The FCC has fined a Georgia radio amateur $1000 for failing to properly identify. A Forfeiture Order issued to David J. Tolassi, W4BHV, of Ringgold, was released on July 29. The FCC had proposed the fine 1 year ago in a Notice of Apparent Liability for Forfeiture (NAL), noting that Tolassi had been warned the previous summer about not following Part 97 ID rules. The FCC said at the time that Tolassi’s “deliberate disregard” of the earlier warning warranted the proposed penalty that it now has reaffirmed and assessed.
“Failure to transmit call sign information undermines the purpose of the Amateur Radio Service by preventing licensed users from identifying a transmission’s source,” the FCC Enforcement Bureau Forfeiture Order said. The FCC said Tolassi did not deny that he transmitted on 14.313 MHz on the date in question, but argued that his comments were within the 10-minute window mandated by the rules. The FCC disagreed, however, noting that Tolassi never identified during 15 minutes of transmissions that agents had monitored.
The FCC turned away Tolassi’s request to cancel the NAL and substitute aWarning Letter, asserting that the FCC has issued multiple warnings before imposing fines in similar cases. The FCC countered that Tolassi was not being treated any differently than other licensees have been. “Considering the entire record and the factors discussed below, we find no reason to cancel, withdraw or reduce the proposed penalty,” the Forfeiture Order said.
As the July 2015 NAL recounted, FCC agents used direction-finding techniques to pin down the source of a signal on 14.313 MHz to Tolassi’s residence. “The agents monitored and recorded transmissions during which Mr Tolassi failed to transmit his assigned call sign,” the FCC said. “The agents interviewed Mr Tolassi later that evening, and, while he admitted operating that evening, he denied making the unidentified transmissions.” Nonetheless, the FCC determined that Tolassi “apparently repeatedly violated Section 97.119(a)” of the rules, and it reaffirmed that conclusion in the Forfeiture Order released on July 29.
Tolassi has a history with the Enforcement Bureau. In 2005, the Commission warned Tolassi, then WA1BHV and living in Vermont, that he risked a substantial fine if he continued to violate the conditions of his 2004 license renewal. After a series of “enforcement issues” relating to the operation of KB1EVE, his call sign at the time, the FCC had renewed Tolassi’s General class ticket on the condition that he refrain from 20 meter voice operation for 3 years. The FCC had referred Tolassi’s renewal application to the Enforcement Bureau for review the previous year, after then-FCC Special Counsel Riley Hollingsworth alleged that Tolassi had engaged in inappropriate on-the-air behavior.
Tolassi has 30 days to pay the fine.