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Despite a U.S. District Court order and repeated FCC attempts to shut down Human Rights Radio, pirate radio operator Mbanna Kantako’s Springfield, Ill., station 106.5 FM is back on the airwaves. According to the preliminary injunction issued earlier this month by U.S. District Judge Jeanne E. Scott, Kantako’s transmissions from his home at 1113 N. Fifth St. caused spurious transmissions in September to be heard on radio frequency 121.3 in Springfield — the same frequency used by pilots and air traffic controllers at Capitol Airport. Kantako doesn’t have an FCC license authorizing him to broadcast on any frequency with power exceeding 250 microvolts per meter at a distance of three meters. Nor has he ever applied for one. Still, the rebel radioman has vowed to continue broadcasting, even though U.S. Marshalls confiscated his equipment on Sept. 29. Attempts to reach Kantako on Tuesday were unsuccessful. And court records do not disclose an attorney of record. While Scott acknowledged in her restraining order Kantako’s human right to communicate to others through radio broadcasting, she also noted that interference with communication between air traffic controllers and airplanes means many human lives are placed in danger. And, she concluded, those safety concerns greatly outweigh Kantako’s asserted right to continue broadcasting without FCC approval. Kantako, whose Human Rights Radio has been called the “founding and flagship station of the international microradio movement,” has been broadcasting from various residences in Springfield since 1987. According to the MA Infoshop News Kiosk, an activist news site on the Web, Kantako took to the airwaves on Nov. 25, 1997, broadcasting from his family’s small apartment in the John Hay Public Housing Project. Michael Townsend, an associate professor of Social Work at the University of Illinois-Springfield, wrote on the site in 1999 that Kantako used the radio “as an organizing and advocacy tool to address issues of social injustice, especially in the minority community.” Both Scott and Assistant U.S. Attorney Elizabeth Collins declined to comment when reached on Tuesday. Wilford Grey, an electrical engineer with the FCC, has earnestly been warning Kantako for years that he must cease broadcasting until he obtains an FCC license to no avail. Grey could not be reached either. No further court appearance has been scheduled.

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