SKYWARN Recognition Day On-the-Air Event is Saturday, December 3

NWS Special Event logo
The annual SKYWARN Recognition Day (SRD) on-the-air activity will take place Saturday, December 3, from 0000 until 2400 UTC (starts on the evening of Friday, December 2, in US time zones).

SKYWARN Recognition Day was developed in 1999 by the National Weather Service and ARRL to honor the contributions that SKYWARN volunteers make to the NWS mission — the protection of life and property during threatening weather. During the SKYWARN Special Event, hams will operate from several NWS offices. W1AW will take part in the event.

The object of the event is for all participating Amateur Radio stations to exchange contact information with as many NWS stations as possible on 80, 40, 20, 15, 10, 6, and 2 meters plus 70 centimeters. Contacts via repeaters are permitted.

Stations will exchange call signs, signal reports, locations, and a one or two-word description of the weather at their respective locations (e.g., “sunny,” “rainy,” “partly cloudy,” “windy”). NWS stations will use various modes, including SSB, FM, AM, RTTY, CW, and PSK31. While using digital modes, special event stations will append “NWS” to their call signs (e.g., N0A/NWS).

Event certificates will be electronic and printable from the main website after the conclusion of SRD. An online submission form is available to submit your log summary for SRD.

SRD Webinar Set

A webinar will be offered on November 30 at 0100 UTC (the evening of November 29 in US time zones) in advance of the 18th SKYWARNRecognition Day (SRD) on December 3. Register for the webinar online.

The pre-event webinar will cover SKYWARN Recognition Day basics, explain how to participate, and alert participants to a few changes in store for 2016. The webinar will be recorded and posted to the ARRL YouTube channel.

Mark Twain Birthday Special Event Set

Mark Twain-th
Members of ARRL Headquarters staff will be on the air as W1T, November 28-December 4, in honor of Mark Twain’s 181st birthday. On November 30, Twain’s actual birthday, the Mark Twain House and Museum in Hartford, Connecticut has granted permission for a special event station to be set up in the front yard of the house from 9 AM until 4 PM EST (1400-2100 UTC).

Born in Missouri in 1835, Twain lived in Hartford from 1874 to 1891 and wrote many of his greatest works during that time, including The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, and A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court.

“We are so excited to have our neighbors at ARRL with us on Mark Twain’s 181st birthday!” said Betsy Maguire, Manager of Living History at the Mark Twain House and Museum. “This is a rare treat for the Museum staff, our visitors, and hopefully, many amateur operators across the country who make contact with the station. As a lover of the science and technology of his day, Samuel Clemens would definitely approve of a ‘special event station’ on the grounds of ‘the loveliest home that ever was.’”

W1T activity on November 30 will be exclusively from the Mark Twain House and Museum; all other W1T activity during the week will be conducted from other sites, as ARRL staff time permits. All bands and modes will be considered, including satellite operation. A special W1T QSL card will be available to commemorate the event. Complete information is available on the W1T listing at qrz.com.

Indian Radio Amateurs Report More Mystery Signals

Gujarat-Maharashtra MAP
According to a Mumbai Mirror report, radio amateurs who have been hearing mysterious signals on 2 meters for the past 5 months have tracked them down to a source somewhere off the Maharashtra-Gujarat coast in the Arabian Sea. Ankur Puranik, VU2AXN, a spokesperson for a local Amateur Radio club, said the group had advised the Ministry of Telecommunications as well as defense and law enforcement officials to take note of the unknown signals and consider investigating them.

The newspaper account, attributed to the Indo-Asian News Service (IANS), said the club contacted authorities after using direction-finding techniques to determine that the signals were originating from somewhere around 100 nautical miles in the high seas. Puranik said those making the transmissions were speaking in a language the Mumbai hams did not understand. Radio amateurs in the Mumbai area have reported hearing the unknown signals at various times of day — although more frequently at night — and said they continue.

Earlier this year, radio amateurs along the Bengal-Bangladesh border reported hearing strange, unidentified VHF radio transmissions that one called “highly suspicious.” — Thanks to Southgate Amateur Radio News

Hurricane Watch Net Announces Tentative Thanksgiving Day Activation for Otto

Hurricane watch net
The Hurricane Watch Net (HWN) has announced tentative plans to activate on Thursday, November 24, at 1200 UTC on its primary frequency of 14.325 MHz. If propagation dictates, the net will operate on 7.268 MHz as well. Once activated, the net will remain in continuous operation until further notice.

“Planning to activate for a hurricane is usually an easy task,” said HWN Manager Bobby Graves, KB5HAV, in announcing the activation. “Every now and then, a storm comes along [that is] forecast to become a hurricane prior to landfall.” He said he called the activation in light of the uncertainty over whether Otto would again reach hurricane strength prior to making landfall in Central America.

Amateur Radio emergency nets on 40 and 75 meters have activated in anticipation that Tropical Storm Otto may make landfall in Central America. In Costa Rica a net is operational on 7080 kHz. In Nicaragua, National Red Cross Emergency Net frequencies in use are 7098 kHz (7105 kHz alternate) and 3798 kHz (3805 kHz alternate). The official net station is YN1YN. Some “high-risk” populations have been evacuated in certain areas where flooding is most likely.

As of 2100 UTC on November 23, the storm’s center was about 140 miles northeast of Limon, Costa Rica, and some 180 miles east-southeast of BlOtto_161124uefields, Nicaragua, tracking to the west at 7 MPH. Maximum sustained winds are 70 MPH. Otto is expected to produce rainfall amounts of 6 to 12 inches, with isolated amounts of 15 to 20 inches, across northern Costa Rica and southern Nicaragua through Thursday. This rainfall will likely result in life-threatening flash floods and mudslides.

Outer rain bands from Otto are expected to produce rainfall amounts of 4 to 8 inches over San Andres and Providencia islands, and the higher terrain of central and western Panama and southern Costa Rica through November 23.

“Your cooperation in helping keep a clear frequency greatly enhances our mission in helping those affected by hurricanes,” Graves said. The Net will announce any changes to its plans onits website.

Guidelines for Amateur Radio Operators

Jota 2016

JOTA is a spectacular opportunity to introduce Scouts to amateur radio. For many, this will be their first exposure to the world of ham radio. Some will go on to become hams, enjoying the hobby for a lifetime. A few will even find the basis of a career in science and technology.

We’ve assembled a fair bit of information here to help you work with your Scouting partner in setting up this event. You should also consult the American Radio Relay League information at www.arrl.org/jamboree-on-the-air-jota .

Licensing Regulations

As a licensed amateur radio operator, you must, …

more

of course, comply with FCC regulations regarding frequencies, power, quality of signal, etc. Third-party traffic is approved by the FCC. Therefore, Scouts can talk with other Scouts when both stations are licensed by the FCC. When the station you are in contact with is outside U.S. jurisdiction, a third-party agreement must exist between the U.S. and that country’s telecommunications authority. If an agreement exists, then Scouts in the U.S. may talk directly to the Scouts in that country. If not, then the licensed ham radio operator must talk for the Scouts. The full list of countries with a designation of which countries have third-party agreements with the U.S. is at this link: www.arrl.org/third-party-operating-agreements .

Operating Rules

  • All radio operators must operate their station strictly in accordance with FCC regulations.
  • Stations should try to contact each other by calling “CQ Jamboree” or “CQ JOTA” or by answering other stations sending this call.
  • Any authorized amateur radio frequency may be used. It is suggested that the frequencies listed below be used, at least for a starting point. Once contact is established, you can move to another frequency to leave the calling frequency open for others.
  • Any amateur mode of operation can be used such, as CW, SSB, PSK, SSTV, FM, and satellite. The more modes in operation, the more exciting the event will be for the Scouts.
  • JOTA is not a contest. The idea is to contact other Scout stations and allow as many Scouts as possible to talk to other Scouts and learn about who they are and what they are doing. You might think about counting the Scouts on both sides of the QSO rather than the number of QSOs!

 

Suggested Frequencies

  • All frequencies are shown as megahertz.
  • Primary HF recommendations are for General Class licensees. Technicians may take advantage of 10 m and VHF/UHF for voice communications.
  • After contact is made on Calling Channel or frequency, move to another channel or frequency for QSO.
  • Experiment with modes prior to JOTA or Radio Scouting demo. ‘Murphy’s Law’ prevails!
  • Use web search tools to find lots of helpful information about any of the modes commonly used for JOTA and Radio Scouting.
  • WOSM (World Organization of the Scouting Movement) calling frequencies are shown to indicate center of international activity.

HF SSB Voice

Band WOSM Calling Frequencies Suggested Band Segment for US Stations Notes
80 m 3.940 & 3.690(1) 3.920 – 3.940
3.670 – 3.690 (1)
(1) Extra segment
40 m 7.190 & 7.090 (2) 7.180 – 7.200
7.270 – 7.290
(2) 7.090 not available in Region 2
20 m 14.290 14.270 – 14.290
14.320 – 14.340
17 m 18.140 18.140 – 18.150
15 m 21.360 21.360 – 21.400
12 m 24.960 24.960 – 24.980
10 m 28.390 (3) 28.350 – 28.400 (3) (3) Includes Novices & Techs
6 m 50.160 50.160 – 50.200

HF CW

Band WOSM Calling Frequencies Suggested Band Segment for US Stations Notes
80 m 3.570 (3) 3.560 – 3.570 (3) (3) Includes Novices & Techs
40 m 7.030 (3) 7.030 – 7.040 (3) (3) Includes Novices & Techs
20 m 14.060 14.050 – 14.060
17 m 18.080 18.070 – 18.080
15 m 21.140 (3) 21.130 – 21.140 (3) (3) Includes Novices & Techs
12 m 24.910 24.900 – 24.910
10 m 28.180 (3) 28.170 – 28.180 (3) (3) Includes Novices & Techs
6 m 50.160 50.150 – 50.160

HF PSK-31

http://bpsk31.com

Call CQ JOTA. The chart below shows the commonly used frequencies for PSK-31.

Band Frequency Notes
80 m 3.580
40 m 7.080 (4) (4) Region 2 (USA).
7.040 to 7.060 for Regions 1 & 3
30 m 10.142
20 m 14.070 (5) (5) Most activity for JOTA will be on 20 m
17 m 18.100
15 m 21.080 (6) (6) Most activity can be found at 21.070
12 m 24.920
10 m 28.120

2 Meter FM Simplex

147.450, 147.480, 147.510, 147.540* * Use 147.540 as Calling Channel. Always listen first to avoid interfering with another QSO or auxiliary or control link. Avoid 146.520, the National FM Simplex Calling Frequency, as well as 146.550, which is commonly used by mobiles and RVers.

70 CM FM Simplex

446.000*, 445.950, 446.050, 446.100, 446.150 * Use 446.000 as Calling Channel. Always listen first to avoid interfering with another QSO or auxiliary or control link.

D-STAR

http://www.dstarinfo.com

REF033A has been allocated as a full-time JOTA/Radio Scouting D-STAR Reflector. After contact is established, stations should disconnect from REF033A and connect to one or other repeater or migrate to an unused Reflector.

SIMPLEX Channels: 145.670*, 145.640, 145.610, 438.010. * 145.670  and 438.010 are commonly used as the National D-STAR Simplex Channels and should be used only as Calling Channels for JOTA. Always listen first to avoid interfering with another QSO.

DMR

http://www.dmr-marc.net

All wide area talkgroups are permitted for use for JOTA for establishing contacts. After contact is established, stations should utilize as few resources as possible. For international, national, and regional QSO’s, stations should move their transmissions to one of the DMR-MARC UA talkgroups or to the DCI TAC-310 talkgroup.

For intrastate contacts, stations may use their area’s statewide talkgroup (if applicable). The use of your repeater’s local talkgroup (if applicable) is always permitted. A full list of repeaters and their available talkgroups can be found at http://www.dmr-marc.net/repeaters.html .

SIMPLEX Channels: 441.0000*, 446.5000, 446.0750, 433.4500, 145.7900*, 145.5100. All simplex frequencies operate on time-slot 1 and use color code 1. (*are commonly used as the National DMR Simplex Channels and should be used only as Calling Channels for JOTA. Always listen first to avoid interfering with another QSO.)

IRLP

http://irlp.net

http://www.irlptopics.net

Use Topic Channel Node 9091 as a Common Meeting Place or Calling Channel. After contact, disconnect from 9091 and one station should connect to another’s local node.

EchoLink

http://www.echolink.org

Software or apps available for Windows, Mac, iPhone/iPad, and Android. Dedicated Conference Node *JOTA-365* (node 480809). When contact is made on a Conference Node, it is recommended the two parties establish direct contact with each other to free up the Conference Node.

APRS

144.39

http://aprs.org

http://aprs.org/cqsrvr.html

http://www.aprs-is.net/CQSrvr.aspx

CQSRVR: CQ JOTA

CQSRVR: CQ SCOUTS (other times of the year)

Insurance

Check your insurance coverage for your equipment and, if the Scouts are visiting your ham station, your premises. This is just one more element to verify before the event to avoid any problems repairing or replacing equipment damaged during the event.

Publicity

You’re encouraged to send news releases of the event to your local newspapers and television and radio stations. You can encourage photographers to attend the event. You can also forward photos to your local news media, including weekly papers. A sample news release is included on this website.

General Guidelines

  • Jamboree-on-the Air is about getting young people to talk to each other using amateur radio.
  • Arrange for the use of a club call sign, or apply for a special-event call sign in plenty of time.
  • Prepare some simple diagrams and explanations showing how radio works and how signals can be transmitted around the world as well as to the nearest repeater.
  • Arrange with the Scout leaders regarding venue, QSL cards, patches, participation certificates, other activities, physical arrangements, publicity, and details required for the JOTA report form on this website.
  • Notify the national JOTA organizer of your event using the details on the registration form on this site.
  • Go to Scout meetings beforehand to introduce the subject.
  • Organize activities such as kit building, soldering practice, SSTV, FSTV, packet radio, and weather satellite reception. The simplest of things, such as a closed-circuit RTTY station, can generate a great deal of excitement.
  • Offer to train Scouts for the Radio merit badge.
  • Offer a Technician license preparation course for those interested in learning and doing more with ham radio.
  • Ensure that no more than three Scouts are watching one Scout on the air. Keep Scouts involved and active or they will quickly grow bored.
  • Ensure that the station is safe for young visitors.
  • Observe your license conditions, especially regarding third-party traffic.
  • Involve the Scouts in the contact. The goal is to involve as many Scouts as possible in making a contact. It is not to maximize the number of contacts or the distance of the contacts; it’s about the experience for the Scouts.
  • Try to use plain, understandable English where possible. When you do use Q-signals and other ham radio terms, take time to explain them to the Scouts.
  • Don’t try to work weak stations from remote locations. Go for stronger, more local stations that unpracticed ears can hear easily and understand. Local FM repeaters can be just as exciting for Scouts.
  • Don’t feel you have to keep the station on the air with no Scouts present.

Useful Internet Sites

K2BSA Amateur Radio Association
http://www.k2bsa.net

BSA JOTA Information
http://www.scouting.org/jota.aspx

World Organization of the Scout Movement JOTA Information
http://www.scout.org/jotajoti/

ARRL JOTA Information
http://www.arrl.org/jamboree-on-the-air-jota

Ultimate resources site for everything ham radio
http://www.ac6v.com/

Discussion Groups

Best all-around Radio Scouting discussion group
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/ScoutRadio/

Worldwide coverage; however, be certain to post identical information at ScoutRadio at Yahoo
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/JOTAskedbook

Emphasis on discussion, announcements, and promoting getting “Scout Camps on the Air (SCOTA)”
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/scoutcamps_ota/

Final Thoughts

It’s recommended that you also look over the “Guidelines for Scout Leaders.” It will give you an idea of the necessary preparation by your partners in the event, and perhaps you’ll see areas where you can help.

Best wishes for a great Jamboree-on-the-Air. We look forward to hearing all about it in your JOTA report.

US JOTA Registrations May Top Previous Levels this Year

Jota 2016

10/10/2016

With Scouting’s Jamboree On The Air (JOTA) just days away, JOTA Coordinator Jim Wilson, K5ND, said this week that he’s optimistic a record number of US JOTA stations will register this year. He said it was a bit more difficult to compare figures from earlier years, because the JOTA and JOTI (Jamboree on the Internet) registrants are in the same database. The official JOTA-JOTI sign-up systemremains open. JOTA will be on the air October 14-16.

“We currently have 448 US stations signed up out of a world-wide total of 2,800,” Wilson said. “We expect to have a few thousand more stations around the world signed up by JOTA-JOTI weekend. Make sure you register your station.”

Wilson is not optimistic about favorable HF propagation …

more...

this weekend, however, but he’s hoping for the best. Most JOTA activity will center around selected HF frequencies.

The “PI4RAZ/J JOTA / Scouting Cluster Node” is one place to find out who’s on the air and where. “Hearing them might be another matter, but it’s a good starting point,” Wilson said. A “Scouts QSO” page lets JOTA stations make schedules with one another. No log-in is necessary. “Just use your call sign to post information,” Wilson said.

To help newcomers to ham radio, a Radio Scouting Quick Reference Card was developed by Tom Schuessler, N5HYP, to help Scouts with phonetics and call signs. On the back side of the card are common Q signals and a list of questions to help get Scout-to-Scout conversations going.

Wilson again urged all stations that register to file post-JOTA reports. Every station that files a report will be entered into a drawing for an Icom radio.

More than 1 million Scouts in 150+ countries — at nearly 18,000 stations — are expected to take part in JOTA 2016, engaging with other Scouts to talk about Amateur Radio and their Scouting experiences.

KI4ZIT Roy R. Goodrich, SK

silent key 02

It is with a great deal of sadness that I must announce the passing of Roy R. Goodrich, KI4ZIT  of Abilene.

Roy passed on September 24th.

de Ron

US House Passes the Amateur Radio Parity Act

ARRL DiamondOn September 12, 2016 by voice vote, the US House of Representatives suspended its rules and unanimously approved H.R. 1301, the Amateur Radio Parity Act, as amended.

H.R. 1301 now procceeds to the US Senate for consideration. Click here to read the full story.

To send a message to your members of the US Senate, click here.

To download a pdf copy of the Bill’s final form Click Here
 What will the Radio Parity Act Do?

The Amateur Radio Parity Act would not give Amateurs “carte blanche” to do whatever they wished.

Most importantly, it will ensure that every ham in the US, regardless of the community they live in, will have the opportunity to practice their avocation from their own homes without breaking any rules or fear of reprisal.

If enacted, amateurs who are living in deed-restricted communities would be guaranteed that there would be no preclusion of Amateur Radio communications by

more...

an HOA, that the Amateur would have the ability to construct an effective outdoor antenna on property under exclusive use of the licensee, and that the HOA must allow such facility using the least practicable restriction by the HOA to achieve their lawful purposes.

What are the Key Points of the Act as amended?

What did the original text of the Bill H.R. 1301 provide?

● It would have required FCC to enact rules to implement the “PRB-1” three-part test for municipal regulations affecting Amateur Radio communications to all types of private land use regulations, so that covenants and deed restrictions and HOA rules: (A) could not preclude Amateur Radio communications; (B) must make “reasonable accommodation” for Amateur Radio communications; and (C) must constitute the “minimum practicable restriction” in order to accomplish a legitimate purpose of the HOA seeking to enforce the rules.

 

Why didn’t the language of the original Bill preclude any HOA regulation of antennas completely?

● That could never have been achieved. Private land use regulations date back to the English common law and their use and enforceability in modern land use regulation is far too entrenched to have any reasonable chance of being exempted from them completely. Private land use regulations are included as restrictions applicable to parcels of land at the time that the buyer comes to the table. Neither Congress nor FCC would consider a complete preclusion of CC&Rs relative to Amateur antennas. The original bill language was not perfect but it was at the time the most that we could have hoped to achieve.

 

Why was it necessary to negotiate any changes to the Bills with the Community Associations Institute?

● There were two main reasons: first, in the Senate, Senator Nelson, the ranking minority member of the Senate Commerce Committee, stated his opposition to the Senate Bill as it read initially. His objection would have absolutely precluded the Bill from passing in the Senate, given the procedures for expedited handling of the Bill that were available to us. Unanimous vote in the Senate is required in order to pass bills that are not debated completely on the Senate Floor. Floor debate happens only with a very few bills of great importance, so the Parity Act would have to pass, if at all, by unanimous consent. Second, we were told that, although the House Bill was favorably reported from the House Telecommunications Subcommittee, it would not pass the House Energy and Commerce Committee unless there was agreement between ARRL and CAI. It is only because of the Substitute Amendment that the Bill was unanimously approved by the Energy and Commerce Committee.

 

What does the Substitute Amendment provide that is different from the original Bill language?

● The main difference is that the Substitute Amendment removes the “reasonable accommodation” obligation of HOAs and substitutes for it the absolute entitlement by every single radio Amateur living in a deed-restricted community to install and maintain on their property an “effective, outdoor antenna.” That is an extremely positive and helpful provision, now and in the future, because more than 22 percent of all Americans now live in deed-restricted communities. And 92 percent of new housing starts in the United States involve deed restrictions. Without this entitlement to install and maintain an effective outdoor antenna, deed restrictions will now and in the future be applicable to most hams in the United States. The language of deed restrictions either precludes outdoor antennas outright or else requires that any antennas be previously approved by an HOA, which, as of now, is typically never given. At the same time, the language of the Substitute Amendment preserves the existing PRB-1 language and all of the important case law with respect to municipal land use regulations that Amateurs have worked hard to establish for the past 30 years since PRB-1 was first issued.

 

What does the substitute amendment require exactly?

► FCC will enact rules that prohibit the application to Amateur Radio stations of deed restrictions which preclude Amateur Radio communications on their face or as applied.

► Also prohibited are those deed restrictions which do not permit an Amateur Radio operator living in a deed-restricted community to install and maintain an effective outdoor antenna on property under the exclusive use or control of the licensee.

► Also prohibited are deed restrictions which do not impose the minimum practicable restriction on Amateur communications to accomplish the lawful purposes of an HOA seeking to enforce the restriction.

►Amateurs who wish to install an antenna in a deed restricted community where there is an HOA must notify and obtain prior approval of the HOA. (This is no different than the requirement to apply for a building permit for an amateur antenna from a city, town or county).

► HOAs can preclude Amateur antennas in common areas (property not under the exclusive use of the licensee).

► HOAs can enact reasonable written rules governing height, location, size and aesthetic impact of, and installation requirements for, outdoor antennas and support structures for amateur communications. However, those rules cannot result in preclusion of Amateur communications and no such rule can restrict the absolute entitlement of each Amateur living in a deed-restricted community to an effective outdoor antenna.

►There are also very helpful factual findings in the amended Bill, such as a recitation of the strong Federal interest in Amateur Radio communications in residences of licensees. The factual findings are highly beneficial in terms of Federal policy that have never been in Federal legislation before.

 

Why should I have to apply for prior approval of an HOA before installing an antenna on my property?

● Because the HOA has a well-established interest in regulating aesthetics in a deed-restricted community just as a zoning authority has an interest in regulating safety and aesthetics throughout a municipality. You have to apply to the municipality and get a building permit for an antenna, and there is no logic that would have helped us justify language in the Bill that the HOA must give up the right to prior notice and approval of a ham radio antenna. If there is no HOA active, but you live in a deed-restricted community, obviously there is no one to notify or ask for approval. If your covenants do not make reference to antennas or structures and do not call for prior approval before installing a structure or building on the property, then obviously you don’t have to worry about the notification requirement. But if there is an HOA in your subdivision and if the deed restrictions call for prior approval or if they prohibit outdoor antennas, if our Bill passes you will have to notify the HOA and ask for approval for a particular antenna installation. After the notification and consent request is made, the HOA is obligated to not preclude Amateur Radio communications and it must allow you to install an effective outdoor antenna, and any restrictions must be the minimum to protect the aesthetic interest of the HOA. That is a more objective and favorable entitlement than is provided by the language of PRB-1.

 

What does “effective” mean and who gets to decide what “effective” means in my neighborhood?

● The word “effective” modifying “outdoor antenna” was chosen by ARRL as an appropriate and objective substitute for the more vague concept of “reasonable accommodation”. It is the ham who is best able to justify as a technical matter what constitutes an “effective” antenna on a given piece of property. It is impossible to delineate in legislation or even in FCC rules implementing legislation what type of antenna would be appropriate and suitable for installation on a given parcel of real property and what is effective for the ham involved, so it is up to the ham in each case to define for the HOA what would work effectively on that specific parcel.  “Effective” in a townhouse development is going to differ from what effective means on 5-acre or 10-acre lots sited at low elevations. It is always a case-by-case analysis, just as the less objective and less clear term “reasonable accommodation” was in the zoning context for many years.

 

Why was the entitlement to an “effective outdoor antenna” substituted for “reasonable accommodation?”  

● CAI was concerned that the case law in the zoning context applying PRB-1 and interpreting what constituted “reasonable accommodation” in zoning cases should not be carried over into the private land use regulation context.  ARRL agreed; we have 30 years of generally favorable case law applying “reasonable accommodation” in the zoning context. We can’t allow any of that case law to be subject to reinterpretation just because FCC is carrying the PRB-1 concept over from zoning to private land use regulation. There is a provision in the Substitute Amendment that requires FCC to not make any change in PRB-1 as it pertains to municipal land use regulations. The creation of a slightly different standard was necessary to differentiate the private land use regulation from PRB-1. ARRL views the “effective outdoor antenna” entitlement to be a stronger, and more objective standard that will be easier for radio Amateurs and HOAs to administer.

 

The Substitute Amendment allows  HOAs to enact rules governing antennas. Why do they get to set standards for height, dimensions, aesthetic impact and installation requirements?

● The HOAs already have all of that authority and a lot more. The rules they get to enact now have to be “reasonable” rules and they can’t result in the preclusion of Amateur communications or preclude an Amateur Radio licensee from installing and maintaining an effective outdoor antenna in exclusive use areas of their property. None of those conditions is an obligation on HOAs now. The Amateur Radio entitlements come only from this legislation.

 

 Who determines what HOA rules are “reasonable”?

● The HOA can enact its own rules pursuant to its normal processes as set forth in the deed restrictions, but if a ham finds them unreasonable relative to the obligation specified in the Bill to not preclude amateur communications and to permit an effective outdoor antenna, that becomes a matter of discussion with the HOA. In extreme cases it may result in litigation. These are not precise terms. They have to be as flexible as they are to account for different land use situations. Reasonable rules governing temporary installation of a mobile whip on a tripod on a 5th floor condo in a 10-story building in downtown Chicago will differ substantially from reasonable rules governing a permanent, guyed tower installation on a 5-acre lot in a subdivision in Pearland, Texas.  Overall, the obligation of HOAs in the Bill is to act reasonably in enacting rules that impact ham antennas. They don’t have that obligation now.

 

What took so long to get the language of the Substitute Amendment agreed to?

● Actually, ARRL announced that there was an agreement in principle with CAI on language for the substitute amendment as soon as we heard from our supporters on Capitol Hill that CAI had essentially agreed to ARRL’s final draft. That announcement was made publicly on ARRL’s web site when we first heard about it on May 28. We didn’t at that time have the final language from the House Office of Legislative Counsel (which puts all legislation in final form) until about June 2. So, we could not responsibly release the text of the Bill until we knew what it would say. We got the language and conferred with our legislative consultants on about June 3, and on June 7 we uploaded the text of the Bill to ARRL’s web site along with an in-depth article. We wanted ARRL members to know that we had achieved a very positive breakthrough on a very important and positive piece of legislation as soon as we could do so.

 

Did ARRL make compromises with CAI?

● No. There were no “compromises” made at all. In fact, the chair of ARRL’s Legislative Advocacy Committee and ARRL’s General Counsel characterize the Substitute Amendment, negotiated constantly over a three-month period as being far better for radio Amateurs than was the original Bill language. The PRB-1 test that we started with did not entitle every single radio amateur living in a deed restricted community to an effective outdoor antenna, notwithstanding anything in the language of the deed restrictions. It simply required “reasonable accommodation” which could have been argued to be an attic antenna or a mobile whip antenna good for operation on one band. The substitute amendment is far more favorable to Amateurs than was the PRB-1 standard.

 

Was the substitute amendment ARRL’s language or CAI’s lobbyist’s language?

● It was consensus language arrived at after numerous iterations with edits by both sides, but overall, the “effective outdoor antenna” entitlement and the “reasonableness” requirement for HOA rules affecting antennas originated with ARRL.

 

I have heard that the Substitute Amendment does not define the limits that HOA’s can impose on the installation of Amateur Radio antennas and support structures. How does that help hams living in deed-restricted communities?

              ● There are two main types of deed restrictions pertaining to antennas now: (1) those which permit no outdoor ham radio antennas, and (2) those which permit nothing at all without the approval of the HOA. Declarations of Covenants therefore do not, generally speaking, create standards which clarify when a ham radio antenna will or won’t be approved. In practical effect, the answer is always “no” anyway. Many thousands of hams have no choice but to live in these environments. For the first time in the history of ham radio in the United States, if this Bill passes, that all changes. From now on, in deed-restricted communities where there is no HOA, there is no approval requirement and no limit on antenna height, dimensions, etc. other than what the local municipal government might impose. Where there is an HOA, the HOA must not preclude Amateur Radio communications by any rules they might develop; the rules have to be reasonable; every amateur is entitled to an effective outdoor antenna; and no CC&R can impose more than the minimum practicable regulation necessary to accomplish the HOA’s goal. This is a huge win IF we can get the Bill through the House and the Senate this term. So to the extent possible in legislation regarding land use regulation (and this legislation is quite specific) the Substitute Amendment does define the limits an HOA can impose.

 

● ARRL has been working on a private land use regulation preemption policy and have tried to carry over PRB-1 from the zoning context so that it applies to all land use regulations, public and private, for at least 20 years. Never has anyone questioned the appropriateness of the effort. We have now a far, far better Bill than we have ever had before and we are close to having it implemented for the very first time.

 

What are the chances that this will pass?

● We don’t know. Now that the Bill has been successfully passed by the House Energy and Commerce Committee, we are hopeful that when the House reconvenes briefly in September that the Bill will be considered “on suspension” by a voice vote in the House, and that it will pass. It takes a 2/3rds vote in the House to pass on suspension. In the Senate, the Commerce Committee markup has occurred. If the House Bill passes, it will be sent over to the Senate and it will be considered by “unanimous consent”. We will need all ARRL members to urge their Senators to consent to the Bill at that time.

How can I help?

The ARRL has set up a web page  where you can send an email to your members of the US Senate asking them to support the Amateur Radio Parity Act.  Click here to visit this site.

If more than one person uses your computer and they also wish to send a letter of support make certain to unclick the “remember me” box on the page where you input your name and address.  You may also remove the “cookie” previously stored on your computer if you had already sent a letter.

US House to Act on Amateur Radio Parity Act Bill, H.R. 1301

ARRL DiamondThe US House of Representatives will consider the Amateur Radio Parity Act, H.R. 1301, under a suspension of the rules on Monday, September 12. A suspension of the rules is a legislative procedure used to quickly pass non-controversial bills.

Speaking at the New England Division Convention on September 10 in Massachusetts, ARRL CEO Tom Gallagher, NY2RF, expressed confidence that the bill would pass the House, but said the legislation would face additional hurdles in the US Senate.

In July, an amended version of the bill received a unanimous favorable report from members of the U.S. House Energy and Commerce Committee. Before reporting the bill out of committee, the panel first voted to accept the amended language “in the nature of a substitute.” Rep Greg Walden, W7EQI (R-OR), who chairs the Energy and Commerce Committee’s Subcommittee on Communications and Technology, said the substitute bill represented “a good balance” following months of meetings, hard work, and compromise, and he recommended the measure to his colleagues.

“The amendment guarantees that even in deed-restricted communities, Amateur Radio operators are able to use an effective outdoor antenna,” Walden said. “Without an effective antenna Amateur Radio operators are severely limited, so this amendment ensures that amateurs are free to pursue their passion wherever they live.”

In June, the ARRL and the Community Associations Institute (CAI) — the national association of homeowners associations (HOAs) — announced that they had reached consensus on rhw substitute language for H.R. 1301 in an effort to move the bill through committee and to overcome objections to the companion US Senate bill,S. 1685.

For more information on H.R. 1301, visit the ARRL website.

ARES Exercise

ARES LogoI have been informed that an emergency exercise is being held September
12th through the 16th. Anyone who can help please contact our SEC Dale
Durham, W5WI @ Email: w5wi@arrl.net Cellphone: 830-719-9000.

Thank you
Ron
KB5HGM

--------------------------------------------------------------------
ARRL West Texas Section
Section Manager: Ron Harden Jr, KB5HGM
kb5hgm@arrl.org
--------------------------------------------------------------------