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

In the Matter of                 )
                                 )
Jack Gerritsen                   )        File Number EB-04-LA-292
                                 )
                                 )       NAL/Acct. No.200532900006
                                 )                  FRN 0005240072
                                 )




             NOTICE OF APPARENT LIABILITY FOR FORFEITURE


                                               Released:  January 
                                                         21, 2005


By the District Director, Los Angeles District Office, Western 
Region, Enforcement Bureau:

I.   INTRODUCTION

      1.  In this Notice of Apparent Liability for Forfeiture 
 ("NAL"), we find that Jack Gerritsen ("Gerritsen") apparently 
 willfully violated Sections 321(b) and 333 of the 
 Communications Act of 1934, as amended, ("Act") by willfully 
 and maliciously interfering with the radio communications of a 
 Coast Guard Auxiliary Officer while he attempted to use the 
 amateur frequencies to contact a sailing vessel in distress.1  
 We conclude, pursuant to Section 503(b) of the Communications 
 Act of 1934, as amended ("Act"),2 that Gerritsen is apparently 
 liable for a forfeiture in the amount of twenty-one thousand 
 dollars ($21,000).

II.  BACKGROUND

      2.  On November 14, 2001, the Commission's Wireless 
 Telecommunications Bureau set aside, on its own motion, amateur 
 radio station license ``KG6IRO,'' which was granted to 
 Gerritsen on November 7, 2001.3  Gerritsen was warned that 
 ``you have no authority to operate radio transmitting 
 equipment, and such operation would be a violation of Section 
 301 of the Communications Act of 1934, as amended, 47 U.S.C. 
 Section 301, subjecting you to monetary penalties and 
 imprisonment.''4  On July 16, 2004, Gerritsen was warned by 
 agents from the Commission's Los Angeles Office that he did not 
 have authority to transmit on any amateur band and that he 
 should vacate all amateur frequencies.

      3.  On October 29, 2004, at 11:25 AM, the Commission's Los 
 Angeles Office received a telephone call from a complainant 
 stating that she had not been able to contact her husband on 
 the sailing vessel (``S/V'') Elke-Marie traveling from 
 California to Guadalupe Island, Mexico.  According to the 
 complainant, the S/V Elke-Marie had been traveling with a 
 companion vessel, the S/V Drummoral, and both had encountered a 
 storm on the evening of October 25, 2004.  The storm had 
 damaged the S/V Elke-Marie, rendering the ship's VHF marine 
 radio inoperable.  The amateur radio was the only operational 
 transmitter aboard the vessel as the S/V Elke-Marie turned 
 around and sailed back towards Catalina Island.  The 
 complainant stated that when she contacted Coast Guard Los 
 Angeles Group to report she had not heard from her husband in 
 two days, the U.S. Coast Guard Operations Center contacted a 
 U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary Officer and requested that he 
 attempt to contact the complainant's husband via amateur radio, 
 to determine his need for assistance.  Information received 
 from the Coast Guard Auxiliary Officer (``Officer'') indicated 
 that, beginning at about 10:00 AM on October 29, 2004, the 
 Officer came up on the Catalina Island Amateur Repeater 
 Association (``CARA'') repeater on Catalina Island, California, 
 transmitting on 147.090/147.690 MHz, and requested that all 
 stations stand by while he attempted to contact the S/V Elke-
 Marie on behalf of the Coast Guard.5  Shortly thereafter, 
 according to the Officer and the complainant, Gerritsen began 
 speaking and transmitting a prerecorded message using the CARA 
 repeater.  Throughout the transmissions, Gerritsen repeatedly 
 announced his cancelled amateur call sign of ``KG6IRO.'' The 
 Officer announced that the channel was being used for emergency 
 traffic.  According to the Officer, each time he attempted to 
 contact the S/V Elke-Marie, Gerritsen played a recording or 
 questioned the validity of the emergency.  When asked by the 
 Officer to stand down, Gerritsen stated that he did not believe 
 there was a real emergency and continued to transmit his 
 messages.  The Officer attempted to assure Gerritsen there was 
 a real emergency only to be rebuffed by Gerritsen who accused 
 the Officer of declaring a sham emergency in an attempt to 
 ``jam'' his messages.  Gerritsen continued transmitting for 
 approximately 40 minutes, repeatedly playing a taped recording 
 and ultimately ending his transmission by stating ``If you jam 
 me, I'll jam you.''

      4.  On October 29, 2004 at approximately 11:35 AM, Los 
 Angeles Office agents approached Gerritsen's residence at 6217 
  Palm Avenue, Bell, California.  The agents located the source 
 of a signal on 147.690 MHz, the input frequency to the CARA 
 repeater, to Gerritsen's residence.  After several failed 
 attempts, one of the agents called Gerritsen's residential 
 telephone using his cellular telephone.  The call was answered 
 by someone in the residence who would not speak.  The Los 
 Angeles agent then requested a face to face interview with 
 Gerritsen. Shortly thereafter the phone line went dead.  
 Subsequent attempts to reach Gerritsen over the phone resulted 
 in busy signals. 

      5.  On October 29, 2004, at approximately 4:38 PM, Los 
 Angeles agents returned to Gerritsen's residence.  Using mobile 
 direction finding techniques, the agents located the source of 
 a signal on 147.8117 MHz, which identified as ``KG6IRO,'' to 
 Gerritsen's residence at 6217  Palm Avenue, Bell, California.  
 As the agents approached the front door to Gerritsen's 
 residence they heard a male voice coming from inside the 
 residence which synchronized with the voice heard on the 
 agents' handheld scanner tuned to 147.810 MHz.  The voice was 
 familiar to the agents as Gerritsen's voice.  No one answered 
 the door.  The agents requested information concerning 
 Gerritsen's involvement in a Coast Guard rescue earlier that 
 day, and requested an inspection and an interview.  There was 
 no response to the requests.
  
      6.  On November 3, 2004, the Commission's Los Angeles 
 Office received information from the President of CARA, who 
 reported that he had monitored and recorded the communications 
 between Gerritsen and the Coast Guard Auxiliary Officer on 
 October 29, 2004.  The recording reveals that for approximately 
 40 minutes, Gerritsen is speaking and playing a recorded 
 message while the Officer and the complainant urge him to cease 
 transmissions and vacate the frequency because of the 
 emergency. 

III.      DISCUSSION

      7.  Section 503(b) of the Act provides that any person who 
 willfully or repeatedly fails to comply substantially with the 
 terms and conditions of any license, or willfully or repeatedly 
 fails to comply with any of the provisions of the Act or of any 
 rule, regulation or order issued by the Commission thereunder, 
 shall be liable for a forfeiture penalty.  The term "willful" 
 as used in Section 503(b) has been interpreted to mean simply 
 that the acts or omissions are committed knowingly.6  

      8.  Section 333 of the Act states that no person shall 
 willfully or maliciously interfere with, or cause interference 
 to, any radio communications of any station licensed or 
 authorized by or under this Act or operated by the United 
 States Government.  The legislative history for Section 333 
 identifies willful and malicious interference as ``intentional 
 jamming, deliberate transmission on top of the transmissions of 
 authorized users already using specific frequencies in order to 
 obstruct their communications, repeated interruptions, and the 
 use and transmission of whistles, tapes, records, or other 
 types of noisemaking devices to interfere with the 
 communications or radio signals of other stations.''7  One 
 hallmark of willful and malicious interference in the Amateur 
 Radio Service is the refusal by an operator to allow any other 
 operator to talk.8   
  
      9.  Section 321(b) of the Act states that ``[a]ll radio 
 stations, including Government stations and stations on board 
 foreign vessels when within the territorial waters of the 
 United States, shall give absolute priority to radio 
 communications or signals relating to ships in distress; shall 
 cease all sending on frequencies which will interfere with 
 hearing a radio communication or signal of distress, and, 
 except when  engaged in answering or aiding the ship in 
 distress, shall refrain from sending any radio communications 
 or signals until there is assurance that no interference will 
 be caused with the radio communications or signals relating 
 thereto, and shall assist the vessel in distress, so far as 
 possible, by complying with its instructions.''9  Section 
 97.101(c) of the Commission's Rules, concerning amateur 
 operations, states that ``[a]t all times and on all 
 frequencies, each control operator must give propriety to 
 stations providing emergency communications . . . .''10

      10.    On October 29, 2004, a Coast Guard Auxiliary 
 Officer attempted to contact a damaged vessel in distress near 
 Catalina Island.  Because the VHF marine radio on the damaged 
 vessel was inoperable, the Officer used the CARA Repeater to 
 contact the vessel and asked all stations to stand by during 
 his emergency communications, consistent with Section 321(b) of 
 the Act.  Shortly after the emergency communications began, 
 Gerritsen, clearly identifying himself by his cancelled 
 callsign of ``KG6IRO,'' began transmitting on the CARA Repeater 
 input frequency.  Although the frequency had been cleared for 
 emergency communications, Gerritsen refused to clear the 
 channel, and refused to cease transmitting, obstructing the 
 communications of the authorized users during the emergency.  
 His refusal to clear the frequency, and his continual use of 
 the frequency during the emergency, interfered with the Coast 
 Guard Auxiliary Officer's ability to hear radio communications 
 from the ship in distress.  The Officer and the complainant 
 both repeatedly asked Gerritsen to vacate the frequency, so 
 that it could be used to locate the complainant's husband at 
 sea.  Gerritsen refused.

      11.    Gerritsen currently holds no Commission license or 
 authorization to operate on any amateur frequency and, in the 
 past year, Commission agents have warned Gerritsen that he 
 holds no valid authorization to operate on amateur frequencies. 
 However, Gerritsen continues to operate on amateur frequencies 
 and, on October 29, 2004, apparently willfully and maliciously 
 interfered with communications relating to a ship in distress.  
 The requirement of Section 321(b) that all radio stations 
 ``shall give absolute priority to radio communications or 
 signals relating to ships in distress . . . and shall assist 
 the vessel  in distress, so far as possible'' exemplifies one 
 of the best uses for radio transmissions, the endeavor to save 
 a human life.  Gerritsen's actions on October 29, 2004, 
 however, exemplify the worst.  Gerritsen was repeatedly warned 
 during his transmissions that he was interfering with emergency 
 communications relating to a vessel in distress.  He 
 nonetheless continued to transmit, announcing, at the end of 
 the emergency, that he would jam anyone who would jam him.  
 Therefore, his violation is willful.  Based on the evidence 
 before us, we find that Gerritsen apparently willfully violated 
 Sections 321(b) and  333 of the Act by willfully and 
 maliciously interfering with the radio communications of a 
 Coast Guard Auxiliary Officer while he attempted to use the 
 amateur frequencies to contact a sailing vessel in distress. 

      12.      Pursuant to The Commission's Forfeiture Policy 
 Statement and Amendment of Section 1.80 of the Rules to 
 Incorporate the Forfeiture Guidelines, ("Forfeiture Policy 
 Statement"), and Section 1.80 of the Rules, the base forfeiture 
 amount for causing interference to licensed stations is 
 $7,000.11  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 Act, which include the nature, 
 circumstances, extent, and gravity of the violations, and with 
 respect to the violator, the degree of culpability, and history 
 of prior offenses, ability to pay, and other such matters as 
 justice may require.12  Based on the criteria in Section 
 503(b)(2)(D) of the Act, and the upward adjustment criteria in 
 the Forfeiture Policy Statement, we find that an upward 
 adjustment of the base forfeiture amount of $7,000 is 
 warranted.13  Gerritsen's apparent willful and malicious 
 interference with the radio communications of the Coast Guard 
 Auxiliary Officer, who was attempting to communicate with a 
 ship in distress, is egregious.  According to the evidence, 
 Gerritsen knowingly operates, without a license, radio 
 transmission equipment.  On October 29, 2004, his unauthorized 
 operations interfered with emergency communications related to 
 aiding a ship in distress.  Gerritsen continued to transmit on 
 a frequency that had been cleared for emergency communications, 
 despite repeated warnings and requests to vacate the frequency.  
 Considering the entire record and applying the factors listed 
 above, we conclude that Gerritsen is apparently liable for a 
 forfeiture in the amount of $21,000.
  
IV.  ORDERING CLAUSES

      13.      Accordingly, IT IS ORDERED that, pursuant to 
 Section 503(b) of the Communications Act of 1934, as amended, 
 and Sections 0.111, 0.311 and 1.80 of the Commission's Rules, 
 Jack Gerritsen is hereby NOTIFIED of this APPARENT LIABILITY 
 FOR A FORFEITURE in the amount of twenty-one thousand dollars 
 ($21,000) for violations of Sections 321(b) and 333 of the 
 Act.14

      14.      IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that, pursuant to Section 
 1.80 of the Commission's Rules within thirty days of the 
 release date of this Notice of Apparent Liability for 
 Forfeiture, Jack Gerritsen SHALL PAY the full amount of the 
 proposed forfeiture or SHALL FILE a written statement seeking 
 reduction or cancellation of the proposed forfeiture.

      15.      Payment of the forfeiture must be made by check or 
 similar instrument, payable to the order of the Federal 
 Communications Commission.  The payment must include the 
 NAL/Acct. No. and FRN No. referenced above.  Payment by check 
 or money order may be mailed to Forfeiture Collection Section, 
 Finance Branch, Federal Communications Commission, P.O. Box 
 73482, Chicago, Illinois 60673-7482.  Payment by overnight mail 
 may be sent to Bank One/LB 73482, 525 West Monroe, 8th Floor 
 Mailroom, Chicago, IL 60661.   Payment by wire transfer may be 
 made to ABA Number 071000013, receiving bank Bank One, and 
 account number 1165259.

      16.      The response, if any, must be mailed to Federal 
 Communications Commission, Enforcement Bureau, Western Region, 
 Los Angeles Office, 18000 Studebaker Rd, Suite 660, Cerritos, 
 CA, 90703 and must include the NAL/Acct. No. referenced in the 
 caption.  

      17.      The Commission will not consider reducing or 
 canceling a forfeiture in response to a claim of inability to 
 pay unless the petitioner submits: (1) federal tax returns for 
 the most recent three-year period; (2) financial statements 
 prepared according to generally accepted accounting practices 
 ("GAAP"); or (3) some other reliable and objective 
 documentation that accurately reflects the petitioner's current 
 financial status.  Any claim of inability to pay must 
 specifically identify the basis for the claim by reference to 
 the financial documentation submitted.  

     20.  Requests for payment of the full amount of this Notice 
of Apparent Liability for Forfeiture under an installment plan 
should be sent to: Chief, Revenue and Receivables Operations 
Group, 445 12th Street, S.W., Washington, D.C. 20554.15

     21.  IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that a copy of this Notice of 
Apparent Liability for Forfeiture shall be sent by Certified 
Mail, Return Receipt Requested, and regular mail, to Jack 
Gerritsen, 6217  Palm Avenue, Bell, CA, 90201.



                              FEDERAL COMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION




                              
                              Catherine Deaton
                              District Director 
                              Los Angeles District Office
                              Western Region
                              Enforcement Bureau
_________________________

147 U.S.C.   321(b), 333.
247 U.S.C.  503(b).  
3See November 21, 2001, letter from W. Riley Hollingsworth, 
Special Counsel, Enforcement Bureau, Federal Communications 
Commission, to Mr. Jack Gerritsen (``Enforcement Bureau 
Letter'').  The action was taken pursuant to Section 1.113(a) of 
the Rules which states that ``within 30 days after public notice 
has been given of any action taken pursuant to delegated 
authority, the person, panel, or board taking the action may 
modify or set it aside on its own motion.''  47 C.F.R.  
1.113(a).
4Enforcement Bureau Letter.  
5During the emergency communications, the Officer identified 
himself as ``W1HIJ'' and ``U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary Upland 
Radio One.''  The complainant identified herself as ``N6LNX.''  
According to Commission records, both are authorized amateur 
licensees.
6Section 312(f)(1) of the Act, 47 U.S.C.  312(f)(1), which 
applies to violations for which forfeitures are assessed under 
Section 503(b) of the Act, provides that "[t]he term 'willful', 
when used with reference to the commission or omission of any 
act, means the conscious and deliberate commission or omission of 
such act, irrespective of any intent to violate any provision of 
this Act or any rule or regulation of the Commission authorized 
by this Act...."  See Southern California Broadcasting Co., 6 FCC 
Rcd 4387 (1991).
7H.R. Rep. No. 101-316, at 13 (1989). 
8U.S. v. Richard, (1998 WL 830654 (E.D. La.)).  See also John  B. 
Genovese, 10 FCC Rcd 7594 (CIB 1995).  
947 U.S.C.   321(b). See also 47 C.F.R.  2.401.
1047 C.F.R.  97.101(a).  
1112 FCC Rcd 17087 (1997), recon. denied, 15 FCC Rcd 303 (1999); 
47 C.F.R. 1.80.
1247 U.S.C.  503(b)(2)(D).
1347 U.S.C.  503(b)(2)(D); 47 C.F.R.  1.80(b)(4); see also 
Forfeiture Policy Statement, 12 FCC Rcd at 17100 - 01.
1447 U.S.C.  321(b), 333, 503(b), 47 C.F.R.  0.111, 0.311, 
1.80.
15See 47 C.F.R.  1.1914.