Why a police department for a small town would install an HF Amateur Radio Station (radio and antenna) is beyond my reasoning it appears. Especially when the Parish that city resides in has a mobile command center for when the cop groupies want to play cop. You know, the strange crowd of people who secretly wish for that monster hurricane in the Gulf to deliver a direct hit just so they can put on their reflective vests and hard hats to look relevant?
This event is obviously the brain child of AJ Powell. I have never talked to AJ on the air (though he’s apparently claiming he has) but have talked to him a few times through email exchanges. When I first talked to AJ he kept insisting to me he wanted to supply his police department with backup communications and he was getting into amateur radio simply to allow his workmates the ability to operate under his license. Now I’m going to explain the reason I take issue with that the way I tried to explain to him.
Third party communications are just that. It is any message you transmit through your station that originated from and is intended for any party other than you or any member of the ham radio community. A Red Cross message being transmitted from one amateur station to another amateur station intended for the amateur on the other end or another Red Cross participant is a third party message. The FCC clearly states in Part 97 that the third party may participate in the transmission of that message, but only if the licensed operator who is the control operator is in PHYSICAL control of the station. In other words, hand on the mic with thumb on the PTT button ready to release as soon as the control operator senses the communication violates Part 97. Part 97 is not the Bible folks! It is not up for interpretation. It is very clear.
Now I know you’ll have people saying, “well that rule is violated every field day” or “that rule is violated every year when these hams let Boy Scouts hold their event over the air”. Yes, it is violating the rules if the people who are talking are not licensed and are in physical control of the radio equipment with a ham 10 feet away with his arms folded across his chest and doing his best to strike a “hamsexy” pose for the single moms. You’ll be even more surprised to hear that I really don’t care about this. What I care about is illegal activity originating from one of our local police stations. Hypocritical? Oh yeah! This view is most definitely hypocritical. I don’t care about amateurs bending the rules and breaking the rules nearly as much as I care about government entities violating the rules. This citizen holds law enforcement to a higher standard even though it’s apparent the officials around this area do not.
So, you must wonder what the point is of the HF station being installed at the police station again. Are they going to use it in the capacity of an Emergency Operations Center (EOC)? It has already been established that AJ and the one or two other licensed operators there are the only ones that can physically transmit on it. Is this a situation where the station will be opened to the cop groupies to go there and operate the EOC in the event of a perceived disaster thus reducing the work load of the PD? I would recommend you install a lock on your refrigerator and invest heavily on air fresheners. Obviously, the Chief of Police has never attended a ham fest before.
Why is it we, in the amateur community, must deal with law enforcement and their pack of groupies wanting to use OUR bands for their backup communications? There are a lot of frequencies in the public service bands in this area that are not in use. Residents in this state pay one of the highest tax rates in the country and you mean to tell me our police departments are relying on ham radio operators for backup communications? This is somewhat unacceptable in my book. Ham radio operators never dream of venturing onto the public service bands. These police stations have towers that are sturdier than what a ham would have at his home. Their radio equipment, most likely Motorola, is of the highest quality already. A good backup generator would all but ensure their communications never go down. I also believe that the Sulphur PD is on a trunked system maintained by Louisiana Radio, so their communications are already more reliable than most amateur radio stations. So, again, why do they constantly feel the need to encroach upon our bands?
I know these two clubs over here would like people to believe that the two clubs represent the majority of hams in this area. They most certainly do not! I think the Lake Charles club has about 50 members and the Sulphur club probably less. A quick ULS search on the FCC website will show about 500 hams in the Lake Charles area alone. This is not counting Westlake and Sulphur. A search of Calcasieu Parish will show THOUSANDS of licensed hams. Most of these hams want absolutely nothing to do with these clubs and are never heard operating VHF and/or UHF. They reside, mostly, on the HF bands where AJ is about to thrust your poor unsuspecting police officers into with an HF station so readily available to them. You think I’m bad? Piss off one of those guys and you’ll hear words you never dreamed of. Most of them do not like “cop groupies” and “HT first responders” and will take every opportunity to rip them to shreds (Verbally. I want to make this clear, so little AJ doesn’t take it as a threat).
I have the utmost respect for law enforcement, but law enforcement is part of the hassle of life. Every time I get behind the wheel, I have to hope today is not the day I’m going to have to navigate a cop’s arrogant attitude should I get pulled over or if some idiot rear ends me at a stop sign. Most hams on HF do not want to deal with the law enforcement authority complex police officers will inevitably bring with them should they operate on these frequencies. Especially after a hard day, beer number 2 is halfway finished and all you want to do is goof around with other civilian hams on the radio. Our preparedness to deal with law enforcement is shelved the minute we step into our homes. Simply put, we do not want law enforcement in our homes and on our bands. I’ve already had members of the Blueline Amateur Radio Club flash their badges to me on the air. Most of which, I recently discovered, are not even cops but prison guards. We do not want any more of that nonsense.
So, some good questions for the Chief of Police in Sulphur would consist of the following:
Are your police officers licensed to operate on HF? A General Class (not Technician Class) is required. Unless you’re going to tune that HF antenna to Ten Meters which is useless for statewide nets.
Are your police officers aware they have no enforcement authority with Part 97 which IS the authority hams recognize? Are they going to be trained to properly interact with civilians smart enough to not be intimidated by badge flashing operators when they encounter opinions they will obviously not like when venturing around on HF?
How are your cops going to deal with the inevitable “The frequency is in use” when they start transmitting? We all hear it. Are they going to endure 30 minutes to an hour looking for a frequency where they don’t hear it like we all do or are they going to conjure up the mighty power of the Sulphur Police Department on a self-policing band full of operator who will tell your police officers where to insert that badge? After all, your police officers will have no more enforcement authority as the very people they’re pissing off. We all know that your police officers are only authorized to enforce local and state laws. This is federal baby!
Is this going to be AJ Powell’s private station, and will the station NOT be used, or attempted to be used, in an official capacity? If so, how do you justify a police officer being paid, by us, to be a ham and not a police officer when he is on duty? We pay your police officers to be, well, POLICE OFFICERS. Not ham operators. I work and most hams I know work. I have a few HT’s lying around and I never consider taking them to my work place. When I clock in, my time belongs to my boss. I do the work the boss requires of me. I don’t screw around on the radio. Sorry, but 26 years in the Army has instilled some ethics in me. Because of this I highly doubt this is AJ Powell’s private station and you’re creating a situation that isn’t going to reflect very well on this station and the unfortunate ham operators who will eventually rip into one of your police officers’ asses.
We’re tired of these people who are mostly under achievers in life entering our hobby and trying to turn our frequencies into a public service band just so they can feel important. We’re tired of having to deal with protocol tossing cop groupies and entry level cops with no social skills infesting our bands and causing hairy situations that we should not have to be dealing with in the first place. To put it in a childish manner, THIS IS OUR YARD! GO PLAY IN YOURS! Of course, Part 97 dictates that amateur radio is a service that can be used in the event of a disaster and, believe me, if a disaster of such epic proportions occurs to where the outage of an already reliable infrastructure has occurred, we’ll step up! We do not need police officers on our bands, on our dime, pissing us off. People should not feel the least bit intimidated, in their homes, having to put up with one of your public servants in our homes ring thumping their occupation. I promise that I won't be and I RECORD EVERYTHING.
Having an HF station in this police office, in a fashion, may be a good ideal during major disasters. What would make this situation a GREAT idea is if it’s mandated it remain powered off until that “epic disaster” occurs.
Photo courtesy of AJ Powell.
I'll be the first to admit that this entire war between this club of thugs and me is, well, stupid. I do not let it get the emotional better of me. After all, I'm a guy. I keep things in perspective. Voices on the radio really do not mean a lot to me if the content is kept strictly aimed at me and it's just words. I have heard threats thrown at me ranging from burning down my house to having an armed mob appear at my house to pull me out of my home and finally be rid of me.
I never contemplate or plan ways I can destroy their lives. This club of thugs, on the other hand, has tried, on many occasions to destroy my life. Repeated complaints to the FCC about me even though they violate many parts of Part 97 as well. Filing embellished and distorted reports to the FBI. Repeatedly trying to involve the Marshal's office and the CPSO. For what? Basically telling them to fuck off when they engage me on the radio and continuing to discourage amateur operators from joining their club. I have a feeling I could bang one of their wives and they would be less offended than me making fun of their club. Not saying I would sleep with one of their wives. These guys are not babe magnets.
Whatever gripe I have against them I keep to them. They, on the other hand, resort to "going after the family". This ranges from passive/aggressive threats like KI5EE sending my sister-in-law freind requests on her social media accounts. She doesn't know any of these people and my brother definitely doesn't want anything to do with them. A passive/aggressive action to send a message to me to suggest "Hey, we can go after your family members". Ranging to all out threats of causing harm to my daughter. Threats of rape, threats of abduction have been outright broadcasted on the repeater (Correction, simplex). Of course, no callsign given. Always whispered or in falsetto. Now, of course, this is when I HAVE to report to law enforcement.
I do not launch terror campaigns against people I disagree with. Again, unlike our club of thugs, I keep things in perspective. So, I'm not going anywhere. I will always be here with this website to encourage new hams in the area to avoid involvement with this club. Also, to be constant reminder of this club's bad behavior.
I had chuckle a bit last night. Something must have happened because, for the first time in years, this club was on the repeater conducting a net and the usual framing attempt to portray me as a jammer was absent. I could almost sense depression in the net control's voice as if he was about to embark on a future rough patch in his life. Maybe it was the knowledge that I'm usually recording them and they just couldn't say what they wanted to say now.
Things will be getting more interesting in the future though. Because I'm interested in upgrading to an Extra Class license. These are the VE's that are required, by FCC regulation, to test me. I'll have the video camera running because I know they'll refuse to do it and I'll have the last laugh when the FCC strips them of their VE credentials. Of course my fellow waffles can view it first here at w5bii.com!
God bless America!