Hams Show in Force at Gerritsen Sentencing


ARRL (July 14, 2005) — Radio amateurs turned out in force July 13 as reputed Los Angeles-area radio jammer Jack Gerritsen, who was briefly licensed as KG6IRO, was sentenced on state charges of threatening another amateur and his daughter via a local repeater. He was convicted July 8.

Superior Court Judge Craig J. Mitchell gave Gerritsen 120 days in jail and three years probation. He also barred Gerritsen from any contact with those who had testified against him and from operating ham gear without a valid FCC license. Gerritsen was arrested in May on a contempt citation for allegedly violating the terms of a temporary restraining order the victimized radio amateur had obtained to keep Gerritsen off a local repeater. That radio amateur and two others subsequently testified against Gerritsen.

Some 50 radio amateurs showed up for the sentencing, and many more mailed or e-mailed the court. Serving as his own attorney, Gerritsen contended he was falsely accused and that his First Amendment rights were being violated. Mitchell told Gerritsen the case was not about the First Amendment but about Gerritsen’s threatening and bullying behavior. The 69-year-old Bell, California, resident still faces federal charges following his May 5 arrest and seizure of his radio equipment by FBI agents accompanied by FCC personnel.

Released on bond in that case, he’s been subject to monitored home detention and barred from possessing or using any radio equipment. The federal criminal complaint cited an FCC investigation revealing that Gerritsen “often transmits his prerecorded political messages and real-time harassment and profanity for hours at a time, often making it impossible for licensed radio operators to use the public frequencies.”

The FCC has affirmed a $10,000 fine against Gerritsen for unlicensed operation and proposed another $42,000 in forfeitures for alleged interference-related infractions.–some information provided by Burton Brink, N6USO