This came down from the FCC - over the weekend - which is kind of unusual in itself.
Amateur & Personal Radio Users Reminded Not to Use Radios in Crimes
Full Title: Warning: Amateur and Personal Radio Services Licensees and Operators May Not Use Radio Equipment to Commit or Facilitate Criminal Acts
Document Type(s): Public Notice
The FCC Enforcement Bureau issued today an advisory to remind licensees and operators in the Amateur and Personal Radio Services that they may not use radio equipment to commit or facilitate crimes.
DA/FCC #: DA-21-73
I understand that this came out as a result of the events which took place at the Capital last week. And I have read that various media sources had reported that "Ham radio" was used to coordinate the events that took place. While I fully agree with the statement from the FCC, I have several concerns.
1) I doubt the media even knows what "Ham Radio" is. They see a person using a radio and it's a toss up as to whether it's going to be reported as "Ham radio", "CB" or whatever else they can think of. Remember the old Olympus camera commercial? "I can't tell an f-stop from a bus stop!"
2) I know we have our share of whack jobs, as the Amateur Radio community is a microcosm of society at large, and I have to accept there may be members of our community using our resources for illegal activities, but something about this doesn't pass the smell test with me.
3) Don't assume that just because radios such as the Baofengs may have been used, that these were Hams. We all know the problems and headaches that the proliferation of these handhelds have caused by unlicensed users intruding on our frequencies. And you can buy these thing from Amazon, for crying out loud.
Look, I'm just Joe Ham in the peanut seats, but I think this would have been better worded and would have had more impact if the FCC had penned something like:
"The use of the Amateur Radio Service or any of the other personal radio services to facilitate a crime is a federal offense and will be prosecuted and punished to the fullest extent of the law."
In my humble opinion, this not only reminds persons already using these services but is also fair warning to outsiders that "pirating" our frequencies is not a matter to be taken lightly.
I'm probably wrong, but to me it just feels like we're having the finger pointed at us. And unless it can be proven that Amateur Radio ops were indeed a driving force behind those unfortunate events, it's a finger pointing that is unwarranted.
72 de Larry W2LJ
QRP - When you care to send the very least!