Radio Waves: FCC Issues FM Pirate Warnings, Shortwave Modernization Petition Comments, Morse Code Love, and The Art of Listening with BBC Monitoring

Caversham Park (Photo source: BBC)

Radio Waves:  Stories Making Waves in the World of Radio

Welcome to the SWLing Post’s Radio Waves, a collection of links to interesting stories making waves in the world of radio. Enjoy!

Many thanks to John Smith and Chris Greenway for the following tips.

FCC Issues Nine Warnings To Miami Area Landowners And Property Managers For Illegal Radio Broadcasts (FCC Press Release)

The PIRATE Act Prohibits Landowners and Property Managers from Aiding Pirate
Radio Operations

WASHINGTON, July 21, 2023—The FCC’s Enforcement Bureau today issued nine warnings to landowners and property managers in the Miami area for apparently allowing illegal broadcasting from their properties. The FCC may issue a fine exceeding $2 million if it determines that a party continues to permit any individual or entity to engage in pirate radio broadcasting from any property that they own or manage.

“Providing a safe haven for pirate radio operations that can interfere with licensed broadcast signals and fail to provide emergency alert system notifications can have serious consequences for landowners and property managers that allow this conduct to occur on their properties,” said Loyaan A. Egal, Chief of the Enforcement Bureau. “I want to thank our field agents for their continued efforts to ensure compliance with federal law in this area.”

The Notices of Illegal Pirate Radio Broadcasting sent today target properties identified by
Enforcement Bureau field agents as sources of pirate radio transmissions. These notices formally notify landowners and property managers of the illegal broadcasting activity occurring on their property; inform landowners and property managers of their potential liability for permitting such activity to occur on their property; demand proof that the illegal broadcasting has ceased on the property; and request identification of the individual(s) engaged in the illegal broadcasting.

The PIRATE Act provides the FCC with additional enforcement authority, including higher
penalties against pirate radio broadcasters of up to inflation-adjusted amounts of $115,802 per day with a maximum of $2,316,034. In addition to tougher fines on violators, the law requires the FCC to conduct periodic enforcement sweeps and grants the Commission authority to take enforcement action against landlords and property owners that willfully and knowingly permit pirate radio broadcasting on their properties.

The Notices of Illegal Pirate Radio Broadcasting are available at:

Shortwave Modernization Petition Comments (FCC)

Readers note that the number of comments on the Shortwave Modernization Petition have surpassed well over 600 at time of posting. No doubt, this particular petition is getting more visibility and notice than expected.

Click here to view comments.

Falling in love by morse code (ABC Radio)

You may know someone who met the love of their life through writing letters, and these days you’d be hard pressed to NOT know people who’ve met online… but have you ever come across someone who’s met her husband in Morse code?

Ulla Knox-Little knew that getting to do an expedition to Antarctica as the radio room operator would be a life-changing experience, but she never expected it to lead to her meeting the love of her life.

Hosted and produced by Helen Shield.

Click here to listen to this short radio piece.

The Art of Listening: BBC Monitoring and the Historical Significance of the Transatlantic Open Source Intelligence Relationship [VIDEO] (Readex)

Last month, Readex welcomed librarians to a special breakfast presentation at this year’s ALA Annual Conference in Chicago, IL. Dr. Alban Webb, lecturer of Media and Cultural Studies at the University of Sussex, captivated the audience in attendance with his talk on “The Art of Listening: BBC Monitoring and the Historical Significance of the Transatlantic Open Source Intelligence Relationship”

Dr. Webb—a noted historian of BBC World Service—gave a fascinating and informative overview of the history of open-source intelligence (OSINT) and the role of BBC Monitoring, highlighting perspectives these newly digitized archives represent for the study of the 20th century history. Click here to read the full article.

Do you enjoy the SWLing Post?

Please consider supporting us via Patreon or our Coffee Fund!

Your support makes articles like this one possible. Thank you!

Spread the radio love

5 thoughts on “Radio Waves: FCC Issues FM Pirate Warnings, Shortwave Modernization Petition Comments, Morse Code Love, and The Art of Listening with BBC Monitoring

  1. Bob Colegrove

    RE: FCC warnings about piracy. I have absolutely no dog in this fight. I am just curious why the onus of enforcement appears to be passed from the FCC to property owners and managers. In addition to fixing tenant’s leaky faucets, I visualize them having to periodically run around their property with portable radios trying to detect illegal transmissions and forcing evictions. What am I missing?

    1. Jake Brodsky, AB3A

      The issue is that the FCC doesn’t have direct enforcement authority. They require the courts to help them. So they latch on to the one thing they can prove: that a signal comes from a certain property. This makes it the property owner’s fault, regardless of whether the property owner had reason to know that this was going on or not. For all anyone knows, it could be squatters perpetrating the deed. The FCC doesn’t have the investigative authority to figure out who is really behind a pirate radio station.

      Perhaps some day someone is going to take up this issue with the Federal Circuit courts. But that would require effort –something most landlords do not have the time or the money to spend.

  2. Jacob Brodsky, AB3A

    My response to the “Shortwave Modernization” petition is here:

    Let me remind everyone to please keep comments on topic. The fact that these people are planning to use this for high frequency trading is not relevant to the FCC. They don’t care. As far as they’re concerned, that is outside the scope of the license. My concern is the breadth of the signal, the notion of listen before transmit (how long, what bandwidth, and how long will they be transmitting?)

    Keep the comments on track with direct, technical, policy, and legal issues. Remember that many of the people reading those comments are attorneys, not engineers.

    1. mangosman

      The most important issues I see are: to which the USA via the FCC are signatories. They allocate frequencies particularly those which cross country borders.
      Is the coverage area limited to the USA?
      Critical questions are will the data be available to the public (any DRM receiver) or will it be in controlled access mode with encryption so it will be based on subscription payment? uses the word private in the comments.

      The signal bandwidth is less of a problem. High Frequency channels are 5 kHz wide and step in 5 kHz increments. There are 5, 10 and 20 kHz bandwidth modes along with 4.5, 9 and 18 kHz for areas outside the Americas in frequencies below 1.602 MHz The higher the bandwidth is a compromise, the higher the available data rate.

      Most Government spectrum regulators including the FCC have the responsibility to keep transmissions within the plan linked above to prevent interference for those who are transmitting with in their allocated channel. So yes they have a policing role.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.