The FCC have been busy recently punishing CB users for various violations.

A $14,000 fine was handed out to a Florida CB operator, $7000 of which was for the refusal to let FCC agents inspect the CB transmitting equipment, a refusal the owner of the CB equipment denied ever happened.

The FCC were alerted by the ever familiar route of a neighbor complaining about interference to electrical items around their home. Using direction finding equipment which was no doubt aided by the big shiny CB antenna on the roof they tracked the signal to the CB’ers home QTH were the apparent refusal to grant access to the CB transmitter was made.

Fine For Linear Use

Another CB user from New York could be looking at an even higher amount of $22,000 after being caught using a RF linear amplifier. The size of the purposed fine looks to be based on the fact that earlier warnings issue by the FCC were ignored with $5,000 slapped on top for not taking action on previous FCC communications

Interesting to see the FCC forcing the issue that non cooperation on any level is going to result in a larger fine if they do evidently find you being naughty with your CB radio. Owning up could be a good idea but its always going to be hard to judge if you can dodge the problems altogether when that first knock on the door comes.

Both men were given a month to come up with the money or enter into negotiation with the FCC to have the fines reduced or canceled all together.

CB Makes Us Easy Targets

To get the most from CB radio you’ve got to whack up a nice big antenna and unfortunately this make us all such easy targets when things go wrong.

If your using a RF linear at 27 MHz then there’s real potential that your going to annoy anyone living close by but sometimes a legal output CB can cause more than enough problems without any extra power added.

Keeping a check on what the final output from you CB looks like by the use of a spectrum analyzer is an expensive option but can alert you to any stray signals signals generated by faulty equipment.

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2 Responses to FCC Dish Out Huge Fines For CB Users

  1. KI7AQJ says:

    Look at how easy manufacturers make it to convert a 10 meter radio to 11 meters, and the shear numbers of 10 er 11 meter radios and linear amps on the market, that are super easily converted. I’d say, maybe 1 in 5000 people transmitting above the legal limit ever get caught, so when the FCC does hand out a fine, they have historically made them pretty excessive.

    The fact anyone can buy and use a CB without having to take even a rudimentary test like the Technician, makes limiting power the best course of action. During the CB radio craze of the 1970s people were strolling across the Mexican border with an export linear under each arm, and those things were so poorly made they bled all over the place, and into anything and everything electrical.

    Fines were not cheap back then either. Eventually the FCC set their sights on several so called “business radio” as well as other electronics manufacturers, much like the ATF went after the Ring of Fire gun makers. Lots of these companies were put out of business too! Lots of them made sweep tube linear amps that could be used from 40 to 10 meters, supposedly, but somehow the 10 meter circuit usually always favored the 11 meter band over 10 meters.

    When the FCC comes knocking, the best course of action is to invite them in, show them your equipment, and play dumb. If you act like an ass, and refuse allowing an inspection, your chances of having the fines dismissed just went way down. If you cooperate, you can usually have all the fines either totally dismissed, or drastically reduced to maybe just the seizure of any blatantly illegal equipment, or maybe even less than that. I can’t say I have ever seen anyone who cooperated fined the full amount,unless they were habitual repeat offenders. Well over 90% of them, simply lost a few pieces of equipment, and got a nice educational lecture.

    CB linear amps are notorious for spurious emissions, due to the fact they are built to be illegally used. If I am a manufacturer, making 10 meter amps that are all destined to be easily converted to 11 meters, knowing that voids the warranty, I have no real vested interest in making a quality product. The chances I will have any warranty return expenses at al,l is almost zero, so why even bother making a quality product.

    If you do run a linear, affix it to your transmitted in such a way, it and all the cables can be removed and stashed while it’s not being used. Be sure to reattach your antenna, and all the meters, after you hide that illegal linear. I have seen home brew CB linear amps built inside 5 gallon buckets and hidden among other buckets filled with paint. That guy eventually did get fined too. He was also a habitual offender. I think the best course of action is to attempt to maintain a good relationship with your neighbors. Let them know, “I enjoy amateur radio as a hobby, and there is the offhand chance my equipment could cause interference with radios, TVs, baby monitors, etc.

    If you suspect something is wrong, please call me.” You don’t need to be specific and disclose whether you are a licensed ham, or a CBer. There is also the chance your neighbor’s plasma TV could cause YOU problems, with RFI from the crappy power supply problems that plague plasma TVs. Imagine the cooperation you can get by gifting a neighbor with a little filter for his TV to help out your station.

    This article is 3 years old, but the last really good FCC fines I read about were warehouse owners using cell phone jammers to keep their employees off Facebook during work hours. Those were $50,000 fines, per jammer, or $250,000. The owner missed one, and was fined $100,000 on a second visit, but the fine was reduced to $2,500. Neighboring businesses had no cell service, so that was kind of a big problem.

    • Carl says:

      Some great information there Seth, thanks.

      I agree its always best to be upfront with your neighbours about radio activity, it eases over any problems and I’ve found they are less likely to kick off about ‘strange’ antennas if you can give them at least a small understanding of what’s going on 🙂

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