Post Orlando Update: FRC Board removes all members!

The FRC members meeting was simply disgusting this year.

First the meeting was held about 1/2 mile away from the normal location in a smaller area than in all years prior.

The Board refused to let anyone anyone other than themselves speak and I demanded to speak based on the assembled crowd.  After Mike Felcher relented to the overwhelming support I started to talk through our issues.  At this time the other board member, N0XIA  called the police saying we were not allowing the board to work and >20 people were in the room per the fire code.  I made the demand that this is a members meeting and we are bound by Roberts rules of order, to which Mike Fletcher insisted this was only a board meeting (it’s the annual members meeting).

I then called a point of order that there is not a quorum present and as the members have never elected the board.  One of the members has the gall to insist he was elected in 1990 and has been re-appointed ever since!  Simply put they were wrong.

I made a motion to remove the board members and they would not even call the question.  This is against the rules.

Further on in the board meeting the unelected board amended the bylaws to remove all the members from the corporation!  So if you were a member before, you’re not now!  These people are sick, and will be made to answer for this in court.  As of now, the FRC has no members and is simply an unelected board.

Dana is avoiding service on behalf of the cooperation too.  What they have done is unconscionable and reprehensible.

I can say they have no legal authority to operate anymore and if you see the board members ask them to account for their actions.  This is truly the worst of the worst in amateur radio today.  What’s most concerning is these board members are involved as board members in other clubs, certainly calling into account their actions in that capacity.

I’m working on the video upload to youtube.

FCC FOIA response

Today the FCC responded to my prior FOIA request.

Attached is the 2017-268 – response letter, and the referenced document, FCC 86-201, which is the only mention of the FRC in FCC records.

This letter proves the FRC is lying when they stated they were recognized by the FCC as the frequency coordinator for Florida.

25. Official recognition of coordinators. Several coordinators urged us to establish some mechanism to officially recognize local or regional coordinators. Others were concerned about the potential for abuse of power at the local level. Another concern was exclusive right to coordinate within a geographical area. It is essential that repeater coordinators respond to the broadest base of local amateurs, and consider the concerns not only of repeater owners but also of those users of spectrum affected by repeater operation. Their authority is derived from the voluntary participation of the entire amateur community; their recognition must be derived from the same source. We believe the new rules will assure that a coordinator is representative of all local amateur operators.

As plainly stated above the FCC refused to recognize frequency coordinators.  This is another FRC lie exposed.

The FRC has instigated a criminal complaint against W9CR

The FRC has violated our agreement to work together after the Melbourne hamfest by making a criminal complaint against Bryan Fields, W9CR.  This happened in November and needed to be resolved first, hence the lack of updates.  This complaint is fraudulent and was closed with input from from my attorney.  I will not be addressing it further.

Our agreement from Melbourne was to fire my attorney and work together in good faith, these actions prove this was never the FRC’s intent.  The FRC board has invented a number of lies regarding me and my actions.

It’s evident the FRC has no interest to working with me or any other members seeking reform.  One only has to look at how they refer to their members as “outsiders” and the actions taken by those who seek to reform their ways.

Numerous attempts have been made to work with the board with the Process Development Committee as agreed after Melbourne.  No board members have responded to repeated inquiry.  In light of these recent developments I cannot continue to attempt to work with the board.

My legal demands remain and I will publicly call for the resignation of the board as they have ceased to operate in anything approaching an effective manner.

How can we fix this?

The FRC must be reformed if it wishes to keep its legitimacy. Frequency coordination is voluntary in amateur radio, and there is little reason for amateur radio operators in Florida to seek coordination from the FRC under this current administration.

Our goal is to transform this organization into a healthy helping hand for repeater operators and other amateur spectrum users. No one should be answered with contempt for months after putting an application in for coordination only to be told “fill it out again, we can’t edit it”. This should not be an organization which exists as a “good-ol’-boy” system breading contempt; rather one which operates in the open, in accordance with its bylaws, and accountable to its members.

The FRC should ask how to say “Yes” rather than saying “No” in working with their members and other amateurs.

Our plan to get on the right track is:

  • Remove the current directors for gross incompetency and exposing the organization to liability.
  • Call for a constitutional convention to redraw the bylaws and change the organization structure to better serve all amateurs in Florida.
  • Have open elections
  • Establish a development process for new policies from the membership
  • Encourage input from the membership based on sound technical policies
  • De-centralize coordination by having a web enabled database be accessible to the public showing all history of an application through coordination. (OSS/BSS software)
    No one person should be the gatekeeper of the database.
  • Make all records of the FRC open to the public, as any non-profit serving the public interest must be.

FCC FOIA request

In response to the FRC stating they are recognized by the FCC, I submitted a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request to the FCC stating the following:


I request that a copy of the following documents or documents containing the following information be provided to me:

  • Commission legal finding or other documents under 47CFR Part 97 or other FCC regulation which authorize the Commission to recognize a “Frequency Coordinator” as defined in §97.3(a)22 of the commissions rules.
  • What authority does a “Frequency Coordinator” have to grant permission to operate an Amateur station on frequencies in the Amateur Radio Service?
  • What is the procedure to become a recognized “Frequency Coordinator” as defined in §97.3(a)22?
  • Please provide a list of all recognized “Frequency Coordinator(s)” as defined §97.3(a)22.
  • Please provide copies of all letters between the FCC and the Florida Repeater Council, Inc. pertaining to their recognition as a “Frequency Coordinator” and other coordination/interference issues.

    The original PDF it attached.

Post Melbourne meeting

Video/audio of the meeting is here

Prior to the meeting President Kassis and other board members had a discussion with my group. The president wanted to know why we were demanding his removal, and I explained his failure to follow the law and the bylaws made him unfit for office. The same held true for directors Fletcher, Rodkis and Lavender. The president failed to comprehend how not responding to my inquiry and my attorneys inquiry was actionable and exposed us to liability.

Secretary Fletcher would not even make eye contact with me when asked about the phone call he placed to me regarding this inquiry. He denied even placing it.

This was not a good start, but we did make some progress. What we did agree on was to start a process development committee (PDC) where any member can propose changes to process and the bylaws and the rest of the members will vote on it. This will check the authority of the board and allow any members to improve FRC process/policies. My friend Dave, NX4Y agreed to be the PDC chair with me being a member of this committee.

This was our agreement going into the meeting. I thought we had some good progress, and was I positive going into the formal FRC meeting.

At the meeting we did get some of what we wanted, director Lavender was absent and had tendered his resignation. The director Butler resigned as well.
Secretary Fletcher, President Kassis, and Dana Rodakis (not present) refused to resign, but President Kassis had given me his word we would work together.

All was fine till we got to the board meeting, and it was quite obvious
Secretary Fletcher runs things as if he’s the president. One of his first
orders of business was to remove Director Gonzalez from the board for missing two meetings.

While this is permitted under the bylaws, the FRC has never done it before.
The Director was an acquaintance of mine and director Fetcher made a motion to remove him due in no small part to this.

President Kassis reappointed the removed Director and they voted to accept it, with the notable exception of Secretary Fletcher.

After this they created the Process development committee as we’d agreed to with Dave, NX4Y as the chair. However they appointed a number of people to the PDC and refused to appoint me as agreed prior.

Adding further insult to this, Secretary Fletcher invented a new point of
business that I was a member of the FRC, as the board never voted to approve my membership. I have been paid for 3 year, have PayPal receipts to Dana Rodakis proving this, and in the history of the FRC, no members have ever been approved by the board. Further he stated, they can’t process any memberships as the treasurer was not in attendance!

Moving past this as they knew they were on shaky legal ground, Secretary
Fletcher with President Kassis now invented the requirement that I stop all
legal action and consulting with my attorney regarding the FRC. This is quite illegal. I had to get up and raise my voice for the President to live up to his end of our agreement.

Eventually a compromise was reached with me agreeing to halt any legal matters and I’ll be part of the committee. Regardless I said I would consider the matter closed and we moved forward.  This is highly illegal to require me to forgo legal counsel as condition to work with the board.

As of now we have a PDC forum website and we’re working on the process of the PDC. Once this is done, any member will be able to write up a proposal and have it voted on by the membership. I believe this will allow us to change the FRC for the better in the long term. Our goal is to be up and running with this in a couple months from Melbourne.

Once this is in place we’ll be able to attack the ongoing issues such as:

  • New coordination taking months or years Renewals not being processed in a timely manner
  • The ongoing issue of paper repeaters
  • Unprotected or test pairs
  • Single points of failure
  • Legal compliance (FL, IRS, etc.)
  • Etc.

We’re going to work hard with the board over the next few months and I hope we’ll have some forward progress soon. This is most significant development to come from the FRC in the past 20 years.

Let’s look to the future and how we can improve coordination in Florida.

FRC Response to Members request

After being unsuccessful in having the FRC even pickup my initial letter, I had my attorney draft a letter with substantially the same request:

VIA U.S. CERTIFIED MAIL NO. 7016 0600 0000 5222 4298
RETURN RECEIPT REQUESTED
Florida Repeater Council
Attn: Dana Rodakis, K4LK
6280 Fairfield Avenue S.
St. Petersburg, FL 33707-2323

Re: Demand under Fla. Stat. 617
Florida Repeater Council

Mr. Rodakis:

We represent Mr. Bryan Fields. This correspondence is in accordance with Florida Statutes 617.1602. As a member of the Florida Repeater Council, we are entitled to inspection of the Council's records. Please contact our office to schedule a time for Mr. Fields to inspect the records enumerated below. He will be happy to inspect at either the principal office or a reasonable location specified by your office.

1) Rosters of Members for the last four (4) years, including which district they are in.

2) Any and all records relating to the last four (4) elections.

Please note that we are entitled to unilaterally set a date that we wish to inspect the records- we are willing to coordinate with you for an inspection time out of -courtesy. However, if we do not receive a response within seven (7) days of the mailing of this letter, we will send a second letter advising when we will be inspecting.

The response below is from the FRC where they claim to be recognized by the FCC and further referred Bryan Fields to the FCC for enforcement bureau action.  The original PDF is here

Florida Repeater Council, Inc.
Mike Fletcher- Secretary
PO Box 602
Brandon, Florida 33509

September 26, 2016
lan P. Hudson
C/0 Johnny J. Bardine, P.A ..
721151 Avenue N, Ste 200
St. Petersburg, Fl 33701
Certified Mail 70161970000000493441

Re: Demand for records of Florida Repeater Council under FS617

Mr. Hudson,

Your client, Mr. Fields has demanded this information but has not provided any reasonable or proper purpose as required in the statute you referenced, for his request and/or usage of the corporation's proprietary information.

Much of what Mr. Fields has demanded is regularly published on the Corporation's web page and publicly available to anyone who is interested.

These demands appear to be an effort to harass the Directors of the Florida Repeater Council, Inc. because of an application that Mr. Fields has pending before the Florida Repeater Council, Inc. for a frequency coordination. That application has been delayed due to Mr. Fields refusal to provide detailed location information for his radio site as required of other applicants for such coordination. This coordination service is provided at no charge to the applicants under CFR part 97, and the Florida Repeater Council, Inc. is the Federal Communications Commission recognized coordinating body for the State of Florida.

The Florida Repeater Council, Inc. volunteer web developer reports that the development site was recently the object of an illegal intrusion where some data was stolen and has been published on a
hacker related site. The identifying information of the sites involved in this data theft have been recovered and are being provided to law enforcement as part of a criminal complaint.

Should Mr. Fields desire to provide a reasonable and proper purpose for the information he demands we will consider such request at our Directors meeting in October. Lacking such a new request we will now consider this matter closed.

~ Mike Flecher
Secretary
Cc: FCC Enforcement Bureau

This response is a slap in the face to the idea the board is subject to it’s members, and exposes the FRC to liability.  Further the claim “the Florida Repeater Council, Inc. is the Federal Communications Commission recognized coordinating body for the State of Florida.” is untrue.

The insinuation here is that Mr. Fields “hacked” the FRC and it’s completely without merit.

Background on coordination in Amateur Radio

Amateur Radio is regulated and individuals are licensed by the FCC.

The basis and purpose of Amateur Radio is defined in 47 CFR §97.1:

Recognition and enhancement of the value of the amateur service to the public as a voluntary noncommercial communication service, particularly with respect to providing emergency communications.

(b) Continuation and extension of the amateur’s proven ability to contribute to the advancement of the radio art.

(c) Encouragement and improvement of the amateur service through rules which provide for advancing skills in both the communication and technical phases of the art.

(d) Expansion of the existing reservoir within the amateur radio service of trained operators, technicians, and electronics experts.

(e) Continuation and extension of the amateur’s unique ability to enhance international goodwill.

Amateurs have no right to a frequency and the FCC puts very few restrictions on the use of the different allocations amateurs have. §97.101 (b) states:

Each station licensee and each control operator must cooperate in selecting transmitting channels and in making the most effective use of the amateur service frequencies. No frequency will be assigned for the exclusive use of any station.

A repeater coordinator is defined by the FCC as:

Frequency coordinator. An entity, recognized in a local or regional area by amateur operators whose stations are eligible to be auxiliary or repeater stations, that recommends transmit/receive channels [1]and associated operating and technical parameters for such stations in order to avoid or minimize potential interference

The FCC has commercial repeater coordinators, which work for the other radio services, for a fee they use technical standards to coordinate operation between Part 90 and 74 (police/fire/hotels/etc.). All records for these coordination are in the FCC database and able to be looked up by anyone.   What’s nice about this is multiple coordinators exist and are able to work alongside each other in the market place.

Amateur coordination is “optional” per the FCC and there is only one coordinator for an area/state. There is no legal basis for such a sole coordinator but this is practice. In Florida this is the FRC and they work in a slow secretive fashion.

The FCC does give preference to coordinated repeaters per 97.205(c)

Where the transmissions of a repeater cause harmful interference to another repeater, the two station licensees are equally and fully responsible for resolving the interference unless the operation of one station is recommended by a frequency coordinator and the operation of the other station is not. In that case, the licensee of the non-coordinated repeater has primary responsibility to resolve the interference.

As such it’s in our best interest to coordinate our systems with the FRC.

The FRC is a member-based organization, of which I am a member and have been since 15-Dec-2013 by paying the $10 per year membership fee. I never received anything other than a PayPal receipt for this each year. Their meetings are governed by their bylaws and Roberts Rules of Order.

In contrast to commercial frequency coordination the FRC does not function in a prompt manner or use technical standards. The FRC does not even follow their own FRC Coordination Policy as written.

[1] Reference #11, “applications for NEW coordination without frequencies will be returned to the applicant. The Council is unable to search for available frequencies”

My Background on Coordination with the FRC.

In end of 2013 I got together with friends and founded a club (FSG) to get a 220 MHz Band repeater on the air in Tampa Bay for general amateur radio use.   We purchased a already on the air coordinated repeater system from another group known as “West Central Florida Group, Inc.”.   As this was already coordinated on the air in the Tampa Bay area it should have been a matter of notifying the FRC to change the coordination to our name.

The prior owners wrote the FRC coordinator (Dana) on my behalf and asked that it be changed in December 2013. This was stymied by Dana with requests for information over weeks, with half answers. Check my emails with Dana for an example of this.

During this period I attended a FRC members meeting at the Orlando Fair grounds in February 2014, imploring them to act on this. I was told to sit down and “shut up”, even though I had followed procedure and applied to be on the agenda. The secretary refused to recognize my request, which is in violation of the bylaws/Roberts Rules of Order.

During this meeting a vote was held by the board, reelecting the board. I found this funny, but it was accepted and they moved on. I do wish I’d been more familiar with the bylaws at the time as the members must elect the board.

On 11-May-2014 Dana Rodakis finally issued the Coordination for the repeater we’d purchased in December 2013! This was over 6 months for some basic paper work.

During this time we acquired other repeaters on the 440 and 900 MHz bands. We attempted to coordinate these repeaters and we asked for information the FRC was not permitted to ask for under its coordination policy.   They objected to the antenna patterns we used, but attempts to get them to clarify their technical standards were met with silence. See Reference #5 and Reference #6 for this.   They keep asking for enclosing streets and other information above what is required in the written coordination policy section #11.

 

On 9-Apr-2016 I attended the Tampa Amateur radio club’s tail-gate swapmeet. During this I ran into Mike Fletcher, district 4 director of the FRC. As we are both members I approached him as a concerned member of the organization.   I raised my issues and implored them to follow their by-laws as written or explain their technical requirements. I was told to shut up, and

“I (Mr. Fletcher) wrote most of the bylaws and I don’t need some kid to recite them to me”.

I quipped back

“If you wrote them why can’t you follow them?”

 

I explained how this was a serious violation of how a member’s organization should work, and that it was offensive to me as a member.

He said, “we can do what we want as the board, it’s only a suggestion for us to follow the by-laws”.

At this point I realized I was arguing with someone who didn’t posses the ability to reason and I walked away.

As I was unable to get anywhere with the FRC and further was told by Dana to not contact them again. I’ve enclosed this as Reference #7. He emailed me back and I again asked him to follow their policy. This is Reference #8

At this time Mr. Fletcher called me in May and told me to quit contacting the FRC as they “don’t give a fuck about me”.   I’m a member and they cannot choose to follow their polices or not. I do not have a recording of this call.

I availed myself to the remedies under FS 617 and made a members request of information to the board. As the website said this must go to the Secretary, Mr. Fletcher’s home I sent it via USPS registered mail USPS 7016-0340-0001-0614-6256.   This was returned as undeliverable on 20-Jun-2016.   This is attached as reference #9.

As this letter was cc’d to the Board via email with return receipt requested, I received confirmations from the following board members they either read it or deleted it. Steve Lowman, Mike Gonzalez, and President of the board, Ray Kassis. This is Reference #10

The FRC doesn’t work in a prompt manner doing a disservice to amateur radio in the State Of Florida.   Reference the website showing they have not processed renewals since May, and new coordinations since January! This is nothing but incompetence.   The website print out is attached as Reference #11

In September 2016 the FRC coordination database was posted online.   I saw this as a SQL table and loaded it into mysql. This contained all the locations of each repeater in the state along with the contact information on each repeater.   The source for this was from Directors Lavender and Rodkis webserver, and posted on a public website for all to see. They have since removed it.

This was later this was posted on the website Reddit where some kind user converted it to a KML file enabling us all to download it in Google earth.