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FEDERAL COMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION
Chicago District Office
1550 North Northwest Hwy, Suite 306
Park Ridge, IL 60068
June 21, 2006
Kerry W. & Sandra K. Poltrock Case Number: EB-06-CG-180
Kenosha, WI Document Number: W20063232002
NOTICE OF UNLICENSED OPERATION
The Chicago Office received information that an unlicensed broadcast radio
station on 99.9 MHz was allegedly operating in Kenosha, WI. On May 5,
2006, agents from this office confirmed by direction finding techniques
that radio signals on the frequency 99.9 MHz were emanating from your
residence. The Commission's records show that no license was issued for
operation of a broadcast station on 99.9 MHz at this location in Kenosha,
Radio stations must be licensed by the FCC pursuant to 47 U.S.C. S 301.
The only exception to this licensing requirement is for certain
transmitters using or operating at a power level or mode of operation that
complies with the standards established in Part 15 of the Commission's
rules, 47 C.F.R. SS 15.1 et seq. The field strength of the signal on
frequency 99.9 MHz was measured at 19,903 microvolts per meter (uV/m) at
45 meters. This exceeds the maximum permitted level of 250 uV/m at 3
meters for a non-licensed device. Thus, this station was operating in
violation of 47 U.S.C. S 301.
You are hereby warned that operation of radio transmitting equipment
without a valid radio station authorization constitutes a violation of the
Federal laws cited above and could subject the operator to severe
penalties, including, but not limited to, substantial monetary fines, in
rem arrest action against the offending radio equipment, and criminal
sanctions including imprisonment. (see 47 U.S.C. SS 401, 501, 503 and
UNLICENSED OPERATION OF THIS RADIO STATION MUST BE DISCONTINUED
You have ten (10) days from the date of this notice to respond with any
evidence that you have authority to operate granted by the FCC. Your
response should be sent to the address in the letterhead and reference the
listed case. Under the Privacy Act of 1974, 5 U.S.C. S 552a(e)(3), we are
informing you that the Commission's staff will use all relevant material
information before it to determine what, if any, enforcement action is
required to ensure your compliance with FCC Rules. This will include any
information that you disclose in your reply.
You may contact this office if you have any questions.
G. Michael Moffitt
Excerpts from the Communications Act of 1934, As Amended
Enforcement Bureau, "Inspection Fact Sheet", July 2003
EXCERPTS FROM THE COMMUNICATIONS ACT OF 1934, AS AMENDED
Section 301. License for Radio Communication or Transmission of Energy
It is the purpose of this Act, among other things, to maintain the control
of the United States over all the channels of radio transmission; and to
provide for the use of such channels, but not the ownership thereof, by
persons for limited periods of time, under licenses granted by Federal
authority, and no such license shall be construed to create any right,
beyond the terms, conditions, and periods of the license. No person shall
use or operate any apparatus for the transmission of energy or
communications or signals by radio (a) from one place in any State,
Territory, or possession of the United States or in the District of
Columbia to another place in the same State, Territory, possession, or
District; or (b) from any State, Territory, or possession of the United
States, or from the District of Columbia to any other State, Territory, or
possession of the United States; or (c) from any place in any State,
Territory, or possession of the United States, or in the District of
Columbia, to any place in any foreign country or to any vessel; or (d)
within any State when the effects of such use extend beyond the borders of
said State, or when interference is caused by such use or operation with
the transmission of such energy, communications, or signals from within
said State to any place beyond its borders, or from any place beyond its
borders to any place within said State, or with the transmission or
reception of such energy, communications, or signals from and/or to places
beyond the borders of said State; or (e) upon any vessel or aircraft of
the United States (except as provided in section 303(t); or (f) upon any
other mobile stations within the jurisdiction of the United States, except
under and in accordance with this Act and with a license in that behalf
granted under the provisions of this Act.
Section 303. General Powers of The Commission
Except as otherwise provided in this Act, the Commission from time to
time, as public convenience, interest, or necessity requires shall-
(n) Have authority to inspect all radio installations associated with
stations required to be licensed by any Act, or which the Commission by
rule has authorized to operate without a license under Section 307(e)(1),
or which are subject to the provisions of any Act, treaty, or convention
binding on the United States, to ascertain whether in construction,
installation, and operation they conform to the requirements of the rules
and regulations of the Commission, the provision of any Act, the terms of
any treaty or convention binding on the United States and the conditions
of the license or other instrument of authorization under which they are
constructed, installed, or operated.
Section 333. Willful or Malicious Interference
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
Section 501. General Penalty
Any person who willfully and knowingly does or causes or suffers to be
done any act, matter, or thing, in this Act prohibited or declared to be
unlawful, or who willfully or knowingly omits or fails to do any act,
matter, or thing in this Act required to be done, or willfully and
knowingly causes or suffers such omission or failure, shall, upon
conviction thereof, be punished for such offense, for which no penalty
(other than a forfeiture) is provided in this Act, by a fine of not more
than $10,000 or by imprisonment for a term not exceeding one year, or
both; except that any person, having been once convicted of an offense
punishable under this section, who is subsequently convicted of violating
any provision of this Act punishable under this section, shall be punished
by a fine of not more than $10,000 or by imprisonment for a term not
exceeding two years, or both.
Section 503. Forfeitures in Cases of Rebates and Offsets
(b)(1) Any person who is determined by the Commission ... to have--
(B) willfully or repeatedly failed to comply with any of the provisions of
this Act or of any rule, regulation, or order issued by the Commission
under this Act or under any treaty, convention, or other agreement to
which the United States is a party and which is binding on the United
shall be liable to the United States for a forfeiture penalty.
Section 510. Forfeiture of Communications Devices
(a) Any electronic, electromagnetic, radio frequency, or similar device,
or component thereof, used, sent, carried, manufactured, assembled,
possessed, offered for sale, sold or advertised with willful and knowing
intent to violate Section 301 or 302, or rules prescribed by the
Commission under such sections, may be seized and forfeited to the United
Inspection FACT SHEET
The Federal Communications Commission has the authority to inspect most
radio installations. Responsibility for conducting these inspections
generally rests with the Enforcement Bureau's Field Agents. In the course
of fulfilling this responsibility, the Agents often receive questions
concerning the authority and procedure under which they are working. The
Enforcement Bureau has assembled this general information sheet to address
some of the more commonly asked questions concerning inspections and to
clarify why and how inspections occur.
Section 303(n) of the Communications Act of 1934, as amended, (Act) gives
the Federal Communications Commission the "authority to inspect all radio
installations associated with stations required to be licensed by any Act,
or which the Commission by rule has authorized to operate without a
license under section 307(e)(1), or which are subject to the provisions of
any Act, treaty, or convention binding on the United States . . ." 47
U.S.C. 303(n) Both Section 303(n) of the Act, and the Rules which
implement the Act, grant the right to inspect most radio operations to the
Commission, and by delegated authority to the Commission's Bureaus and
agents. The Enforcement Bureau conducts inspections of radio installations
as part of the Bureau's function to "[e]nforce the Commission's Rules and
Regulations." 47 CFR 0.111(a).
Both licensees and non-licensees must allow an FCC Agent to inspect their
radio equipment. Along with the privilege of possessing a license come
responsibilities such as knowing the applicable rules, including allowing
the station to be inspected. Licensees should be aware of the Commission's
right to inspect. Equally important, FCC Agents are allowed to inspect the
radio equipment of non-licensees. Non-licensees include those individuals
or entities operating in accordance with Part 15 of the Rules.
Non-licensees also include those who should have a license to operate
their equipment but have not obtained a license and are operating without
Radio equipment is generally used in a commercial setting (e.g.,
commercial broadcast station, land mobile station, commercial delivery
service) or a residential setting (e.g., amateur, citizen's band (CB)
radio). Home-based businesses may also operate radio stations. This fact
sheet addresses inspection of radio stations in both the commercial and
Frequently Asked Questions Related to Residential Inspection
of Radio Equipment by the FCC
Q: Why must operators of radio frequency devices allow the FCC to inspect
A: The Commission must ascertain essential facts pertaining to the
operation of a station which may be vital to the resolution of a number of
questions, including interference problems involving public safety. For
this reason, the FCC must be able to check all covered equipment that have
the potential to emit radio frequencies. Section 303(n) of the
Communications Act gives the FCC this authority.
Q: What happens if I do not allow the FCC agent to inspect my equipment?
A: Failure to allow inspection forecloses the opportunity to resolve the
problem. Thus, refusal to allow inspection is a serious challenge to the
Commission's authority to inspect radio stations and is a violation of the
Rules. Such a refusal may lead to revocation of a license, maximum
monetary forfeiture, or other Commission sanctions.
Q: The FCC Agent standing at my door does not have a search warrant, so I
don't have to let him in, right?
A: Wrong. Search warrants are needed for entry involving criminal matters.
One of the requirements as a licensee, or non-licensee subject to the
Commission's Rules, is to allow inspection of your radio equipment by FCC
personnel. Whether you operate an amateur station or any other radio
device, your authorization from the Commission comes with the obligation
to allow inspection. Even radio stations licensed under a "blanket" rule
or approval, such as Citizen's Band (CB) Radio, are subject to the
Commission's inspection requirement.
Q: Well then, if I am a low-power broadcaster and don't have an FCC
license, they need a search warrant, right?
A: Wrong again. The FCC agents have the authority to inspect all radio
equipment; even if you do not have a license, the FCC can still inspect
your equipment. Section 303(n) of the Act gives the FCC the right to
inspect all "stations required to be licensed." This language covers your
low-power radio station. The FCC agents are inspecting the equipment, not
searching your house.
Q: Okay, I understand now why the Agent doesn't need a search warrant, but
how do I know what the Agent will do next?
A: Once you open the door, the agents should show their FCC identification
card and badge, identify themselves by name and agency, and should state
the purpose of the visit. They then should request permission to inspect
the radio station. The agents may also ask to see records such as licenses
for the station or operator. Agents, however, should never open private
cabinets, drawers, or other private items in the search for license
Q: Can the agents come to my residence at any hour of the day or night to
conduct an inspection?
A: FCC Agents inspect during the hours of operation. If you are operating
your station during late or unusual hours you cannot use the time element
as justification for refusing to permit an inspection at that time. You
cannot avoid an inspection by electing to operate only during late or
Q: The FCC Agent said that I had to allow inspection of my radio station
without unnecessary delay. What does "without unnecessary delay" mean?
A: Immediate on-the-spot inspections are generally necessary. In most
cases, any delay can result in changed conditions of the transmitting
equipment or its operation, adversely affecting the efficacy of the
inspections. For that reason, Agents cannot return at a later time to
accommodate the operator, cannot wait for the operator to make any
adjustments to the equipment, and cannot spend time repeating the reasons
for the inspection.
Q: Why don't the FCC's agents have to make an appointment with me to
inspect my equipment?
A: The Commission has no means of determining whether a station is being
operated as licensed except through immediate on-the-spot inspection. To
establish the amount of operating power of a station, the input power of
the last radio stage of the transmitter must be actually measured with
test equipment. To delay an inspection for the convenience of a licensee
would allow the licensee time in which to modify or restore the
transmitter to its licensed condition, thus permitting the licensee to
avoid detection. This same theory also applies in the case of whether a
station is operating with an unapproved type of transmitter.
Q: What can happen to me if the agent determines that I am using illegal
or unauthorized equipment?
A: There are several different ways that this situation can be handled.
You may volunteer to surrender the equipment to the agent who will then
destroy it under FCC procedure. If you choose not to surrender the
equipment, the FCC can bring a proceeding against you to take the
equipment. This is known as an in rem (i.e., property) forfeiture
proceeding. Additionally, if you choose not to surrender the equipment,
you can be issued a civil monetary forfeiture penalty. See 1997 Forfeiture
Policy Statement 12 FCC Rcd 17087(1997).
Q: Am I required to surrender any illegal or unauthorized equipment to the
A: No, surrender is voluntary. However, it is the best way to avoid a
large monetary forfeiture.
Q: Is the inspection procedure for various services different? Is the
procedure different for licensees and non-licensees?
A: The inspection procedure is essentially the same for all of the
services. Similarly, the inspection procedure is the same for licensed and
non-licensed stations. This is because the FCC has the right to inspect
ALL covered radio equipment.
Frequently Asked Questions for the Business Environment
Q: FCC Agents arrived to inspect the radio at my office. My boss isn't
here. Should I call my boss to be present for the inspection?
A: You may call your boss if you wish. If the company is open for
business, however, the inspection should be permitted regardless of
whether your boss is present. This is not an acceptable reason to delay an
Q: My boss didn't tell me anyone would come by to inspect our radio so I
don't have to let the FCC inspectors in, right?
A: Wrong. The licensee is responsible for knowing the rules and those
include the FCC's right to inspect. Because the employer is responsible
for the acts of the employee, it is up to the licensee-employer to inform
its staff as to its responsibilities concerning the operation of the radio
Q: I run a small daytime only AM station. Do I have to allow the agents to
inspect the station late at night?
A: The FCC inspects during hours of operation. Thus, a day time station,
by definition, should not be operating at night. If FCC agents determine
that radio signals are emitting from the daytime station during night time
hours, however, an inspection must be allowed if requested by an FCC
Q: How do I know that these are really agents from the FCC?
A: FCC Agents have a badge and credentials with their names and the FCC
seal which they will present to you when requesting your permission to
inspect. If you would like to further confirm their identity, you may call
the FCC's Crisis Management and Communications Room in Washington, D.C.,
at (202)418-1122. It is open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
Q: If an agent is testing my FCC authorized equipment and the equipment
breaks or malfunctions during the tests, is the FCC liable?
A: If the agent was negligent, you may have a claim under the Federal Tort
Claims Act (FTCA) to recover damages for your property. The FCC will make
the initial determination whether the agent was negligent.
Q: Can I have my attorney present during the inspection? Can I make the
agent wait to start the inspection until my attorney is present?
A: You may have your attorney present during the inspection; however,
there is no constitutional right to have your attorney present. Therefore,
you may not make the agent wait until your attorney arrives. Making the
agent wait for your attorney conflicts with the "unnecessary delay"
requirement discussed earlier.