The FCC And Operating Illegally

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Re: Can You Setup Your Own Cell Phone Network to Prevent the Government from Tracking You?


Eli was right-on regarding the FCC and illegal transmitters. While some of us believe the FCC is lacking on shutting down, say FM radio pirates (New York City) has a ton of them – over time, you will be discovered. (Eli’s video here)

Truth is, they get complaints all the time – on all bands. The way it works – if they discover you – they’ll issue a, “Notice of Apparent Liability” or a, “Notice Of Unlicensed Operation” –  of which – you’ll have to answer. Fines are usually anywhere between $10,000 and $25,000. You’d be surprized what people and companies get hit for. Some of it is just a mis step – like forgetting to include tower registrations when required. But, there are blatant mis-uses of the radio spectrum. To me – it’s all fascinating.

What’s really interesting – say, you operate an illegal transmitter on someone’s else’s property. The FCC ALWAYS goes after the property owner – and issues THEM the NAL or NOUO. This happens quite often in NYC – where, lots of the FM pirates operate from rented property. I guess the prop owner, then, has to go after the offender – because – that owner is the one getting fined. Lots of time in an FCC complaint – they’re going after an owner of an apartment building – even though, they had nothing to do with the illegal set-up. Landlords beware of the radio geek renting an apartment from you. Find out what that antenna is actually doing! Same with business tenants and building owners.

If you want to observe this world – here’s a link the the FCC NAL/NOUO database. Here, you can see who the FCC went after – click on the complaint and – you’ll see what I mean. It updates regularly.

I’ve been involved with the radio side of things for years. Today, more than ever – we rely on radio/wireless, antennas and transmitters to move the bits. Here’s a look at that side – and watch out. Lots of radio drama here. Oh, and – you don’t want your name here. Besides the fine – it’s all public info:

FCC Notice Of Apparent Liability Database


Gary West

Historian Gary West built his first website in 1998 with That addressed now forwards to - an amazing pop culture/news database with 25,000 pages, covering the years 1955-2014. He's also the author of - covering consumer technology from 1952 to the present. West has been a contributor to numerous books, radio-TV shows, CNN & USA Today & the History Channel.

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