Hot on the heels of the arrest of K8JSM in Asheville after airport police misinterpreted his communications mobile as a terrorist threat to the public, another ham operator in California is now in trouble with the law, and this one is more deliberate.
This past Monday, San Jacinto, California police arrested Irene Marie Levy, KJ6CEY, after she allegedly was maliciously interfering with Police and Fire officials over 30 hours last weekend. Transmissions included references to officers and firemen killed in the line of duty, interruption of calls to fires and car accidents, and at least one bomb threat.
She allegedly began making the transmissions last Saturday evening, and they continued until moments before law enforcement officers knocked on the door to her mobile home after authorities DF'ed the transmissions and triangulated to her position.
Levy was booked on suspicion of making terrorist threats; false report of a bomb threat; and maliciously interrupting, disrupting, impeding, or interfering with the transmission of a public safety radio frequency. She is held on a $50,000 bond.
Investigators seized 11 radio transmitters, seven radio frequency scanners, radio frequency lists, computer equipment and other miscellaneous radio equipment.
Scanning the message forums on QRZ, she met her husband Michael (KE6ALV) online through a scanner club where both were active members.
Before her page on QRZ was removed, she mentioned she was a "CBer at heart" and had some derogatory words for some of the local authorities she said she monitored on her scanner. She's only been licensed as a ham since last September.
A couple of questions came to mind about this whole incident. One, where was her husband during this 30-hour marathon of RFI? And two, what medication was she not taking (or worse, WAS taking) in order to go into such a tirade of taunting and harassment?
Unlike Sean McVey in Asheville, her actions were deliberate, intentional, and worse, could have delayed authorities from responding to some of the life-threatening calls she interrupted during the incident.
I'm not sure why she felt the need to vilify law enforcement officials or why she felt she was not going to get caught (she attempted to disguise her voice as a male), but the darker cloud to all this is the fact she is a ham radio operator, and that this fact was very evident in these news articles.
Not one mention of her being involved in CB or scanner monitoring was published, only her amateur radio background. This could lead to a backlash against ham radio operators in California (and nationwide) as these brushes with law enforcement continue making the news.
Fortunately, Field Day is fast approaching, and the wave of publicity articles is already making the rounds in various newspapers across the country. Hopefully this will shed more positive light on ham radio now more than ever, and if I were to get those extra 100 bonus points, I'd be looking to my local newspaper and/or TV outlets ASAP to get the word out on the positives of ham radio.