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Author Topic: Report to Congress on Amateur Radio Submitted  (Read 8170 times)
W8JI
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« Reply #15 on: August 25, 2012, 04:21:50 AM »

We should be honest with ourselves about this.

This is a case of property owners rights vs. the rights of an occasional amateur operator who rarely will ever do any public service.

If we elect to move into a restricted community where all the other owners or renters agree to some terms, we should be prepared to follow those agreements. We are not as special as we think we are, with the uncommon exception of amateurs actually actively involved in public service work.
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AB4D
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« Reply #16 on: August 25, 2012, 05:49:04 AM »

Get back to me on how great that 160 Mile per day drive is when gas hits $6.00 per gal.  Shocked

Let's see - 8 hrs work + 1 Hr lunch + 4 Hrs on the road + 8 Hours sleep = 21 Hours. That leaves you 3 hours a day for the rest of your life. I happily gave up that grind many years ago.




If gas goes up to $8 gallon, it still would not change my opinion, because amateur radio is worth that much to me. When I moved here, gas was $2 a gallon, now it's nearing $4 it's not that big of a deal.  Fuel efficient cars these days get 30-40 mpg, my Camry averages 30.  What I save in lower taxes and lower mortgage payments, easily offsets my fuel cost when I was already living 40 miles from work in a much more expensive area (very common in many metropolitan areas).

I am not saying everyone should move that far from their work place. For most, they don't have to move that far to escape an HOA, because it does take discipline that most can't sustain.  Nevertheless, this is not forever, I will retire, much sooner than some because my move significantly reduced my living expenses. I won't go into retirement with mortgage payments, and won't be forced to move to a cheaper house for retirement, because I am already living in my retirement home.

My personal example shows what I was willing to do.  There are many other hams doing the same thing as well, I hear them each day on the air, and see them on the roads.  It's fun to fire up the radio, and listen to the activity first thing in the morning. 

Your Math = 8 hrs work + 1 Hr lunch + 4 Hrs on the road + 8 Hours sleep = 21 Hours

My Math = 8.5 hrs for work, lunch, and 2 breaks + 4 Hrs radio time + 8 Hours sleep = 20.5 hours

73
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AA4PB
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« Reply #17 on: August 25, 2012, 06:40:19 AM »

I was lucky - 25 years ago I was able to get a job where I could live close to home and not have an HOA. As I look around me, I doubt that I could do that today given the same budget restraints. The vast majority of affordable homes in the area are in developments with HOA restrictions. Of course if you are not restricted by budget, you can have most anything you want.

At the other end of life you often reach a point where you are not able to maintain a property and need to downsize. It's likely that's going to put you back into an HOA situation. Again, if you have enough money you can hire someone to do the yard work and maintenance but if you are on a typical small, fixed income then you are probably headed for antenna restrictions.

Again, I'm not saying that every ham should have a 60-foot tower and Yagi in the back yard but preventing a simple 20M wire dipole seems to me to be unreasonable. The FCC did take charge with the OTARD ruling so homeowners can have a dish on their roof but a ham can't have a simple dipole or 2M vertical. It's not about right or wrong or what agreement someone had to sign to get a property. It's all about which group has the money to put lobbyists in DC to push their agenda.

What makes it even worse for amateur radio is the (apparently) large number of hams (who have no restrictions) who oppose an OTARD-like ruling to provide some relieve for their fellow hams who do have restrictions. For most people who have a family to support, ham radio is not, and should not be, the #1 top priority in their life. Most families have many other legitimate considerations besides how big of a antenna can be installed. Ham radio is supposed to be a hobby.
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AC4RD
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« Reply #18 on: August 25, 2012, 10:30:29 AM »

...It's not about right or wrong or what agreement someone had to sign to get a property. It's all about which group has the money to put lobbyists in DC to push their agenda.

What makes it even worse for amateur radio is the (apparently) large number of hams (who have no restrictions) who oppose an OTARD-like ruling to provide some relieve for their fellow hams who do have restrictions.

Just for the record, the fact that I don't have an HOA doesn't mean I OPPOSE a favorable ruling, not a bit.  I'd be delighted to see something like PRB-1 or OTARD enacted that would help hams with HOA-related antenna restrictions.  I think that SHOULD happen, both because it's reasonable, and because it enhances our ability to help the public in times of need. 

But I don't think it's going to happen.  There are more real-estate dealers and HOA presidents than there are active hams in this country, I'd bet.   We don't have the clout to make it happen--as you say in the first sentence of yours quoted above.  All we can do is work rationally through our national lobbying group, the ARRL, for improvements--and we shouldn't be holding our breath waiting for those improvements. 
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W0MT
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« Reply #19 on: August 26, 2012, 09:37:55 PM »

Get back to me on how great that 160 Mile per day drive is when gas hits $6.00 per gal.  Shocked

Let's see - 8 hrs work + 1 Hr lunch + 4 Hrs on the road + 8 Hours sleep = 21 Hours. That leaves you 3 hours a day for the rest of your life. I happily gave up that grind many years ago.
Life is full of choices. It is also full of no (or few) choices. You want to live in a newly developed area with good schools and short commute to work, you probably have to accept a HOA and CC&Rs. You want to have a 100 foot tower with a big beam antenna, you probably have to live somewhere with a long commute to work and mediocre schools. One thing is clear to me, HOAs and CC&Rs are not going to go away and antenna restrictions are here to stay.

I have lived in several homes with an HOA and CC&Rs. My experience is that most people who live in such areas actually like the restrictions. I own a home in a neighborhood with a little over 100 homes. There were 2 hams who lived here until one moved away to an assisted living facility. Now I am the only ham here. Does anyone really think that Congress or the FCC is going to tell communities such as this that one household in 100 is going to set the rules for the other 99? The odds just don't begin to support that ever happening. Actually the odds are even worse than 1 to 99; it is 1 Ham to about 350 non-Hams. Just to be clear, there is no HOA where this home is located and the CC&Rs do not restrict antennas. However, they do prohibit outhouses and more than 2 horses per lot. (There are no outhouses and the 2 horse limit is ignored.)

In short, complaining about CC&Rs and HOAs is about as useful as howling at the moon.
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AA4PB
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« Reply #20 on: August 27, 2012, 08:16:31 AM »

I disagree. At one time we thought that nothing could be done about the local government telling you that you couldn't have an antenna (or one higher than 35 feet). Hams, with the help of ARRL, were able to get that changed to at least require "reasonable accomodation" for their antennas. Given some time and effort the ARRL may be able to get the HOAs to require the same "reasonable accomodation" - no reason to think that it can't be done. Fortunately in this country it's not always about "majority rule". Sometimes at least it's about what is reasonable and right.
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W3DBB
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« Reply #21 on: August 27, 2012, 10:50:17 AM »

With the issuance of the FCC Public Notice it appeared the Commission only wanted to go through the motions to appease the U.S. Congress. The two preconceived notions, held by two different parts of the U.S. government, were:
1.)   The FCC wanted nothing to do with altering private contracts via declaratory ruling; their position is Congress has to act.  
2.)   There is no heat or light (read: campaign contributions or a tidal wave of adverse publicity) to force the U.S. Congress to act.

Reasonable accomodation is nice, but for whom? What is reasonable to a particular party may be unreasonable to another. In townhouses, duplexes, or discrete homes on small lots, a 43' vertical & 100 Watts need not be an eyesore, but it is going to bathe the neighborhood in RF and generate complaints of RFI. How is this reasonable to Joe Sixpack who is trying to watch the big game on a consumer-grade television receiver? The short answer is that it is not reasonable. Not all rights are inalienable. Some of your rights end where your neighbor's rights begin. It's always been this way where humans live in close proximity to one another.

HOA/CCR restricted neighborhoods with lots larger than some arbitrary minimum size (0.5 acre) would be prime candidates for having restrictions on amateur transmitting antennas superceded by a favorable ruling. The nice thing about a FCC declaratory ruling is it stays under the aegis of regulatory law. The courts tend to bow to the expertise of the Federal regulatory agency when their rulings are challenged.

The problem with Congress passing a PRB-1 style ruling for amateurs on larger HOA/CCR restricted lots is it invites review by a Federal court. All United States citizens are entitled to equal protection under the law. Radio amateurs living in townhouses, duplexes, or homes on small lots that have HOA/CCR restrictions against antennas would be entitled to the same relief as their brethren on larger lots. And we're back to the RFI problems that are 'baked in the cake' of HOA/CCR antenna restrictions.

The devil is, as always, in the details. The situation does cry out for some commonsense relief from the FCC. If there were more of us, and if the amateur radio manufacturing industry- domestically in particular- had a bigger footprint, we'd be in a better position to influence the government. I'm referring to donating money to candidates running for elected office who are friendly and helpful toward amateur radio, as well as having a large and healthy domestic amateur radio manufacturer's association in place to lobby the government for appropriate regulations. As things now stand it's tough to see any of this happening.    
« Last Edit: August 27, 2012, 11:15:06 AM by W3DBB » Logged
W0MT
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« Reply #22 on: August 27, 2012, 07:08:56 PM »

I disagree. At one time we thought that nothing could be done about the local government telling you that you couldn't have an antenna (or one higher than 35 feet). Hams, with the help of ARRL, were able to get that changed to at least require "reasonable accomodation" for their antennas. Given some time and effort the ARRL may be able to get the HOAs to require the same "reasonable accomodation" - no reason to think that it can't be done. Fortunately in this country it's not always about "majority rule". Sometimes at least it's about what is reasonable and right.
You might be right but I don't think so. There is a BIG difference between requiring state and local government to provide reasonable accommodation and imposing a similar rule on HOAs and CC&Rs. State and local government were (and in many cases still are) making it very difficult for Hams to put up antennas by restrictive zoning and building codes. Generally speaking, the public has no idea what restrictions zoning code and zoning impose. Many are not even aware that such restrictions exist. On the other hand those are affected by CC&Rs normally have a copy and are aware of what restrictions they impose. In many neighborhoods, there are individuals who deputize themselves to check the neighbors to be sure they haven't violated some picayune provision of the CC&Rs. I don't recall any outcry when PRB-1 was imposed. People (other than Hams) just were not aware of it. The same would not be true if CC&Rs had to allow reasonable accommodation.
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