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Phone call from a bootlegger
To: crtech@crtech.org
Subject: Phone call from a bootlegger
From: Alan Kilgore <wrvm.engineer@gmail.com>
Date: Tue, 01 Aug 2017 13:31:06 -0500
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This morning I got a call from a guy in New York inquiring about a used Harris FM-10K transmitter we have for sale. He was responding to an ad I posted on a site for used broadcast gear. He wants to upgrade his 500W station that's on 102.7 (same channel as our flagship station in NE WI). After I explained the transmitter was for a different one of our stations on 90.5 and he would have to tune it for the new frequency. He asked whether the frequency really mattered. So, I thought maybe he is an uninformed station owner; but the red flag popped up.

I briefly explained that tube transmitters had tuning adjustments for the particular frequency.

So he asked me what he needed to do and what to buy to increase his station power. He even asked, "10,000 watts is a lot more power than 500 Watts, isn't it? Won't that get out a lot farther than 500 Watts?" So, with that red flag now flapping, I said, "That depends upon your license." He responded, "Oh, you mean I have to have a license? How do I get one of those?"

With that flag now experiencing hurricane-force winds, I explained to him about the FCC, that it took years from concept to a granted license and that operating unauthorized transmitters can result in serious fines and potentially even incarceration. Well, after a few long seconds of silence, he said that he would worry about that and said it should not prevent me from selling the transmitter to him.

Then he said he wanted me to box up the transmitter and ship it to him. I explained the approximate dimensions of the transmitter, that it weighed nearly a ton, that we did not have suitable crating and that he would have to pick it up in a panel truck having a lift gate. He said that he thought it would just be a little bigger than his 500 Watt transmitter. I told him that he could spend upwards from 40 grand for a solid-state transmitter that size but that in the $2K price range he would only find used tube transmitters about the size of a large refrigerator or larger.

He asked about buying antennas. I interrupted before he could finish his next question to say that I simply had other things that I needed to get done and told him goodbye.

I sure hope that he permanently turns off his New York 102.7 bootleg 500 Watt station... but I'm not holding my breath. I didn't write his name down at the beginning of the call. But if you do hear from him, please say that I asked you to remind him not to be operating an unlicensed station.
Alan Kilgore, CPBE
WRVM Chief Engineer

Follow-Ups: Re: Phone call from a bootlegger
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