Amateur Radio Parity Act Update


Hello everybody, welcome back to Everything Hamradio! Today we are going to revisit the Amateur Radio Parity Act that is making its way through the US House and Senate. We have talked about this topic before in a couple posts, so I am not going to go into detail of the act is, but if you would like to learn more about it, I will put links to them down at the bottom of this post.

In a post on the ARRL website on 8/25/15, ARRL President Kay Craigie, N3KN, says that she expects the co-sponsorship of the House version of the bill to top 100 as soon as the next sessions starts. As of August 24, 2015, the bill has 94 co-sponsors, so there isn’t very many more to top the century mark. So far, she says that ARRL staff members have hand delivered over 4,000 letters to Senator and Representatives! Say says that she has heard of clubs around the country hosting a letter signing event at their meetings to get letters sent in to request support of this bill. She also said that there is over 1,000 more letters that were mailed to Washington D.C. for delivery that previous week! Ham’s around the country have really come together on this topic!

On my last post on this topic, I got some mixed comments. Some are against, stating things like, government shouldn’t stick their noses in private contracts and that it will never pass, and others saying that this is a great thing and they hope that it does pass. So let’s look at this a little bit. This is an exert from a post on the ARRL website on 08/06/2015:

ARRL General Counsel Chris Imlay, W3KD, has rebutted assertions, expressed by some, that the Amateur Radio Parity Act of 2015 would represent an unlawful intrusion into “private contracts” and would invalidate architectural limitations and rules regarding the installation of ham radio antennas in residential neighborhoods. Imlay said the argument raised is that no federal legislation should alter private land-use restrictions, since these are contractual obligations.“The contractual characteristic of private land-use regulation has not existed in the United States for a great many years,” he pointed out. Imlay recently expanded on the topic during a lengthy interview with HamRadioNow webcast host Gary Pearce, KN4AQ.

“A contract requires a meeting of the minds between the two parties,” Imlay said in his interview with Pearce, which also included ARRL Hudson Division Director Mike Lisenco, N2YBB, a prime mover of the legislation. With no opportunity to negotiate, “you don’t have a contractual relationship at all. Instead, what you have is a preclusion.” Rather than contracts, Imlay explained, private land-use restrictions are limitations placed on the use of land long before the buyer ever shows up, and they have become increasingly difficult to avoid. With more and more neighborhoods imposing CC&Rs, the only choice a radio amateur then has, Imlay told Pearce, is to buy or not to buy a dwelling in a community that may prohibit antennas completely.

Read Complete Article

From my understanding of what I have read, including the post above, this law will not give hams a “I can put up whatever antenna I want” option, but does give them a little more pull when it comes to negotiating with the HOA’s and other land deed restrictions. Rather than a “I’m going to put up an antenna farm with huge yagi antennas,” the case can be made for a couple vertical antennas or something like that. The law allows to “reasonable accommodations” to outside antennas.

The below exert is from the ARRL website, posted on 08/28/2015 – ARRL “Clarity on Amateur Radio Parity” Statement Separates Fact from Fiction

The ARRL has taken steps to address objections and concerns recently raised by representatives of community associations about the Amateur Radio Parity Act of 2015 — H.R. 1301 and S. 1685. A statement released today, “Clarity on Amateur Radio Parity,” makes it clear that the bill would not create new federal policy with respect to outdoor amateur antennas. As it points out, the FCC already recognizes a strong federal interest in effective Amateur Radio communication from residences and has adopted a limited preemption of state and local regulation of Amateur Radio antennas. The Amateur Radio Parity Act of 2015 would extend the limited preemption to private land-use restrictions.

“Congress and the FCC already have acted to prohibit restrictions that prevent the installation of direct-to-home satellite dishes, TV antennas, and customer-end wireless broadband antennas,” the statement said.

The legislation also does not prohibit community associations from reviewing proposed ham radio antenna installations or from having final approval; it limits restrictions to those necessary to accomplish an association’s legitimate purposes — such as safety and aesthetics. The bill does not mandate that a particular size of antenna be permitted, as long as size and placement restrictions do not prohibit, but reasonably accommodate, Amateur Radio communication.

“Claims that the bill will do any of these things are simply wrong, and are either misunderstandings of the plain language of the bill or deliberate misrepresentations,” the ARRL statement asserted.

As introduced in both the House and Senate, the bill recognizes that the federal interest in effective Amateur Radio communication remains the same, whether a residence is subject to state and local regulations, to private land use restrictions, or both.

Hopefully, with these post posts(Thanks to the original authors at the ARRL), hopefully us in the general ham radio community will have a little better understanding as to what exactly this bill is going to accomplish if it is passed. If you would like to help out with this bill and get it passed, you can still send support letters to the ARRL who will in turn hand deliver them to your Senator or Representative. If you want to, here is the address:

Attn  Amateur Radio Parity Act grassroots campaign
225 Main St
Newington CT 06111

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Until next time…

73 de Curtis, K5CLM

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