October 1931 QST
Since its inception in 1934, the Federal Communications Commission's (FCC) Enforcement 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).
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