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[Articles Home]  [Add Article]  

Antenna Restrictions

from Dr. Richard A. Meznarich, AG5M on May 11, 2000
View comments about this article!


TO ALL U.S. RADIO AMATEURS:

I am one of the almost 700,000 licensed Amateur Radio operators in the United States and recently read where American Radio Relay League (ARRL) President Mr. Jim Haynie, W5JBP, met with FCC Commissioner Ness to discuss matters important to the Amateur Radio Service. Mr. Haynie mentioned that restrictive covenants were a hot button issue within the amateur community.

In addition, Amateur Radio equipment manufactures and publishers recently assembled together in Wisconsin to discuss issues facing the Amateur Radio industry. The session was organized by Amateur Electronic Supply Manager Ray Grenier, K9KHW. At the session ARRL Executive Vice President Dave Sumner, K1ZZ stated:

"The group identified antenna restrictions and especially restrictive covenants, as the greatest challenge facing ham radio at this point."

I could not agree more. It is much more than a hot button issue. I consider it, Amateur Radio Public Enemy Number One! Nothing else that I'm aware of is as much a concern to me and my fellow Amateur Radio operators as housing developments with restrictive covenants that either completely prohibit radio antennas of any kind -- thus Amateur Radio operation -- or so severely restricts antenna installations as to have the same material effect of making effective Amateur Radio operation on the HF bands (1.6 to 30 MHz) all but impossible.


"living in a new home these days apparently also means giving up effective HF Amateur Radio operation -- forever"

I strongly encourage all Radio Amateurs to support Mr. Jim Haynie, ARRL President, in his continued efforts to have the FCC rethink its position of its November dismissal of a 1996 ARRL Petition for Rule Making. That petition called on the Commission to expand and clarify PRB-1. I believe the FCC has the authority vested within it from the United States Congress to preempt overly restrictive covenants and put forth a position whereby reasonable accommodation for effective Amateur Radio operation applies to all Amateur Radio operators regardless of where they may reside.

I was first licensed as a teenager when Amateur Radio operators were held in high esteem for their technical excellence and ability to communicate on an intercontinental basis. Amateur Radio not only led me to a technical career but to a teaching career where I taught electronics to our nations youth. In addition, I have devoted countless hours in service to my community through the use of Amateur Radio. Now after 40 years of hard work my wife and I have reached the point in life where we would like to purchase a new home for our retirement years. We live in a rather small town yet every new housing development being built today -- or has been built during the past 10 or more years -- either completely prohibits installation of external antennas outright (which is most of them) or so severely restricts antennas as to make effective HF Amateur Radio operation all but impossible. For over two years my wife and I have been searching for a new home without success because of antenna restrictions. OVER TWO YEARS WITHOUT SUCCESS!!! You cannot convince my wife and I that there is not a serious problem.

So here I sit, having proudly been a licensed Amateur Radio operator for almost 40 years, dreaming of the day when I can retire and devote much more time to Amateur Radio including service to my community and to the United States Military Affiliate Radio System -- in my new home -- only to find out that I can have the new home, or I can have an effective HF Amateur Radio station, but I apparently cannot have both. And you must realize that the average American citizen has little or no choice today when they wish to purchase a new home. Unless you are willing to live in an old home built 20 or more years ago, or are one of the fortunate few today who have the financial means -- or even the option -- to live in a country setting, living in a new home these days apparently also means giving up effective HF Amateur Radio operation -- forever.

To believe that an Amateur Radio operator has a real choice today when it comes to a new place to live and have the continued ability to operate an effective HF Amateur Radio station from their home is complete nonsense. It's a lot like believing in the tooth fairy. As much as you might want to believe -- it just isn't so. Virtually every new housing development in the nation is structured the same - basically, no antennas allowed. I challenge you to find newly developed subdivisions anywhere in the country where an Amateur Radio operator is still allowed to install an effective antenna for use in the HF bands.

Antenna restrictions are an extremely serious problem -- Amateur Radio Public Enemy Number One! In addition I believe it to be a serious source of housing discrimination for those who wish to operate their FCC licensed Amateur Radio stations within their very own homes. The United States Congress may have recognized the achievements of Amateur Radio, and established support for such amateurs as national policy (Public Law 103-408, S.J. Res. 90), and directed Government agencies (the FCC included?) to take into account the valuable contributions made by Amateur Radio operators when considering actions affecting the Amateur Radio Service (Public Law 100-594, S. 1048), and has codified the service into law through a comprehensive set of rules and regulations (47CFR97), but local home owner association board members (typically 3 to 7 people) are much more powerful and have had the final say relative to the Amateur Radio Service - it is not allowed in our homes because -- NO ANTENNAS ALLOWED! With a stroke of a pen the mandate from the United States Congress with its strong federal interest in the Amateur Radio Service and our FCC license are thus nullified.

The FCC has licensed us as Radio Amateurs, licensed our station, established a comprehensive set of rules and regulations to follow, yet has also taken away our right - or at least not effectively supported our right -- to actually operate our equipment in an effective manner from our very own homes by not taking the steps necessary to allow the installation of even the most modest of external antennas necessary for effective amateur communication on the HF bands. It's wrong, it's unethical, immoral, and perhaps even illegal.

After a century of honorable service to the nation it would be a travesty to see the Amateur Radio Service disappear for lack of even a simple slender vertical antenna in our backyard. I would like to see young children of the future be turned onto science and technology through Amateur Radio as I was in my young formative years. Yet the current state of affairs virtually guarantees that many young minds will never become interested in Amateur Radio because they live in an overly restrictive environment where antennas of any kind are completely prohibited. And this in light of today's ever increasingly highly technological society that requires a workforce ever more technically qualified? It's absurd!

Unless it is the deliberate premeditated position of the United States Congress and the FCC to allow effective Amateur Radio operation on the HF bands to die a slow and lingering death (and I really don't believe that - yet), leaving only that which can be accomplished by an indoor attic antenna, then action by the FCC to preempt overly restrictive antenna regulations for all Amateur Radio operators wherever they may purchase their homes is warranted - in fact required - if the FCC itself is to recognize the continued importance and strong federal interest placed on Amateur Radio by the United States Congress. Should not the principle of reasonable accommodation be evenly applied to all, not just to those still living in older homes in older neighborhoods or to those privileged few who have the financial means as well as the continued option to live in a country setting?

As a final note, I have many friends here and elsewhere in the country who have long admired my Amateur Radio station but whenever I have asked them why they do not consider joining the ranks of Amateur Radio the answer is almost always the same, "Why bother, I can't put up an antenna at my house. It's not allowed. Otherwise I would love to get into this hobby, it's fascinating."

Fascinating indeed, yet it appears to me that the strong federal interest in the Amateur Radio Service on the part of the United States Congress is going unanswered for the lack of even simple external antennas.

Dr. Richard A. Meznarich, AG5M

Member Comments:
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A Matter of Life or Death for the Hobby  
by N1IRZ on May 13, 2000 Mail this to a friend!

I could not agree more with this author. While I am fortunate to live where I can erect whatever antennas I want, I hear the same laments about restrictive covenants that are outlined in this article.

If you don't think this is important, consider for a moment the tremendous response amateurs have made to the recent license restructuring. VE sessions were overwhelmed with applicants taking tests, and the VECs are still digging out of the mountain of paperwork. What was the attraction? Privileges to operate on the HF bands, of course. Thousands of hams responded to the opportunity to gain access to the HF bands, and, with their new General and Extra tickets, are eager to "work the world." Despite all the exotic operating modes such as satellites, Moonbounce or microwaves, there still is nothing that stirs ham-radio excitement like HF operating. In fact, studies have shown that meaningful HF access is a strong factor in keeping amateurs active and interested in the hobby over the long haul.

What worse deterrent, then, than to prevent hams from erecting HF antennas. Restrictive covenants, are, indeed, our Public Enemy Number One, working to stifle the enthusiasm of current hams and to discourage potential hams from entering our ranks.

The ARRL should issue a call to arms for all amateurs who are attorneys. I would suggest a national conference of ham-attorneys to devise the most promising legal strategies to combat this menace. With strategies picked, the League could coordinate the appropriate legal research and development of the materials needed to mount a major assault on restrictive covenants. This could include both efforts to get the FCC to preempt covenants and also lawsuits against homeowners associations and other organizations that deprive amateur radio operators of their rights. Assisting, on a pro-bono basis, in this effort to preserve amateur radio would be perhaps the greatest public service that a volunteer attorney could provide.

Amateurs who are not attorneys can also help, by volunteering in efforts to publicize the problem, to promote amateur radio among the public, and by contributing financially.

Yes, we have a major problem and we must fight to resolve it.
 
RE: A Matter of Life or Death for the Hobby  
by N3JIY on May 15, 2000 Mail this to a friend!
Certainly we ought have the right to erect antennas on our property. But what about the so-called homeowners who buy homes within a community with restrictive CCR's? Ought these people not have the right to prohibit
people from erecting antenna within a quarter mile of their houses? They think that they do. And, upon thoughtful consideration of these peoples' interests, perhaps they do. Doesn't becoming a member of a "home-owners' association" involve freedom of association, an accretion of several Constitutional rights: freedom of speech,
freedom to peacefully assemble, freedom to enter into contracts? Consideration of each of these rights simultaneously seems to mean that we have "freedom of association", that is, freedom to join any association, whether it be the homeowners' association, the NRA, the ACLU, the Democratic Party, the Republican Party, the Communist Party, ..., so long as the association's fundamental unifying principle is not conspiring to commit violent criminal acts.

Conversely, you have the right to NOT join any of these associations. If you don't like the homeowners'
associations' restricitive covenants, tell them so. The big trend here is toward homogenization of communi-
ties, making communities and neighborhoods in which every house looks identical to the two beside it, with
no property having anything to differentiate it from the rest of the neighborhood save the number on the mailbox.
To me, this is contemptible. It is unnatural. It is strange. Even weird. Yet many people want to purchase a home in such a homogenized neighborhood. I don't know why. It seems to have become a staple of American life.
Yet it appeals to many people. In some cities, there are even school boards considering requiring students
of public schools to wear uniforms to public school! This seems blatantly unconstitutional when committed by
a governmental agency (the school board), but appealing to many when committed by a private entity (a
parochial school).

No, I think that popularity of homogenized communities stems from the desire to buy a nice home and to
keep it that way. To keep the home nice, to keep the neighborhood nice, to keep everything the same as
it was the day you moved in.

In a sense, this is to deny reality, as change is inevitable. Is it not a fundamental characteristic of living things to
adapt to changes in the environment? Yes, of course. To want minimize those changes is understandable.
Unfortunately, it doesn't always square with reality. It seems we must choose between freedom to evolve
independently and homogeneity with the neighborhood. Know that it is your choice--to sign the paper or not.
73,
Alan

 
RE: A Matter of Life or Death for the Hobby  
by WQ5W on May 15, 2000 Mail this to a friend!
I couldn't agree more with the sentiments of this article.
My wife and I are purchasing our first home and we experienced the same frustrations. While I am grateful for PRB-1, the greater threat today is not from zoning restrictions, but from CC&R deed restrictions, homeowner's associations and "Architectural Control Committees". The argument the FCC has made that CC&R's are voluntary agreements does not hold water in today's housing market. The reality is that hams have no real choice if they want to find a suitable home.

I work in the downtown area of Fort Worth. Finding anything without CC&R restrictions in the city was impossible. Even more frustrating was that nowdays, even finding a recently built house within a 45 minute drive of downtown without restrictions is next to impossible. I saw homes that were in the middle of nowhere, 20 minutes from the nearest grocery store that still had restrictive covenants. In addition to the deed restrictions, almost all new housing developments have neighborhood associations or "Architecural Control Comittees". These architectural control comittees are usually made up of the land developers. These developers are interested in selling the other lots they have purchased in the development and want nothing in the neighborhood that would detract from that. Good luck getting them to approve a 50-100 foot Amateur Radio tower in their neighborhood. The housing market right now is so hot it is much easier to sell to the next buyer that won't "disturb" the neighborhood aesthetics. Expect a similar result from homeowner's associations. Even if you do get a homeowner's association to approve your tower, there is nothing to stop a future association with different members from trying to ban it.

As to CC&R restrictions, most of the ones I came across appeared similarly worded. There appears to be a boilerplate on these that goes from builder to builder that restricts antennas.

Fortunately, we were able to find a 3 year old home with acreage about a 45 minute drive from work. The property is in an unincorporated area so there were no zoning restrictions, there were no neighborhood associations, the powers of the architectural control comittee had lapsed and the deed restrictions don't refer to antennas specifically and are so vaguely worded as to be virtually unenforceable. Still, just to be sure, I had to talk to all of the neighbors to make sure they were OK with the tower being put on my land. Fortunately, they all said yes. I consider myself lucky to find this home, but there is still a small possibility I could be sued in the future by a disgruntled neighbor. I made the decision that this was the best situation I could hope for in today's market and we are going forward with the purchase.

My advice to anybody looking for a new home that wants to operate HF:

1. Get a good lawyer to review the zoning and deed restrictions. Preferably a ham who is a real estate attorney.
2. Make sure there is no homeowner's association or architectural control committee (very, very hard to find today).

We should all get behind Jim Haynie's iniative. Contact your congressman and let him/her know how you feel about this. As it stands now, hams are being forced to choose between operating HF or living in rural areas or buying homes that are more than 20 years old. The FCC has already ruled that CC&R restrictions cannot apply to DSS satellite antennas, it is a natural extension to extend these rights to Amateur Radio Antennas.
 
What Should We Demand?  
by K3AN on May 15, 2000 Mail this to a friend!
CCRs were, I suspect, created to ensure that nothing "bad" happens in a community while the builder continues to sell his lots. Imagine what most home buyers would think if, right next to the model home in the community they had driven out to look at, an early resident had a car up on blocks in a partial (and semi-permanent) state of disassembly, another nearby owner was running a "puppy mill" with a fenced back yard full of barking dogs, and on the corner, the owner had a reclaimed, somewhat rusty windmill tower sporting an 11-meter quad, plus an 8-foot satellite dish on the roof. Imagine how YOU'D feel if one of your neighbors in your present suburban, small-lot neighborhood did something like this.

I don't think we'll ever see a carte blanche elimination of antenna restrictions from the CCRs. Instead, I think we need to decide on, and lobby for, a defined, reasonable set of exceptions to CCRs. Wire antennas in trees? Crank-up towers? Yagi boom length limitations? Limited tower height? How about a towers vs. acreage proposal (how many towers allowed on a 1/4, 1/2, 3/4, etc. acre lot)? Tower setback limitations?

I do think we should "stretch" the definition of reasonableness (shhhh!) of our proposed exceptions, so we can make some concessions along the way. And I would look to the ARRL to spearhead the effort to define and lobby for such a list of exceptions.

With hard work and patience, it's not inconceivable to eventually have "son of PRB-1" to provide some relief from the onerous CCRs that most of us have to live under.
 
Housing Developments  
by W0MU on May 15, 2000 Mail this to a friend!
I would agree with many of the sentiments expressed by the author and others. My station is located at my parents home situated on 4 acres in a development that had very lax coventants. In the recent past a group of wanna be "policemen" have sprung up and attempted to rewrite the covenenants. I believe their last attempt failed to gain the necessary votes so there is still hope out there.

You can be assured that all planned developments will contain antenna restrictions. It is in the land developers best interest and makes sense. They do not want 100 ft. towers springing up. In fact, there is a phrase about operating rf transmitters, excluding the obvious garage door openers etc. Is there room for verticals and wire antennas? I would think the answer would be yes.

The last 2 homes I have lived in had antenna restrictions. I would never consider putting a tower on either of these lots. They are frankly too small in my opinion, 50x100 and 60x 100 respectively. I did have a small vertical up at my last home for quite some time and nobody said a word. I just recently moved into a new home and gone through some other family changes that has put Amateur radio on the back burner.

When you choose to live in a planned community you do give up some rights to protect the neighborhood. You don't need to worry about the house next door being painted bright red or pink or whatever color you find hideous. If I were John Q Public I don't think I would want a huge antenna farm next door or in my back yard. Would you? But I think John Q Public could be convinced that small antennas can be integrated into the home with little impact to neighborhood.

For the FCC to say that signing the CC&R's is volunatry is plain silly. You don't sign you don't live there, plain and simple. There is no negotiation or debate.

I wonder what developers think when they hear the words Ham Radio? I would guess that many would think of huge towers with huge antennas when this is probably the exception rather than the rule.

Maybe the solution is as simple as educating the developers, city leaders etc. and working to establish "acceptable" guidelines. Of course it is much easier to say no to everything than to allow any. Since cable TV is in most areas TVI issues I think have diminished in many areas. I am sure there are cases of RFI issues in poorly built electronic equipment and that will continue. My parents still get TVI complaints now and then. They try not to laugh too much when they have to tell the person I haven't been on the air for months. Truly amazing how much tvi an 80 ft tower can create all on it's own.

I am fortunate that here in Colorado there are still many areas that are Rural yet close to the business corridor that are not in covenant controlled areas. Most of these areas are lots with 5 acres plus.....One of the reasons I am in a planned development. I can't afford a land and a house yet. There are areas in the city where towers and antennas are allowed so it is not impossible. Look for the older areas. Not all CC&R's are written equally. Ask your real estate professional for a copy before making any purchase.

There is one other avenue that has yet to be brought up and that is unless a homeowners association has lots of cash their bark is much bigger than their bite. they might not have the desire to take you to court to make you take down your antennas and towers. Just a thought......I would suggest you speak to an attorney before taking such action and be prepared to go to court or take down your antenna just in case.

Mike
W0MU

 
Antenna Restrictions  
by AI6L on May 15, 2000 Mail this to a friend!
I sympathize with you completely, having lived for 13 years under complete antenna restrictions. However, I would not support, in fact would fight, any Federal interference with covenants. They are private contracts. People restrict antennas in those contracts because they do not want to look at ugly antennas and towers. The majority of people seem to feel that way. If you do not like the CC&Rs, don't sign up. There are alternatives, usually inconvenient, but so what? There is no rule in life that says that you are entitled to everything you want just because you want it.
Ordinances are another matter. Here the rights of the minority must be respected and nobody should have the right to vote either directly or through their representatives to restrict the use of your property in this manner, as long as the use does not represent a public health or safety hazard. If you just have to have a new home in that social anthill condo development, or in other areas that are desirable but have covenant antenna restrictions, keep in mind that decent ham activities are possible from such places. The argument that effective operation requires a beam at least 40 feet up is bogus, even if DXCC Honor Roll is desired. When I lived where antennas were not allowed, I put up hidden antennas. Even though the house was down in a canyon, I worked over 290 countries. I could check into any nets I wanted to, could rag chew at will, etc. Even now, where I can put up a tower and array if I want, I have only one antenna, an invisible 80M full wave inverted delta loop that I use on all bands 160-10M and with which I have worked over 2300 band-countries. Old habits die hard. My only wish now is for some acreage so I can put up beverages.
So count me on the other side if ARRL tries to fight private contracts with the Feds.

Dr. Jerry T. Dowell
AI6L
 
RE: Antenna Restrictions  
by NG3J on May 16, 2000 Mail this to a friend!
Call me an whatever you want, but my thing is, if I paid $100,000 for a home/property, unless you want to pay my mortgage, I sure as heck do not want someone to tell me what I should or shouldn't put on my property unless it is life threatening to anyone. I thought this was a free country anyway?

 
Covenants  
by W0FMS on May 16, 2000 Mail this to a friend!
The interesting thing about CC&R's are that they are so broad and restrictive nowadays. I started by checking
out covenants for antennas, but you know what? Many ban working on cars on the property, having clotheslines, or sheds. Some specify "no chain link fences" and that foundations have to be painted white. Some say you cannot own pickup trucks or park on your own driveway!

What amazes me is that Americans would put up with this crap! And-- then claim to the rest of the world how
"free" we are. Most Europeans (ok not the British-- we are approaching the restrictiveness they have though) are
probably amazed at us. Many are laughing. We are hypocrits in the US aren't we?

How did we get rules that "go with the land" forever and are not appealable? I hope we can convince the feds to fix this situation, but then again I don't know if I'd want to go against the unions that the builders represent, if I were in the FCC or congress. (Legs are not meant to be broken)

Its just another "dirty-little" secret we have in this "free" country that your neighbor can tell you what you can and cannot do because it "offends" him/her.

I did, both in Illinois (Chicago suburbs-- which I sold) and here in Iowa, find new houses without specifically mentioned antenna restrictions. I had a roof tower on the house in Chicago without incident. Just put one up
here in Iowa (last Sunday), and did get a dirty look from a neighbor. But the only restriction specified in our current CC&R's is "no satellite dish greater than 24 inches" -- which I might add is being broken by two people in our neighborhood. We have no association. So who knows? I'll fight him if necessary.

The trick is to find a development started about three years ago that is on one of its lasts houses. Most of the
blanket "no antennas" covenants are within the last two-three years. Meaning that good luck in a couple of years finding any property that allows antennas.

We do have that "no obnoxious" activity clause, but I figure with the FCC license, and the DoD MARS license
what I do is very much the opposite of "obnoxious". If not, I am afraid I'll have to throw in the towel as well.
Even in the middle of nowhere here, one of the two real-estate companies/developers tack on a no-antenna covenent to everything they sell, new and old. So unless I want to buy 30 acres in Linn County (The county
in which Cedar Rapids is) or about 10 acres in a neighboring county (with a house >$300,000-- read: a farm!))-- I guess I did the best I could.

I think we have a discrimination issue. I think we ought to try to lobby with the Cell people, the Satellite TV people, and hell even the ACLU if we have to. I think there is much more to lose with these CC&R's than just ham radio.
... Freedom to own a pickup truck if you want... freedom to have a clothesline...

God.. the situation is pathetic, isnt it?

Keep the Faith,

Fred W0FMS(/AE)

Hey, ARRL? When are you gonna process my VE CSCE, Christmas?
 
Counter CC&R's and HOA's with HF Mobile Ops  
by K7LA on May 17, 2000 Mail this to a friend!
I certainly agree with the concerns posted in this forum regarding antenna restrictions. My XYL and I moved to our present home four years ago to be located in a more antenna-friendly location. One alternate way to counter oppressive CC&R's and overly-nosey homeowner associations (HOA) is to go HF mobile if possible. Load up your vehicle with antennas and one of the new compact HF rigs and watch your local authorities choke in dismay when they realize there isn't a darn thing they can do about it! 73 de K7LA.
 
Antenna Restriction  
by N2LK on May 17, 2000 Mail this to a friend!
I understand all too well what we are facing here with CC&R's that are written by persons many years ago who sell them generically to builders around the country who emply them in their building contracts, yet never really read them! Why bother,this CC&R covers just about any possible liability they can protect themselves against. In today's housing market in New Jersey, my XYL and I are buying a small house ($215K is cheapest we found that is new built) and I have to live with antenna restrictions? Only a 3 ft. diameter satelite dish can be on a house. No house or property can have external mounted antenna's.

I have DXCC, WAS, WAC, have 155 countries confirmed and occassionally score high for NNJ in some contests. All working out of apartments with shortened verticals sticking out windows or small dipoles hidden in trees. This habit will continue in my next dwelling, where my lot is the only lot with TREES!!!! I can easily hide my shortened G5RV in a tree, 40ft. high, put the coax under the newly installed sod and MOST LIKELY NO ONE WILL EVER KNOW. But, can I put up a small 45ft. tower, a small beam to juice up my signal and than stand with pride at my barbecue with my neighbors and say with pride what all that metal stands for???????
SADLY, NO. I will have to be quiet about that.

That is a shame.
Remember, fight the good fight!!!!!!!
73--- john
 
RE: Counter CC&R's and HOA's with HF Mobile Op  
by K4TBN on May 17, 2000 Mail this to a friend!
Hit the nail right on the head! Still, there are nice homes available in antenna friendly (tolerant?) neighborhoods. It's all a matter of priorities. It all depends on how important it is to have an acceptable antenna farm. (this is where an understanding XYL is important)

Note: There is a town in northern Virginia called Sterling Park that is rumored to have CCR's that require, at each home, at least one fifty foot tower. The next time you fly into Dulles Airport, you may see an aluminum porcupine on the ground nearby; that will be Sterling Park. Anyone know of any other towns like this?

We just bought a home in North Carolina four months ago and the first question was as to zoning and CCR's. We told every real estate agent, "If there are any antenna restrictions, then no deal." More of us probably need to do this. When we finally found the property that met most of our requirements, we consulted an attorney to confirm the lack of restrictions.

We really enjoy our new home. No, it is isn't five minutes to the grocery store or mall and the drive to work is longer than ideal, but the only restrictions I have on antennas are too many trees where the towers will be erected. Does eham.net ever have chainsaws in the classifieds?
 
RE: Counter CC&R's and HOA's with HF Mobile Op  
by K4TBN on May 17, 2000 Mail this to a friend!
Hit the nail right on the head! Still, there are nice homes available in antenna friendly (tolerant?) neighborhoods. It's all a matter of priorities. It all depends on how important it is to have an acceptable antenna farm. (this is where an understanding XYL is important)

Note: There is a town in northern Virginia called Sterling Park that is rumored to have CCR's that require, at each home, at least one fifty foot tower. The next time you fly into Dulles Airport, you may see an aluminum porcupine on the ground nearby; that will be Sterling Park. Anyone know of any other towns like this?

We just bought a home in North Carolina four months ago and the first question was as to zoning and CCR's. We told every real estate agent, "If there are any antenna restrictions, then no deal." More of us probably need to do this. When we finally found the property that met most of our requirements, we consulted an attorney to confirm the lack of restrictions.

We really enjoy our new home. No, it is isn't five minutes to the grocery store or mall and the drive to work is longer than ideal, but the only restrictions I have on antennas are too many trees where the towers will be erected. Does eham.net ever have chainsaws in the classifieds?
 
RE: Counter CC&R's and HOA's with HF Mobile Op  
by K4TBN on May 17, 2000 Mail this to a friend!
Hit the nail right on the head! Still, there are nice homes available in antenna friendly (tolerant?) neighborhoods. It's all a matter of priorities. It all depends on how important it is to have an acceptable antenna farm. (this is where an understanding XYL is important)

Note: There is a town in northern Virginia called Sterling Park that is rumored to have CCR's that require, at each home, at least one fifty foot tower. The next time you fly into Dulles Airport, you may see an aluminum porcupine on the ground nearby; that will be Sterling Park. Anyone know of any other towns like this?

We just bought a home in North Carolina four months ago and the first question was as to zoning and CCR's. We told every real estate agent, "If there are any antenna restrictions, then no deal." More of us probably need to do this. When we finally found the property that met most of our requirements, we consulted an attorney to confirm the lack of restrictions.

We really enjoy our new home. No, it is isn't five minutes to the grocery store or mall and the drive to work is longer than ideal, but the only restrictions I have on antennas are too many trees where the towers will be erected. Does eham.net ever have chainsaws in the classifieds?
 
Antenna Restrictions  
by KA4JNB on May 17, 2000 Mail this to a friend!
Here I sit, utterly frustrated, because with staions in all my surrounding states giving A41LZ 5/9 reports, he isn't moving my needle, all because of antenna restrictions. I have tried to 'work around it". My Covenants and Restrictions are suttle,NO UNSIGHTLY STRUCTURES OR TOWERS, but just as effective at shutting me down. As of now, I have a quad, would you believe, hanging in a maple tree 100 feet back in deep woods, and camoflaged by painting the spreaders green and brown. And in order to have the forest, I had to choose the lowest elevation on the subdivision. But &@#%$ them, I still got Bhutan!! KA4JNB Ira
 
Break Away From The Pack  
by KZ1X on May 18, 2000 Mail this to a friend!
(I also posted this note to another similar thread on eHam)

My homeownership experience has been somewhat different that that of others who have been commenting.

Once one changes one's outlook from the typical mindset of a home-buyer, the opportunities really open up.

Most people want to go find a house they like, buy it, and move in. (Sounds kinda boring to me... wouldn't ever do that myself.)

If you are a ham who wants to operate on HF with any meaningful signal, you must remove yourself from this group. Period.

The market says there will be properties with CC&Rs because that is what sells. It protects one's investment in real estate from the slobbery of others. I view my 80 foot Rohn 55G tower as a work of art, but others think its an eyesore. So, to get a place where others may be more kindly to your ideas, you must first decide that you aren't going to be one of them.

The number one change you have to make is in your mind: you must buy a lot, and build your own house. I feel badly for those who think that this isn't an option.

And by 'build your own' I mean hire a contractor that works for you. I do not mean go to a development and find a spec-home builder who already has the lot. I mean go to where there isn't a 'subdivision' - and that does NOT necessarily mean in the middle of nowhere, either. You just have to start thinking more creatively than Joe Average, for whom CC&Rs are a great thing.

Building your own home is NOT substantially more expensive then just buying a home 'ready-made' as you may have been led to believe. Yes, it's more work for you, and you have to wait, but you get the rooms and layout that your family needs, and that can include a custom shack - in a home on a piece of property that gets set up the way YOU want.

In short: if you think out-of-the-box, opportunities make themselves available beyond your dreams. The axiom is true: You get out of life what you put into it. If HF operation is an important thing for you, then, take the first step, and get out of the world where control freaks seek to ruin your hobby
 
Building own house  
by W0FMS on May 22, 2000 Mail this to a friend!
To the gentelman that said: buy your own land and build your own house, I agree! But
I will also tell you sometimes how impractical/impossible it is to do that.

I will again state my experience from Linn County IA- (Cedar Rapids, home of Collins Radio)

Forget it if you plan on buying less than 35 Acres of land. It is legally impossible to do here. Two of us tried.
The "subdivided" building lots all have "no antenna" covenents. Period. Even those literally out where "god lost his shoes". All supposed to "protect the farmers" and "protect the neighbors" inclusively.

Moving out of county cuts that down to about 10 Acres of land. That will cost around $200K without the building.
I'm only 30-- I don't have that kind of wealth yet. Also that adds a 30 mile drive, the schools supposedly are not as good.. etc... etc... etc...

Also I would imagine that in many cases of people living in urban areas that have to work that having to go out
40 miles in city traffic isn't practical either. Being from Chicago originally, I can vouch for that.

There is a definate problem with the "wholesale" covenant situation. One Grayslake, ILL subdivision I looked at
before I moved to Iowa had a book of covenants that was three inches thick!!! I wish I was lying/kidding about that but it was true. And when I asked they didn't want to show it to me... imagine that.....

Also the gentelman who says "refuse to join the association"-- the covenants are written so that you will get a lein placed on the property if you do not join and pay dues (which were several hundred dollars a year at my last house... thank god there is no association at this one)

"God Bless America"--

Fred W0FMS
 
RE: Break Away From The Pack  
by W1MNK on May 23, 2000 Mail this to a friend!
Wow, what a topic. I live in a CCR community in West Central Florida. Complete prohibition on outside antennas. Now, let me get this straight. The FCC preempted outright restrictions on DBS dishes (ie. they can be regulated only to the extent that they may require them to be inconspicuous). This sounds like big $$s got what they wanted (and rightly so). So the FCC CANNOT use the argument that the CCRs are a private agreement in which they have no jurisdiction. They have set the precedent.

Of course, we will have to accept some sort or 'reasonable' clause. I have an R5 vertical in my backyard that is virtually invisible behind the house, and from the neighbors houses. We may have to live with the fact that we cannot put up 120 foot towers with stacked yagis. But a small vertical, or even a crankup tower that lowers to below the level of the house when not in use sounds reasonable to me. Yes, my antenna is put up despite the fact that I asked for, and was denied outright permission to put it up. It's been up for 8 years, and they haven't said a word about, probably because my neighbors that know about it haven't complained.

I wrote to the ARRL regulatory person a while back asking if there was a way that we could 'lobby' for preemption, but they haven't got back to me yet. Has anyone done so? And who did you contact. We need to push this firmly. I for one did not give up my right to 'life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness (Ham radio)' when I bought my house. There was no choice. All developments here have such restrictions.

73... Jon W1MNK
 
Antenna Restrictions  
by K0DOE on May 26, 2000 Mail this to a friend!
I fought and won the very same battle when we purchased our home in a subdivision in 1987. I specifically told the realtor that I was a "ham" and wanted the right to erect some antennas. When we finally decided to make an offer on the house, I made the purchase offer contingent upon the HOA's ACC approval of my antenna installation. I drew a scale drawing of what the antennas would be and where they were to be located on the plot (i.e., elevations, plan view, etc.) Even though there was no specific language dealing with ham radio or CB antennas, they could have very easily declined the installation on other "visual" grounds. The realtor (my mouth piece) went to the ACC meeting and presented my proposal. It was discussed and accepted with the signature of the chairman affixed to the house plans -- forever assuring my right to maintain the status of the antennas I had asked for!

The issue has come back to me several times in recent years. Every time we would get a new neighbor in the area, they would make a comment about the antennas. Like, did you get those approved? They're kinda ugly! I'd simply reply, they've been approved by the subdivision's ACC (just like your &%!* wrecked car parked on your driveway all the time) and would you care to see the signature affixed to the plans?! I'll be happy to show them to you. They're mouth would just drop as the wind exits their sails! Sure they can complain, but only upon deaf ears. I always make sure to add that if they care to take the issue up with the ACC, I'll be glad to attend with my attorney. This is also a good time to ask if they've had any interference problems and take care of explaining (or doing something about) those as well. It is also good to explain what "Amateur Radio" is and how it differs from "CB". I can't tell you how many times my antennas have been called "CB" antennas!
Hey, they don't know the difference unless you tell them!

Nevertheless, I should say that I didn't try to go all out with large antennas, tall towers, etc., trying to look like VOA! My theory was K.I.S.S. (Keep it simple stupid): one ground mounted Butternut HF6V, one 30' tower and 2M beam. A few other smaller antennas snuck in for good measure and mounted to vent pipes. All of which, have the masts painted sky blue to reduce the overall antenna farm affect.

So, even though my situation is somewhat different, the main suggestion I have is to: Know your covenants. Tell your realtor while your looking! Ask for their help in finding a suitable location and/or pitching your case to the HOA (hey, they're in the business to make money and they're salespeople! They can help you sell your plan!) KISS! Keep it simple! If you're reasonable about what you want and what you'll accept, maybe they (the ACC) will make a reasonable accommodation? Stealth! If it looks lovely (big, bad, tall, wow!) to you, it might not look so lovely to the neighbors! Minimize the ugly factor -- use makeup! Finally, point out other people's TV antennas and Sat dishes you notice in the subdivision! Hey, it they can do it, why can't I??? Your regulations seem a bit discrimanatory don't they? Love that word "discrimanatory"! And be sure to quote "PRB-1". It sounds so official!

Good luck!

73

Tracy, K0DOE
 
Antenna Restrictions  
by K0DOE on May 26, 2000 Mail this to a friend!
I fought and won the very same battle when we purchased our home in a subdivision in 1987. I specifically told the realtor that I was a "ham" and wanted the right to erect some antennas. When we finally decided to make an offer on the house, I made the purchase offer contingent upon the HOA's ACC approval of my antenna installation. I drew a scale drawing of what the antennas would be and where they were to be located on the plot (i.e., elevations, plan view, etc.) Even though there was no specific language dealing with ham radio or CB antennas, they could have very easily declined the installation on other "visual" grounds. The realtor (my mouth piece) went to the ACC meeting and presented my proposal. It was discussed and accepted with the signature of the chairman affixed to the house plans -- forever assuring my right to maintain the status of the antennas I had asked for!

The issue has come back to me several times in recent years. Every time we would get a new neighbor in the area, they would make a comment about the antennas. Like, did you get those approved? They're kinda ugly! I'd simply reply, they've been approved by the subdivision's ACC (just like your &%!* wrecked car parked on your driveway all the time) and would you care to see the signature affixed to the plans?! I'll be happy to show them to you. They're mouth would just drop as the wind exits their sails! Sure they can complain, but only upon deaf ears. I always make sure to add that if they care to take the issue up with the ACC, I'll be glad to attend with my attorney. This is also a good time to ask if they've had any interference problems and take care of explaining (or doing something about) those as well. It is also good to explain what "Amateur Radio" is and how it differs from "CB". I can't tell you how many times my antennas have been called "CB" antennas!
Hey, they don't know the difference unless you tell them!

Nevertheless, I should say that I didn't try to go all out with large antennas, tall towers, etc., trying to look like VOA! My theory was K.I.S.S. (Keep it simple stupid): one ground mounted Butternut HF6V, one 30' tower and 2M beam. A few other smaller antennas snuck in for good measure and mounted to vent pipes. All of which, have the masts painted sky blue to reduce the overall antenna farm affect.

So, even though my situation is somewhat different, the main suggestion I have is to: Know your covenants. Tell your realtor while your looking! Ask for their help in finding a suitable location and/or pitching your case to the HOA (hey, they're in the business to make money and they're salespeople! They can help you sell your plan!) KISS! Keep it simple! If you're reasonable about what you want and what you'll accept, maybe they (the ACC) will make a reasonable accommodation? Stealth! If it looks lovely (big, bad, tall, wow!) to you, it might not look so lovely to the neighbors! Minimize the ugly factor -- use makeup! Finally, point out other people's TV antennas and Sat dishes you notice in the subdivision! Hey, it they can do it, why can't I??? Your regulations seem a bit discrimanatory don't they? Love that word "discrimanatory"! And be sure to quote "PRB-1". It sounds so official!

Good luck!

73

Tracy, K0DOE
 
reply  
by K0DOE on May 26, 2000 Mail this to a friend!
I fought and won the very same battle when we purchased our home in a subdivision in 1987. I specifically told the realtor that I was a "ham" and wanted the right to erect some antennas. When we finally decided to make an offer on the house, I made the purchase offer contingent upon the HOA's ACC approval of my antenna installation. I drew a scale drawing of what the antennas would be and where they were to be located on the plot (i.e., elevations, plan view, etc.) Even though there was no specific language dealing with ham radio or CB antennas, they could have very easily declined the installation on other "visual" grounds. The realtor (my mouth piece) went to the ACC meeting and presented my proposal. It was discussed and accepted with the signature of the chairman affixed to the house plans -- forever assuring my right to maintain the status of the antennas I had asked for!

The issue has come back to me several times in recent years. Every time we would get a new neighbor in the area, they would make a comment about the antennas. Like, did you get those approved? They're kinda ugly! I'd simply reply, they've been approved by the subdivision's ACC (just like your &%!* wrecked car parked on your driveway all the time) and would you care to see the signature affixed to the plans?! I'll be happy to show them to you. They're mouth would just drop as the wind exits their sails! Sure they can complain, but only upon deaf ears. I always make sure to add that if they care to take the issue up with the ACC, I'll be glad to attend with my attorney. This is also a good time to ask if they've had any interference problems and take care of explaining (or doing something about) those as well. It is also good to explain what "Amateur Radio" is and how it differs from "CB". I can't tell you how many times my antennas have been called "CB" antennas!
Hey, they don't know the difference unless you tell them!

Nevertheless, I should say that I didn't try to go all out with large antennas, tall towers, etc., trying to look like VOA! My theory was K.I.S.S. (Keep it simple stupid): one ground mounted Butternut HF6V, one 30' tower and 2M beam. A few other smaller antennas snuck in for good measure and mounted to vent pipes. All of which, have the masts painted sky blue to reduce the overall antenna farm affect.

So, even though my situation is somewhat different, the main suggestion I have is to: Know your covenants. Tell your realtor while your looking! Ask for their help in finding a suitable location and/or pitching your case to the HOA (hey, they're in the business to make money and they're salespeople! They can help you sell your plan!) KISS! Keep it simple! If you're reasonable about what you want and what you'll accept, maybe they (the ACC) will make a reasonable accommodation? Stealth! If it looks lovely (big, bad, tall, wow!) to you, it might not look so lovely to the neighbors! Minimize the ugly factor -- use makeup! Finally, point out other people's TV antennas and Sat dishes you notice in the subdivision! Hey, it they can do it, why can't I??? Your regulations seem a bit discrimanatory don't they? Love that word "discrimanatory"! And be sure to quote "PRB-1". It sounds so official!

Good luck!

73

Tracy, K0DOE
 
RE: Break Away From The Pack  
by K0DOE on May 26, 2000 Mail this to a friend!
I fought and won the very same battle when we purchased our home in a subdivision in 1987. I specifically told the realtor that I was a "ham" and wanted the right to erect some antennas. When we finally decided to make an offer on the house, I made the purchase offer contingent upon the HOA's ACC approval of my antenna installation. I drew a scale drawing of what the antennas would be and where they were to be located on the plot (i.e., elevations, plan view, etc.) Even though there was no specific language dealing with ham radio or CB antennas, they could have very easily declined the installation on other "visual" grounds. The realtor (my mouth piece) went to the ACC meeting and presented my proposal. It was discussed and accepted with the signature of the chairman affixed to the house plans -- forever assuring my right to maintain the status of the antennas I had asked for!

The issue has come back to me several times in recent years. Every time we would get a new neighbor in the area, they would make a comment about the antennas. Like, did you get those approved? They're kinda ugly! I'd simply reply, they've been approved by the subdivision's ACC (just like your &%!* wrecked car parked on your driveway all the time) and would you care to see the signature affixed to the plans?! I'll be happy to show them to you. They're mouth would just drop as the wind exits their sails! Sure they can complain, but only upon deaf ears. I always make sure to add that if they care to take the issue up with the ACC, I'll be glad to attend with my attorney. This is also a good time to ask if they've had any interference problems and take care of explaining (or doing something about) those as well. It is also good to explain what "Amateur Radio" is and how it differs from "CB". I can't tell you how many times my antennas have been called "CB" antennas!
Hey, they don't know the difference unless you tell them!

Nevertheless, I should say that I didn't try to go all out with large antennas, tall towers, etc., trying to look like VOA! My theory was K.I.S.S. (Keep it simple stupid): one ground mounted Butternut HF6V, one 30' tower and 2M beam. A few other smaller antennas snuck in for good measure and mounted to vent pipes. All of which, have the masts painted sky blue to reduce the overall antenna farm affect.

So, even though my situation is somewhat different, the main suggestion I have is to: Know your covenants. Tell your realtor while your looking! Ask for their help in finding a suitable location and/or pitching your case to the HOA (hey, they're in the business to make money and they're salespeople! They can help you sell your plan!) KISS! Keep it simple! If you're reasonable about what you want and what you'll accept, maybe they (the ACC) will make a reasonable accommodation? Stealth! If it looks lovely (big, bad, tall, wow!) to you, it might not look so lovely to the neighbors! Minimize the ugly factor -- use makeup! Finally, point out other people's TV antennas and Sat dishes you notice in the subdivision! Hey, it they can do it, why can't I??? Your regulations seem a bit discrimanatory don't they? Love that word "discrimanatory"! And be sure to quote "PRB-1". It sounds so official!

Good luck!

73

Tracy, K0DOE
 
re: Antenna restrictions  
by KF7VY on May 27, 2000 Mail this to a friend!
There is more to the homeowner CC&R antenna restrictions than meets the eye. There are two basic reasons for CC&R antenna restrictions:
(1) protection of the local cable TV monopoly,
(2) protection of views or other aesthetic issues

Prior to PRB-1, local government engaged in this game. Because the cable company is a monopoly, they typically pay a franchise fee to the local government (city, county). This fee might amount to 5% to 7% of your monthly cable TV bill. Local government had a significant financial incentive to discourage the installation of TV antennas - hence, they originally banned all antennas on homes. Those restrictions were lifted through PRB-1 and later satellite TV and over-the-air TV rulings from the FCC. But hopefully this illustrates how the problem got started.

In the post-PRB-1 world, the cable companies have persuaded developers to prohibit all antennas through the private CC&Rs on the property. I briefly worked with a property developer putting together a 3,000+ unit housing development. The cable TV company was offering to pay him to enact antenna restrictions in his housing development (he didn't go for it, by the way). I suspect that is the number one reason that private antenna prohibitions have been slapped on all new construction.

Further, over the years, the cable companies have worked to give antennas a bad public image. The result is that over-the-air TV antennas are now viewed as "out of date" and strange. As DBS satellite TV providers have competed with local cable monopolies, the cable companies were, for some time, advertising that you could not get local TV via satellite (you can now, sort of) unless you put up an "ugly and old fashioned, cumbersome TV antenna". They successfully created a world where "antennas" are viewed in a negative light. I would say that most of these restrictions had little to do with ham radio operators - hams just got caught in the generic prohibitions on all antennas.

When we last moved, we bought an old house (30 years old), well kept, in a nice neighborhood and without antenna restrictions. Funny thing, my back yard property line adjoins the fancy new housing complex loaded with lots of antenna restrictions.

As a prior post noted, it can be hard to find any land on which to build a house where antennas will be okay. In our state, like many states, strong "growth management" laws have been enacted. Most new housing (>50%) is required to be multi-family dwellings (apartments, condos, townhomes) where ham radio is clearly going to be hard to do. The same growth management rules also mean that, locally, you'd generally need to buy at least a 10 to 20 acre parcel of land, in an outlying area, to build your own home. Everything in close is earmarked for high density construction now, complete with antenna restrictions.

Ed, KF7VY
http://hamradio-online.com

 
RE: What Should We Demand?  
by KA4PXK on December 10, 2001 Mail this to a friend!
I live right now in a C&R townhouse in Woodbridge, VA. I have to operate with in door Antennas, unless I want to load a downspout or similar. I think we should demand that the ARRL, press the FCC to force reasonable accomendation for Hams. I can't do public service if I can't get on the air. Back during Nam when I had my fist license, I ran phone patches for service men, I have done a lot of volunteer work over the years and I would still be doing it, and involved in MARS with my (new) old call. I had to get a new license after college, anyway I am ore or less, useless with no antenna. Loading my 757 isn't easy with a even tuner and a 10 meter ant strung out on the floor!
My wife and I have decided to solve this problem by buying 7 Acres in SC. We are able to relocate there, but we will have to live in a trailer until we can afford to build a house. We are lucky as we are fairly young and retired. I know several dozen hams who are more or less off the air as I am more or less, due to the C&RS.
We need to get the ARRL, local clubs and ourselves to public demos, run phone patches even or send messages on traffic nets. We need to explain the hobby. I would love to have a film or two done to show to community groups. After 9-11-2001 hundreds of hams helped out, we need to publize this, if we show we have a purpose, we might be able to get C&Rs modified. If we can't get the C&Rs changed it will give a good reason for Congress or the FCC to act. We need to also push on the state level, doing this will work but it might take time.

Hams are the last line of communication, a national asset, we need to make people aware of it. We also need to strike while the iron is hot. I hope I haven't rambled to much here. We can fight them, but we need to educate the public, as we do so, to change the publics perception of ham radio, and the antennas that we use. To many people think CB and Ham Radio are the same thing, others think we have to have legal limit Amp and 100 ft tower with a big beam. A Vertical and 100 watts is an easier sell, later you can at least add a linear if you want to...
73
de

KA4PXK
 
Antenna Restrictions  
by AD5KL on January 3, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
To the point - homeowners associations suck.
 
Antenna Restrictions  
by KI6CDF on May 2, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
And then there is California.... I live in a CCR restricted community.

I've put up a 5btv vertical and so far am pleased with the results. I mounted the antenna on the ground in the least obvious location in my backyard. I plan on having tree/shrub growth all around the antenna to obscure its visibility. About 18" of the very top of the antenna can be seen from the street. I also have the antenna set up so that I can take the antenna down quickly when I'm not using it. And if these measures don't work then there is the flag pole technique.

I've read my CC&Rs carefully. There is no right to completely restrict what I'm doing. Further, it takes a 2/3 vote to change the CC&Rs. Oh yes, the "nuisance" question. Yes, the HOA has stated that any device that MAY INTERFERE with television, phones, etc. is prohibited. I got news for my neighbors if I'm prohibited from using my amateur radio then I will file suit against the HOA to prohibit the use of all cell phones, Wi-Fi, remote controls, garage door openers, etc., ad nauseam.

Get a good lawyer - the only thing that HOA's understand is brute force and going for the legal jugular. When these individuals are sued on a personal level maybe they will be more willing to negotiate....

I don't like to have to resort to these tactics. They are expensive, emotional, draining and not what I want to do when I'm not working but in the absence of reasonable accomodations (and I'm not asking for towers or beams or crank-ups) HOA guerilla warfare is the only answer...
 
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