Amateur Radio Parity Act

Discussion in 'Storm spotters' started by Randy Jennings, Aug 8, 2017.

  1. Randy Jennings

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    Since the "Storm Spotters" forum includes ham radio, I will post this here for you spotters/chasers who are hams:

    The ARRL is asking for hams to contact their Senators to support The Amateur Radio Parity Act of 2017. Before you jump on the band wagon, I suggest you actually read the bills. The Senate bill is S-1534 and can be found at: https://www.congress.gov/bill/115th-congress/senate-bill/1534/text. The already passed House bill is HR-555 and can be found at https://www.congress.gov/bill/115th-congress/house-bill/555/text.

    I also encourage you to read the presentation Fred Hopengarten, K1VR, made at Dayton this year. It can be found at http://www.kkn.net/~n6tv/Dayton_17_Legislation_v5.ppt. Fred is a lawyer who specials in antenna cases and who wrote the ARRL "Antenna Zoning for the Radio Amateur". I also encourage you to read a letter written by former ARRL Vice Director Marty Woll, N6VI, at https://forums.qrz.com/index.php?threads/latest-on-the-hoa-antenna-bill.576604/. Both Fred and Marty previously supported the ARPA, but now oppose the ARPA as written.

    If you want to see ARRL’s rebuttal to some of Fred and Marty’s concerns, it can be found at: http://www.arrl.org/files/file/Regulatory/The%20Amateur%20Radio%20Parity%20Act%20FAQ.pdf

    After researching this issue, I can no longer support the current version of ARPA. As written, both of the bills will require the Commission to "require any licensee in an amateur radio service to notify and obtain prior approval from a community association concerning installation of an outdoor antenna". This is a requirement that not all community associations – including the one I live in - currently impose.

    Regardless of your opinion on this matter – please read the bills and make your own decision before you blindly encourage your elected officials to support something you haven’t read.

    On a side note, I emailed the ARRL Executive Committee today to express my concerns. I sent the following message:

    “Dear ARRL Executive Committee,

    Thank you for your continued advocacy for amateur radio with Congress. While I have been a big supporter of the Amateur Radio Parity Act, I can no longer support it as passed in HR-555 and as proposed in S-1534 and have written both of my Senators to encourage them to reject S-1534 as written.

    While the ARPA may bring limited relief to some hams, it imposes extra burden on hams who live in areas with community associations that do not currently have deed restrictions or rules against amateur radio antennas. As written, both of the bills will require the Commission to "require any licensee in an amateur radio service to notify and obtain prior approval from a community association concerning installation of an outdoor antenna". This is a requirement that not all community associations – including the one I live in - currently impose.

    In their book "Lectures on Jurisprudence" John and Sarah Austin say "an imperfect obligation, in the sense of the Roman jurists, is exactly equivalent to no obligation at all." The ARPA is an imperfect law. It imposes no real legally enforceable obligations on community associations and instead burdens amateur radio operators with more obligations. I encourage the ARRL Executive Committee to work to refine the ARPA instead of rushing to get an imperfect bill passed.”

    I received the following reply from Delta Division Director David A. Norris, K5UZ (who also included the ARRL Executive Committee):

    "I see he's out of TX. He hasn't been a ham too long. I wonder who put him up to this?"

    I am very disappointed in this response from one of our elected ARRL officials. If you are a ARRL member, I also encourage you to let our ARRL leadership know how you feel about these bills.
     
  2. John Wetter

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    For as long as this conversation has been going, it seems pretty clear to me that representatives are giving no more than lip service to this for amateur radio operators. Antenna issues can be significant for hams, and antenna zoning has become onerous in many parts of the country, but I also think the public safety argument all hams are using for this is also overstated so I think there needs to be some compromise here. There are lots of options for stealth and low profile antennas and in planned neighborhoods, having antennas up does take away from the aesthetics. Of course, I think the small satellite dishes (DiecTV, Dish, etc.) that are allowed by most associations with no paperwork, are ugly as well.
     

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