July 29, 2011

Shortwave Pirate 'The Crystal Ship' is Dead. Latest Transmission Site Closed by FCC. 'Commander Bunny' Believed To Be 'FCC Snitch' Responsible For Supplying Name & Address Info Leading to Unusual Sort of Bust

By John Poet

  Nearly twenty-nine years after its first transmission, The Crystal Ship has been forced to leave the air due to an FCC "Notice of Unlicensed Operation" which was delivered to the site of their last transmissions at Lansing, Michigan in late May 2011.  Yes, we are (more or less) busted.  There will be no more TCS programs broadcast from our own transmitters, nor the frequency of transmissions which listeners had come to expect and enjoy.  That show is now over.

 (( It is possible, however, even likely, that new programs will eventually show up in "relay land", broadcast by other operators, some time in the future.  Anyone interested in transmitting any new TCS shows in mp3 format sometime in the near future is urged to contact us privately at tcsshortwave@gmail.com ))

Feud Over Cmdr. Bunny's FRN Sock-Puppets Preceded Bust

  Because of the feuding that took place between the operator known as "Commander Bunny" and TCS' John Poet during April-May of 2011, over Poet's outing of the Bunny's use of  "sock-puppets" to control the 'Free Radio Network' website, support his opinions and attack and bully dissenters, we believe that "Commander Bunny" was responsible for making a complaint against The Crystal Ship to the Federal Communications Commission, and providing them with specific details which made for an "easy bust".
  Circumstances suggest that, along with the complaint, went real name and address information on the station operator known as John Poet.  (It is admittedly possible that he turned this information over to "Kracker" of Radio Jamba International, or one of his other henchmen, to do the actual dirty work of snitching to the F.C.C.-- so that he could maintain the more pleasant fiction to himself that "I didn't do it-- someone else did."  Kracker in particular has seemed anxious to signal his involvement by circulating a photoshop of a sinking Crystal Ship entitled "SinkingDaShip" along with other comments.  However, since 'Commander Bunny' was the only one who could possibly have supplied the pertinent information, we hold him ultimately responsible for being an FCC informant). 
   We have already established, in an earlier blog post, how "Commander Bunny" gained access to Poet's actual name and address info as a result of Poet's admittedly foolish purchase of a CB Tshirt on ebay, cross-referenced with Poet's I.P. from postings on the Free Radio Network website. He later used this information to threaten Poet, not realizing that the FCC bust had already happened.

Unusual Circumstances Surrounding Bust Indicate That An Informant Turned Over Significant Information to FCC

There are a number of unusual facts surrounding the 'bust' which indicate to us that this was not your usual FCC "hunt 'em down and bust them" direction-finding/triangulation operation-- but rather, the kind of operation where you already know where the transmitter is supposed to be, because an "FCC SNITCH"  turned over all the information!

1.  Only one FCC vehicle was ever seen at the transmission site.  They need at least two for any efficient triangulation of signals.

2.  "The Knock" came within only about eight minutes into the transmission!  (Hardly enough time to do any triangulation or very much driving;  more like a "park a few blocks away and wait for them to come on the air, then drive to the address we were given" kind of operation!)

3.  The FCC's "Notice of Unlicensed Operation" itself clearly states that the investigation was the result of information having been turned over to them!  The first line reads:
"The Detroit Office received information that an unlicensed broadcast radio station on 6815 kHz was allegedly operating in Lansing, Michigan."
4.  When the FCC was finally successful in getting someone to answer the door, they asked for the  station operator -- but by his real name! 

(In your usual FCC pirate hunt, they triangulate your signal long-range from direction-finding stations spaced at intervals around the United States.  When they have a good fix, they must send at least TWO vehicles equipped with special direction-finding equipment connected to high-tech receivers.  They triangulate the signal from two different points,  and eventually track you down to a residence-- then they knock on the door.  'Generally', they don't know who it is they are supposed to ask for....  What am I saying?  I mean, they NEVER know the name of the person they want, unless that person has advertised their own name, which we never did---or unless that person was outed by an FCC SNITCH!)

5. In a rather sloppy anomily which I can't really account for, the FCC seems to have failed to take any field strength readings on the signal once they were near the place. (This does not  immediately seem to have any bearing on whether they had inside information-- but it is such a departure from their usual procedure that it seems worth noting.... unless they thought that since they had "inside information", that there was no need to do their usual documentation?) 
   In just about every Notice of Unlicensed Operation or NAL which I've ever seen, the FCC makes a big deal about the exact numbers of the field strength readings, and how that particular level was illegal.  That's basically the only "scientific" part of their evidence that radio laws have been violated.  But on our NOUO, both the version tacked to the door, and the one later mailed, there are NO field strength readings... just the rather mealy-mouthed phrase, "The field strength of the signal... exceeds the maximum permitted... given the distance the signal could be received..."
  C'mon, fellas, that's pretty sloppy work, isn't it?  That would never stand up in court!  The field strength readings are always the primary documentation of proof collected by the FCC, that the Communications Act has been violated!  Here, they got nothing... nothing but, in effect, "Well, you could hear it from a good long ways away, so it musta been illegal, right?"
  (I guess we'll just have to ask 'Commander Murphy' to look into that failure, as he's claimed to have been aquainted with certain FCC agents in the past...)

Suspicious Behavior of  'Commander Bunny' Supports Our Charge That He "Dropped Dime" on The Crystal Ship

  The last reported transmission of 'Commander Bunny's WBNY Relay Service during that period took place on May 22nd-- exactly the same day that the FCC showed up in Lansing, Michigan.  Very shortly after that, 'Commander Bunny' reportedly announced to a limited Email list, that he wouldn't be on the air anymore-- or 'not until things change'.  He blamed the snarky criticisms of Guise Faux of the Radio Paranoia website for his closure.
  Our take on that, is that he knew that the dime had been dropped on The Crystal Ship (whether by himself or his cronies) some time earlier, that a bust of TCS was likely coming, and that he wouldn't necessarily know it had happened for some time thereafter.  So, fearing retribution in kind, he thought it best to leave the air-- after having spent several days a week broadcasting for the previous two months.

CB Sock-Puppet Fishes for Information, Tries to Talk TCS Back On The Air
A few weeks ago, 'Commander Bunny' infiltrated the Free Radio Cafe with a previously identified sock-puppet known to be owned by him or one of his cronies, "lovemyradios". I allowed the sign-in, so that I could determine exactly what he was up to... no good, I presumed.  Incredibly, he seemed to have entirely forgotten having used the very same Email address to abuse and threaten me two months earlier!  Because of my slowness in approving his first post, he contacted me and we engaged in an Email conversation.  (This was so amusing, we will be publishing the whole episode in a future post!)  He told me all about how he had been the legendary 'Radio Clandestine' back in the 1970s-80s.  (Guess he can 'drop names' as well as dimes.  Actually, I had heard all about that same claim being made by someone before-- but that time it was made by a different sock, one who had been caught clumsily copy-pasting the exact same logging onto the HF Underground, which CB's known sock-puppet "Beans" had already posted on the FRN website.  Thus, I now knew exactly who I was dealing with-- the Puppet-Master himself, and not one of his cronies. But was he actually Radio Clandestine in the 70s-80s?  Dunno, but that would account for his pirate radio activity during that era. He sure likes telling that story-- every sock that comes down the pike seems to tell it! via email, anyway...)

  This sock went on to say, how he'd never heard us, but remembered well reading all about The Crystal Ship back in the 80s... and he'd really like to finally hear us... and when would we be on the air again?

It all became very clear to me then, that the purpose of this correspondance was "fishing" for information.  TCS had been off-air the previous six weeks.... so CB actually was:

a) trying to figure out if we'd been busted yet, and
b) if we hadn't been busted, coaxe us back onto the air, so that we WOULD be busted!

I told him that we had a "broken transmitting antenna" and "no time" to fix it for awhile.... :D

'If Sugar Doesn't Work, Try Pissing Him Off'
Later, after the Email argument about his eBay customer list, Commander Bunny posted on his blog that we were "not real pirates-- just internet personalities" because we "don't broadcast anymore" (even though the date of our last logged transmission was about the same as his).  So, when the "coaxing" from the prospective fan and pirate radio legend didn't get us on the air, he then tried to bait, browbeat and insult us onto the air-- since he believed that we weren't busted yet, because of what I had told his sock-puppet, and he wanted to get the job done!

Unknown Sock-Puppet First to Post News on FRN
How is the unknown guy with only one previous post on the FRN, the very first to spot the release about the bust-- only hours after being posted by the FCC?  Probably because he's been checking that page three times a day since late April?  (Checked for it myself earlier that day--nothing there then-- so he saw it before I did, and couldn't wait to crow about it.)

Poet Effectively Gagged on FRN
I have been effectively prevented, on the FRN, from commenting about my own bust!  Every thing I have tried to post there this week has been removed.  The fact is, no matter whose names read in the margin as being its moderators, (sorry guys), "Commander Murphy" still retains moderator tools, is still in control, can still view everyone's I.P. addresses and thereby determine their locations, and still removes posts at will.  Frankly, that website IS NOT SAFE, especially for pirate operators! 
("A safe haven for pirate operators" Pat says-- MY ASS!!!)
If not for my participation on the FRN, it would not have been possible for my I.P. address location to be matched up with my eBay purchase information, thereby giving away my real identity.

It's pretty sad... that a guy who had done so much for pirate radio over the years, has sunk to this level of reporting other pirates to the FCC!  Not just The Crystal Ship, either.  He's pretty much been caught red-handed trying to get 'Doc John' busted by Canadian radio clubs and authorities, using an Email address that some of us have grown familiar with, bobsmith6955@yahoo.com  (The same guy tried to 'friend' me on Facebook recently... Looked at his profile, he had no friends yet.. and his only post on Facebook was on CB's page, in praise of Commander and reviling Commander's enemies.. Too easy, Commander, try again.  So he did-- with "lovemyradios"...)

Not content with just getting us busted...the cyber-stalking and smear phase has already begun! 
It is getting to be a fairly well-known fact about the Bunny-- he won't hesitate to stalk and smear anyone who gets in his way!  Word is, he spent almost FOUR YEARS stalking and harassing his old nemesis 'Radio Bob'-- and Bob's family-- even after 'Bob' had departed from the FRN and the pirate radio scene.  I'm afraid the guy has serious mental problems.  Well, apparantly getting us busted by the FCC isn't enough for this guy and his cronies-- someone has already started posted forged information about me on the internet!  I have been warned by someone I trust that it could be dangerous for me to link to some of this, so I can't be more specific than that.  However, I think these clowns may have overlooked how the laws about cyber-stalking have evolved...
   In a post on the FRN (since removed, of course), I have let it be known that I will not hesitate to involve REAL law enforcement in this issue, if it continues and I should deem that necessary, and since I no longer have anything to hide.   (I'm not a pirate anymore-- thanks to you, CB!-- I'm now an "internet personality"!  Or, as I will prefer to think of myself from now on, a  blogger/journalist/muckraker, sometime program-producer... and 'pirate radio consultant'!)

Thank You to Our Listeners & Friends!
You are the folks that have made this adventure so personally rewarding... that even in spite of some of the unfortunate events, I would not have missed this experience for anything!  So I want to send a huge and heartfelt THANK YOU to all those who have listened to us, written us and supported us over the past few years!

Until next time...

73's & FIGHT for FREE RADIO!

~John Poet




  1. So, I see the "Bunny" is claiming the EMails were doctored. I have to ask yourself this question:
    "Who is the liar?". A person who has lied again and again about being fist deep in cotton? A person who sees a threat in any Pirate radio operator, that challenges his "alleged" rank as the number one Pirate? A person who creates new identities and EMail addresses like there is no tomorrow to attack and bully other operators who have the audacity to stand up to the Commander?
    Well, I think I know who tells the truth abd who tattles the tale!!

  2. "But was he actually Radio Clandestine in the 70s-80s?"

    That's a familiar tale I've heard from others. "Beans" from the FRN posted duplicate cut-and-paste logs (not similar but identical right down to the same typos) to the HFU under the alias "RF Burnz", presumably a reference to RF Burns of Radio Clandestine.

    "This sock went on to say, how he'd never heard us, but remembered well reading all about The Crystal Ship back in the 80s... and he'd really like to finally hear us... and when would we be on the air again?"

    That same tactic was tried by "bobsmith6955@yahoo.com" (claiming to be from Canada but the IP trace showed Virginia) in a failed effort to con Doc John of Northern Relay Service into committing to specifying when the next NRS broadcast would occur. Doc John smelled a rat and flipped the game around on "Bob Smith."

    Coincidentally - or not - at that time, a "Bob Smith" also reported Doc John to a Canadian amateur radio club and others in Canada. Details to come on ToRP.

  3. @Anon: Which Emails does he mean? He is non-specific... or is he now talking about the ebay business? LOL To the vast majority of all the facts posted here, makes no attempt to even deny anything. His favorite tactic is to just ignore most of what is said, because he usually has no plausible rebuttal anyway.

  4. just stay away from the frn. dont post there not even logs. use hfu and frc. dont log wbny or any of his puppets. dont log kracker or any of his puppets. dont ask for qsls from any of them.

  5. Keep your head high and know you have the moral high ground.

  6. I was sorry to hear about the bust.

    The Crystal Ship sounds like a really interesting station (unfortunately, I've never heard you), and I hope it will continue to exist in some form or another. If you opt for relays, perhaps you'd consider using a Euro relay as well? :)


    Kai S.

  7. Teh Missorry MijetAugust 1, 2011 at 8:01 AM

    Kwit macon fun uv mi spelln or ile kik yor as!


You may comment anonymously, without signing up or logging in. Please keep language relatively clean. Hate speech will not be tolerated. Comments on posts less than 14 days old will appear instantly.

DISCLAIMER: Approval and posting of a comment should not be construed as our agreement with, or endorsement of, the comment in question. Opinions posted are those of the commenters, and not necessarily those of John Poet, The Radical, or tcsshortwave.com