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ARRL Suggests FCC May Need to Intervene to Ensure Effective Antenna Rights:

from The ARRL Letter on February 8, 2018
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ARRL Suggests FCC May Need to Intervene to Ensure Effective Antenna Rights:

Commenting in response to an FCC Public Notice (DA 17-1180) released last month, ARRL addressed the extent of Amateur Radio's response to recent hurricane disasters and efforts needed to expand the use of Amateur Radio services when it comes to planning, testing, and providing emergency communication. Amateur Radio not only has been "far more than a hobby;" it is a ubiquitous, infrastructure-independent communication resource that's always ready to deploy effectively whenever and wherever needed, the comments assert.

ARRL raised three areas where action by the FCC could ensure and enhance the ability of radio amateurs to provide emergency communication, including the current Amateur Radio Parity Act of 2017 (S. 1534), now in the US Senate.

"HOAs can preclude amateur antennas in common areas. 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, but the effective outdoor antenna requirement is paramount," ARRL noted in its comments.

"The bill is currently before the Senate Commerce Committee. If, however, Congress is unable, as has been rumored, to pass any telecommunications legislation this term, it will be incumbent on the Commission to take the action on its own initiative that would be called for by this legislation. The future of Amateur Radio emergency communications is dependent on it."

ARRL asserted that it "is critical to have stations located at one's residence in order to regularly participate in disaster preparedness training exercises and drills."

Symbol Rate Petition

Another "noteworthy and urgent need" that might call for some regulatory involvement by the FCC, ARRL said, "relates to an outdated regulation that limits data rates in HF amateur communications, precluding certain digital emissions that have recently proven extremely important in Amateur Radio hurricane relief efforts." ARRL noted that the FCC has yet to act on the League's Petition for Rule Making (RM-11708), filed in November of 2013, proposing to amend the Amateur Service rules to eliminate the symbol rate limit relative to data emissions in allocations below 29.7 MHz.

That Petition also called for establishing a 2.8 kHz maximum occupied bandwidth for data emissions in those bands. ARRL has argued that this deregulatory action is necessary to allow the use of PACTOR 4, a digital mode valuable in disaster-relief efforts. In July 2016, the Commission released a Notice of Proposed Rule Making in WT Docket 16-239, proposing only to remove limitations on the symbol rate applicable to data emissions.

"Equipment dispatched with the 'Force of 50' [volunteers] to Puerto Rico included data transmission equipment capable of PACTOR 4 operation, but it could not be legally used in the Hurricane Maria disaster relief effort," ARRL noted. The League prevailed upon the FCC to grant a temporary waiver to permit use of PACTOR 4. "However, it should not have been necessary to wait more than 4 years for the underlying rulemaking proceeding to have been resolved, and it should not have been necessary to ask for a temporary waiver of a hopelessly outdated rule that limits data speeds for no useful reason," ARRL added.

5 MHz Band Petition

The League also called on the FCC to "take the action requested in ARRL's January 2017 Petition for Rule Making (RM-11785), proposing to allocate the band 5351.5 to 5366.5 kHz to the Amateur Radio Service on a secondary basis. Read more


The ARRL Letter

Member Comments:
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ARRL Suggests FCC May Need to Intervene to Ensure Effective  
by WA7SGS on February 8, 2018 Mail this to a friend!
Senator Nelson (D) of Florida stalled the antenna legislation using his Senate privileges. How karmic is it that Florida got slammed with hurricanes afterwards!

As for making PACTOR-4 legal, that's a no brainer but we are up against a brain dead bureaucracy. HELP!!!

ARRL Suggests FCC May Need to Intervene to Ensure Effective  
by AC5WO on February 9, 2018 Mail this to a friend!
The problem with the Amateur Radio Parity Act of 2017 is that it's not specific enough in what the HOA must allow. Contrast it with the FCC OTARD rule for television antennas and satellite dishes or state laws regarding flag poles. In my opinion, correct final rule needs to be patterned after the OTARD rule except that it would specify a set of must be allowed hardware elements like vertical poles, rods, and wire up to a certain diameter and length that could be combined to make effective but not very visible outdoor antennas. In addition to the hardware elements that shall not be prohibited, the correct rule needs explicitly allow hams to disguise antennas as other hardware or structures allowed by the HOA. If Purple Martin Houses, flag poles, outdoor lights on poles, television antennas, etc. are routinely approved by the HOA, hams shouldn't be in any risk from the HOA if they manage to make RF currents flow in these structures to make them work as camouflaged antennas too.
RE: ARRL Suggests FCC May Need to Intervene to Ensure Effect  
by KB6QXM on February 13, 2018 Mail this to a friend!
Full disclosure. I am not an ARRL member.

Instead of pushing contests and suggestions for new "license standards", how the ARRL would win me over is to take on issues like this.

HOAs and CC&Rs and visual impact proponents are never in the amateur radio operator's best interests.

Also, the distracted driver laws that have basically outlawed mobile amateur radio in the state of California.

These are issues I would like to see the ARRL take on with marked results, not just "suggestions" to the governing bodies.

Outreach to the younger generation would be nice also or else in 20-30 years from now, the ARRL membership will drop to almost nothing.

Hint to the ARRL: There is more to amateur radio than contests and awards. Antenna restrictions with HOAs, CC&R and "visual impact" proponents are very important issues to the amateur radio operators.
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