FCC Goes Gangbusters on Jammers

On the heels of admonishing a half-dozen people for hawking cell-phone and GPS jammers on Craigslist earlier this month, the FCC unveiled a new web portal and toll-free hotline for reporting the use of such devices. In doing so it cited another six people for their online sales shenanigans.
Within these documents (sample), the FCC details its planned strategy for enforcement in this domain:
While we previously have issued warnings to operators in the first instance -primarily because non-monetary penalties historically have proven effective in deterring unlawful operation by individuals – we are not required to do so. We are mindful of the serious risks posed by jamming devices and the apparent need to provide greater incentives…to cease the operation, importation, and sale of jamming devices altogether. Therefore, we caution you and other potential violators that going forward, and as circumstances warrant, we intend to impose substantial monetary penalties, rather than (or in addition to) warnings, on individuals who operate a jammer. Continue reading “FCC Goes Gangbusters on Jammers”

A Weekend at the Wave Farm

Last weekend I had the distinct honor and pleasure of attending the first-ever Transmission Arts Colloquium, hosted by free103point9 – a non-profit organization whose mission is devoted to advancing transmission arts (loosely defined as the creative manipulation of the electromagnetic spectrum) and access to the airwaves more broadly.
free103point9 has an interesting history. One of its principals founded 87X, a pirate radio station in Tampa, Florida at the height of the pre-LPFM microradio movement. After moving to the Williamsburg neighborhood of Brooklyn, New York, free103point9 was born in 1997. This microradio station provided an outlet for lots of programming, but became quite well-known for its sonic experimentation. Following the passage of LPFM, free103point9 evolved from rogue broadcaster to thriving arts organization. Continue reading “A Weekend at the Wave Farm”

FCC Agents Expand Online Prowling

It’s already well-established that FCC field enforcement agents use the internet to collect information for busting pirate radio stations – visiting station web sites, Facebook pages, and the like looking for information to beef up their cases.
FCC agents have also gone after the sellers of non-certified AM and FM transmitters, illegal CB amplifiers, and signal jamming devices. In the past, this has included scouring eBay looking for scofflaws.
This week the Enforcement Bureau broke new cyber-ground by issuing two citations against people for advertising cell phone jamming devices on Craigslist. Continue reading “FCC Agents Expand Online Prowling”

Diverging Perspectives on the Future of AM

Nobody really quite knows what the National Association of Broadcasters’ AM Task Force is up to, but speculation surrounding their work has sparked some interesting discussion about the state and future of the oldest of the broadcast radio bands.
The Task Force seems to be considering two primary ideas for “revitalizing” AM broadcasting. One is to phase it out completely and migrate all AM stations to new spots on the FM dial. The other involves a wholesale conversion of AM broadcasting from analog to digital, using AM-HD as the mechanism. Continue reading “Diverging Perspectives on the Future of AM”