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Federal Communications Commission
Washington, D.C. 20554
In the Matter of )
) File Number EB-03-LA-286
Jack Gerritsen )
) NAL/Acct. No. 200532900002
Bell, California ) FRN 0005240072
Adopted: November 30, 2005 Released:
December 2, 2005
By the Regional Director, Western Region, Enforcement Bureau:
1. In this Forfeiture Order (``Order''), we issue a
monetary forfeiture in the amount of twenty-one thousand dollars
($21,000) to Jack Gerritsen (``Gerritsen''), for willful and
repeated violation of Section 333 of the Communications Act of
1934, as amended ("Act").1 On December 2, 2004, the Enforcement
Bureau's Los Angeles Office issued a Notice of Apparent Liability
for Forfeiture (``NAL'') in the amount of $21,000 to Gerritsen
after determining that Gerritsen apparently willfully,
repeatedly, and maliciously interfered with the radio
communications of authorized users in the Amateur Radio Service.
In this Order, we consider Gerritsen's various arguments
concerning his authority to operate, his ability to cause
interference, and his inability to pay the forfeiture.
2. On November 14, 2001, the Commission's Wireless
Telecommunications Bureau (``WTB'') set aside, on its own motion,
amateur radio station license KG6IRO, which was granted to
Gerritsen on November 7, 2001.2 Gerritsen was notified that the
action was taken because of complaints about the operation of
Gerritsen's station and because of questions regarding his
qualification to be a licensee in light of his 1999 arrest and
2000 conviction for radio interference to police communications.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 January 30, 2002, WTB notified
Gerritsen that his amateur application had been dismissed.5
Therefore, Gerritsen does not hold a valid amateur license and
has no authority to operate.
3. Beginning in July 28, 2003, the Commission's Los
Angeles Office began receiving complaints of deliberate
interference to radio communications over local Amateur, Business
and Public Safety radio repeater systems.6 The complaints
alleged that the person making the transmissions identified
himself as ``KG6IRO.'' The Los Angeles Office conducted an
investigation which identified Gerritsen as the source of the on-
going unlicensed operation. Based upon this evidence, a Notice
of Apparent Liability for $10,000 was issued to Gerritsen on June
15, 2004, for willful and repeated unlicensed operation of a
radio station in the Amateur Radio Service in violation of
Section 301 of the Act (``Section 301 NAL'').7
4. On June 15, 2004, agents from the Los Angeles Office
observed a signal on 146.405 MHz monopolizing the authorized
147.435/146.405 MHz repeater. Using mobile direction finding
techniques, the agents located the source of the signal to
Gerritsen's residence at 6217 ½ Palm Avenue in Bell, California.
For almost an hour, Gerritsen maintained a steady transmission on
the input frequency of 146.405 MHz which kept all other operators
from using the repeater.
5. On June 24, 2004, the Los Angeles Office received a
complaint from an amateur operator which recounted a broadcast
made that day, on the repeater's output frequency, 147.435 MHz,
by a man identifying himself as Jack Gerritsen, announcing a
``hostile takeover'' of the frequency. On July 16, 2004, the Los
Angeles Office received a complaint alleging that Gerritsen was
interfering with fire watch communications on the authorized
147.105/146.505 MHz repeater. In response, Los Angeles agents
went to Gerritsen's residence to investigate the complaint.
Gerritsen admitted operating on the 147.105/146.505 MHz repeater
to the agents. The agents warned Gerritsen that he did not have
authority to transmit on any amateur band and told him to vacate
all amateur frequencies.
6. On July 24, 2004, using mobile direction finding
techniques, an agent from the Los Angeles Office positively
identified radio transmissions emanating from Gerritsen's
residence as the source of radio signals being transmitted on
another authorized amateur repeater, the 145.240/144.640
repeater. These communications consisted of a 20 minute
prerecorded message by Gerritsen threatening to ``jam'' any
operator that would ``jam'' him along with a recording of the
tone used by the phone company to indicate a phone is off the
hook. Throughout the recording, Gerritsen identified himself by
the call sign ``KG6IRO.'' During Gerritsen's transmissions, no
other amateur operator was able to use the 145.240/144.640
repeater. On July 26, 2004, the Los Angeles Office received a
complaint from yet another amateur operator stating that
Gerritsen had played a recording for 48 minutes without
interruption over the authorized ``Keller Peak'' repeater on
7. On September 13, 2004, the Los Angeles Office received
a complaint from an Amateur Relay Radio League (``ARRL'')
Official Observer, alleging that Gerritsen deliberately and
maliciously interfered with the Young Hams Net using the
authorized Catalina Island Amateur Repeater Association
(``CARA'') repeater on 147.090/147.690 MHz on September 8, 2004.8
The complaint alleged that the prerecorded messages transmitted
by Gerritsen were so intense and vile they were reported to have
reduced one of the younger participants to tears.
8. On September 15, 2004, using mobile direction finding
techniques, an agent from the Los Angeles Office positively
identified radio transmissions emanating from Gerritsen's
residence as the source of radio signals monopolizing the input
frequency of 147.690 MHz for the CARA repeater on 147.090/147.690
MHz. The agent heard Gerritsen transmit prerecorded messages,
and also sounds, static, and tones, as the members of the Young
Hams Net attempted to communicate. During Gerritsen's
transmissions, which lasted for almost ten minutes, no other
amateur operator was able to use the repeater.
9. On December 2, 2004, the Commission's Los Angeles
Office issued a NAL in the amount of $21,000 to Gerritsen.9 In
the NAL issued by the Los Angeles Office, the Office found that
Gerritsen apparently willfully, repeatedly, and maliciously
caused interference to authorized users in the Amateur Radio
Service on June 15, 2004, July 24, 2004 and September 15, 2004.10
Gerritsen filed a response to the NAL on December 17, 2004
(``Response''). In his Response, Gerritsen ``denies those
activities alleged against [him] that if true would be illegal.''
Gerritsen argues that his amateur license has not been suspended,
terminated, revoked, modified or set aside; that no record of his
license set aside exists; that he did not engage in interference;
that the actual motive behind the NAL is to silence his messages
in violation of the U.S. Constitution; and that he does not have
sufficient income to pay the forfeiture amount proposed in the
10. The proposed forfeiture amount in this case was
assessed in accordance with Section 503(b) of the Act,12 Section
1.80 of the Rules,13 and The Commission's Forfeiture Policy
Statement and Amendment of Section 1.80 of the Rules to
Incorporate the Forfeiture Guidelines.14 In examining
Gerritsen's Response, Section 503(b) of the Act requires that the
Commission take into account the nature, circumstances, extent
and gravity of the violation 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.15
11. 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.''16 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.17
This can occur when an operator increases power so as to
``capture'' a repeater, to the exclusion of any other
operators.18 It can also occur when an operator transmits on an
amateur frequency slightly different than another amateur
frequency but at equal strength. This results in an audible
tone, or whistle, with a frequency equal to the difference in the
frequencies of the two competing signals. This tone is often
referred to as ``heterodyne'' interference.19
12. We first address Gerritsen's argument that his amateur
license was not set aside and that no record of the set aside
exists. In fact, Gerritsen received an official notice from the
Commission informing him that his license was set aside and that
his application was returned to pending status.20 He also
received an official notice from the Commission when his pending
application was dismissed.21 The Commission received notice that
Gerritsen received each piece of correspondence.22 Consequently,
we find this argument to be without merit.23
13. Next we address Gerritsen's arguments concerning the
three instances of interference that he caused on June 15, 2004,
July 24, 2004 and September 15, 2004. On June 15, 2004, Los
Angeles agents, using direction finding techniques, located the
source of a signal on 146.405 MHz, monopolizing the 146.405 MHz
input frequency to the 146.435/146.405 repeater, to Gerritsen's
residence. While Gerritsen argues that his location is too
distant and too insignificant in power to prevent other operators
from using the repeater, he acknowledges that he ``may have keyed
[his] transmitter continuously in a `duplex' mode of operation
that allows [him] to hear `feed back' when [his] signal goes thru
(sic) the repeater, so [he] can then pick up the microphone and
utter a few words before being jammed by another operator . . .
.'' In other words, Gerritsen acknowledges his efforts to
monopolize the 146.435/146.405 repeater.
14. On July 24, 2004, Los Angeles agents, using direction
finding techniques, located the source of a signal on the
145.240/144.640 repeater to Gerritsen's residence. Because
Gerritsen effectively captured the 145.240/144.640 repeater
during that time, and because of his intentional jamming, no
authorized amateur operator was able to use the repeater.
Gerritsen makes no statement, and offers no evidence, to refute
15. On September 15, 2004, using mobile direction finding
techniques, an agent from the Los Angeles Office determined that
radio transmissions emanating from Gerritsen's residence captured
the CARA repeater and transmitted on top of the Young Hams Net
that was attempting to use the repeater at that time. In
addition, Gerritsen apparently caused interference to occur,
using the CARA repeater, and prohibited any communications to
occur on the repeater at that time. Gerritsen argues that even
if such interference took place, it is not evidence that other
amateurs were unable to use the repeater because his signal was
not the strongest signal reaching the CARA antenna. However, in
describing the CARA repeater, Gerritsen also states that ``the
fact that my signal overrides or covers a signal out of a
repeater, should be no cause for your NAL, as my signal often is
a response to the fact that a repeater is turned on and becomes
available for use . . . .'' Gerritsen also states that he has
increased by tenfold the power of the transmitter that he uses so
that other operators can no longer override his signal.
16. In each of the three instances cited in the NAL, Los
Angeles agents used direction finding equipment to locate the
source of the interfering signal to Gerritsen's residence. In
each instance, a Los Angeles agent monitored the signal being
transmitted and heard the interference caused by Gerritsen.
Gerritsen produced no evidence to refute the agents' findings.25
He also described in detail his ability to cause the interference
on the days cited in the NAL. Consequently, we find Gerritsen's
arguments that he did not cause the interference described on the
three days cited in the NAL to be without merit.26
17. We now consider Gerritsen's claim that the content of
his communications and transmissions are protected by the First
Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.27 The content of
Gerritsen's transmissions are not at issue here, and, therefore,
the forfeiture does not impair Gerritsen's First Amendment
rights. As described above, willful and malicious interference
includes 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. Gerritsen's acts
of transmitting obstructed the communications of licensed amateur
operators by capturing the repeaters and monopolizing them, and
by overriding and transmitting on top of the transmissions of the
licensed operators. Gerritsen's actions violated Section 333
because his transmissions, regardless of their content, caused
interference to licensed amateur operators.28 Therefore, we find
this argument to be without merit as well.
18. Finally, we address Gerritsen's claim that he is unable
to pay the proposed forfeiture. Specifically, Gerritsen states
that he did not file any tax returns for the most recent three
year period because his income was insufficient to require a tax
return. We note that in the NAL, the Los Angeles Office
instructed Gerritsen, if he sought cancellation or reduction of
the forfeiture, to supply:
(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.29
Gerritsen submitted no documentation that reflects his current
financial status. Therefore, he has provided us with no basis to
support cancellation or reduction of the forfeiture based on his
inability to pay.30
19. We have examined Gerritsen's Response to the NAL
pursuant to the statutory factors above, and in conjunction with
the Forfeiture Policy Statement. As a result of our review, we
conclude that Gerritsen willfully and repeatedly violated Section
333 of the Act. Considering the entire record and the factors
listed above, we find that neither reduction or cancellation of
the proposed $21,000 forfeiture is warranted
IV. ORDERING CLAUSES
20. ACCORDINGLY, IT IS ORDERED that, pursuant to
Section 503(b) of the Communications Act of 1934, as amended
(``Act''), and Sections 0.111, 0.311 and 1.80(f)(4) of the
Commission's Rules, Jack Gerritsen IS LIABLE FOR A MONETARY
FORFEITURE in the amount of $21,000 for willfully and repeatedly
violating Section 333 of the Act.31
21. Payment of the forfeiture shall be made in the
manner provided for in Section 1.80 of the Rules within 30 days
of the release of this Order. If the forfeiture is not paid
within the period specified, the case may be referred to the
Department of Justice for collection pursuant to Section 504(a)
of the Act.32 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 Federal Communications Commission,
P.O. Box 358340, Pittsburgh, PA 15251-8340. Payment by overnight
mail may be sent to Mellon Bank /LB 358340, 500 Ross Street, Room
1540670, Pittsburgh, PA 15251. Payment by wire transfer may be
made to ABA Number 043000261, receiving bank Mellon Bank, and
account number 911- 6106. Requests for full payment under an
installment plan should be sent to: Associate Managing Director -
Financial Operations, Room 1A625, 445 12th Street, S.W.,
Washington, D.C. 20554.33
22. IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that a copy of this Order
shall be sent by First Class Mail and Certified Mail Return
Receipt Requested to Jack Gerritsen at his address of record.
FEDERAL COMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION
Rebecca L. Dorch
Regional Director, Western Region
147 U.S.C. § 333.
2The 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).
3See November 21, 2001, letter from W. Riley Hollingsworth,
Special Counsel, Enforcement Bureau, Federal Communications
Commission, to Mr. Jack Gerritsen (``Enforcement Bureau
Letter''). On December 28, 1999, Gerritsen was arrested by the
California Highway Patrol and charged with violating sections of
the California Penal Code that prohibit intercepting, obstructing
and/or interfering with police radio communications. Gerritsen
was convicted of interfering with police radio communications on
June 6, 2000. Gerritsen's subsequent probation included that he
not possess any radio transmitting devices and not interfere with
police or FCC activity. See Municipal Court of Long Beach
Judicial District, County of Los Angeles, State of California,
Case No. 0SE01792: People vs. Jack Gerritsen, June 6, 2000. On
January 29, 2002, Officers from the Bell Police Department and
the California Highway Patrol arrested Gerritsen for violation of
his probation. See Bell Police Department-Supplemental/Arrest
Report 01-6723, dated January 29, 2002. On May 7, 2002,
Gerritsen was found to have violated his probation and sentenced.
See The Municipal Court of Long Beach Judicial District County of
Los Angeles, State of California, Case No. 0SE01792: People vs.
Jack Gerritsen, May 7, 2002, Affirmed in part, reversed in part,
BR 042769, Los Angeles County Superior Court, September 22, 2004.
4Enforcement Bureau Letter.
5See Notice Of Dismissal, dated January 30, 2002 (``Dismissal
6See e.g., September 19, 2003, Amateur Radio Relay League
(``ARRL'') Complaint; November 6, 2003 Bell Gardens Police
Department Sgt. Jerry Winfrey's complaint.
747 U.S.C. § 301. A Forfeiture Order concerning the same
violation was issued for $10,000 on October 5, 2004. Jack
Gerritsen, 19 FCC Rcd 19,520 (EB 2004), petition for
reconsideration denied 20 FCC Rcd 4273 (EB 2005).
8The Young Hams Net is directed by a 15 year old high school
student and comprised of young people between the ages of seven
9Notice of Apparent Liability for Forfeiture, NAL/Acct. No.
200532900002 (Enf. Bur., Western Region, Los Angeles Office,
released December 2, 2004). The Los Angeles Office found, based
on the criteria in Section 503(b)(2)(D) of the Act, and the
upward adjustment criteria in the Forfeiture Policy Statement,
that an upward adjustment of the base forfeiture amount of $7,000
was warranted because Gerritsen's willful, repeated, and
malicious interference with the radio communications of licensed
amateur stations was egregious. The Los Angeles Office found
that Gerritsen knowingly operated, without a license, radio
transmission equipment while announcing his intentions to
interfere with licensed amateur operators, and that he willfully
and maliciously interfered with the transmissions of licensed
amateurs on a repeated basis, disregarding the Commission's
requirement that amateur stations be licensed and operated
according to good amateur practice.
10While the NAL details complaints alleging Gerritsen caused
interference on multiple occasions, the Los Angeles Office found
that Gerritsen caused interference on June 15, 2004, July 24,
2004 and September 15, 2004.
11Gerritsen also argues that his criminal case, Municipal Court
of Long Beach Judicial District, County of Los Angeles, State of
California, Case No. 0SE01792: People vs. Jack Gerritsen, was
reversed by the Los Angeles County Superior Court. In fact, only
the order of the trial court on November 22, 2002, which revoked
Gerritsen's probation and lifted the stay on his previously
imposed jail sentence was reversed. Gerritsen's underlying
conviction was not reversed. See n. 3, supra.
1247 U.S.C. § 503(b).
1347 C.F.R. § 1.80.
1412 FCC Rcd 17087 (1997), recon. denied, 15 FCC Rcd 303 (1999).
1547 U.S.C. § 503(b)(2)(D).
16H.R. Rep. No. 101-316, at 13 (1989). Section 97.101(a) of the
Commission's Rules (``Rules'') states that ``each amateur station
must be operated in accordance with good engineering and good
amateur practice.'' 47 C.F.R. § 97.101(a). Section 97.101(d) of
the Rules states that ``[n]o amateur operator shall willfully or
maliciously interfere with or cause interference to any radio
communication or signal.'' 47 C.F.R. § 97.101(d).
17U.S. v. Richard, (1998 WL 830654 (E.D. La.)). See also John B.
Genovese, 10 FCC Rcd 7594 (CIB 1995).
18The ``capture effect" occurs when the repeater, or any FM
receiver, responds to only the strongest signal received on a
frequency and rejects any weaker competing signals. See
Unlicensed Operation in the TV Broadcast Bands, 19 FCC Rcd 10018,
199 kHz Channel Spacing for AM Broadcasting, 88 FCC 2d 290, ¶ 69,
20See Enforcement Bureau Letter, supra.
21See Dismissal Notice, supra.
22Gerritsen signed the ``Return Receipt Requested'' postal card
when he received the Enforcement Bureau Letter. He also sent a
reply to WTB when he received the Dismissal Notice.
23Gerritsen also demands that certain complaints and documents
described in the NAL be made available to him. We note that such
requests are governed by the Commission's procedures concerning
Freedom of Information Act (``FOIA'') requests. These procedures
are found in Sections 0.441 - 0.470 of the Rules. 47 C.F.R. §§
0.441 - 0.470.
24Gerritsen does argue that his transmissions on this date are
protected by the U.S. Constitution. We address that argument in
¶ 17, below.
25In response to a Notice of Apparent Liability, the ``respondent
will be afforded a reasonable period of time (usually 30 days
from the date of the notice) to show, in writing, why a
forfeiture penalty should not be imposed or should be reduced, or
to pay the forfeiture. Any showing as to why the forfeiture
should not be imposed or should be reduced shall include a
detailed factual statement and such documentation and affidavits
as may be pertinent.'' Section 1.80(f)(3) of the Rules. 47
C.F.R. § 1.80(f)(3).
26Gerritsen also raises arguments concerning other alleged
instances of interference that are described in the NAL, beyond
those that occurred on June 15, 2004, July 24, 2004 and September
15, 2004. Because the Los Angeles Office found that Gerritsen
apparently caused interference only on June 15, 2004, July 24,
2004 and September 15, 2004, we do not reach Gerritsen's
arguments concerning the other instances described in the NAL.
27We note that some types of communications by amateur operators
using amateur frequencies are prohibited by the Commission's
Rules. Section 97.113(a) of the Rules, 47 C.F.R. § 97.113,
prohibits amateur stations from transmitting:
(1) Communications specifically prohibited elsewhere in this
(2) Communications for hire or for material compensation,
direct or indirect, paid or promised, except as otherwise
provided in these rules;
(3) Communications in which the station licensee or control
operator has a pecuniary interest, including communications on
behalf of an employer. Amateur operators may, however, notify
other amateur operators of the availability for sale or trade
of apparatus normally used in an amateur station, provided that
such activity is not conducted on a regular basis;
(4) Music using a phone emission except as specifically
provided elsewhere in this Section; communications intended to
facilitate a criminal act; messages in codes or ciphers
intended to obscure the meaning thereof, except as otherwise
provided herein; obscene or indecent words or language; or
false or deceptive messages, signals or identification;
(5) Communications, on a regular basis, which could reasonably
be furnished alternatively through other radio services.
47 C.F.R. § 97.113(a).
28We also note that Gerritsen, in each instance, caused
interference to licensed amateur operators while he held no valid
amateur license. His unlicensed operation on amateur frequencies
is not protected by the U.S. Constitution as it is well
established that the right to free speech does not include the
right to use radio facilities without a license and that the
licensing system established by Congress in the Communications
Act was a proper exercise of Congress' power over commerce.
National Broadcasting Company v. U.S., 319 U.S. 190, 227 (1943).
29NAL at ¶ 21.
30See Webnet Communications, Inc., 18 FCC Rcd 6870, 6878 ¶ 16
3147 U.S.C. §§ 333, 503(b), 47 C.F.R. §§ 0.111, 0.311,
3247 U.S.C. § 504(a).
33See 47 C.F.R. § 1.1914.