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Author Topic: Avoiding the FCC  (Read 4143 times)

Offline jordan

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Avoiding the FCC
« on: September 13, 2014, 1937 UTC »
Just reading the SW pirate loggings on this board, and see a number of broadcasters who do this repeatedly.  How do they avoid being caught by the FCC and sent a NOUO?  They have ways of long-range direction finding (HFDF), so it wouldn't be as difficult as people think for the FCC to track them down.

Offline John Poet

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Re: Avoiding the FCC
« Reply #1 on: September 13, 2014, 2029 UTC »
The FCC doesn't have the manpower or man-hours to track everyone down who may happen to turn on a transmitter without a license.  They mainly respond to complaints, and most of those pertain to FM pirate stations (for which they have a very long list, especially in Florida and New York).  

If you can avoid complaints, you can operate on shortwave for years.  I ran for almost seven years on shortwave, for many hours, on a fairly regular schedule, before they took notice of me-- about a month after I ran afoul of a certain long-eared furry competitor. (Coincidence?  Many think not, but that's a whole 'nother long story.)  Their notice to me stated plainly that they were responding to a reported complaint.

Yes, long-range direction-finding may be advanced enough now to narrow things down to a neighborhood, but it won't give the FCC an address.  They have to do that close-in with a DF vehicle, and that usually requires some degree of planning on their part, and for that they like "sitting ducks"-- stations that show up in the same place all the time on the long-range DFs.  If the station uses sites many miles apart, or operates as a mobile, or operates very sporadically, they make it much more difficult for the FCC to plan any stakeout of locations which may be many hours from the nearest FCC field office.  If they can't have a clear idea of where you'll be and when you'll be on, they are unlikely to even try... especially during the overtime hours when most HF pirates operate.

Even if long-range DF could narrow things down to a building, they would still have to have someone on the ground to try to identify a particular person responsible for the transmissions, at the time they are being made....

« Last Edit: September 13, 2014, 2032 UTC by John Poet »

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Offline jordan

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Re: Avoiding the FCC
« Reply #2 on: September 13, 2014, 2048 UTC »
On FM, why do Florida and New York seem to be the hot-spots for pirate broadcasters?  Also, does the FCC favor certain types of music over others?  For example, would a pirate broadcasting rap or heavy metal be more likely to get a violation than someone broadcasting bluegrass music?

Offline John Poet

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Re: Avoiding the FCC
« Reply #3 on: September 13, 2014, 2056 UTC »
New York City has been THE pirate hotspot in the US for more than thirty years.  

Florida seems to have many pirate stations that cater to many different non-English speaking immigrant communities, although the same holds true in NYC and many other locales in the country.

No, the FCC doesn't really care what you're programming (except for indecencies, I suppose), but the programming could make a difference in whether complaints get filed with them, or how many....
« Last Edit: September 13, 2014, 2059 UTC by John Poet »

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Offline Pigmeat

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Re: Avoiding the FCC
« Reply #4 on: September 13, 2014, 2123 UTC »
The main thing is to stay away from a guy whose real name is Jerry Graves, but goes mainly by the aliases of Pat Murphy and Commander Bunny on pirate radio forums.

Stay away from Bill O. Rights, too. It's the same guy as above. He has a hotline to the FCC he uses to rat out pirates he doesn't like.

Offline jordan

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Re: Avoiding the FCC
« Reply #5 on: September 13, 2014, 2139 UTC »
No, the FCC doesn't really care what you're programming (except for indecencies, I suppose), but the programming could make a difference in whether complaints get filed with them, or how many....

Yeah, I suppose so.  If I heard a pirate radio broadcast in my area, I would only report it to the FCC if they were playing music I didn't like.  If they were playing my favorite music, I would not report them, but continue to listen to the station.

Offline ChrisSmolinski

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Re: Avoiding the FCC
« Reply #6 on: September 13, 2014, 2301 UTC »
Yeah, I suppose so.  If I heard a pirate radio broadcast in my area, I would only report it to the FCC if they were playing music I didn't like.  If they were playing my favorite music, I would not report them, but continue to listen to the station.

Or you could adjust the tuning dial on the radio :-)
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Offline skeezix

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Re: Avoiding the FCC
« Reply #7 on: September 13, 2014, 2311 UTC »
The FCC will go after the pirates, yet, they do nothing about the "unintentional radiators" that are the cheap electronic devices that jam the spectrum.

Have a neighbor that has recently put in one of those ethernet over powerline things and I can hear the click-click-click-click-click-click-click-click-click-click-click-click-click-click outside of the ham bands (which are notched).

At least the pirates stay to a frequency (technically, their carrier +/- audio, or whatnot in the case of FM), but these other devices blast all over the place.

Rant over.




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Offline atrainradio

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Re: Avoiding the FCC
« Reply #8 on: September 14, 2014, 0032 UTC »
That's what the blasted click click noise is!! Ethernet cables. UGHHH It drives me mad.
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Offline skeezix

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Re: Avoiding the FCC
« Reply #9 on: September 14, 2014, 2135 UTC »
Not simply ethernet cables. I have those all over and not causing my problems (I've checked), but its the Internet on the power line, aka HomePlug. I've traced the click-click-click-click-click-click-click-click-click-click-click-click-click-click-click-click-click-click-click-click-click-click-click-click-click from where the underground power comes to the house and back on the path where it travels out of the yard. My neighbors did stuff and conveniently had the utility survey companies come out and mark where my power goes.  

I believe its something of this type:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16833704165

I have no idea which specific make & model of device that is jamming in my area, but going to keep researching.


« Last Edit: September 14, 2014, 2140 UTC by skeezix »
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Offline zackers

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Re: Avoiding the FCC
« Reply #10 on: September 16, 2014, 1530 UTC »
I agree with John Poet. It appears from my observations that the FCC, lacking manpower, doesn't go after the shortwave pirates unless someone complains about them. The SW pirates are generally not interfering with anyone else and not disrupting anything. They are not encroaching on anyone else's turf (except maybe another pirate occasionally, but mostly everyone seems to get along well).

Not so on FM. The licensed FM stations get pretty up in arms about pirates drawing listeners and they are quick to complain to the FCC. There is money involved there, so the FCC will possibly act on the complaint.
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Offline OMCS

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Re: Avoiding the FCC
« Reply #11 on: September 17, 2014, 2156 UTC »
I had a friend back in the 90's that built a couple of FM transmitters for some Haitians in Florida in exchange for weed. They would broadcast in Creole and eventually get busted because rival political factions would turn them in. He stopped building transmitters when it became apparent that the two groups were both trying to get him involved in their spat. I would imagine that this sort of thing goes on a good bit. A pirate FM station pops up and starts talking politics and they become targets from their adversaries. Also remember that most FM stations pay loads of cash for their airtime, licenses etc and hate the free competition. One of the reasons there are more pirates in New York and Florida is that they are the 3rd and 4th most populous states in the nation. It's much easier to get caught on FM as well, long hours at the same location building up a fanbase of listeners and the fact that FM is pretty much line of sight transmission almost ensures an eventual visit from the FCC.

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Re: Avoiding the FCC
« Reply #12 on: September 17, 2014, 2309 UTC »
I don't remember the details, but I heard about a case, maybe a dozen years ago, where an FM pirate actually made into the Arbitron ratings, ahead of some of the local commercial stations. This was not received well by the commercial broadcasters. I have also heard about FM pirates airing paid advertising, again pissing off the commercial guys. FM piracy can affect the bottom line of the non-pirate competition.

Offline Pigmeat

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Re: Avoiding the FCC
« Reply #13 on: September 18, 2014, 0244 UTC »
It seems to me it was in one of the Rust Belt cities, Al.

I do recall the legit station that complained was the perennial cellar dweller on FM in it's market. When a "new" station pulled in front of it in the ratings, the station manager couldn't figure out who they were. From what I recall, the station manager and some of his underlings did a little df'ing on their own and found the tx site. They gave the address to the FCC and that was that.

OMCS, getting involved with expat communities in South Florida (or anywhere else) can get you killed. A lot of former thugs from different regimes trying to carve out a power base in their communities in the States. You quit being a civilian when you become involved with one of those factions too deeply.

A guy I knew had his cigar company in Miami bombed in the late 80's. He was Cuban, and had made a humanitarian trip involving medical supplies back to the mother country, just things collapsed in the old Soviet Union and Cuba was running on fumes. His big crime back in the States? He made the mistake of being caught in a "voluntary" photo op with Fidel. (There was no "voluntary" when it came to Fidel in his prime.)

A couple of nights later in Miami, the factory went "boom!"

MS-13 operates a ton of FM pirates in El Salvador, and the countries surrounding it. As active as MS is in the States, (Hell, it was founded in L.A. in the 80's.), I wouldn't be surprised if their not doing the same thing here in regions where there are large Central American populations?

Offline ka1iic

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Re: Avoiding the FCC
« Reply #14 on: September 20, 2014, 1743 UTC »
Hmmmm.... avoiding the FCC...  well I don't try because I'm not a pirate but I do enjoy pirates and admire their guts to do what they do.

In all others things tho I try hard 'not to be seen', use this video as your 'benchmark' of how not to be seen:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ltmMJntSfQI

 ;D
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