Ham Radio and ARRL Legislative Objectives


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:

  1. 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.

  • There is another threat. This one not as visible or immediate as CC&R’s. That threat would be the one creeping in from the edges of our radio dials by increasing our radios noise floor. The unregulated import and manufacture of switching devices, each carrying with it more spectrum pollution than the last batch is ruining our ability to communicate just as surely as taking antennas away. This noise has easy ingress into our receivers through CM propagation along house wiring. Low voltage and high di/dt currents found in these devices are becoming as pervasive as shoes, socks and toothbrushes were fifty years ago; and no one is watching the fort! There are laws but no enforcement.

  • @Chuck — I agree, though pushing this one through will be like pushing a string around. The argument against this is economics even though the cost to get rid of the noise is minimal.

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