In a prior blog we notified you of the pending approval of the Amateur Radio Parity Act S. 1685 by the Senate Committee on Commerce, and urged a call to the committee members. The bill has since passed the committee. However, some senators have opposed the bill on the basis that it goes a step too far as written. As a reminder, the bill will impact a community association’s right to require prior approval for, and otherwise regulate, the installation of HAM radio towers and antennas.
Options for this bill at this time are:
- The companion bill, H.R. 1301, may be referred to the House Energy and Commerce Committee for debate, or
- The legislation may be amended and proceed to the Senate floor for a vote.
We encourage you to once again act now to contact your senator letting them know your opposition to the Amateur Radio Parity Act S. 1685 as written.
4 responses to “Amateur Radio Parity Act – Round II”
As HOA president of a large townhome community in the Denver area, I strongly object to passage of the Amateur Radio Parity Act S. 1685. In our community, residents own the exteriors of their units; the HOA owns the exterior, including common areas and roofs. Our declarations state that owners cannot make any changes to the exterior of their unit, or the common area, without HOA approval. If owners were allowed to erect ham radio antennas on roofs or in the common area, it would destroy the overall appearance and beauty of our community.
What is the impetus for this? As a manager, I’ve never had a request for a radio antenna. We’ve all seen what dishes have done to the appearance of our communities. Now, they want to add this. Why not just declare covenants “contrary to public policy?”
As a licensed radio amateur as well as a former HOA director, I can understand both sides of this issue. I have always believed that the primary purpose of an HOA is to preserve, and if possible, to enhance the value of property owned by its members. I understand how some HOA members might feel threatened by the Amateur Radio Parity Act of 2015, thinking it would diminish an association’s ability to control the aesthetics which contribute to the value of property in a community.
In reading statements and comments advanced by the HOA side of this discussion, it is clear to me that there is a considerable misunderstanding of what the act is designed to do. S. 1685 and its identical House bill would merely require “reasonable accommodation” of amateur antennas. Three factors must be considered to make sense of this:
1) Any structure tall enough to pose a threat to adjacent property would clearly not be “reasonable” under the Amateur Radio Parity Act, and
2) Giant towers are a luxury that only wealthy amateur can afford and are neither necessary for normal amateur radio operation nor typical of the antennas most amateurs use.
Most amateurs use barely visible wire antennas tacked to the inside of perimeter fences or strung from trees. Antennas of this type have been used since the early 1900s and are adequate to achieve world-wide communications when ionospheric conditions are favorable. Even so, many HOAs ban all antennas without exception, regardless of how inconspicuous such antennas can be.
I don’t want to see any giant towers spring up in my community any more than anyone else does, and I am confident that a “reasonable accommodation” law could not be construed to permit expensive, ugly and potentially dangerous structures to be erected on residential lots. At the same time, I believe that a “reasonable accommodation” law should be enacted to permit radio amateurs to construct stealth antennas that do not endanger or detract from the aesthetics of our communities.
15706 Stoney Fork Dr.
Houston, TX 77084
Amateur License: WZ8Q
Not so many years ago every house in suburbia had a TV aerial,as tall as the homeowner could afford. Then came antenna restrictions promulgated by cable TV industry.
At one time a few states and many localities outlawed car radios.
We would consider them luddites today.
Today’s luddities like to ban anything beyond their sound-byte understandings. Worse they are incapable if leaving their neighbors alone.
I think the root cause is management companies hired by hoas. Every invented violation profits them. It is in their interest to promote turmoil.
A little common sense would go a long way here.. John AF5SD