• Illegal Use or "Bootlegging" on Railroad Frequencies

  • Discussion related to railroad radio frequencies, railroad communication practices, equipment, and more.
Discussion related to railroad radio frequencies, railroad communication practices, equipment, and more.

Moderator: Aa3rt

  by justalurker66
Yes, threat. You claim that a overly loud speaker is a violation of FCC rules and that you would drop the dime on anyone who did it.
Yet the only actual violations you can point to are ones where a transmitter was being operated by the violator.

I'm a nice guy ... I don't plan on interfering with railroad operations or annoy rail crews. So "just don't do it" is irrelevant. What is relevant is rules not be misapplied to situations where no such rule exists. Buying, borrowing or stealing a transmitter and transmitting on a frequency you are not authorized to be on is a violation of FCC rules. Making loud noises near a transmitter ... not so much. You'll have to find some other authority.
  by Gadfly
These people are losers, railroad "wannabe's" that could cause great harm to people and property! They have NO clue as to what they are doing! The FCC regulations are in place for specific purpose: 1) create a safety environment, and 2) mitigate and enforce interference complaints. It is also why I objected to the contractor who was wanting to simply arbitrarily set up radios on the railroad's frequency (s) in conjuction with their M&W work on the lines farther up the thread. The law PROHIBITS this no matter HOW "legitimate" YOU may think your reasons are. You may NOT set up and operate a radio system without FCC license nor may you do so on a company's existing license. There are PLENTY of FCC citations and fines on their website against people for doing this. Another unfortunate part of this is the proliferation of "consumer" communications devices such as CB radios and cell phones--none of which requires a license. People see no reason why they can't just grab up a device and start talking! :(

Individuals such as the man cited for "bootlegging" in the exampled article MAY NOT operate this way and can face fines of $10,000+ and even JAIL time.

And I warn you, the readers of this site: If you are in the vicinity of Charlotte, NC, Gastonia, along the NS mainline do NOT be tempted to play "railroad employee" with a radio! I will turn you in to the authorities so fast, it will make your head swim! Commercial, police, aviation or railroad radio is NOT the "CB radio chicken band"!!! :( It is not a toy or a game!!!!! YOU are welcome to listen to scanners all you like, but stay OFF the air! :wink: Surely none of us that frequent this board are tempted to do this, right?
  by CarterB
Glad to see that I'm not the only one who takes correct usage of radios seriously. I also will turn in any abuser I hear or see in a New York minute!! I just reported an 'abuser' who was using a frequency licensed to and for ground control of airplanes at NY airports. The FCC takes violations damn seriously, and has, and will vigorously enforce, fine, and confiscate equipment, as well as prosecute radio interference with any public carrier or governmental agency.
  by Arrestmespi
don't worry there are plenty of railroad employees who would love to directionally find a boot legger with railroad police.
  by Gadfly
Been there, done that (no T shirt, tho!) :wink: I once came upon a foamin' fan at a hamfest who was VERY proud of his "ability" to use his handie-talkie (Motorola 1000 series) to talk to the trains. He ever so proudly demonstrated his radio to this NOT very appreciative railroad employee :( who promptly made a call to W. Trade Street, Charlotte, NC to the Southern RR police. I met them at the front door and led them to this young gentleman who was shocked and horrified that I had turned him in! They seized his radios (durned near took his ham radios and he had to show them the difference of which was converted railroad stuff and actual ham stuff! :P )
Made him come downtown, too, so I don't know what they did with him after that.

"Thanks," said the detective, "We've been looking for this cat for awhile."

I figured this must've been the source of the oddball transmissions we sometimes heard; sometimes on the Road channel, sometimes on the Yard channels! Every now and again, we'd hear someone yell, BOOOOARRR'T as if he were calling signals, but no one answered him (BOOOOR'T CLEAR!!!! ) back. Just as if somebody was talking to a non-existent train! Puzzled, we would look at each other,
"What train was THAT?" "Who's on the line-up at this time of day?"

"I dunno"

Then we'd look around nervously to see if there was a shove slippin' up on us. Where was it coming from?

I just betcha it was this very kook a-trippin' on his fantasy of steam trains and clearing up for an imaginary meet!! :wink: In his sick mind! LOL!

BTW, how many of you railroaders remember clambering across a cut of cars with one of those old "lunchbox" Motorolas, a Handlan lantern and a switch list before the days of handie talkies? :P Remember how AWKWARD those things were with the telephone handset perched on top? Were we EVER glad to get HT 1000's! Then we got the orange or yellow vests with the radio pocket so you had your hands FREE! made it MUCH easier for scrambling across those covered hoppers with the "porches"
(if you could FIND one convenient to where you wanted to cross!) If it was pouring rain, you couldn't find one within a MILE! LMAO!

  by wa8lgm
Operating without a license, other than on any place (such as MURS or FRS) is not only a violation of the Federal Communications Commission's Rules and Regulations, it is also a violation of the Communications Act traditionally since the FCC has been the FCC.
Anyone who uses a radio without either a license or without the training to use it on any unauthorised frequency is DEFINATELY in violation of the law and subject to arrest and fines. The Fed levels very heavy fines and punishments for that kind of operations, and the railroads WILL confiscate your equipment and prosecute.
Bootleg with a transceiver on the railroad frequencies because it's fun? Hey, go ahead, Bright Boy, because it's gonna get expensive and you will get a new place to live for a few years.
Of course, there are the "spayshul" people who think that the rules apply to everyone but them. They are the real idiots.
Sure, I have a bunch of radios, but the only frequencies that they operate on are Amateur Radio Frequencies.
I am also a member of the Midwest Railway Preservation Society here in Cleveland, Ohio, and have a radio for their frequency which I have permission to use only when I am on the train during operation of the machinery which they own.
Other than that, I have a few scanners and enjoy taking them with me in my job as a Professional Photographer to take pictures of excursions that our club does during the operating year.
Any yayhoo with no license, permission or employment by a railroad with a transceive capable hand held radio is an idiot who should know better than to do that. But then again, I have only been a ham for around 43 years, a commercial operator for 30 some years and am responsible for my actions. So I guess I don't know anything.
On a little bright note: I would invite anyone who has a hankering for old style full-scale railroading to stop by our site at 2800 West Third Street here in Cleveland and have a look-see. We are there from 1000 to 1600 every Saturday. Be glad to have you there.
  by HokieNav
CarterB wrote:Told ya!!!
Told ya nothing! That still doesn't back up your erroneous claim that causing feedback on a transmission due to possessing an amplified speaker is a violation of FCC rules. If you were to make good on your empty threat and actually call the FCC with such a complaint, they'd laugh you off the phone.
  by Ken W2KB
HokieNav wrote:
CarterB wrote:Told ya!!!
Told ya nothing! That still doesn't back up your erroneous claim that causing feedback on a transmission due to possessing an amplified speaker is a violation of FCC rules. If you were to make good on your empty threat and actually call the FCC with such a complaint, they'd laugh you off the phone.
While Congress to date has not seen fit to grant the FCC authority to regulate audio emissions and thus the FCC lacks the authority to regulate audio feedback, the language of the Communications Act is more broad in its prohibition against interference, in that it does not contain a limitation of the type or mechanism of interference that is proscribed. So the Department of Justice (but not the FCC) could properly take enforcement action directly under the Act in a feedback interference instance. The FCC would have no role in the Justice Department action except perhaps to notify Justice of an instance that came to the Commission's attention, and to furnish an expert witness to describe how the audio feedback did interfere with the radio communications. So the end result is the same, the federal government can take action in a feedback interference case. And thus is it unwise to establish a situation that results in persistent audio feedback which is the point of this discussion.
  by HokieNav
I'm not arguing that it's an acceptable circumstance to set up, just that:

a) Setting up such a situation where it was really disruptive and unpreventable such that enforcement action was necessary is darn near impossible.
b) CarterB's over the top InternetToughGuy threats to turn people into the FCC for having their speakers up too loud are laughable at best.
  by Gadfly
That would a matter for the local police under the laws governing "disturbing the peace". If you are doing that ON railroad property (unreasonable volume, etc), then both the local police and the railroad detectives have authority to charge for the same offense. If you put up a fuss, see how long it will take the authorities to haul your butt to jail! LOL! :-D Operating overly-loud speakers is not necessary, not appreciated by the other members of the public, inconsiderate, crass, and enforceable. IOW, everybody doesn't WANT to hear your racket, thus ordinances against it.

An example: I live in a very quiet, peaceful neighborhood on a dead end street. I came home one afternoon to LOUD--and I DO mean LOUD---- latin music ensuing from across a short woods and the street behind me. It was almost DEAFENING. I called the local police who followed the noise and told them to turn it down---WAY down as the neighbors (it wasn't only ME objecting) were complaining. The Mexican racket went away----------until the cops went away. The SOB's turned it right back UP! :( I called again (as did the other neighbors) and told the dispatcher, "OH, they DID, did they? Well, we'll see about THAT!" Cops went back and issued a noise ticket AND a $200 fine. Racket went away. 20 Minutes, it was BACK. The law was called AGAIN! This time TWO of the perps went downtown and into JAIL! (couldn't make bail!~) All quiet on "the western front" now! I've never heard it again.

You might do it in YOUR town, but you won't do it HERE!!! The cops MEAN it when they tell you to turn it down! :P Most cities DO!

  by JLJ061
Please keep in mind that just because someone CAN do something, regardless of popular opinion, doesn't always mean they SHOULD.

Personally, I can't even imagine why anyone would want to have their speakers turned up that loud. :(