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Re: [RFI] ARRL to FCC...

To: "rfi@contesting.com" <rfi@contesting.com>
Subject: Re: [RFI] ARRL to FCC...
From: Donald Chester <k4kyv@hotmail.com>
Date: Sat, 26 Jul 2014 19:13:26 +0000
List-post: <rfi@contesting.com">mailto:rfi@contesting.com>
I think you are being a slightly paranoid. How are at risk of being sued for 
informing someone, especially a law-violator, that they are attracting 
attention by generating a nuisance in the community?

While I wouldn't recommend getting involved with the person's operation in any 
way, such as entering his premises and inspecting the lamps or helping him 
install RFI filters, I wouldn't hesitate to pass along a friendly reminder that 
"something" in his house, grow lights maybe, is emitting RFI all over the 
neighbourhood and is causing interference to my AM radio, and (perhaps 
exaggerating a little) that it has caught the attention of neighbours as well. 
Who knows, he might not even have any grow lights; it  could be a crappy plasma 
TV that he turns on at the same time every evening, or something like touch 
lamps. Furthermore, I wouldn't mention anything about "ham radio", but limit my 
comments to AM broadcast reception and maybe a shortwave radio I use to pick up 
the news on the BBC. Most importantly, I wouldn't do anything that might appear 
personally threatening, like telling them that I'll report them to the FCC if 
they don't fix the problem.

GROW LIGHTS ARE LEGAL PRODUCTS, widely used for many other purposes besides 
growing cannabis, such as vegetable plants and ornamental flowers. Like other 
electrical and electronic devices, some are clean and others spew out RFI, and 
RFI inevitably generates unwanted attention. 

Something I found out years ago when dealing with the power company: the very 
mention of "ham radio" may tag you as some kind of kook or troublemaker, and 
often the power company or other offender dismisses your complaint out of hand, 
figuring they can ignore one solitary complainant. They are far more concerned 
if the RFI is causing general interference to broadcast reception, since that 
means the problem might be widespread, causing grief to multiple parties. 
Likewise, the pot growers who want to keep their operation clandestine would be 
far more worried about attracting widespread attention than the wrath of one 
lone ham radio operator.

If it's a widespread recurring problem, make up an informational pamphlet that 
explains what RFI is in the simplest terms and how appliances like grow lights 
can radiate interference over a wide area, and that it can attract unwanted 
attention, along with suggestions of how they may fix it. Maybe even include a 
paragraph (whether true or not) that along with other consequences such as 
burglaries and vandalism to the property, local law-enforcement agencies have 
used sophisticated radio receivers to track down illegal growers via the 
radiation from their grow lights. 

If you feel up to a face-to-face meeting with the people, without even 
mentioning grow lights or pot, bring along a portable AM radio, knock on the 
door, and inform the resident that "something inside his house" is causing 
severe radio interference all over the community, and turn on the radio and let 
him  hear it for himself. Tell him that it can be heard for blocks away, but 
you notice that it gets worse as you drive by his house, then leave the 
pamphlet with him, say g'day and leave. If you are unwilling to confront the 
individual in person, send the pamphlet anonymously through the mail or leave 
it in his letter box or on the doorstep. 

Since it looks like this is becoming more and more widespread, simply 
eliminating the problem from one neighbour isn't enough; like plasma TVs, as 
soon a previous ONE is eliminated multiple new ones will pop up. Word needs to 
spread throughout the cannabis community that these lights may generate harmful 
radio interference, which is likely to bring unwanted attention or even a visit 
from federal law enforcement authorities (the FCC). Their fear of discovery 
should motivate most illegal growers to take immediate action before it's too 
late. The cannabis community has publications of its own, like this one, which 
used to be on sale at our local newsstands and book store: 
http://www.hightimes.com/grow ; 
The publishers of this magazine might even be interested in a well-written 

Since this phenomenon appears to still be in its infancy, we must not pass up 
the window of opportunity to squelch it while we can. I certainly wouldn't 
allow these people, who likely don't wish me any hassle or harm to begin with, 
to drive me off the air.

Don k4kyv

> From: David Cole <dave@nk7z.net>

> I chair our clubs RFI committee, and we help locate RFI for hams that
> can't. Your comment has hit one of my major concerns right square on
> the head!
> One of my nightmares is that I help a grower to quiet down a grow
> operation, then he gets busted and tells the DEA NK7Z helped me, my life
> will get very complicated very quickly... So I don't do that, I just
> hand out our sheet, which we paid a lawyer to check out, and let them
> know that we will be reporting it very soon if things don't get fixed...
> No offer of help is made in any way... If help is asked for, I explain
> the above to them, and they seem to understand, I then refer them to the
> FCC and the ARRL's web sites, tell them thank you, remind them once more
> they are causing problems, and then move on...
> This entire situation with growers is really quite unfair to Hams in
> general because the Amateur Operator is not breaking any laws, and is in
> fact providing Emergency communications, and is exposed to at least the
> list below:
> 1. The Amateur Operator is put at risk of being shot.
> 2. The Amateur Operator is being put at risk of being sued.
> 3. The Amateur Operator's family might come to be at risk if a grower
> is not legal and gets wind he is being DFed.
> 4. The Amateur Operator is placed in the enforcer role by the FCC not
> doing any active RFI enforcement.
> 6. The states are encouraging the legalization process with out
> adequate thought to what can happen as a result, like RFI.
> 7. Most of the people generating the RFI don't even know what RFI is,
> so the Amateur Operators are placed in a position of being involved with
> growers, in at least a possible first contact scenario.
> 8. The process is not legal federally, so any contact an Amateur
> Operator has-- places him.her at more risk.
> 9. All for a hobby...
> Any sane person looking at that list would say, drop the hobby like a
> hot potato, some hams say leave it alone and live with it... But as we
> all know neither is is going to happen... But-- I wonder how many hams
> are getting discouraged by the RFI levels in the legal grow states, they
> are really high, (pun intended), in the legal states...
> Until you have lived in a legal grow state, in a residential area, you
> have NO IDEA how bad it can get... We have caused at least three grow

> operations to move, or stop, all within a one mile radius of my QTH...

> We live in a nice residential area where homes are close to 300K each,
> not in Deliverance country, so pretty much everyone is getting Cards and
> growing. I can only hope legalization puts some controls on things here
> in Oregon.
> One person I know simply turns off his rig at 7:31 every night, when the
> grow lights come on... 40 over S9 on 80 through 10 Meters... The same
> source, 1/2 mile form me is only 10 over S9 on 40 meters... The three
> other hams involved are not happy campers either... See a previous post
> about locating this source if interested...
> I just wish there was a professional locating service for this, I would
> pay them a lot hard cash to locate the house, then I would report it to
> the FCC. This single source is really difficult to locate-- again see
> my previous post if interested why...

> On Fri, 2014-07-25 at 13:55 +0000, EDWARDS, EDDIE J wrote:
>> "I am not enough of a lawyer to know what the line is for how much I can 
>> help a grower quiet down an operation, it is after all still not legal 
>> federally..."
>> I'm not a lawyer either. I too am wondering how it would be viewed by the 
>> DEA during their raids if they find a nearby ham's contact info on the 
>> grower's or on multiple grower's contact lists, or if find on documents 
>> showing the ham has been assisting with RFI issues. I know I would not take 
>> that chance no matter where I lived.
>> For those who think the federal DEA isn't doing raids under the current 
>> admin or in legal states, you might be surprised at the selective grower 
>> raids they are currently doing. Sometimes has to do with other activities or 
>> items on site like guns.
>> http://www.yakimaherald.com/news/latestlocalnews/2291671-8/medical-pot-users-with-guns-target-of-dea
>> http://blogs.kqed.org/newsfix/2011/10/13/mendocino-county-raid-has-marijuana-advocates-riled/
>> http://www.denverpost.com/news/ci_25666066/dea-raids-vip-cannabis-cuts-open-safes
>> http://www.denverpost.com/marijuana/ci_25154625/new-details-emerge-colorado-marijuana-operators-raided-by
>> 73, de ed -K0iL

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