FCC fines amateur radio operator for interfering with fire suppression communications

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The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has proposed a record fine against an amateur radio operator for interfering with radio communications supporting fire suppression efforts during a massive 2021 wildfire in a national forest from Idaho.

According to a Notice of Apparent Liability (NAL) for forfeiture, Jason M. Frawley of Lewiston, Idaho used his portable amateur radio to intentionally interfere with radio communications directing fire suppression aircraft fighting the “Johnson Fire”, a 1000- acre wildfire near Elk River, Idaho. Frawley allegedly transmitted multiple times on two separate days on frequencies expressly assigned and licensed for government use, causing harmful interference with essential emergency communications.

The FCC proposed a monetary forfeiture of $34,000, the maximum fine allowed in such cases. Frawley will have the opportunity to respond to the FCC’s NAL before a final action by the Commission is determined.

Read the full text of the FCC Notice of Apparent Liability in this case.

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