Not only was a frequency bandit operating on 91.7 MHz in Miami airspace without a license, his station was producing a spurious transmission on 119.45 MHz – a frequency used by Miami flight authorities to remain in contact with departing aircraft. The result was quick action and an elevated fine.
The pirate is Bernard Veargis.
The FCC tracked the 91.7 signal to a commercial location on 3/14/12; on 5/1/12 at the request of FAA it traced the 119.45 MHz, and found it emanated from the same place.
The landlord of the facility said that a man named Bernard installed the equipment and left a business card. Reached by phone, he admitted only to running an internet version of a radio station but nevertheless gave the landlord permission to “destroy” the transmitter. When turned off, the 119.45 MHz broadcast ceased instantly.
The FCC developed more than enough evidence to link Veargis to the station.
The normal fine for running an unauthorized radio station is $10K, but the FCC thought this pirate earned an upgrade. It wrote, “… we find that the violations here warrant a proposed forfeiture above the base amount. As the record reflects, Mr. Veargis’ unlicensed operations on 91.7 MHz produced a spurious signal on the frequency 119.45 MHz, which caused harmful interference to aircraft departing from Miami International Airport. Given the safety hazard to the operation of aircraft at the Miami International Airport, we find that an upward adjustment of $5,000 in the forfeiture is warranted.”
Veargis has therefore received a Notice of Apparent Liability for $15K.