A prosecution witness appearing before a Kisumu Court on Wednesday testified to how a man had set up a radio station illegally using aeronautical service frequencies.
The radio station had been operational until it was closed down by the Communication Authority (CA), and the founder was subsequently arrested.
The witness, an engineer responsible for managing frequency allocation at the CA, clarified that the accused had previously sought permission from the Authority to obtain a frequency.
However, his application was denied because there were no frequencies available in Kisumu at the time of his request.
File Photo of Microphone in a radio station set up
How frequencies are allocated
As per the engineer’s testimony, broadcasting frequencies in Kenya are legally authorized to operate within the bandwidth of 87.0 MHz to 108.0 MHz.
Meanwhile, all frequencies falling within the range of 108.0 MHz to 137.0 MHz are specifically reserved for aviation service operations.
Subsequently, despite the accused’s initial denial of a frequency allocation for his radio station, he proceeded to utilize aviation frequencies, thereby causing disruptions to the operations at Kisumu International Airport.
Illegal use of frequencies
The court heard that utilising such bandwidth is deemed unlawful because it poses a significant risk of interference with aeronautical frequencies critical for communication between pilots and the control tower.
This interference, it was emphasized, endangers the lives of passengers and other airspace users.
Throughout the hearing, it remained unconfirmed whether the illicit use of these frequencies had led to any accidents at the bustling airport.
According to the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (ODPP), the hearing will continue on October 24, 2023.
The accused was arrested on July 2023 and charged with four counts, among them establishing a radio station without a valid license, and providing radio broadcasting services illegally.
At the time of arrest, the accused denied all charges claiming that he had been framed.
Kisumu International Airport