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Re: [RFI] ARRL to FCC...

To: rfi@contesting.com
Subject: Re: [RFI] ARRL to FCC...
From: David Cole <dave@nk7z.net>
Reply-to: dave@nk7z.net
Date: Sat, 26 Jul 2014 16:08:18 -0700
List-post: <rfi@contesting.com">mailto:rfi@contesting.com>
Hi Don,

I don't think I am being slightly paranoid at all.  I think I am making
a set of informed decisions, and seeking legal advice in making those

I asked the lawyer a smiler question to your's, but with a very
different emphases.  

You asked me "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?"  This question sets up a very
restrictive set of conditions, and does not cover near enough area to be

I asked the lawyer a different question, one more designed to cover as
much area as possible, and one the lawyer helped me ask--  I asked "How
can I minimize my and the clubs risk in dealing with RFI issues, using
this handout, and following what it says we will do.  That sets up a set
of conditions, which more accurately reflect reality, covering
everything from home entry, to initial contact...

By the way, as an aside, a lawbreaker can sue you too...  The fact
someone broke the law has nothing to do with anything...  You can be
sued because someone does not like the color of your hair...

His answers were actually a bit of a surprise to me...  Here is an
example--  If you tell a person that they have now gotten rid of the
RFI, and if at a later time, that person causes RFI on a different
frequency, (because you only listened on 40 for instance, but he was
also wiping out fire and ambulance), and the RFI is still wiping out
Fire and Ambulance frequencies, (even if you did not know), and it costs
them money, or worse yet, the ambulance fails to save someone, and RFI
was involved, or they get sued, any number of people could then sue you
for the costs involved in correcting the problem, or because someone
died, and it will be because you advised them that they had no issue,
and you were wrong.  Now this is a rather extreme case, but there are
lots of little ways to get in trouble when advising people...  

So...  We inform of the problem, and that is really all we can do to
minimize risk.  The whole thing is much like the waving another driver
forward in traffic law-- if you wave someone around you in traffic, and
they hit a kid, or bike, or other object, you have very much increased
your risk of becoming part of any lawsuit which may arise from that
incident, and given you initiated the movement, (you waved them on), of
the auto that struck and killed a child...  Well... You get the

Please don't get the idea that I think all of this is good, it is not,
but I must live in a world where this is possible, and so I deal with it
by involving people that are trained in the craziness...  Lawyers!

I vehemently disagree with you in your presentation methods...  You are
suggesting I begin a process, which could turn litigious, by outright
lying to the parties involved at the onset, by suggesting an AM
broadcast radio is involved when one is not...  Not for me...  I am
totally comfortable telling them I am an Amateur Operator, and that we
need to correct a problem, using the least intrusive methods possible,
but that we will get the problem corrected, even if it involves
including the FCC.  

There are of course hundreds of ways to present this to the people
involved, you should always present it in the most friendly, least
obtrusive, kindest way possible.  However sometimes that simply won't
work.  The goal is to make the RFI that is affecting me, or the ham that
has asked me to help, go away.  No one cares if they are grow lights, or
if it touch lamps...  The RFI though, must go away...

Your thoughts about the power company not liking Hams is not what I have
experienced here.  Our power company is enlightened, I guess, I know I
like them...  

A few months ago, they asked us to find a source for them...  But that
did not happen by accident, and we got lucky that the people at our
power company are decent, and know their jobs.  We took a very business
like, but friendly, non contentious attitude to our power company, and
asked them how we could deal with an ever increasing RFI issue in which
the Power Company is getting blamed in error, and costing them money...
We pointed out that by having an intercourse of ideas, we could save
them money by reducing their truck rolls...  It worked...  And it saves
them money, and it gets us faster service when we report something.  I
can think of at least three and maybe four truck rolls we have stopped
this year simply by having the ham ask us first.  We found the problem
in the hams home...  

Three days ago, a fellow ham was about ready to call the power company,
he called us first.  We got his in-home RFI noise level down from 10
over S9, to S5, to S6, with the addition of maybe 15 ferrite's, and four
hours of messing around in his house.   That saved the power company a
few hundred bucks.  In turn, if we call them and ask that something be
looked at, they respond almost instantly...  Last call I made to them,
there was a street lamp fluttering and making a ton of RFI... I reported
it to them, and it was fixed two days later, and I got a call back from
them, and email as well...  We get along very well with our power
company here... On the other hand we NEVER call them until we are SURE
that the issue is theirs...  

Thank you for the tip on High-Times...  I may look at that avenue.

Anyway, thank you for the input, I will go off an dread the High-Times
now...  Never heard of them, but it will be interesting!

Thanks and 73's,
For equipment, and software setups and reviews see:
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On Sat, 2014-07-26 at 19:13 +0000, Donald Chester wrote:
> 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 
> article.
> 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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