Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
June 30, 1960

Federal Law Violated

D. R. McMillien, Selma, California

It was with a great deal of interest that I noted a recent news article and picture on the front page of the CHRISTIAN CHRONICLE of January 12, 1960 headlined, "Shortwave Radio Plan Could Help Missionaries Call Home." In case you did not see this news item and to give you a foundation for the following remarks we will quote from a part of this article. It is probably best to let James Willeford of Abilene, Texas, tell you about his plans to build a 1,000 watt shortwave transmitter to put "our missionaries around the world in direct contact with their parents, and with the elders who have the oversight of their work." By way of qualification this article takes note of the fact "Willeford has held the General License from the Federal Government since 1946, and the station call assigned to him is W5AL." I shall attempt to qualify myself for the remarks to follow by informing you that I too hold a General Class License from the Federal Government and the call assigned to me is WA6BUG.

Let's now notice a part of the above mentioned article. "When a missionary decides to talk with his parents or the elders who oversee his work, he will contact an amateur radio station in his area, and ask that the operator call the mission station in Abilene. When the call comes in, the operator on duty at the time will immediately call CQ in an effort to contact a shortwave station in the city where the person lives that the missionary wishes to contact. When a station is contacted, the operator will then pick up the telephone and call the person the missionary wishes to reach. When he answers, the telephone will be plugged into a phone patch on the transmitter, and the missionary and his contact will then converse by a radiotelephone hookup at no cost to the missionary or his parents or elders."

Sound good? Of course it would sound good to a person that knows little or nothing about amateur radio. Cline R. Paden in Denmark as well as other missionaries, quoted in this article, thought so. Paden states, "If one could just consult with the elders!" But, the article notes one hitch. It says, "Willeford states that it will cost about $3,000 for a complete station" and call for contributions to be sent to him for this "mission effort."

It looks as if some of my brethren are so captivated by the principles of CENTRALIZED CONTROL that it affects almost everything they undertake. I believe the proposal of Willeford's a prime example of the influence that the doctrine of CENTRALIZATION is having upon the lives of many today. It seems that all they can think about is centralization, centralization, and more centralization. What do I mean by this? Would it be interesting to you to know that in the project outlined above by Willeford that ABILENE STATION COSTING $3,000 (or more) IS NOT NEEDED AND IS THEREFORE SUPERFLUOUS? I think this can best be illustrated in diagram. Here is what Willeford has outlined for us:

In the above illustration station M (missionary) would call station A (Abilene) and tell them they wanted to talk to someone in (to illustrate) Boston (station B). Then Abilene would call CQ Boston. The possibility of going on the air in this manner and getting into a particular city, as this would require, is very slim, as any experienced "Ham" should know. But, let's assume a contact is made. Then, a request is made for station B to call the missionary's parents or elders. If they are reached, Willeford says, "the telephone will be plugged into a phone patch on the transmitter . . . ." It's not as easy as that would imply. MOST "Hams" do not have a phone patch! Now, we should see how remote this kind of a contact can be. The contact must be made in a particular city, to a "Ham" that has a phone patch. Willeford, you'll miss more times than you'll hit!

But, we have just started. When station B is contacted THEY MUST BE PUT IN CONTACT WITH STATION M. This means that station B must be strong enough for station M to hear, and station M must be strong enough for station B to hear. The 1,000 watts of Abilene avails nothing. Abilene is now out of the picture. See step B above. THEN WHY HAVE THE CENTRAL CONTROL STATION (ABILENE) IN THE PICTURE IN THE FIRST PLACE? Why not just have station M contact station B direct? In fact, this would be the easiest, and by far the most simple procedure to follow. If the missionary has access to a station powerful enough to be heard in the U. S. let him write and set up a schedule with a station in the missionary's home town. (The names and addresses of the amateur station or stations in the missionary's home town can be obtained from the "Call Book") I certainly can see the value from the standpoint of morale, of people in foreign countries being able to talk with parents or friends at home. I know that most any "Ham" would be happy to render this service, whenever possible.

BUT, this type of third party amateur communications are only allowed from the following countries: Canada, Chile, Costa Rica, Cuba, Ecuador, Haiti, Liberia, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Peru and Venezuela. This information is quoted from Federal Communications Commission public notice S 85814. Of the eight missionaries quoted in the CHRONICLE article, lauding this project, ONLY TWO could participate in this type of communication. I wonder how enthusiastic they would be if they were presented the whole truth?

Of all the missionaries in the world, outside of the U. S., NONE CAN PARTICIPATE IN THE TYPE of PROGRAM OUTLINED BY WILLEFORD LEGALLY! Putting these missionaries in contact with their elders to talk about the work of the church and thereby conduct business is in VIOLATION OF FEDERAL LAW. I have a letter dated April 8, 1960 from Ben F. Waple, Acting Secretary of the Federal Communications Commission which states in part, "Also note that regardless of whether `third parties' are involved or not, the International Radio Regulations require that international amateur communications shall be limited to conversations or messages of a technical or personal nature for which, by reason of their unimportance, recourse to the public telecommunications service is not justified. Therefore, the proposed use of an amateur station for communications RELATING TO CHURCH BUSINESS WOULD BE CONTRARY TO THE INTERNATIONAL REGULATIONS AS WELL AS THE AMATEUR SERVICE RULES (Section 12.62)." (emphasis mine, drm) It seems to me that this is another case of brethren blundering into something before they check the law. In this case, the Federal law, in other cases, the law of God.

In the April 26, 1960 edition of the CHRISTIAN CHRONICLE a second story about this proposal is found on page 3. This article is under the caption, "Ham Radio Rewarding For Canal Zone Man." This article is written by W. W. Burrow from the Canal Zone. Burrow tells us relative to his shortwave radio experiences, "The greatest of all blessings was the day I contacted Brother James Willeford of Abilene, Texas for the first time.... he put me in contact with one of the elders of the church in Abilene and we DISCUSSED THE WORK OF THE CHURCH HERE IN PANAMA, OUR PROBLEMS AND NEEDS," (emphasis mine, drm) Well, it looks as if these "lids" (Amateur radio expression) have already violated Section 12.62. Brethren, can you imagine the embarrassing position the Church will have when the FCC clamps down on these boys? And to think Burrow says this was "the greatest of all blessings." A continued violation of the law while in contact with Abilene may prove that this is not the "greatest" blessing after all!

There are other things in these two articles that need attention but space will not allow us to note all of them. The first article requests that all contributions to this work be mailed to Willeford and gives his address. The second article states all contributions are to be made to the "HIGHLAND CHURCH OF CHRIST, Abilene, Texas and marked for the Short Wave Mission Station." Dear me, you mean those fellows must have their finger in this too? What do we have now, The Herald of Truth, Jr. shortwave station? Is there no stopping place?

In the first article we are told this station will cost "about $3.000." In the article of April 26th we find, "A station such as this being established by Willeford involves the expenditure of three to four thousand dollars." This looks to me like another one of those projects that has an appetite for money that will never be filled. They just grow and grow with the monsters they feed. "Send me $3.000 — later on I'll need $4,000." And from there who knows?

I have warned Willeford, by personal letter, of his violations and his proposed violations of the law. The penalty for violating FCC regulations can be "A fine up to $500 for each day during which the offense occurs, suspension of operator license, and revocation of station license." In all fairness, since I have probably saved him a considerable amount of money, I think Willeford should send me all contributions over the $3,000 mark. I too would like to have a maximum power station, built by the brethren. Or, if you would rather (I would rather) you can send all contributions directly to me. No, Willeford will have to get his some other way. And, I'm sure I will too. But, he had better investigate the law before he acts. God may wait until the judgment day to pour out his wrath upon those who so brazenly defy his laws, but the FCC is not so longsuffering.