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W3WN
03-10-2014, 01:24 PM
The FCC announced today a Forfeiture Order against Brian R. Ragan KF6EGI, to the tune of $13,600, for violations of Section 301 and 303(n) of the Communications Act of 1934.

He was caught operating an unlicensed radio transmitter on 104.9 MHZ, and for failing to allow FCC staff to inspect his station.

http://transition.fcc.gov/Daily_Releases/Daily_Business/2014/db0310/DA-14-311A1.pdf


On February 25, 2012, Mr. Ragan refused to make his radio station available to a Commission agent for inspection. On February 27, 2012, Mr. Ragan acknowledged to a San Francisco agent that he was aware that the FCC was requesting an inspection, but chose not to respond to the request. Mr. Ragan possesses an FCC amateur radio license (KF6EGI), a Technician Class, and has been licensed by the FCC since 2006. Mr. Ragan, as a licensed amateur radio operator for at least six years, should be aware that any radio equipment at his station must be made available for inspection at any time when requested by the FCC, and also should be aware of the proper operation of his amateur station in accordance with the Rules

WTKX
03-10-2014, 01:38 PM
I wanna know, how much power was he using? :snicker:

K0RGR
03-10-2014, 02:41 PM
I knew a ham who was also a pretty notorious 'phone freak' - you can Google 'Captain Crunch' and find John's web site. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Draper I see he lives in Vegas now - wish I'd known that a couple weeks ago, it would be fun to look him up. He was WB6EWU many ages ago. I emailed him a couple years ago when a mutual friend of ours died, but I never got a response.

Before he became 'the Crunchman' he developed a new way of generating FM broadcast signals, and traveled all over, trying to interest companies in his invention. He built a pretty nice broadcast studio into the back of his VW bus. Everything ran on DC, and he had a lot of AC/DC appliances. He had 10 car batteries in series in his van to run everything! Anyway, he didn't get any takers on the new FM technique, so he put his demo station to use, first while mobile from his van, and later, he moved into an office building downtown and started selling advertising! Unfortunately, the building he moved into was also occupied by a lawyer ham friend of mine, who turned him in to FCC. I only heard about the office from the lawyer ham friend.

I never saw John's station in action, but I listened to hours of taped shows he had recorded with the intention of using them. He had many hours from Radio NorthSea International - the famous pirate broadcaster that the UK bombed out of existence. The recordings included a very long jam session with the Beatles, among other things. I think he saw himself as another RNI.

kb2vxa
03-11-2014, 02:08 AM
Uh uh, Alan, The Big Weiner of RNI came along several years after John in his VW Microbus and the 8X10 color glossy photos with circles and arrows and writing on the back to be used as evidence against him rode along the border line with the pigmy pony broadcasting pirate radio signals. Alan just had a rich daddy, that's all. I had better luck, not only did I phreak on the party line with him and Woz, but we exchanged quite a series of e-mails about our pirate radio activities.

Over here on the right coast our station was modular and easily moved, but being 250W AM, mobile wasn't quite so easy as his LPFM, he just drove to another location to confuse the FCC while we had to load the van and send expendable baby brother up another tree with a coil of wire. John never mentioned his Waterloo to me either, I had a 6th sense telling me the FCC Ice Man cometh, he didn't. Our Waterloo was a peak limiter malfunction, the CE of a New York station got curious about splatter on the air monitor, made Roger Nye The FCC Guy's trying to find us with his car radio official and the rest is radio history. No jumping up and down like James Brown NAL in hand, we didn't like the "or else" part of the warning letter and pulled the plug.

K7SGJ
03-11-2014, 09:26 AM
I wanna know, how much power was he using? :snicker:

Actually, I'm very curious as to the specifics of the station. I wonder if he was running one of those Chinese 1 or 7 or higher wattage transmitters and if he was caught by interfering with another service or neighbors or what. I'm just a curious little bastid.

K0RGR
03-11-2014, 01:58 PM
Uh uh, Alan, The Big Weiner of RNI came along several years after John in his VW Microbus and the 8X10 color glossy photos with circles and arrows and writing on the back to be used as evidence against him rode along the border line with the pigmy pony broadcasting pirate radio signals. Alan just had a rich daddy, that's all. I had better luck, not only did I phreak on the party line with him and Woz, but we exchanged quite a series of e-mails about our pirate radio activities.

Over here on the right coast our station was modular and easily moved, but being 250W AM, mobile wasn't quite so easy as his LPFM, he just drove to another location to confuse the FCC while we had to load the van and send expendable baby brother up another tree with a coil of wire. John never mentioned his Waterloo to me either, I had a 6th sense telling me the FCC Ice Man cometh, he didn't. Our Waterloo was a peak limiter malfunction, the CE of a New York station got curious about splatter on the air monitor, made Roger Nye The FCC Guy's trying to find us with his car radio official and the rest is radio history. No jumping up and down like James Brown NAL in hand, we didn't like the "or else" part of the warning letter and pulled the plug.

John was about 10 years older than I and my friend, WB6WLE, who was a neighbor of John's in San Jose. John had served in the Air Force at Bangor, Maine, I think, at least I remember him talking a lot about Bangor. I knew John from the late 60's until the early 70's - he also took classes at San Jose City College when I was there. He went with WLE and I on several of our VHF contest outings, and it was on one of those where we listened to his RNI tapes. We were indoors on that occasion, so I suspect we were at Almaden Air Force Station, where the CO had invited us to operate. The big radar installation there was apparently the same as the one John worked on in Bangor.

We also went with John on occasional scrounging missions to Silicon Valley surplus joints, and we ran into Woz at Halted's one Saturday morning.

As for the phone freaking, that was why I stopped hanging around with him. My dad was an AT+T executive, and part of his mission was to track down the phone freaks. He knew John, and knew very well what he was doing. John also knew about my dad, and kept pumping me for information on what my dad was up to. I didn't know any more about that than I knew about what John was doing, but it became rather uncomfortable, anyway. John went to the club's Field Day and demonstrated his freaking talents to those assembled there, I understand, and word got around - I am pretty sure it contributed to his capture. I know it got his FM station busted.

Still, John was perhaps the most amazing and prolific technical guy I ever met. He would do anything in order to figure out how things worked, and it cost him, too.

WTKX
03-11-2014, 02:23 PM
Well anyway... even the good 'ol Ramsey Kits are easily used in an improper manner.

W3WN
03-15-2014, 08:51 PM
Any time you ex-Phone Phreakers want to write down a story or three about "the way it was", I'll gladly put it in the club newsletter... yes, I'm trolling for content (again)

I'm pretty sure the statute of limitations would come into play, but I have no problem running a story under an anonymous by-line.

kb2vxa
03-16-2014, 12:29 PM
Eh, my phreaking was limited because I got in on the tail end just as ESS-1 was being installed and put an end to it. Only one not so funny pirate radio story about a blown fuse and Ramblin' Jack with the monitor toggle on board instead of air talking to himself while I being the CE was out doing field checks. I could write a book on my hilarious CB adventures though, do you want it chapter by chapter or the whole book? How about one on the importance of grounding and how I survived unscathed a direct lightning strike to the antenna while I was wearing headphones and with the mic open the event was broadcast live?

VE7DCW
03-16-2014, 06:31 PM
Actually, I'm very curious as to the specifics of the station. I wonder if he was running one of those Chinese 1 or 7 or higher wattage transmitters and if he was caught by interfering with another service or neighbors or what. I'm just a curious little bastid.

I actually had a contact with an EA-6 Prowler aircraft that was on his way back to Whidbey Island Naval Air Station in Washington State...... he was up at 22,000 ft altitude and descending.The OP never ID and he said he had nothing to do before he landed and was tuning across his "electronic equipment" and heard me as the loudest signal at the moment and he just bust in to say hi.....and let me know he wasn't really supposed to be transmiting on that frequency! ..... I was in the SSB portion of 10 meters at the time and the band was not open with DX and I was talking local at the time.....this was back in 1978.....never logged it.... but it was cool to see his signal drop slowly down as he went lower in altitude and just disappear into noise when he approached his landing.:yes:

K7SGJ
03-16-2014, 08:25 PM
I actually had a contact with an EA-6 Prowler aircraft that was on his way back to Whidbey Island Naval Air Station in Washington State...... he was up at 22,000 ft altitude and descending.The OP never ID and he said he had nothing to do before he landed and was tuning across his "electronic equipment" and heard me as the loudest signal at the moment and he just bust in to say hi.....and let me know he wasn't really supposed to be transmiting on that frequency! ..... I was in the SSB portion of 10 meters at the time and the band was not open with DX and I was talking local at the time.....this was back in 1978.....never logged it.... but it was cool to see his signal drop slowly down as he went lower in altitude and just disappear into noise when he approached his landing.:yes:

That would have been a nice QSL card to get. Under the table, of course.