Hams -- File Written Testimony on HOA Restrictions!!

Discussion in 'Amateur Radio News' started by W6EM, Sep 9, 2012.

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  1. W6EM

    W6EM Ham Member QRZ Page

    On Wednesday, September 12, Capitol Hill Hearings on "Resilient Communications" will be held before the Emergency Preparedness Subcommittee of the House Homeland Security Committee. The Subcommittee is chaired by Representative Gus Bilirakis (R-FL) and the Ranking Minority Member is Representative Laura Richardson (D-CA).

    Since Amateur Radio is one of the most "resilient" of America's "resilient" communications -- a true Emergency Communications asset in a disaster or a megadisaster -- Written Testimony about ham radio survivability is relevant to these Hearings.

    NICK LEGGETT N3NL of Virginia and I have already filed Written Testimony, calling for new legislation to override over-regulation of ham antennas by Homeowners' Associations (HOAs) and landlords.

    Before September 12, at least 2 other parties plan to file Written Testimony that hammers home the same basic point. One of these parties is ROBERT C. BOYD, M.D. WA5VSK of Texas. (For a copy, contact "Doc" at wa5vsk@gmail.com) In addition, DON SCHELLHARDT, ESQUIRE KI4PMG of Connecticut will be filing comprehensive Written Testimony on behalf of HAMS FOR ACTION (HFA). (For a copy, contact Don at djslaw@gmail.com)
    If you wish to write up and submit your own Written Testimony for the September 12 Hearings:

    A. ATTACH the document, clearly labeled as Written Testimony, to an E-Mail. Only one copy is needed. Your cover E-Mail Message should start with "Dear Chairman Bilirakis and Ranking Minority Member Richardson:".

    B. Say this, or something like this, EXPLICITLY: "I respectfully request you to place this Written Testimony into the public record for the September 12 Emergency Preparedness Subcommittee Hearings on 'Resilient Communications'."

    C. Send the E-Mail to homeland.security@mail.house.gov (for Representative Gus Bilirakis, R-FL) and nicole.johnson@mail.house.gov (for Representative Laura Richardson, D-CA)

    You MUST send this E-Mail. and Attached Testimony, ON OR BEFORE the day of the Hearing: Wednesday, September 12. Earlier is probably better.

    On Behalf of Hams For Action,

    Lee McVey
    Leeds, AL
  2. N7WR

    N7WR Subscriber QRZ Page

    Sorry, and I know this won't make me popular with many, but using amateur radio Emcomm as a justification for over-riding HOA Covenants ( mutual agreements that the buyer signed in to) is a less than honest justification. Yes, amateurs do provide emergency communications but the vast majority of that is NOT conducted from one's place of residence. I can appreciate that some hams have little if any choice over where they live---jobs tend to dictate that. And, I realize that in some places finding housing w/o HOA's is difficult. But having lived in such circumstances I always found it possible to get on the air (HF, VHF and UHF) and "work the world" on HF. VHF/UHF was never a problem and, frankly, that is what most Emcomm consists of. Life's a b---- and we don't always get everything we want. HOA's aren't tower and yagi friendly but a well disguised wire can still work the world and that was enough to keep me interested during those few years I was HOA restricted.

    I hate to see amateur radio's Emcomm role exaggerated and/or used as a false justification for anythng. It cheapens the service and cheapens Emcomm in particular.
  3. WA7PRC

    WA7PRC Ham Member QRZ Page

    As well as the above comment, I could be wrong about this but, don't our elected representatives have MUCH bigger fish to fry? IMO, they're free beat this dead horse... after MUCH higher priority business is handled. Until then, this is less than a NON issue.
  4. N2PHI

    N2PHI Ham Member QRZ Page

    IMO I would be in support of restrictions being lifted on behalf of Amateur Radio because in my eyes I feel that you never know what part you will play in an emergency. You could be the only link for your town or neighborhood. I understand your point of view. I get it. What I don't get it how the heck in America can someone or organization dictate to you what you should or should not do with your own property and further more how can a state or local government allow such to occur. These individuals pay taxes just like anyone else. If you own your home and pay taxes on your home you should have the right to do whatever you damn please. I seen fights here in NJ from HOA's telling people that they cannot fly an American Flag outside their home. That is just ridiculous. Men and Women fought and died for everything that they flag stood for. HOA's are very unamerican in my own opinion which doesn't count for anything. I think HOA's should be banned nationwide.
  5. AB6ST

    AB6ST Ham Member QRZ Page

    I agree with you 200% .. very well said. It is next to impossible to buy a new house, which does not have HOA restrictions. You can get one in the Bundocks , not in a metropolitan area. I don't see any real good this HOA contributes but just a tool for those bored housewives to poke their noses in their neighbors properties and tell you what to do and what not to do in your own property. I Agree on Total Ban on HOA Nationwide !!!!

  6. AB6ST

    AB6ST Ham Member QRZ Page

    Good Luck Lee.. I hope you will be successful. Then those Nay Sayers will eat their words LOL !!!
  7. WX1DX

    WX1DX Ham Member QRZ Page

    Folks do a little research on why HOA's came about the founding principal behind the was to discrimination! read the first 4 paragraphs of the history http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Homeowner_association Folks it is time to unify on the subject rather than argue the fact is that The federal government was created to govern just this kind of issue and has done so for nearly 100 year's! from before the communications act of 1934 to today all hams are asking for is what is all ready allowed to commercial services under http://www.fcc.gov/guides/over-air-reception-devices-rule notice how amateur radio was deliberate not covered under the act this in it's self should inflame EVERY ham operator!see how it is so intentionally blatantly written to discriminate against not just the Amateur radio operator but short wave,scanner, CB and other federally granted Even public safety personnel that work on call from there homes. But buy changing one sentence it would cover the entire matter! So new legislation while being very nice is not necessarily needed just an amendment to the existing Law. I support the total Ban of HOA's also on the grounds that they violate at there very core multiple constitutional amendments the two primary being freedom of speech and freedom of association.
  8. W4CBZ

    W4CBZ Ham Member QRZ Page

    I agree, these HOA`s DO NOT pay your mortgage and therefore should NOT be able to tell any homeowner what they can and cant do on their property

    HOA`s are nothing but a racket
    Last edited: Sep 10, 2012
  9. K2NCC

    K2NCC Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    Great post Jerry! This CC&R's issue is so beat-to-death, it's refreshing to see someone say something sensible instead of whining about something they can do little about.

    Although amateur radio has helped in emergencies, this "if all else fails" mentality doesn't give us carte blanche over legal agreements. If you moved into a place with restrictions, whether you were a ham or not when you did, is a decision you probably signed willingly. To bitch about it now that you're in the hobby (or whatever) is pointless. Sure, it sucks for radio ops, but I bet the non-hams in your HOA sure appreciate it.

    I'd add to that bet that if you knew nothing about amateur radio, you'd be on the side of those not wanting to look at the metal monstrosities some of us put up!
  10. K2NCC

    K2NCC Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    Kinda defeats the purpose of an HOA. They're designed to set a standard that, ideally, is democratically agreed upon by it's members. Some folks don't want to live somewhere that has junk cars parked in the yards around them, or lazy-bones lets his weed-filled yard go to seed and blow your year's worth of lawn work, or, yes, big ugly antennas.

    Somewhere in my reading I came across this great comment: "...your incompatible baggage and habits from another community just might be the very reason the HOA residents left their former community and came to this HOA covenant controlled neighborhood..."

    Yes, the activities of the HOA may be a "racket" as you called it, but hell, what isn't? Even amateur radio has it's commercial industry. We all want to make a buck.
  11. G4OBB

    G4OBB Ham Member QRZ Page

    Hi Guys.
    having just read this , and hailing form the UK I have one comment ; maybe you should use the good old british way and tell the HOA to go F@*K itself.
    Same as Been doing for the local councils here for many a year.....
    If you are a Ham you need an antenna of some sort...some folks complain about everything...you can have drug dealing , prostitution , anti social behaviour in your neighbourhood and no one cares ...but just put up a Ham antenna and watch 'em go......

    Regards Des G4OBB
  12. K2NCC

    K2NCC Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    Do that here (and probably there) and at the very least, a board meeting and a fine. At worst, a lien on your property, eviction, and a few years in court, spending 1000s of dollars that could have gone toward new ham gear. Or moving out.
  13. N5UOA

    N5UOA Ham Member QRZ Page

    You need to rethink some of your statements. I have been in Areas where nothing worked, cell towers out phone and power lines out VHF-UHF out and suppose you have uhf/uhf you can't use it cause of the restrictions.Then all communications are down. i do not know why ham radio operators can't stick together in times they are needed. We are loosing a hobby cause of HOA'S and other laws doing away with the whole radio systems. Hard to buy or get a place to live except in a slum area,and that too is dangerous to ham radio thefts. Thank You mark
  14. K2NCC

    K2NCC Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    Wow, talk about someone needing to give more thought to their statements. Your pretty blue paragraph was full of reconsideration to be had.

    First, how did we ever manage to live in an emergency without amateur radio? In my 46 years, and at least 10 different driver's licenses, thankfully I've never been in a situation where I couldn't get in touch with someone. Perhaps it was because I was prepared. Even without a radio.

    Second, V/UHF restrictions are probably the least of our worries. You don't need much of an antenna and can hide 20" just about anywhere. It's the HF guys in CC&Rs who have it bad. Even hamsticks are 7' long.

    Next, we're losing a hobby 'cause of HOAs? I doubt it. Heck, we're up 100k from when I started in 2005. Laws aren't doing away with radio systems, just forcing us to be more clever.

    And lastly, what's this about hard to buy a place except in a slum area? I think that's a statement from the heart more than the mind. I had my share of poor and posh, yet never lived in a CC&R community. Perhaps I was just lucky.
  15. KO6WB

    KO6WB Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    This is my take on this. It's not the folks in the field with the less than adequate equipment that are the problem. These are the folks that are trying to get the message out. The problem, is to make it much more likely that someone will hear that persons calls for assistance. Whether it's for themselves or those around them. That signal has a much better chance of being received by a station properly equipped with a good antenna system. The more stations out there that can field a good antenna the better the odds someone is going to get relief. The more CC&R's encroach upon the amateur and their need for an antenna, the more HOA's are permitted to dictate what can and cannot be done the lower the odds are that the message will successfully make it through. Disasters do not happen often and that's a good thing but what does happen often is the amateur practicing their communications capability on a daily basis. When the time does come, and we hope it never does, then that amateur will have the knowledge of what their equipment can do at that time and place. They will know for an almost certainty whether their signal can reach into the stricken area. They will know if they would be of assistance or if they should standby and listen without interfering with what is happening. That's what we practice everyday is the capability of our station to communicate. We strive to make it do just a bit better and try to squeeze every little decibel from our equipment. If it ever gets to the point where no improvement is possible then they can rest with the knowledge that if they are needed they will be there.
    Have fun
    Last edited: Sep 10, 2012
  16. KJ4YVM

    KJ4YVM Ham Member QRZ Page

    I found it very interesting, reading all the previous comments. I read where some called HOA's un-American or said that they violated certain "amendments" to the Constitution, some even called them a rights violation. I'm sure that with some, I am about to be very unpopular.

    To start with Article 1-10 of the bill of rights of the Constitution, for these united states, are not amendments. They were a part of the original Constitution as it was agreed upon and signed. In fact they were so important that the representatives refused to sign until these articles (not amendments) were included. However, the Bill of Rights did not void any other part of the Constitution, such as the prohibition on Congress passing laws which would abridge your right to contract. If Congress passes any law nullifying your poor choice in contract, it will be a violation of the Constitution...a poor understanding of the Constitution, on your part, is apparent here. Rather than expecting the destruction of very important tenants of the Constitution, because you don't have a real grasp of the meaning of right to choice or freedom to contract, I suggest you increase your knowledge base. If you live in a community that has a covenant, and you agreed to it when you purchased there, you have no right to try and circumvent the contract you have with others who bought in the same community. If you don't like the terms of the contract then move and if you can't recoup your investment, knowledge isn't cheap, neither is integrity.
    I purposely moved outside the metro area just so I could have freedom, if that's what you want then you should too. If you aren't willing to make the sacrifice for your freedom then don't ask me to sacrifice my protection, in the Constitution, to make contract. It is the slow erosion of these protections that have led to the state of things here today.

    I do agree that HOA's are very much anathema to the ideas of liberty and freedom, which I was raised to believe to be the backbone of American ideal. However, you have the "right" to live in a community that holds these ideals in contempt if you want. Notice the word "community" as in "commune" or "communist". You chose to live there with full knowledge that these restrictions were imposed on you. If now you have a different philosophy in your life, move....then you will have rights too.

    I have read where some of you pressed the view that HOA's should be banned. That would be a violation of the right to contract, a right protected in the Constitution. I don't agree with the ideals that have brought about these communities, but I do believe that the people who want that lifestyle should be able to live it, if they choose. I know that there are few who understand the real depths of the concepts of liberty and freedom, but I for one believe the right to make bad choices is unalienable and when you make one, you should deal with your choice. Don't try and put it off on someone else. You made the choice nobody twisted your arm, that's freedom. Don't you wish you understood it better before. Now, take responsibility for your actions.
  17. K8YZK

    K8YZK Ham Member QRZ Page

    Well I know I will be bucking the trend here. I live in a HOA community, and I understand why they have rules that they have. I don't agree with all of them (like antenna's) but they are there for the good of the majority (all the owners). I do believe that some of those that run the HOA's do it to pump up their egos.
    Now with that said. I knew the rules before I moved in. I knew the requirements to get things changed, yet I still bought here. I think using Ecomm is a sham way to get the laws written by Congress to allow antennas, instead getting the rules changed thru the HOA's.
    Sorry you bought knowing the HOA rules, live with it or have it changed.
  18. KE4YOG

    KE4YOG XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    I think that is will boil down to reasonable accommodation. That will be the key. Can you put up a 100 foot tower? No. Can you have wire antennas for HF that are well hidden and almost invisible? I would say yes. Maybe a vertical for VHF and UHF or small beam that is similiar in size to a TV antenna. Things can be done to make it easier. The great thing about ham radio and emergency communications is we are not centralized. While my shack my be off line because of damage my friend Walter may be up and running. He lives several miles from me and issue at my QTH may not be a problem at his.
  19. W6EM

    W6EM Ham Member QRZ Page

    A couple of comments to explain HFA's idea of a truely reasonable accommodation.

    HFA wants nothing more, in terms of CC&R preemptions, than allowance of simple wire antennas or a basic vertical. Don't ask about guys, traps, etc. Just something very basic.

    While not all of us are in agreement, the majority favor just the above for a mandated accommodation. Also, removal of any language prohibiting operation of transmitters from an HOA community. I know, that sounds absurd in light of cell phones, tablets, wireless modems and such, but you have to realize how ignorant the people were/are who proliferate CC&Rs.

    The Subcommittee holding hearings is the likely source of the legislation that required the FCC to conduct a study and prepare a report. A report that many view as having had a predetermined conclusion, as the proceeding 12-91 record comment data was largely ignored with respect to CC&R impact. So, if the amateur community wants to "set the record straight" by at least showing Congress that the FCC report was and is flawed, testimony was and is needed.

    I do not know, at this point, if ARRL will testify. From what I've heard so far, it is not widely known in ARRL circles, one way or the other.

    If any would like a copy of what I sent in, shoot me an email at my call at arrl dot net.
    Last edited: Sep 10, 2012
  20. KF7RCC

    KF7RCC XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    Get real. In some states these HOAs also disallow displaying the american flag or putting up a basic flag pole for the american flag. This is absolutely sick and its a movement with the US to take away many Freedoms. Is this so we don't hurt someones feelings that was born elsewhere? Its the result of flawed thinking.
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