of Section 333 of the Communications Act, Section 

97.101(d) of the Commission's Rules, and Section 97.119(a) of the 

Commission's Rules.

     11.  IT IS FURTHER ORDERED, pursuant to Section 1.80 of the 

Commission's Rules, that WITHIN THIRTY (30) DAYS of the release 

of this Notice, PAUL E. HOLCOMBE SHALL PAY to the United States 

the full amount of the monetary forfeiture11 OR SHALL FILE a 

written statement showing why the forfeiture should be reduced or 

cancelled.12  The payment or statement should be marked with 

NAL/Acct. No: X3254-002.

     12.  IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that this notice shall be sent, 

by certified mail, return receipt requested, to Paul E. Holcombe, 

15103 Mira Vista, Houston, TX 77083.

                         FEDERAL COMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION



                         Loyd P. Perry
                         Resident Agent, Houston Office
_________________________

1     47 U.S.C.  503(b)
2     47 C.F.R.  1.80
3     47 U.S.C.  333
4     47 C.F.R.  97.101(d)
5     47 C.F.R.  97.119(a)
6     Official Notice of Violation dated June 2, 1999.  The 
Notice accurately stated the correct wording but erroneously 
cited ``47 C.F.R.  97.101(c)'' instead of the correct citation 
``47 C.F.R.  97.101(d).''
7     See 47 U.S.C.  312(f)(1); see also Southern California 
Broadcasting Co., 6 FCC Rcd 4387 (1991).
8     The Commission's Forfeiture Policy Statement and Amendment 
of Section 1.80 of the Commission's Rules, 12 FCC Rcd 17087 
(1997), recon. pending; 47 C.F.R.  1.80(b).
9     47 U.S.C.  503(b)(2)(D)
10     47 C.F.R.  0.111, 0.311, and 1.80.
11     Payment may be made by credit card by calling the 
Commission's Credit and Debt Management Center at 202-418-1995, 
or by check or similar instrument payable to the ``Federal 
Communications Commission'' and mailed to:  Federal 
Communications Commission, P.O. Box 73482, Chicago, Illinois 
60673-7482.  Please mark the payment with the NAL/Acct. No.
12      Mail  written statements  to:  Office of  the  Secretary, 
Federal  Communications  Commission,   445  12th  Street,   S.W., 
Washington, D.C.  20554,  ATTN:  Enforcement  Bureau,  Mail  Stop 
1500E3-DLH.  A claim of inability  to pay should be supported  by 
tax  returns  or  other   financial  statements  prepared   under 
generally accepted  accounting  procedures for  the  most  recent 
three-year period. Requests for  payment under installment  plans 
should be mailed  to: Chief, Credit  and Debt Management  Center, 
Rm. 1-A820, FOD / AMD-HRM, Federal Communications Commission, 445 
12th Street, S.W., Washington, DC, 20554.