Ham radio is a small service when it comes to legislative priorities. While we might like to think our legislation is as important as a stimulus package for the economy, the truth of the matter is that we don’t count for much in the legislative priority process in the states and Washington.
In other words, our legislative priorities need to adequately speak to the legislative needs of the hobby.
Just published in QST, the ARRL Board of Directors approved the following legislative and regulatory objectives. The first on the list:
- The ARRL seeks legislation to extend the requirement for “reasonable accommodation” of Amateur Radio station antennas to all forms of land use regulation.
I translate that one to CC&R restrictions in subdivisions. There are many threats to the long-term health of ham radio, but covenants rank up there as the highest one for me. Ham radio operators always have that additional requirement for where they live – can I put up an antenna? Or five? Without antennas, we can’t communicate. We can’t provide emergency communications, support weather spotting efforts, handle traffic – or have much fun.
Increasingly, we are forced to use extremely modest, poorly radiating antennas to communicate. And, paradoxically, these lower antennas increase the chance of RF interference to our neighbors because we can’t get the antenna high enough to move the signal out of the way of our surrounding houses.
So I think the ARRL nailed this one on the head. We need to have legislative relief from the CC&R contracts to reasonably accommodate our antennas.
Not an easy job to do, but one necessary for the preservation and growth of our hobby.