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Monday, May 31, 2010

More hams in trouble with authorities

It seems that ham operators' run-ins with the law must come in waves, as yet ANOTHER ham is in trouble with police.

Although not as severe as Irene Levy (KJ6CEY) acted in California, this one is just as much a black eye on ham radio as her case is.

Authorities say that Keith Mutch (KB1RBI, pictured right) of Norwich, CT used a ham radio to report over the nearby Wal-Mart radio frequency that a man with a gun was outside the store threatening to shoot people, sending police into action.

Although there are no specific details, authorities were somehow able to determine that Mutch was responsible after Wal-mart employees advised none of their employees made the transmission.

Besides making a false report, he was also charged with reckless endangerment and breach of peace. He's currently held on $5000 bond awaiting a hearing on Tuesday, June 1.

And on the other side of the world in New Zealand, the Radio Spectrum Management agency (New Zealand's equivalent to the FCC) has charged Alan Potter, ZL3II (pictured, left) with running a station on 3100 watts of power, well over the 500W limit his license class was authorized for.

RSM was alerted after Potter posted a YouTube video of himself running his station at 3100 watts. The video has since been removed.

In addition to fines and court costs, Potter has to also forfeit his radio equipment.

Yet again another example that, if you're going to break the law, don't post the video to YouTube to show off!!!

Saturday, May 22, 2010

The new "Morse code"?

I get all sorts of interesting emails from the sons of Nigerian royalty (at least one a day), but this one really made me laugh:

The Desk Of,
Mr. Samuel Morse
Fund Manager,
Fidelity International, UK .
+44 7045703892

I feel quite safe dealing with you in this important business. Though,
this medium (Internet) has been greatly abused, I choose to reach you
through it because it still remains the fastest medium of communication.
Do accept my sincere apologies if my mail does not meet your personal
ethics. I knew that this mail will come to you as a surprise, but please do not
be discouraged with my proposal, it was due to how things are moving
with me, and then I decided to write to you when I saw your contact information in a
directory.
However, this correspondence is unofficial and private, and it should
be treated as such. At first I will like to assure you that this transaction is
100% risk and trouble free to both parties.
My name is Mr. Samuel Morse, a Fund Manager with Fidelity Investment,
UK. I handle all our Investors Capital Project Funds which enabled me to
divert 1.2% of Investors Excess Return Capital Funds to our Magellan Trust Funds
Account where anyone can be presented to claim the funds.
Total sum of Fifteen Million, Seven Hundred and Forty Five Thousand
British Pounds (15.745.000) GBP has been diverted, representing 1.2% of Excess
Return Capital Funds from the Investor Capital Project Funds for 2006/2007
fiscal year.

I need a reliable and trustworthy person with whom I can work this
deal out so that we can claim the funds as mentioned above.
There is no risk attached and the funds in question can never be
dictated or traced.

Sincerely,
Mr. Samuel Morse
I would've thought I'd have received it as follows:

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Or:

Dah Di-di-di-dit Dit, Dah-di-dit Dit Di-di-dit Dah-di-dah, Dah-dah-dah Di-di-dah-dit Dah-dah-di-di-dah-dah Dah-dah Di-dah-dit Di-dah-di-dah-di-dah , Di-di-dit Di-dah Dah-dah Di-di-dah Dit Di-dah-di-dit, Dah-dah Dah-dah-dah Di-dah-dit Di-di-dit Dit Di-di-dah-dit Di-di-dah Dah-dit Dah-di-dit, Dah-dah Di-dah Dah-dit Di-dah Dah-dah-dit Dit Di-dah-dit Dah-dah-di-di-dah-dah Di-di-dah-dit Di-dit Dah-di-dit Dit Di-dah-di-dit Di-dit Dah Dah-di-dah-dah, Di-dit Dah-dit Dah Dit Di-dah-dit Dah-dit Di-dah Dah Di-dit Dah-dah-dah Dah-dit Di-dah Di-dah-di-dit Dah-dah-di-di-dah-dah, Di-di-dah Dah-di-dah, Di-dah-di-dah-di-dah Di-dah-di-dah-dit Di-di-di-di-dah Di-di-di-di-dah, Dah-dah-di-di-dit Dah-dah-dah-dah-dah Di-di-di-di-dah Di-di-di-di-dit Dah-dah-di-di-dit Dah-dah-dah-dah-dah Di-di-di-dah-dah Dah-dah-dah-di-dit Dah-dah-dah-dah-dit Di-di-dah-dah-dah Di-dit, Di-di-dah-dit Dit Dit Di-dah-di-dit, Dah-dah-di-dah Di-di-dah Di-dit Dah Dit, Di-di-dit Di-dah Di-di-dah-dit Dit, Dah-di-dit Dit Di-dah Di-dah-di-dit Di-dit Dah-dit Dah-dah-dit, Di-dah-dah Di-dit Dah Di-di-di-dit, Dah-di-dah-dah Dah-dah-dah Di-di-dah, Di-dit Dah-dit, Dah Di-di-di-dit Di-dit Di-di-dit, Di-dit Dah-dah Di-dah-dah-dit Dah-dah-dah Di-dah-dit Dah Di-dah Dah-dit Dah, Dah-di-di-dit Di-di-dah Di-di-dit Di-dit Dah-dit Dit Di-di-dit Di-di-dit Di-dah-di-dah-di-dah , Dah Di-di-di-dit Dah-dah-dah Di-di-dah Dah-dah-dit Di-di-di-dit Dah-dah-di-di-dah-dah, Dah Di-di-di-dit Di-dit Di-di-dit, Dah-dah Dit Dah-di-dit Di-dit Di-di-dah Dah-dah, Dah-di-dah-dah-dit Di-dit Dah-dit Dah Dit Di-dah-dit Dah-dit Dit Dah Dah-di-dah-dah-di-dah, Di-di-di-dit Di-dah Di-di-dit, Dah-di-di-dit Dit Dit Dah-dit, Dah-dah-dit Di-dah-dit Dit Di-dah Dah Di-dah-di-dit Dah-di-dah-dah, Di-dah Dah-di-di-dit Di-di-dah Di-di-dit Dit Dah-di-dit Dah-dah-di-di-dah-dah, Di-dit, Dah-di-dah-dit Di-di-di-dit Dah-dah-dah Dah-dah-dah Di-di-dit Dit, Dah Dah-dah-dah, Di-dah-dit Dit Di-dah Dah-di-dah-dit Di-di-di-dit, Dah-di-dah-dah Dah-dah-dah Di-di-dah, Dah Di-di-di-dit Di-dah-dit Dah-dah-dah Di-di-dah Dah-dah-dit Di-di-di-dit, Di-dit Dah, Dah-di-di-dit Dit Dah-di-dah-dit Di-dah Di-di-dah Di-di-dit Dit, Di-dit Dah, Di-di-dit Dah Di-dit Di-dah-di-dit Di-dah-di-dit, Di-dah-dit Dit Dah-dah Di-dah Di-dit Dah-dit Di-di-dit, Dah Di-di-di-dit Dit, Di-di-dah-dit Di-dah Di-di-dit Dah Dit Di-di-dit Dah, Dah-dah Dit Dah-di-dit Di-dit Di-di-dah Dah-dah, Dah-dah-dah Di-di-dah-dit, Dah-di-dah-dit Dah-dah-dah Dah-dah Dah-dah Di-di-dah Dah-dit Di-dit Dah-di-dah-dit Di-dah Dah Di-dit Dah-dah-dah Dah-dit Di-dah-di-dah-di-dah Dah-di-dit Dah-dah-dah, Di-dah Dah-di-dah-dit Dah-di-dah-dit Dit Di-dah-dah-dit Dah, Dah-dah Dah-di-dah-dah, Di-di-dit Di-dit Dah-dit Dah-di-dah-dit Dit Di-dah-dit Dit, Di-dah Di-dah-dah-dit Dah-dah-dah Di-dah-di-dit Dah-dah-dah Dah-dah-dit Di-dit Dit Di-di-dit, Di-dit Di-di-dah-dit, Dah-dah Dah-di-dah-dah, Dah-dah Di-dah Di-dit Di-dah-di-dit, Dah-di-dit Dah-dah-dah Dit Di-di-dit, Dah-dit Dah-dah-dah Dah, Dah-dah Dit Dit Dah, Dah-di-dah-dah Dah-dah-dah Di-di-dah Di-dah-dit, Di-dah-dah-dit Dit Di-dah-dit Di-di-dit Dah-dah-dah Dah-dit Di-dah Di-dah-di-dit, Dit Dah Di-di-di-dit Di-dit Dah-di-dah-dit Di-di-dit Di-dah-di-dah-di-dah , Di-dit, Dah-di-dah Dah-dit Dit Di-dah-dah, Dah Di-di-di-dit Di-dah Dah, Dah Di-di-di-dit Di-dit Di-di-dit, Dah-dah Di-dah Di-dit Di-dah-di-dit, Di-dah-dah Di-dit Di-dah-di-dit Di-dah-di-dit, Dah-di-dah-dit Dah-dah-dah Dah-dah Dit, Dah Dah-dah-dah, Dah-di-dah-dah Dah-dah-dah Di-di-dah, Di-dah Di-di-dit, Di-dah, Di-di-dit Di-di-dah Di-dah-dit Di-dah-dah-dit Di-dah-dit Di-dit Di-di-dit Dit Dah-dah-di-di-dah-dah, Dah-di-di-dit Di-di-dah Dah, Di-dah-dah-dit Di-dah-di-dit Dit Di-dah Di-di-dit Dit, Dah-di-dit Dah-dah-dah, Dah-dit Dah-dah-dah Dah, Dah-di-di-dit Dit, Dah-di-dit Di-dit Di-di-dit Dah-di-dah-dit Dah-dah-dah Di-di-dah Di-dah-dit Di-dah Dah-dah-dit Dit Dah-di-dit, Di-dah-dah Di-dit Dah Di-di-di-dit, Dah-dah Dah-di-dah-dah, Di-dah-dah-dit Di-dah-dit Dah-dah-dah Di-dah-dah-dit Dah-dah-dah Di-di-dit Di-dah Di-dah-di-dit Dah-dah-di-di-dah-dah, Di-dit Dah, Di-dah-dah Di-dah Di-di-dit, Dah-di-dit Di-di-dah Dit, Dah Dah-dah-dah, Di-di-di-dit Dah-dah-dah Di-dah-dah, Dah Di-di-di-dit Di-dit Dah-dit Dah-dah-dit Di-di-dit, Di-dah Di-dah-dit Dit, Dah-dah Dah-dah-dah Di-di-di-dah Di-dit Dah-dit Dah-dah-dit, Di-dah-dah Di-dit Dah Di-di-di-dit, Dah-dah Dit Dah-dah-di-di-dah-dah, Di-dah Dah-dit Dah-di-dit, Dah Di-di-di-dit Dit Dah-dit, Di-dit, Dah-di-dit Dit Dah-di-dah-dit Di-dit Dah-di-dit Dit Dah-di-dit, Dah Dah-dah-dah, Di-dah-dah Di-dah-dit Di-dit Dah Dit, Dah Dah-dah-dah, Dah-di-dah-dah Dah-dah-dah Di-di-dah, Di-dah-dah Di-di-di-dit Dit Dah-dit, Di-dit, Di-di-dit Di-dah Di-dah-dah, Dah-di-dah-dah Dah-dah-dah Di-di-dah Di-dah-dit, Dah-di-dah-dit Dah-dah-dah Dah-dit Dah Di-dah Dah-di-dah-dit Dah, Di-dit Dah-dit Di-di-dah-dit Dah-dah-dah Di-dah-dit Dah-dah Di-dah Dah Di-dit Dah-dah-dah Dah-dit, Di-dit Dah-dit, Di-dah, Dah-di-dit Di-dit Di-dah-dit Dit Dah-di-dah-dit Dah Dah-dah-dah Di-dah-dit Dah-di-dah-dah Di-dah-di-dah-di-dah Di-di-di-dit Dah-dah-dah Di-dah-dah Dit Di-di-di-dah Dit Di-dah-dit Dah-dah-di-di-dah-dah, Dah Di-di-di-dit Di-dit Di-di-dit, Dah-di-dah-dit Dah-dah-dah Di-dah-dit Di-dah-dit Dit Di-di-dit Di-dah-dah-dit Dah-dah-dah Dah-dit Dah-di-dit Dit Dah-dit Dah-di-dah-dit Dit, Di-dit Di-di-dit, Di-di-dah Dah-dit Dah-dah-dah Di-di-dah-dit Di-di-dah-dit Di-dit Dah-di-dah-dit Di-dit Di-dah Di-dah-di-dit, Di-dah Dah-dit Dah-di-dit, Di-dah-dah-dit Di-dah-dit Di-dit Di-di-di-dah Di-dah Dah Dit Dah-dah-di-di-dah-dah, Di-dah Dah-dit Dah-di-dit, Di-dit Dah, Di-di-dit Di-di-di-dit Dah-dah-dah Di-di-dah Di-dah-di-dit Dah-di-dit, Dah-di-di-dit Dit, Dah Di-dah-dit Dit Di-dah Dah Dit Dah-di-dit, Di-dah Di-di-dit, Di-di-dit Di-di-dah Dah-di-dah-dit Di-di-di-dit Di-dah-di-dah-di-dah , Di-dah Dah, Di-di-dah-dit Di-dit Di-dah-dit Di-di-dit Dah, Di-dit, Di-dah-dah Di-dit Di-dah-di-dit Di-dah-di-dit, Di-dah-di-dit Di-dit Dah-di-dah Dit, Dah Dah-dah-dah, 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*
whew*

Up until now I thought the funniest one was of the Nigerian astronaut stuck up in space for 14 years (who knew?) but this ranks a close 2nd.

And to think, all this time I thought Morse was a painter and an inventor, not an accountant...I even thought he was dead, but I see it's on the internet so it must be true...

And just to be sure, the letter I received is often referred to as a "419 scam", named because of the Nigerian penal code dealing with such fraud.

Unfortunately the Nigerian government doesn't look at these types of issues with utmost priority, and Nigeria's reputation as a corrupt country is only exacerbated by these rampant emails by organized crime bosses or even corrupt politicians.

What's even more ridiculous is that there are people who actually buy into these scams, thinking they've been chosen by fate out of millions of others out there to help facilitate the laundering of money in exchange for a fee.

There's some who get conned into thinking they've won the Canadian lottery and can get their winnings expedited through customs for "modest fees" of thousands of dollars. How could you have won when you didn't even enter?

It just goes to show that if it's too good to be true...

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Another bad ham nabbed by police

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.