Click here for Adobe Acrobat version
Click here for Microsoft Word version


This document was converted from Microsoft Word.

Content from the original version of the document such as
headers, footers, footnotes, endnotes, graphics, and page numbers
will not show up in this text version.

All text attributes such as bold, italic, underlining, etc. from the
original document will not show up in this text version.

Features of the original document layout such as
columns, tables, line and letter spacing, pagination, and margins
will not be preserved in the text version.

If you need the complete document, download the
Microsoft Word or Adobe Acrobat version.


                                   Before the

                       Federal Communications Commission

                             Washington, D.C. 20554

     In the Matter of       File Number: EB-07-TP-183   
     John Doe               NAL/Acct. No: 200832700016  
     Largo, FL              FRN: 0017350919             

                          MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

   Adopted: September 11, 2008 Released: September 15, 2008

   By the Associate Chief, Enforcement Bureau:


    1. In this Memorandum Opinion and Order ("Order"), we grant the petition
       for reconsideration filed by John Doe of the Forfeiture Order issued
       June 30, 2008. The Forfeiture Order imposed a monetary forfeiture in
       the amount of $18,000 for Mr. Doe's willful and repeated violation of
       Sections 301 and 325 of the Communications Act of 1934, as amended
       ("Act"). The noted violations involve Mr. Doe's operation of radio
       transmission equipment without a license in Largo, Florida, on the
       International Distress, Safety and Calling Channel and transmission of
       false signals of distress. Based on the evidence before us, we cancel
       the forfeiture and admonish Mr. Doe for his willful and repeated
       violation of Sections 301 and 325 of the Act.


    2. On August 23 and 24, 2007, the Commission's Tampa Office of the
       Enforcement Bureau ("Tampa Office") received complaints from the
       United States Coast Guard ("USCG") St. Petersburg Sector regarding
       interference and false distress/mayday calls they had been receiving
       on channels 16 (156.800 MHz) since August 13, 2007. The USCG stated
       they had dispatched ships and aircraft to search for the caller in
       response to several of these false distress calls. On at least one of
       these calls, the USCG stated the caller identified his location as an
       area in close proximity to where he was eventually apprehended.

    3. On August 24, 2007, the USCG contacted an agent from the Tampa Office,
       who was en route to locate the source of the false distress calls, and
       stated they had used direction finding techniques to determine that
       the false distress calls were emanating from a location in or near a
       mobile home community in Largo, Florida. The USCG also stated that the
       Largo Police Department had just apprehended and was taking into
       custody a student, who lived in this mobile home community and who had
       several radios, including a marine radio, in his bedroom rigged to a
       12 volt marine battery and whip antenna.

    4. On August 24, 2007, Mr. Doe confessed to an officer with the Largo
       Police Department that he stole a marine radio from a boat and used it
       to make five false distress/mayday calls to the USCG from his bedroom.
       The Largo Police Department arrested Mr. Doe on this date on charges
       unrelated to the false distress calls and confiscated one marine
       radio, two CB radios, and a marine battery from Mr. Doe's bedroom and
       a whip antenna from outside his bedroom window. According to
       Commission records, Mr. Doe does not hold a license to operate a
       marine radio on land. On August 30, 2007, agents from the Tampa Office
       confirmed that the marine radio confiscated from Mr. Doe's bedroom
       could in fact operate on channel 16 (156.800 MHz).

    5. On April 30, 2008, the Tampa Office issued a Notice of Apparent
       Liability for Forfeiture to Mr. Doe in the amount of eighteen thousand
       dollars ($18,000), for the apparent willful and repeated violation of
       Sections 301 and 325 of the Act. Mr. Doe did not submit a response to
       the NAL, and on June 30, 2008, the Enforcement Bureau ("Bureau")
       released the Forfeiture Order. Mr. Doe, however, did submit a petition
       for reconsideration of the Forfeiture Order, requesting reduction or
       cancellation of the forfeiture.


    6. The forfeiture amount in this case was assessed in accordance with
       Section 503(b) of the Act, Section 1.80 of the Rules, and The
       Commission's Forfeiture Policy Statement and Amendment of Section 1.80
       of the Rules to Incorporate the Forfeiture Guidelines. In examining
       Mr. Doe's petition, 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 any
       other such matters as justice may require.

    7. Mr. Doe expresses sincere remorse for his actions and requests
       reduction or cancellation of the forfeiture, because it would pose a
       financial hardship. Mr. Doe, a sixteen-year-old, states he has never
       had a job and has no sources of income. He has also been in the
       custody of the state in a juvenile detention facility since February
       2008. After examining the financial documentation submitted by Mr.
       Doe, we conclude that cancellation of the forfeiture is warranted,
       based solely on his lack of income and the fact that he is currently
       in the custody of the state of Florida. However, because of the
       seriousness of the violation, we admonish Mr. Doe for his willful and
       repeated violation of Sections 301 and 325 of the Act.


    8. Accordingly, IT IS ORDERED that, pursuant to Section 405 of the
       Communications Act of 1934, as amended, and Section 1.106 of the
       Commission's Rules, John Doe's petition for reconsideration of the
       June 30, 2008 Forfeiture Order IS hereby GRANTED and the Notice of
       Apparent Liability for Forfeiture and Forfeiture Order issued to John

    9. IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that, John Doe IS ADMONISHED for his violation
       of Sections 301 and 325 of the Communications Act of 1934, as amended.

   10. IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that this Order shall be sent by regular mail
       and by certified mail, return receipt requested, to John Doe at his
       address of record.


   George R. Dillon

   Associate Chief, Enforcement Bureau

   Name redacted due to age of individual.

   John Doe, Forfeiture Order, DA 08-1505 (Enf. Bur. South Central Region
   June 30, 2008) ("Forfeiture Order").

   47 U.S.C. S:S: 301, 325.

   The frequency 156.800 MHz, channel 16, is the international distress,
   safety and calling channel. See 47 C.F.R. S: 80.369(e)(3).

   The USCG also mentioned that they had received interference on channels 21
   and 22a.

   The USCG maintains an aural watch on channel 16 to, among other things,
   respond to distress calls.

   Notice of Apparent Liability for Forfeiture, NAL/Acct. No. 200832700016
   (Enf. Bur., Tampa Office, April 30, 2008) ("NAL").

   47 U.S.C. S: 503(b).

   47 C.F.R. S: 1.80.

   12 FCC Rcd. 17087 (1997), recon. denied, 15 FCC Rcd. 303 (1999).

   47 U.S.C. S: 503(b)(2)(D).

   47 U.S.C. S: 405.

   47 C.F.R. S: 1.106.

   Federal Communications Commission DA 08-2085



   Federal Communications Commission DA 08-2085