October 1931 QST
Table of Contents
Wax nostalgic about and learn from the history of early electronics. See articles
QST, published December 1915 - present (visit ARRL
for info). All copyrights hereby acknowledged.
inception in 1934, the Federal Communications Commission's (FCC)
Bureau has taken seriously its charter to monitor and protect designated frequency bands against both intentional and
unintentional interference. Except for malicious attacks on legitimate operations, most instances of interference are the
result of utter ignorance or accidental broadcasting due to inattention to detail (wrong frequency dialed in) or equipment
malfunction. Standard practice is to issue an immediate cease and desist order to the offending party, and then go forward
with prosecution if compliance does not follow. News stories appear fairly often about pirate broadcasters and idiots exacting
revenge on someone else who allegedly offended said idiot. The $500 fine levied on Mr. Winston in 1931 is the equivalent
of a $7,902.50 fine in 2016 (see
BLS Inflation Calculator).
That is a lot of money, but it pales in comparison to the typical $25k and higher fines charged recently to habitually errant
Hams. Evidently, his case fell under the intentional interference category (see
Florida Man Fined $48,000 for Blocking Communications During his Commute).
Fined for Off-Frequency Operation
Harmon Ogden Winston (W1BCV) paid a fine of $500 in the federal court at Boston, July 22, 1931, on his plea of guilty
to operating amateur radio station W1BVC (New Bedford) outside the frequency band allocated to operators of amateur stations
by the Washington Convention. On conviction of this violation of F. R. C. General Order No. 84 (the amateur regulations)
Winston was not only assessed $500 but the radio set located at 98 Austin St., New Bedford, Mass., was confiscated in accordance
with the court decree.
The Government has not yet rested its case, as the said Winston is to be re-indicted and prosecuted for violating the
Radio Act itself, conviction of this felony being punishable by a fine of $5000 and/or imprisonment for a term of not more
than five years for each and every such offense.
Posted June 20, 2016