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[Articles Home]  [Add Article]  

Why Not?

David Erwin (W4DLE) on May 14, 2014
View comments about this article!

I have only been in the hobby a short time. But I have already come across several instances where radios were being sold off by older hams who have moved into retirement homes or assisted living facilities. I drive a lady who lives in one to local club meetings . She is only able to put a portable antenna on a box fan in her window. She is stuck using a couple hand-held rigs on 2 meters/70 cm. (And she may even be sneaking around to do that.) She's an Extra class who owns a lot of ham gear but can't use it. A lot of "mature" hams are retiring. Some are having to move into homes of various kinds. And from what I gather, none of them can set up a shack. Well, WHY NOT?

These days, antenna technology has come a long way. One can DX with a fairly minimal setup (relatively speaking). I can think of nothing that would be a more entertaining to pass the time (other than possibly a visit from the grandkids) than being able to get on the air on a regular basis.

So, why do these places have such a hard time agreeing to let someone put up a modest rig? I imagine that in most places there would be several local hams who would be honored to help a "seasoned" ham stay in the hobby. I know I would. I would help install the rig myself. And I'm sure many of you would as well. It could be done up to local code. It could be done in a pretty unobtrusive fashion. It could be done under the watchful eyes of half a dozen "regulatory authorities".

So, what's the big deal? A tiny tower with a vertical and some coax coming into a well- sealed window rig wouldn't hurt anyone. A small tripod rig on the roof. Even a dipole run along some gutter would at least allow a guy to make some pretty good contacts. And what kind of joy would that bring to someone who might otherwise have relatively little contact with the outside world?

Some of you guys who have been really active for decades... could you imagine being cut off from it? I bet many of you know someone who was on the air for years and suddenly they had to sign off for the last time because they were moving into a place that won't allow them to set up a shack. It's a shame. In fact, it's a travesty.

The older hams I have met are patriotic, respectful, responsible, mature individuals. Who better to trust with a little bit of gear? And in the event of an emergency, the facility could do a lot worse than having a ham around. In some instances there may be more than one ham in a home who could benefit from using one rig. And I bet they would be glad to share with each other. I would even wager that they could get some others into the hobby as well. Those guys and ladies from "the greatest generation" are not dummies. How cool would it be for a guy in one of those places to Elmer to other retirees? How cool would it be for retirees to actually LEARN a new skill and take on a new hobby?

I see nothing but upsides.

Perhaps my views on the subject are a bit biased due to my admiration for many in that age group. Perhaps it is unrealistic to expect those places to allow someone to erect a tower. Perhaps it would open a can of worms. "If he gets a radio tower then I want a shooting range." "Well, if he gets a shooting range then I want a remote control airplane landing strip." (sigh... eyes

roll)

It just seems like a small thing that would be a pretty big deal to a guy who has been an active ham for decades. So, let them do it I say. There's really no good reason not to.

Just my two cents for tonight. (OK, maybe it was closer to a nickel.) I welcome your thoughts.

W4DLE

Member Comments:
This article has expired. No more comments may be added.
 
Why Not?  
by K9MHZ on May 14, 2014 Mail this to a friend!
Much as I agree with the gist of your points, I don't see how this is any different than what we have to deal with in our neighborhoods everyday.

Also didn't follow the "advances in antenna technology" remark, as they're still big today because the laws of physics haven't changed.

A tough issue that's been fought for decades, with a twist to tug at heartstrings because it involves seasoned citizens. I sincerely wish this was all that it would take, but aunt Millie and uncle Fred don't carry that kind of clout.

Ah well, at least it will never change.....
 
RE: Why Not?  
by ZENKI on May 14, 2014 Mail this to a friend!
Yep, the nanny state. Democracy is not about your individual freedoms and private property rights, its more about how others have more rights than you.

These narrow minded conformist sheeple can tell you how you should run your life and what you cannot do with your own private property as if it belongs to a communist collective.

It seems you have the least amount of say about your own life and property in western democracies. The price for obtaining this right is either to pay a bribe to a politician or to bankrupt yourself fighting legal matters for the simple right of wanting to install a simple tower.

Unfortunately it has happened in all western democracies. The sheeple really dont understand really what a democratic society really should mean or be. They all want the freedoms of democracy but when it comes to others they want a dictatorship.

When you go to the least democratic places on the earth you will find that even with all the warts that these places are better places to live and actually have much better freedoms for individuals for doing things like putting up a tower in your own backyard.

Unfortunately we have ourselves to blame for letting this happen.
 
RE: Why Not?  
by W1JKA on May 14, 2014 Mail this to a friend!
Why Not?

In my area the answer is the one word mantra LIABILITY. In one instance I know of a ham in his assisted living unit was denied a small QRP set up because of possible 12V dc electrocution and RF interference with the units built in monitoring/safety systems??. This ranks right up there with the refusal to allow us to put one of those small plastic suction cup mounted bird feeders on my mother in laws assisted living unit's window because some how it would interfere with emergency egress.
 
RE: Why Not?  
by F8WBD on May 14, 2014 Mail this to a friend!
I believe that the management of these retirement homes/apartments/assisted-living developments presume that if carte-blanche were given to antennas, all amateur residents would be demanding the right to erect 90-foot towers. Sadly, a few hams would. So, no one can do anything. Yes, interference to medical devices, such as pacemakers, another fear.

As a senior who may, someday, find himself in one of those soul-less places, it is depressing. And, not just for amateur radio issues. My 96 year old mom is in one, now.
 
RE: Why Not?  
by W2EJG on May 14, 2014 Mail this to a friend!
We have looked into and will probably shortly enter a local retirement community complex.When I mentioned Amateur Radio their eyes lit up! They welcome hams and provide support services in placing wire antennae on the roof. They encourage 2M/220 operation knowing that there will be communication during our frequent hurricane emergencies.
 
RE: Why Not?  
by AA4PB on May 14, 2014 Mail this to a friend!
The solution for these living facilities may be a club station. The tower and antennas could be installed by a professional company in order to limit liability and inspected annually be the facility maintenance people.

One problem may be that the percentage of residents that are hams is probably pretty small. Even so, if one of the residents had the financial ability to pay for it or if local hams raised enough money to pay for it, some facilities might go along with it.

My wife and I have been considering moving one of the retirement communities because maintenance of a larger home and property is becoming more difficult as time goes on. It looks like that would mean ham radio activity would be very limited. With all the clubs and activities some of these places have it would seem like an amateur radio club station would be a good fit.
 
RE: Why Not?  
by N4OI on May 14, 2014 Mail this to a friend!
There is a lot of progress toward remote radio control (e.g., Elecraft / Remote Rig, Flex) that could enable any ham with good Internet access to continue to be on the air.

Perhaps local ARCs would consider maintaining one or more setups for hams in retirement homes to operate remotely -- even for a reasonable fee to cover costs?

73
 
RE: Why Not?  
by N1DVJ on May 14, 2014 Mail this to a friend!
Uh, in case you haven't noticed, the great majority of the population doesn't want any antennas, for any purpose.

Everyone thinks it's mostly TV antennas vs the cable company, but think about it. Cars are going hidden antennas. Wireless networks are going internal. Cell phones no longer have antennas, or even stubs. Even things like hand-held bar code and RFID readers, devices that look like weird guns, used to have a small stubby antenna, but now are pretty much sleek and stubless.

Think about it. Outside of actual radio, what really uses antennas as part of the aesthetic design? The general public has been conditioned over the years to think of antennas as ugly. Those places where antennas are necessary are to be placed out of site and out of mind.
 
RE: Why Not?  
by N2EY on May 14, 2014 Mail this to a friend!
Several reasons:

1) Most folks don't really understand "radio", let alone "antennas". They don't understand why anyone would need a big outdoor antenna, when they can call Australia on their cell phone which has no obvious antenna at all.

2) They're afraid of the unknown. Liability, interference, damage to the building and much more. In the USA, hams make up less than 1/4 of one percent of the population - many if not most folks don't know anyone who is a ham.

3) They want to keep things as simple as possible. Running a facility of any kind is a complex thing, with all sorts of regulations and procedures.

4) What's in it for them?

5) It wasn't negotiated beforehand. This is perhaps the biggest reason! Once you've moved in, most of your bargaining power is gone.

Remember too that for all practical purposes a person in such a facility is usually more of a tenant than an owner.

73 de Jim, N2EY



 
RE: Why Not?  
by K4PIH on May 14, 2014 Mail this to a friend!
I work in the computer security field for the federal government. Part of that function is to look at computerized medical devices that operate in the ISM (Industrial, Scientific, and Medical) frequency band. We also look at SCADA (Supervisory Control And Data Acquisition) hardware and software for vulnerabilities. There is real concern in the government and industry about these devices because very few are designed with security or resilience in mind. I can clearly see why retirement communities would ban transmitters of certain types and capabilities because they can present quality of life issues for those using them as well as a highway to lawsuit. The one retirement community mentioned that welcomes hams encourages vhf operation in the 2M/220 frequency ranges, probably has done so after some research into the issues. I would also think that they have some type of signature clause in their regulations for residents, limiting the facilities liability if radio operations cause harm to a resident or damage equipment. This fear of interference somehow does not translate into cell phone use in the facilities likely because cell phones are everywhere and seem to be harmless. We all know that they are just another form of radio no matter what line of bilge the provider spouts and can interfere with medical equipment.
As one poster mentioned, the best solution would be for these retirement communities to do or research other studies that show radios can be used, possible in a club type scenario, without impacting any medical devices or systems that are used by the facility or residents. I have first person knowledge of RF having lethal impact on a person wearing a pace maker. The threat is real.
Maybe this discussion can be an incubator for a group to develop retirement communities that are for ham radio operators, or retrofitting existing facilities with club-type stations. Sounds like there may be a business in there someplace?
 
RE: Why Not?  
by K4PIH on May 14, 2014 Mail this to a friend!
Might also be a good way to put donated equipment to use. Something that an SK has donated to your local club. Might also get the club a tax break or at the very least get your club and it's good deeds into the community.
 
Why Not?  
by KE1JR on May 14, 2014 Mail this to a friend!
I'm going to start manufacturing magnetic loop antennas disguised as hula-hoops along with flower pot VHF antennas. Grandma will be able to work all bands and it will look like some old-timey decorations to the casual observer.

There might also be a market for QRP all band rigs in the body of an alarm clock and power supplies inside of porcelain cats. This could be a great business opportunity, I hope MFJ is listening.
 
RE: Why Not?  
by KF4HR on May 14, 2014 Mail this to a friend!
One issue that one has touched on yet is that many non-hams see towers and antenna's as eye-sores, and seeing as there are ~350 million people in the US and ~750K ham, hams are well out-numbered.

Also good point about transmitting ham equipment creating electrical fields in retirement communities, Pace Makers, and other electronic heath equipment.
 
Why Not?  
by W5TTW on May 14, 2014 Mail this to a friend!
There's always Echolink.
 
Why Not?  
by K8QV on May 14, 2014 Mail this to a friend!
The group facilities are owned by people/corporations who need to consider all the residents/patients. There is also the issue of liability. It is unfortunate most of us will reach a point where we can no longer pursue our interest in boating, farming, golf, motorcycles, electronic construction or ham radio. Usually it is not practical to accommodate a radio station at a nursing home or similar institution. However, I do know of a certain Hospice facility that allowed at least one ham to have a real radio station, so there are exceptions.

 
RE: Why Not?  
by K6JHU on May 14, 2014 Mail this to a friend!
Speaking of not wanting antennas I was asked by the city what the RACES group would like on the top of the new fire station for an antenna from the EOC in the station. Told them what I wanted (2m/440 vertical)and got a message back from the architect that he 'didn't want ugly antennas' on the roof of the fire station. Tried to explain how many radios and antennas a modern municipal facility requires. I moved before that was settled out. But that now is the current attitude.

And, BTW, the local retirement community back there has a better equipped club station than the city EOC :-)
 
Why Not?  
by VE3TMT on May 14, 2014 Mail this to a friend!
Liability - you want to put what where?

As soon as you mention the word "antenna" 99% of the time their minds are already made up. Unfortunately most of them don't give you the chance to put a solid proposal forward.

The eyesore factor - if they are not into the hobby, they tend to look upon antennas and towers as eyesores. Unfortunately their opinion is all that matters.

I was fortunate enough to buy my in-laws home after they both passed. It is in an older neighborhood, house built in 1959. After living in apartments for 21 years and having to rely on hidden or compromise antennas, I was looking forward to putting up a decent antenna. I mounted an R7 on the side of the house and had a blast. Finally I was hearing DX and not transformer interference.

Two years later I acquired a 40' tower and A3S beam. A quick call to the city office confirmed that there were no antenna restrictions in my neighborhood, unless the total height, including the antenna exceeded 50', for which I would need a building permit. I was good to go. I didn't suspect there were, but I wanted to touch base with the office in case any neighbor complained about the tower going up. I since settled on 32'.

I had already asked my immediate neighbors if there was any issue with me putting up the tower. I briefly explained the hobby to them, some showed interest, others couldn't have cared less.

For this reason I would never buy into a new subdivision. That will be the day I let some HOA dictate what I can and can't do with my property.

There was a news story a while back about a ham who had put up a tower and big 4-element stepIr antenna. Think he was in AZ or CA. All the neighbors were aghast! They had nothing better to do than bitch and moan about it. When all communications are down due to storms and such, they're your new best friend.

 
Why Not?  
by KG5AXF on May 14, 2014 Mail this to a friend!
It's been mentioned before, but it is a liability issue, regardless of what State you are in.

Having a club would be a good idea, but then it would have to be funded.
 
RE: Why Not?  
by AA4PB on May 14, 2014 Mail this to a friend!
I've looked into some 55+ retirement communities in AZ. They have model railroad clubs with dedicated space. One had a model airplane club with dedicated space inside and a flying field outside. I've seen fully equipped woodworking shops and metal shops with full time employees to teach the residents how to use the equipment (talk about liability). If these types of things are bankrolled and supported I see no logical reason why an amateur radio club, complete with tower and antenna, couldn't be supported. It's all about having a sufficient number of interested residents.

In the 1960's I've been to a number of very well equipped club stations on military bases and college campuses - places were the residents generally weren't able to put up their own stations.

 
Don't go there!  
by AI2IA on May 14, 2014 Mail this to a friend!
Our Founding Fathers started the custom of starting legal notices with the phrase "We the people of the State of (name of state), by the Grace of God free and independent, do hereby ....."

If you must grow old, live and die on your own soil. If you don't own land, live where you can make your own rules.

There is no freedom without independence.

Live independently, or wear chains - that is your choice.

If you enter into the ant hill voluntarily, you get what you selected.
 
Why Not?  
by W6ZKH on May 14, 2014 Mail this to a friend!
If I am not mistaken, "The Villages" in Florida do have their own Ham Club station... not 100% on that but do remember seeing an article about them in one publication.

John W6ZKH
 
RE: Why Not?  
by WB2WIK on May 14, 2014 Mail this to a friend!
I'd pick a facility that is "RF friendly" construction, use indoor antennas, and just have fun without anybody knowing.

Unfortunately, a lot of places are stucco, or aluminum sided, or other construction that does not lend itself to allowing indoor antennas to work well. But old-fashioned cedar shakes on a wood frame house with a composition shingle roof is pretty "RF friendly," not much attenuation from the materials.

Innovations in antennas are few, but one slick thing I've found is the new line of MFJ "Loop Tuners" that allow direct connection of a small copper wire loop and can handle matching that effectively. They're not large nor expensive and the darned things work.

Turns 20-30' of heavy copper wire into a pretty effective indoor HF antenna.
 
RE: Why Not?  
by N1DVJ on May 14, 2014 Mail this to a friend!
I've seen postings about modifying the MFJ-1796 40-2M antenna to be 'straight line'. Once the leg at the bottom is in line, it can be placed in an attic...

I don't know that it would be too practical to modify the bigger 80-2M antenna though, unless you had a really big attic.
 
RE: Why Not?  
by K8QV on May 14, 2014 Mail this to a friend!
The only retirement city I'm familiar with is Sun City Center near Tampa. They have two well equipped club stations, though I have only been to one of them. Nice facility and only steps or a short golf cart ride to the pool tables, golf courses, swimming pools, bars and restaurants. Yeah, you can't erect a tower at your condo, but who would want to? There are advantages and disadvantages to each living situation. Personally, I'd rather have my own place and fewer amenities, but to each his own. If I get feeble enough to necessitate a move to a nursing home, ham radio would be way down my list of wants and needs. Give me a laptop and fast Internet connection and no parental controls :)
 
RE: Why Not?  
by W5TTW on May 14, 2014 Mail this to a friend!
AI2IA wrote: "If you must grow old, live and die on your own soil. If you don't own land, live where you can make your own rules."

That's a swell philosophy, but a great many seniors aren't in good enough health to live on their own. They need assisted living and must abide by the rules.

The belief that a tower or big antenna is necessary to enjoy the hobby is absolutely absurd. Many of us have a ball with nothing more than a buddypole, a hamstick on a magmount or PAR endfed wire strung out of a window.
 
HOA (spit)  
by KD0REQ on May 14, 2014 Mail this to a friend!
fact is, these outfits don't want anything to stick out when they are marketing, including their terms.

we are building a second church building in an underserved area, I was just punching down cat-5e the last two nights. the city requires a certain amount of greenery, down to the count and placement of shrubs and trees, in all their new developments.

the question came up, "so where do we plow all the snow, then, without taking this out every year and replanting?" the answer is... well, there is no answer. it's required. just like out of the 10 acres of marsh, we had to leave 6 acres as dedicated wetlands. which poses some issues for the day care we are also running, but they are easily resolved with fencing and the appropriate crew-served weapons ;)

seriously, get a copy of the contract and HOA agreements. run them past a lawyer with your must-haves. if Senescent Farms Communities doesn't fit, say no, and tell them why.
 
Stand boldly.  
by AI2IA on May 14, 2014 Mail this to a friend!
Paul, when you quote me on this, you miss the point:
AI2IA wrote: "If you must grow old, live and die on your own soil. If you don't own land, live where you can make your own rules."

That's a swell philosophy, but a great many seniors aren't in good enough health to live on their own. They need assisted living and must abide by the rules.

Paul, if you are willing to do it, you don't have to "abide by the rules."

Paul, that's not a philosophy, that is one solid conviction. I am 71 years old, and like the rest of those my age, my health is not what it used to be. I will say this, that ingenuity conquers all, and if ham radio means a lot to you, you will discard other comforts and even frills to keep your independence.

When the going gets tough, the tough old folks get going. If and when I want assistance, I can make them come to me, or do it myself, or die trying. What a wonderful way to go! Die like a man, an American, independent man.

Kipling put it this way: If you force your heart and nerve and sinew to serve your turn long after they are gone, and so hold on when there is nothing in you except the will which says to them, Hold on! - Ray, ai2ia

A determined will trumps a weak philosophy.

Don't give up the ship.
 
Why Not?  
by ONAIR on May 14, 2014 Mail this to a friend!
Computer controlled remote stations are the answer. No antenna needed.
 
RE: Stand boldly.  
by AA4PB on May 14, 2014 Mail this to a friend!
Your ability to maintain your independence depends largely on how many $$$ you have available. When you are no longer able to spend 2-3 hours in the hot sun cutting grass, trimming bushes, trimming trees, or painting the house then you have to pay someone else to do it for you. If you don't have the $$$ then you either live in a deteriorating property or move to a smaller place or perhaps a community where the maintenance is taken care of for you. I see this happening long before you are in need of an "assisted living" facility.

 
You simply don't need to go there.  
by AI2IA on May 14, 2014 Mail this to a friend!
Here is another myth to be exploded:

"Your ability to maintain your independence depends largely on how many $$$ you have available."

No,Bob,that's a lame excuse for willingly walking into an anti-antenna restricted living gulag.

Can't live without air conditioning? Can't live without a cleaning lady? Can't live without a fancy retirement car? Can't live without cruises for vacation? etc.? Can you live in a shack on a hill with a big tower? Can you cook at home? Do you really need cable TV? Bah! It's all a tradeoff, and everyone knows that.

Sure, you cannot have your cake and eat it, too!

So, as W.C. Field's used to say, "There comes a time when you have to grab the bull by the tail and face the situation.

What most are saying is "Bah wah! I want my tower and my rigs and amps, and I want assisted living and all the perks. I want it all, and I want it now. Some will take it so far that when they can't have it all anymore, then they want euthanasia.
 
Why Not?  
by NV2A on May 14, 2014 Mail this to a friend!
Don't ask for permission, ask for forgiveness if you are caught. Don't live your life by boundaries set by others that are getting tighter and tighter each day.

Consider an Icom AH4 auto-tuner thru a 102" whip or wire off the balcony.

Consider wrapping some rubber leaves around a Scorpion 1500 watt Screwdriver antenna on the balcony, a great performer.

Don't be so damn timid, your little piece of wire isn't going to hurt anyone, just that they don't care to see your 75 foot tower with 300 pounds of aluminum dangling from it. Don't know that I blame them.

We are a society today that is carried away with rules, regulations, permits, permissions and on and on. If you aren't hurting anyone and your antenna isn't destroying a neighbors property value I say go and enjoy what life you have left keeping in mind that tomorrow is promised to no one.
 
Why Not?  
by W4XKE on May 14, 2014 Mail this to a friend!
A WWII vet moved into the area here in Crossville, TN and his son asked me and my neighbor to help him establish a station in their house. We went out and installed a DX-CC for the old fellow.

A few years later he was in need of assisted living care and so the son got him a room over at a pretty fancy place near here. A bucket truck was hired and the DX-CC was reinstalled, this time on top of the 2-story apartment type building. There wasn't any problem with his running an amplifier either. Mostly, he only wanted to continue checking into his usual 40 Meter net operations but had the capability to operate at will.

There ARE some places around if you look for them. This area is oriented to the needs of older folks with Fairfield Glade, Lake Tansi Resort, Renegade Mountain golf resorts and one nudist colony so maybe we're not the typical county of the USA.
 
RE: Why Not?  
by AA4PB on May 14, 2014 Mail this to a friend!
"Sure, you cannot have your cake and eat it, too!"

Unless of course you have enough $$$ to purchase lots of cake. Most of us have to make choices and many reject the option of living in a non-air conditioned shack out in the sticks so they can have the "freedom" to put up an antenna farm. Many, if they live long enough, get to the point where they can't even maintain the antenna farm (unless they can afford to pay someone to do it for them).

I'm not complaining - just stating the facts and looking for other possible options like club stations.

 
Why Not?  
by WB6DGN on May 14, 2014 Mail this to a friend!
For one thing, a "tiny tower" sounds to me about the same as "a little bit pregnant".
To someone who doesn't like to look at towers, they're ALL gigantic!
Tom
 
RE: Why Not?  
by W9WQA on May 14, 2014 Mail this to a friend!
somewhere back up there i saw "democracy" mentioned as if it were something good. we have drifted into thinking that. its the WORST. its where 51% rule over 49 or whats left. we had a Republic and gave it up.
democracy and democrat thinking is what got us where we are. founding fathers are crying.
 
Why Not?  
by W8LV on May 14, 2014 Mail this to a friend!
Why not? Because you can NEVER ask a bully "why not". It never works. Ever.

You are 100 % right about the loss of our Republic as you noted on eham.

Hams have a habit of rationalizing their antenna issues based on logic and common sense conclisions. Sadly, this NEVER works with a bully.

Added to this: Too Many Little Hitlers in our lives... There is no private sector or personal liberty when one must serve a master, or all too often in this present day climate, too many masters with conflicting demands.

Little Hitlers bend to ONE thing, and one thing only: An Ass Kicking, or the guaranteed threat of an Ass Kicking.

It is sad to see so many willing to take the path of least resistance and surrender their liberties as plan for their happiness. This always leads to human misery.

Protecting the minority from the marority has always been the problem, as James Madison (and others) so eloquently stated in the Federalist Papers.
 
RE: Why Not?  
by KD7YVV on May 15, 2014 Mail this to a friend!
My usual answer is, when you pay my mortgage, and own
my house, and pay my bills, then you can tell me what
to do, and how to live. Whether I'll listen, well,
that's another story. I was looking at one of those
55+ communities, and if I remember right one of the
things in the paperwork said "No transmitters".
I'd be wondering how they'd enforce that one since
most electronics tend to radiate some RF.
Cordless phones? Wireless routers? I think running QRP
and stealth is a challenge. I remember a story of a
ham who put up an antenna and didn't connect it to
anything. His neighbor complained of TVI and was sure
the ham was the cause. The ham showed him the rolled up
coax. :) As for me, I'm happy with my little Kenwood
TS-430, tuner, and wire. :)

 
RE: Why Not?  
by N1DVJ on May 15, 2014 Mail this to a friend!
If you look deeper, I wouldn't be surprised if you find a definition for 'transmitters'. Just like the German car manufacturer that specified no transmitters in their cars or it voids warrantee. (No, it wasn't Damlier) In that case, they considered transmitters to be over 3W (gotta exclude cell phones, and the early bag phones were I think 3W)

Then again, I wouldn't be surprised if you DON'T find a definition, as a lot of those 'contracts' are written by people just doing cut and paste of things they see and think should be in there with absolutely no understanding of what they are doing at all.
 
RE: Why Not?  
by K4PIH on May 15, 2014 Mail this to a friend!
I see where we are drifting between "Retirement Communities" Where many people are of pretty sound health and financially secure go to be in a social environemnt, and "Nursing Homes" where people go that have some health issue(s) that requires closer monitoring of their condition, where folks may be more apt to rely on electronic devices for health, and are on a tighter fixed income or program.

One poster mentioned financial cost to set up and maintain a station in one of these facilities. Sounds like a good way to use donated equipment. Set up a station using club-acquired equipment and maintain it as well. All the better for community relations and could you write off the cost of the equipment in the clubs bottom line?

Maybe adopt a station program?
 
RE: Why Not?  
by K3LRH on May 15, 2014 Mail this to a friend!
....years ago when I was first getting into HF on the ham bands I heard a station calling CQ CQ..this was SSB, either 20M or 40M, I'm not sure. Anyway, this caller was calling CQ over and over again and nobody would come back to him. Perhaps it was his feeble voice and low audio. He was a little difficult to understand. The guy sounded really old. After several minutes of listening to his unanswered calls I decided to go back to him. During the process of our QSO, which only lasted a few minutes, I learned that he was in Ohio and I lived in Delaware at the time. A pretty good contact since we BOTH were using INSIDE ANTENNAS. One thing led to another and he mentioned that he had his station set up in his NURSING HOME ROOM with a wire antenna strung around the ceiling of his room. Well, that was an eye-opener for me, then in his weak, feeble voice he told me that he was 102 years old! That contact for him must have been a great pleasure and it was certainly a memorable one for me. Sadly I cannot remember his name right now, but he is in my old logs somewhere.

I guess the point of this story for this topic is, "if there is a will, there is a way".

73 to all.
 
RE: Why Not?  
by N1DVJ on May 15, 2014 Mail this to a friend!
"I remember a story of a ham who put up an antenna and didn't connect it to anything. His neighbor complained of TVI and was sure the ham was the cause. The ham showed him the rolled up coax"

This is just good planning. If you KNOW you have a neighbor that would be a problem, as tough as it would be, don't go on the air immediately. Or at least make sure you have a good handle (and can document) when you ARE on the air. Then as soon as the complaints start, if you show it wasn't you...

Of course, the down side is if it IS you...
 
RE: Why Not?  
by N2EY on May 15, 2014 Mail this to a friend!
Ultimately it comes down to one thing:

Find out what the rules are BEFORE you sign on the dotted line.

This goes for buying, renting, HOAs, CC&Rs, assisted living, whatever.

Trying to get the rules changed after you sign is an uphill battle. Why should the other party change things to accomodate you?

73 de Jim, N2EY
 
Why Not?  
by K0CBA on May 15, 2014 Mail this to a friend!
Nature did not overburden me with a large amount of tact, warmth nor charm, so not that it is worth a hoot but here is my thought(s):

With all the ARES, EMCOMM and other miscellaneous 'emergency prepper' type wienies standing by for whatever the heck they are standing by for, if/when called on for help hams could just say 'sorry', can't help because....."well, see that antenna I/we were NOT allowed to have"?



 
Why Not?  
by K8AXW on May 15, 2014 Mail this to a friend!
I've never been burdened by HOAAs or any restrictions like that. However, I did have the pleasure of discussing this subject with a guy who not only moved into such a place but being a community activist, began serving on the HOAA council.

It seems the restrictions are not only on antennas but you're, (among other things) not allowed to put political posters in your yard, or make any landscaping change without prior approval, the grass will be cut to a certain height and not allowed to grow above another height and even includes the size, shape and color of your garbage can! Oh yes, your car must be put in the garage. It can't be parked in your driveway for more than a few hours.

After talking to this guy I wondered what in the hell anyone would want to live in such a restricted environment. But, it seems that the waiting list is endless.

During subsequent discussions with this guy over a period of a year I sensed his disillusionment with the governing council. He began to tell me of different ones on the council that developed this "gestapo" mentality! At the end of the first year he quit in disgust.

When I asked why he chose to live in this development he said that it was the only place that offered the house that he wanted. It seems the only reason provided for having such rules and regulations is to "keep property values up" and although not actually said, keep the riff-raff out!

It seems that a home buyers have three choices. Read the restrictions and accept them; buy and try to game the system or try to find another place to live.



 
RE: Why Not?  
by G3SEA on May 15, 2014 Mail this to a friend!

It's why I have been on Echo/IRLP systems for many moons
until a now probable QTH move.

While not the Magic HF at least these hybrid/ VOIP/RF ' systems ' allow me to have meaningful QSO's with Ham friends back in the U.K. and elsewhere.

KH6/G3SEA
 
RE: Why Not?  
by AA4PB on May 15, 2014 Mail this to a friend!
I've lived on both sides of the HOA issue. When I was first married I could only afford to rent apartments. In all cases but one I was not permitted to have any antennas. Later I purchased a house in a small community with no HOA or restrictions and I was able to put up a tower and Yagi. HOWEVER I had to put up with a next door neighbor who liked to service 18-wheeler engines in his driveway so I got to wake up on Sat mornings to noise and smoke coming through my window. He also had septic problems and piped his sewage into a small drainage ditch that ran across the back of my property. It made for a very nice smelling yard in the summer time until I got the county involved.

If you live in a development with houses close together I can see a valid purpose for HOAs as long as they don't get to carried away. In most cases I don't see a valid reason for HOAs to prevent someone from having a small vertical or a wire dipole in their own back yard. I guess if you don't want an HOA and you also don't want close neighbors who can interfere with your life then you need at least 10 acres out in the country.

 
RE: Why Not?  
by W5TTW on May 15, 2014 Mail this to a friend!
Most of you are pretty nice folks and I value some of your opinions. However, the ability to talk to you on the radio does not enter into the selection process as to where I reside. Distance from family, crime stats, commute and overall quality of life far supersede any of my hobbies. Hopefully, the same will apply if I live long enough to require a nursing home.
 
RE: Why Not?  
by KJ4DAQ on May 15, 2014 Mail this to a friend!
When I erected my butternut HF6v in my back yard my neibour commented that it looked ugly. Later for his sake I painted the antenna to green color. Still I got a notice from my HOA due to his complaint. But he was OK when his two dogs poo was on his whole lawn and stinking. My community covenant law says "No receive or transmit antennas". But if some one cooks in their backyard in barbeque the burning meat (not all meat) smell fills the entire community making few home owners not able to come out of their homes. But it is OK for people here. (I am againt commenting on some one else food, culture and religion. It is their right to live). How a vertical antenna painted to green in my backyard would look ugly and stinking barbeque smoke and dog poo are acceptable? Even if my antenna falls to ground it would not damage any property. I have few of pine trees outside my lot and they are taller than my antenna and they could make more damage to property. I Couldn't understand.
 
RE: Why Not?  
by N6AJR on May 15, 2014 Mail this to a friend!





So run by there, pick up the ham, bring him or her over to your station once a week or such. not the best fix, but it will work. and ya never know, you might learn something fro us old farts :)




 
RE: Why Not?  
by AC7CW on May 15, 2014 Mail this to a friend!
'ya know... horizontally mounted and not too far off the ground a magnetic loop gets out similar to a no-radials vertical. Not great but not that bad either. I have an MFJ one, it works fine but it's a royal headache to use, have to have a separate rx antenna and have to do some tedious tuning to transmit with it. If somebody in the hobby would design one that automatically tracked the rx frequency [I think that is doable with rig computer interface] and automatically fine tuned the SWR at keydown, they could sell them to all the hams that had a little space in their attic.
 
RE: Why Not?  
by K6AER on May 15, 2014 Mail this to a friend!
You move into an assisted care facility and you abide by there rules. If you don't like the rules move somewhere else. Nobody owes you assistance to any hobby. In this life you make choices based on what you can afford. Life is not fair.

I like road racing...maybe they can lengthen the parking lot just a bit.
 
RE: Why Not?  
by W1JKA on May 16, 2014 Mail this to a friend!
I've been making plans for possible future assisted living circumstances where I could also play radio without any restrictions.

After some figuring and checking around I found that I could afford a mobile home in a trailer park and pay for a live in nurses aide 24/7 with free room and board. There is no home maintenance fee (all metal), no landscaping restrictions although dirt and weeds are popular and accepted by all, a local gang member assured me security was no problem and frequent police presence along with occasional ambulances were available in case I needed to get to the hospital quickly.

But the best part was the abundance of antenna towers which the residents said I was free to use. These towers ranged anywhere from 10-15 ft. high and would be ideal for the previously mentioned low height horizontal loop or NVIS type antenna, they were either a wood pole or metal tube tripod affair with no guy wires as they appeared to be held in place by suspended car engine blocks. I had a slight concern when I noticed that the power lines seemed to be a favorite place to hang and dry sneakers but did a quick antenna modeling check and found out sneakers were non conductive if by chance some ended up on the loop.
 
Why Not?  
by K1WCC on May 16, 2014 Mail this to a friend!
How about clubs getting together with their local assisted living facility and offering to install a basic station in the facility for use by licensed residents?

Seems like this could be a good selling point for encouraging retired hams to move into their facility. A win-win.

Henry K1WCC
 
Why Not?  
by KE4ZHN on May 16, 2014 Mail this to a friend!
Why not? The answer is simple. We have WAY too many lawyers willing to sue anyone for a buck. Not to mention the whiners who can't stand the sight of a tower or antenna, but have no problem with ugly plastic flamingos in their front yard.
 
RE: Why Not?  
by K4PIH on May 16, 2014 Mail this to a friend!
Some of you make it sound like living in an area with no restrictions is akin to living in a ghetto or third world country like Alabama or Mississippi. Ok I jest but the fact is I live where there are no HOA, CCR's anything and my neighborhood is well maintained, quiet, and safe. I get along fine with my neighbors. One even said it was ok to have the leg of my 80 meter dipole attached a tree just across my fence in their backyard as long as the wires were high enough not to be a hazard. Yeah I got great neighbors but they got that way by me being active in emergency situations. When we lose power I share my generator outlets so they can run the fridge for an hour to keep it cold or charge their cell phones. They also know that if an emergency happens I can get word in and out to their families via the ham gear. So this leads me to believe that proposing a station be set up in a nursing home or retirement facility would allow residents to let their families know they are OK if there is a natural disaster or some kind of civic unrest. Ditto on the idea that we (clubs and individuals) might look into providing some equipment we have laying around and approach a community living area where hams might reside and offer such. What better resource for RACES, MARS, local police and fire, to have trained and equipped operators that can assist at all hours. Great way to introduce the hobbie to others.
 
RE: Why Not?  
by VE7IG on May 16, 2014 Mail this to a friend!
Probably the only solution is a remote station. If the amateur can afford it there are commercial remote stations available for a price. Something I think would be a great project for a repeater club is to install a remote HF station at a repeater site. The only problem might be lack of high speed internet at the site. Perhaps the alternative would be controlling a remote at a repeater site via UHF and then have access via internet at the control location. An Elecraft remote using the Remoterig boxes and complete with KPA500 amplifier, KAT500 auto tuner and a multiband dipole/vertical would be excellent. Beams would probably not be necessary. Extra control heads would allow more than one person access on a time share basis. Either the Elecraft remote transceiver option or the Kenwood TS480SAT with its separate control head would work well.
 
Why Not?  
by KG7CSS on May 16, 2014 Mail this to a friend!
One thing I am concern about the hysteria over RF radiation. Look at the hysteria over Cell phone and Wifi routers propagated by fear mongering scientifically misinformed people.
 
RE: Why Not?  
by W5TTW on May 16, 2014 Mail this to a friend!
KJ4DAQ wrote: "My community covenant law says "No receive or transmit antennas".

Mine does as well and I knew it when I moved in. So, I installed an 8' tall ground mounted vertical dipole in my back yard (Transworld 2010) hoping that no one would notice. Well, the neighbors on both sides noticed it when we were speaking over the fence. I told them both that I was an amateur operator and that if they had a problem with the antenna, I would take it down because I value their friendship and always want to be a good neighbor. (Salesmanship) One thought it was cool (former CBer) and the other said that he couldn't care less about what I do on my side of the fence. I stressed to both that they should tell me right away if there was ever any interference. Haven't heard a peep in over 2 years and we always shoot the breeze when we see each other. Then one day the guy across the street flagged me down and asked if I was a ham. (Mobile antenna gave me away.) Just when I thought I was busted, he asked for a radio demo. He got his tech ticket a month later. So far things have worked out, but I know the rules and have no right to complain if things change.
 
RE: Why Not?  
by KD8MJR on May 16, 2014 Mail this to a friend!
I guess as the Ham community gets older these kinds of posts are going to become more and more prevalent. IMO it's a complete waste of time to debate this!

First of all in any retirement home or HOA you would be hard pressed to find even one Ham Operator and even then was the person an active ham before they got there?

I have been on both sides of the HOA argument and I can tell you that when it's working for you the first thing you think is that it's really a nice thing to have this organization going to bat for you. When it's working against you it suddenly becomes a terrible set of people and rules. IF HOA were such unfair NAZI type organizations they would have died out a long time ago. After all if there was a market for non HOA regulated housing schemes I am sure that people would have been putting them up by the hundreds. Instead it's the other way around.

As for nursing homes and Ham radio. I suggest a remote link via internet. Anything else is a pipe dream that will never happen.

 
Why Not?  
by W1RKW on May 16, 2014 Mail this to a friend!
if the owners of these complexes thought out of the box it could be good business opportunity for their enterprise. Erect some poles to support wire antennas and some verticals and provide coax drops.
 
RE: Why Not?  
by K8QV on May 17, 2014 Mail this to a friend!
The real world doesn't revolve around ham radio. It revolves around lawyers.
 
RE: Why Not?  
by JOHNZ on May 17, 2014 Mail this to a friend!
@K8QV

Exactly!

The number and positions of FCC employees is in the public domain.

For each engineer and technician, there are approximately eight or more lawyers and six clerical positions. The commission is no longer the "technical"
agency that it once was. It is public legal organization, drowning in its own archaic bureaucratic rules and regulations, trying to justify its existence in a modern technological world.

The Field Operations Bureau and its monitoring stations were abolished in 1996, leaving a few engineers to cover the entire country and one listening post in Laurel, Maryland.
 
RE: Why Not?  
by K9MHZ on May 17, 2014 Mail this to a friend!
I'm wondering what the participation rate in the hobby is for very elderly hams. Yes, we're getting older as a group, but I just don't see/hear the nursing home aged very much. They tend to renew their licenses, but actual activity seems very low. Just asking and wondering.
 
Why Not?  
by N3PZZ on May 17, 2014 Mail this to a friend!
Don't know the answer but I do know of at least one assisted community in Maryland that has a ham shack for the inmates to use.
 
RE: Why Not?  
by K4TOJ on May 18, 2014 Mail this to a friend!
"This fear of interference somehow does not translate into cell phone use in the facilities likely because cell phones are everywhere and seem to be harmless. We all know that they are just another form of radio no matter what line of bilge the provider spouts and can interfere with medical equipment."

The statement implies that cell phone transmitters can interfere with medical equipment. This is false. I work with a healthcare company that owns several hospitals. Years ago, we had a radio study done to determine the true effect of cell phone (and other devices) interference on medical equipment. Everything was tested. Nothing was found to be interfered with at the current frequencies and power levels. The older analog phones operating between 800/900 MHz were found to interfere at several times their allotted power when in close proximity. It was then that our company policy changed to allow the individual administrators to come up with their own preferences and allow cell phone use as desired.

The only thing we have issues with in our facilities is bluetooth, believe it or not. Too much of it interferes with our WiFi access points.
 
RE: Why Not?  
by KI5WW on May 18, 2014 Mail this to a friend!
Im 56. Been in the hobby 40 years. Last ten years took both my parents through the rest home, not assisted living or retirement communitys, untill both there deaths. When they entered the rest home era, neither were able to function well enough to operate hardly anything, even though neither were ham radio operators. I helped take care of them, and left them both in there home untill it was just not safe to do so any more. I checked on them daily, helped with groceries and anything else i could. Including health care. If these ham operators are moving to retirement communities, why is that so common now? If there able to key up a radio, tune an amp, operate cw, then why cant they stay in there ham shack and homes till the just cant do it anymore? Then radio wont be an issue any more. When my parents went to the rest home, it was time. Quality of life was gone. Mom lived one year and dad lived two. Both were bed ridden half that time. It seems so common to move older folks out of there homes now days. Hell, its there home, let um stay as long as possible. I know everyones situation is different. What are happening to these fine peoples homes when they enter the communities? Empty? Sold.? Sell and buy smaller, safer homes with handicapped bathrooms etc.. Thats what we did. Use Home Health Care for help. Its a huge help. Are kids not willing to help there folks out now days? We do it alot where i live.
And at the bare miminum, get um a great receiver. Bet you can run a wire some place. Thats better than staring at a wall.
 
Why Not?  
by AC5WO on May 22, 2014 Mail this to a friend!
I do volunteer work taking a therapy animal to a nursing home. My impression is that people in bad enough shape physically and/or mentally to require living in a nursing home have bigger problems than antenna restrictions. Maybe local hams could bring a self-contained portable station to the outdoor courtyard area of the nursing home.

For retirement communities and assisted living centers I'd start with a quick survey of what is allowed. If residents are allowed to install a satellite dish, for example, I'd look at how ham antennas could use the type of antenna support and coaxial cable ingress. Busybody old women seem to tolerate rather large flower pots and supports for bird houses, providing another opportunity to hide antenna hardware. In a retirement community where hams own a house with yard area, I'd work to install structures that can function as antennas as well as vegetation that can help hide thin wires and metal rods. Some states have laws that force the retirement community to allow flagpoles.

If you rent, you have to work around the landlord's rules. Don't expect to drill holes into their building or install a tripod on the roof.
 
RE: Why Not?  
by K4TOJ on May 23, 2014 Mail this to a friend!
"This fear of interference somehow does not translate into cell phone use in the facilities likely because cell phones are everywhere and seem to be harmless. We all know that they are just another form of radio no matter what line of bilge the provider spouts and can interfere with medical equipment."

The statement implies that cell phone transmitters can interfere with medical equipment. This is false. I work with a healthcare company that owns several hospitals. Years ago, we had a radio study done to determine the true effect of cell phone (and other devices) interference on medical equipment. Everything was tested. Nothing was found to be interfered with at the current frequencies and power levels. The older analog phones operating between 800/900 MHz were found to interfere at several times their allotted power when in close proximity. It was then that our company policy changed to allow the individual administrators to come up with their own preferences and allow cell phone use as desired.

The only thing we have issues with in our facilities is bluetooth, believe it or not. Too much of it interferes with our WiFi access points.
 
Why Not?  
by K8JAG on May 27, 2014 Mail this to a friend!
Great article. I currently don't live in an antenna restricted area, but I live like I do. I run a simple G5RV strung up in three maple trees in my back hard, and more often then not I have to look twice to see the wire. I have considered bigger antennas and a tower with an amp, but every time I do, I get a great DX contact out of my current station.

Being low profile and flying under the radar can be just down right fun. Before I bought this house I was looking at building. I asked to see the HOA rules and sure enough there was the feared "NO ANTENNAS ALOWED" clause. Had I built there, it wouldn't have stopped me from operating. I would have just hidden the G5RV some how and it would have worked fine. I cannot get in trouble for doing something wrong if no one catches me doing it!! :-)
 
Deed Restricted Antennas  
by W4CNG on May 28, 2014 Mail this to a friend!
I have just sold my house of 15 years with Attic Antennas. The Retirement home I am building will have the same antennas in that attic. Looking way down the road when we (Wife and I) get old enough we will move into the terrace level where the Ham Shack will be located. House planning is in process now and will include extra outlets, one at each set of stairs, a 2 inch PVC conduit from the terrace level to the attic for the Andrews 1/2 inch superflex cables. I will run the same Jupiter and AL-811H amp that I have used for the last 15 years. Planning ahead like this makes things easier to handle when the need comes up. My daughter, son-in-law and granddaughter will move into the top two levels of the house and provide the care we may need at that time.
 
RE: Why Not?  
by W7JOD on May 29, 2014 Mail this to a friend!
"Don't ask for permission, ask for forgiveness." This has been my approach for the many years I have lived in HOA communities. So far, so good. (No tower, however...)
 
Why Not?  
by N8TA on May 31, 2014 Mail this to a friend!
I would like to make two points. First, you have to consider whether you can actually install a decent, safe station in the room. Grounding could be a problem, for example.I have been in more than one "shack" with stray RF.

My second point is that the entire conversation has been focused on operating in a facility. To me, ham radio is more than just operating.If the goal of a retiree is to continue to learn and participate in some fashion then a whole host of options open up.

Some examples:

1.You can become an OO and help operators with their signal quality, etc.
2.You can purchase propagation software and compare the program results with what you actually hear. You can keep detailed records and learn a LOT about propagation.
3.You can compare sunspot activity with what you hear on the bands.
4. You can just become an SWL. What bands are open, when, and for how long. Track beacons if you wish and log it all.You might become the most knowledgeable amateur in the area.
5.You may be able to help with club activities, encomm and so on.
6. If you like CW (as I do) then keep your code speed up or increase it. Then listen to some good QSO
's.
One's physical and mental circumstances will change ( I am 72 and fortunately going strong) and one must adapt.

Just do not limit yourself by saying that you must operate in order to enjoy amateur radio.

I have spent most of my "operating" hours just listening and I do not regret it at all.
 
RE: Why Not?  
by NC4TB on May 31, 2014 Mail this to a friend!
Not disagreeing with your statement about RF having lethal consequences with a pacemaker, but just how much RF was involved and what frequency? Are we talking HF, VHF, or UHF and how much power? Was it QRP, 100w, 1kw, or more? And did it involve the ham himself or someone else? How far away from the source? And just who decided that the ham rig was the source of the problem. Newer pacemakers are much better shielded from extraneous rf than the older ones.
 
RE: Why Not?  
by NC4TB on May 31, 2014 Mail this to a friend!
Common sense in the public arena seems to have become commonly absent. People are scared and against anything they don't know about or understand.
 
Why Not?  
by NC4TB on May 31, 2014 Mail this to a friend!
We had an old gentleman who went SK a 2-3 years ago who resided in a nursing home and was operating from his room on HF with a 100 watt rig as I recall [but was not on the air at the time of his passing]. Of further note, he was over 100 years old. It is a shame all facilities are not as enlightened as the one he was in.
 
Why Not?  
by AK4RL on May 31, 2014 Mail this to a friend!
I get tired of reading the comments by all the "cowboys" about how they should have the right to do whatever they want to whenever they want to. I do not want a tower in my neighbors' yards and will do all I can to prevent it, even if I have to do it by "other" means. I have been a ham for over 35 years and have never needed more than a wire antenna or a small vertical to work all the DX I wanted and make as many contacts as I wanted to in a contest. Why don't some of you read the articles by Kurt N. Sterba to understand what all can be used as antennas. As for the rigs in retirement centers, I am sure it is a liability issue for them in the room. Perhaps one could speak to their recreation person about a "club" station at the center.
 
RE: Why Not?  
by F8WBD on June 1, 2014 Mail this to a friend!
I think N8TA examples make a lot of sense. I am going to print and maintain them.

I began as an SWL in the 1950's. Nothing wrong with ending up the same way 60 years later.





 
Why Not?  
by KF7VXA on June 1, 2014 Mail this to a friend!
Get some interest in Ham radio in the retirement home and start a club, many have done that and got permission to put up some decent antennas.
Second, if you have a friend or relative that will allow and can have a ham station set up near to where you are, operate remote with a computer.
If no other way to install a radio and antenna are offered, there is always Echolink, at least you can stay in touch with some of the many friends made over the years even if having only Echolink sucks.
Last, hopefully you have got some of your close by family or friends interested in ham radio and they have stations at their QTH. Get some help, make a break (if you are physically able) and go to their QTH and use their radios as often as possible. Maybe even give them your equipment if they get their licenses.
Great time to visit the Grand and Great Grand Kids, the old timers have much to teach young one's besides radio.
 
RE: Why Not?  
by K4KYV on June 9, 2014 Mail this to a friend!
I don't have too much of a problem with antenna restrictions in places like assisted living facilities and condom-iniums. That's one of the trade-offs you accept for the convenience of living there. I wouldn't willingly choose to live in one of those places myself, but to each his own. What I do have an issue with is other people having the power, by default, to tell me what I can and cannot do on my own property when it is clearly not a nuisance or safety hazard.

A reasonable tower, properly engineered and constructed, is NOT a nuisance nor a safety hazard.
 
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