Thinking Ahead – Countering the Nefarious as an Amateur Radio Operator – Part I

This series started with

With the recent FCC admonishment to the Amateur Radio community to “not commit crimes using amateur radio” begs first the obvious question asking what is up with the FCC, but it is the second question of “what can we do to help?” that is of more importance to the radio amateur.

How can we “Counter the Nefarious?”

Reality is the segment of society involved in ham radio may share some commonality, but also includes a wide enough swath to have a few bad actors in the bunch.

Some are garden variety troll-type folk who act out on the air, online or are just schadenfreude in real life.  The majority of these folk are pretty easy to identify and not very hard to keep away at arms length or further.

But here and there a few actual nefarious people join the ranks of amateur radio or make it their business to interfere with a ham. Lets call these “In the Ranks” and “External,” and have a look at what a ham can do.

Doing the easy one first, External Nefarious actors are most efficiently mitigated by distancing.  Keep these folk away from you.  Never feed them a reason to continue their involvement with you, and do what you can to ignore them.  If laws have been broken you will face a decision as what to do, a decision where specific evaluation of the situation will lead to your best path as your remember your primary goal to distance them from you.  Avoid diverting them to other victims, unless you have the opportunity to divert their attention to another nefarious sort.

The Internal “In the Ranks” are the most worrisome and difficult to deal with.  Clubs have had to deal with hams who were molesters, thieves and conmen.  These are the sort that use the camouflage of the amateur radio community to further their ill-deeds.

Identify, Mitigate and Remove seems to be a sensible approach.  Whether to turn these folk in to the authorities depends on the level of evidence that is available.

Presently is it seldom a worthwhile effort to ask the FCC pull their ham licenses, as the process doesn’t work and mostly wastes you time.

More on In-the-Ranks in Part II



4 thoughts on “Thinking Ahead – Countering the Nefarious as an Amateur Radio Operator – Part I

  1. Wil Robinson says:

    What was that “tool” used back in the early days? Wolfhung or something?

    I enjoy your blog and your thoughts.

    73 de n6bbvz/4

  2. Kuby says:

    There is another issue many over look and that is the EGO of the FCC engineers at the field stations and how the ARRL HQ crippled the OO program. I was recruited into a special FCC/LAPD/LASO Auxiliary RDF unit in 1984 (think Olympics) and later I became the LA Section OOC, 1987/88. Los Angeles basin has the most HAMs per square mile than any other location in the USA (estimated at +50K, back then).

    There was no 2m/220/440 repeater pairs to be had/coordinated in So CA. And we had the infamous Zoo, 147.435 and 146.610 /r where jamming was a sport and drunks abound. But these repeaters did serve a purpose – keeping most of the derelict HAMs focused on two repeaters to spread their LID performances.

    Most of the OO efforts were in ID’ing 2m LIDs. These LID HAMs got an OO Notice and wore it like a merit badge. We had NO teeth. We had RDF’ed the location multiple times, mapped out our methods, tape-recorded the illegal HAM operation. We swore out affidavits of our monitoring ID actions. We gave it all to the local FCC just how they wanted it and they did NOTHING. Not even a letter of warning to the LID – that the LID was known/ID’ed. The OO program in LA had no teeth. Later I was told that the LA ARRL Section Manager was told by ARRL HQ to not support OO actions. Due to the local FCC was too busy with Western White House, government bands, and commercial radio/TV complaints who had legal power/money. HAM Radio had no priority and no horse power to get the FCC to acknowledge our efforts.

    Then the coup-de-grace death of OO program when ARRL HQ ‘forbid’ local OO Coordinators from approaching, discussing, informing any local FCC of any HAM Radio infractions. ONLY ARRL HQ could contact the FCC, period. ARRL HQ could care less about any west coast HAM issues, all that mattered to them was HF issues. That is when I resigned as OOC and l have never renewed my ARRL membership.

    Memberships is the ONLY thing the ARRL HQ cares about – a secure $alary. what we do as a hobby is an ARRL HQ employees lively-hood. The ONLY thing the ARRL is proficient at is methods in obtaining more new members/HAMs. Hamdom’s power over the ARRL is memberships or loss of memberships. Less than 25% of HAMdom are members – why?

  3. […]… is about the FCC further admonishment to the Amateur Radio community to “not commit crimes using amateur radio” again over non-ham radio operators with illegally altered HRSO (Ham Radio Shaped Objects), mistaking every ham for a member of those street gangs using custom programmed and encrypted Chinese HTs. […]

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