FCC Imposes a $10,000 Fine for Operating a Land-Mobile System on Two Unauthorized Channels


Acumen Communications (“Acumen”), a California-based company, was fined $10,000 for operating its land-mobile radio system on two unauthorized channels.  Acumen has a radio license (WQHT586) from the FCC.  The License is used to provide truck dispatch service in the Greater Los Angeles area.

FCC Field Office engineers used equipment to locate mobile radio stations operating on frequencies 152.405 and 157.665 MHz under call sign WQHT586.  That License is authorized to transmit on 30 different frequencies, but not on 152.405 and 157.665 MHz.  Notwithstanding this lack of operating authority, Acumen employees programmed radios to use the unauthorized frequencies.

Acumen acknowledged its error and, subsequently, filed an application for permission to use the additional channels.  (The application is pending.)  In April 2014, the Commission determined “Acumen apparently willfully and repeatedly violated Section 301 of the Act and Section 1.903(a) of the Rules by operating Station WQHT586 on frequencies not authorized by its license.”  A forfeiture of $10,000 was proposed by the FCC.  The base forfeiture of $8,000 was increased because Acumen had used unauthorized frequencies.

Acumen made no further response to the Commission.  On July 29, 2014, the full amount of the forfeiture was imposed.  DA 14-1074.

Misuse of licensed radio spectrum, such as by exceeding power limits or using non-assigned frequencies, can be a serious offense that can quickly lead to forfeitures or even cancelation of licenses.  It is important for radio license holders to monitor their use of radio channels to ensure such use is fully consistent with the underlying license and applicable FCC rules.

Marashlian & Donahue, LLC has working relationships with a number of highly regarded radio engineering firms, working together, can assist with virtually any radio spectrum matter.  If you have any questions about this Client Advisory or FCC enforcement of its rules regulating radio licenses, please contact Robert Jackson at 703-714-1316 or rhj@commlawgroup.com.

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