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New FAA regulations regarding towers under 200 ft

Discussion in 'Ham Radio Discussions' started by W2AI, Jul 11, 2019.

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  1. ND6M

    ND6M Ham Member QRZ Page

  2. NL7W

    NL7W Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    You're likely not fully comprehending the situation at-hand... I'll follow through at a later date.

    I likely have a few LESS THAN 200' PUBLIC SAFETY COMMUNICATIONS TOWERS within the glide slope of two different airports in my URBAN radio coverage area. I need to stay on-top of this and investigate the final outcome, because I doubt mine are logged anywhere. In fact, many of my City's towers were purposely built to slightly less than 200' to evade federal reporting. I'll have to see if there is a final distinction surrounding "rural" versus "urban," or if the final verdict is location-based, given airports' glide slopes.

    "Communication towers of the same size have the option to be either be marked or logged in the FAA database."


    “Seeing the growth of communication towers in North Dakota and across the county, I knew it was important to both mark and properly log the tower,” Rau said. “Submitting the tower to be included in the FAA’s Daily Digital Obstacle File only took minutes and was well worth a few moments of my time.”

    I'll follow this and report back at a later date for hams' communications towers.

    Quoted Text References:
    Last edited: Jul 13, 2019
  3. KS2G

    KS2G Subscriber QRZ Page

    Please re-read my post -- I specifically said this is not of concern to AMATEUR RADIO ... to ease unfounded concerns of "typical" hams who have a home station with a 50+foot but less-than-200-foot tower.

    Your situation may, indeed, be different.
  4. NL7W

    NL7W Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    There's an easy way for my city office -- additionally responsible for administrating our city radio towers adjacent to an airport or airports and ag land -- to avoid all concern surrounding this and similar future regulatory efforts. That's to go ahead and register all of my less-than-200-foot communication towers within the FCC's Antenna Structure Registration program. That's easy enough.

    Section 2110 of the FAA Extension, Safety, and Security Act
    of 2016 (49 U.S.C. 44718 note) is amended to read as follows:
    ‘‘SEC. 2110. TOWER MARKING.
    ‘‘(a) APPLICATION.—
    ‘‘(1) IN GENERAL.—Except as provided by paragraph (2),
    not later than 18 months after the date of enactment of the
    FAA Reauthorization Act of 2018 or the date of availability
    of the database developed by the Administrator pursuant to
    subsection (c), whichever is later, all covered towers shall be
    ‘‘(A) clearly marked consistent with applicable guidance
    in the advisory circular of the FAA issued December 4,
    2015 (AC 70/7460-IL); or
    ‘‘(B) included in the database described in subsection
    tower that is a meteorological evaluation tower shall be subject
    to the requirements of subparagraphs (A) and (B) of paragraph
    ‘‘(b) DEFINITIONS.—
    ‘‘(1) IN GENERAL.—In this section, the following definitions
    ‘‘(i) IN GENERAL.—The term ‘covered tower’ means
    a structure that—
    ‘‘(I) is a meteorological evaluation tower, a
    self-standing tower, or tower supported by guy
    wires and ground anchors;
    ‘‘(II) is 10 feet or less in diameter at the above ground
    base, excluding concrete footing;
    ‘‘(III) at the highest point of the structure is
    at least 50 feet above ground level;
    H. R. 302—207
    ‘‘(IV) at the highest point of the structure is
    not more than 200 feet above ground level;
    ‘‘(V) has accessory facilities on which an
    antenna, sensor, camera, meteorological
    instrument, or other equipment is mounted; and
    ‘‘(VI) is located on land that is—
    ‘‘(aa) in a rural area; and
    ‘‘(bb) used for agricultural purposes or
    immediately adjacent to such land.
    ‘‘(ii) EXCLUSIONS.—The term ‘covered tower’ does
    not include any structure that—
    ‘‘(I) is adjacent to a house, barn, electric utility
    station, or other building;
    ‘‘(II) is within the curtilage of a farmstead
    or adjacent to another building or visible structure;
    ‘‘(III) supports electric utility transmission or
    distribution lines;
    ‘‘(IV) is a wind-powered electrical generator
    with a rotor blade radius that exceeds 6 feet;
    ‘‘(V) is a street light erected or maintained
    by a Federal, State, local, or tribal entity;
    ‘‘(VI) is designed and constructed to resemble
    a tree or visible structure other than a tower;
    ‘‘(VII) is an advertising billboard;
    ‘‘(VIII) is located within the right-of-way of
    a rail carrier, including within the boundaries of
    a rail yard, and is used for a railroad purpose;
    ‘‘(IX)(aa) is registered with the Federal
    Communications Commission under the Antenna
    Structure Registration program set forth under
    part 17 of title 47, Code of Federal Regulations;
    ‘‘(bb) is determined by the Administrator to
    pose no hazard to air navigation; or
    ‘‘(X) has already mitigated any hazard to aviation
    safety in accordance with Federal Aviation
    Administration guidance or as otherwise approved
    by the Administrator.

    ‘‘(B) RURAL AREA.—The term ‘rural area’ has the
    meaning given the term in section 609(a)(5) of the Public
    Utility Regulatory Policies Act of 1978 (7 U.S.C. 918c(a)(5)).
    ‘‘(C) AGRICULTURAL PURPOSES.—The term ‘agricultural
    purposes’ means farming in all its branches and the cultivation
    and tillage of the soil, the production, cultivation,
    growing, and harvesting of any agricultural or horticultural
    commodities performed by a farmer or on a farm, or on
    pasture land or rangeland.
    ‘‘(2) OTHER DEFINITIONS.—The Administrator shall define
    such other terms as may be necessary to carry out this section.
    ‘‘(c) DATABASE.—The Administrator shall—
    ‘‘(1) develop a new database, or if appropriate use an
    existing database that meets the requirements under this section,
    that contains the location and height of each covered
    tower that, pursuant to subsection (a), the owner or operator
    of such tower elects not to mark (unless the Administrator
    has determined that there is a significant safety risk requiring
    H. R. 302—208
    that the tower be marked), except that meteorological evaluation
    towers shall be marked and contained in the database;
    ‘‘(2) keep the database current to the extent practicable;
    ‘‘(3) ensure that any proprietary information in the database
    is protected from disclosure in accordance with law;
    ‘‘(4) ensure that, by virtue of accessing the database, users
    agree and acknowledge that information in the database—
    ‘‘(A) may only be used for aviation safety purposes;
    ‘‘(B) may not be disclosed for purposes other than aviation
    safety, regardless of whether or not the information
    is marked or labeled as proprietary or with a similar designation;
    ‘‘(5) ensure that the tower information in the database
    is de-identified and that the information only includes the
    location and height of covered towers and whether the tower
    has guy wires;
    ‘‘(6) ensure that information in the data set is encrypted
    at rest and in transit and is protected from unauthorized access
    and acquisition;
    ‘‘(7) ensure that towers excluded from the definition of
    covered tower under subsection (d)(1)(B)(ii)(VIII) must be registered
    by its owner in the database;
    ‘‘(8) ensure that a tower to be included in the database
    pursuant to subsection (c)(1) and constructed after the date
    on which the database is fully operational is submitted by
    its owner to the FAA for inclusion in the database before
    its construction;
    ‘‘(9) ensure that pilots who intend to conduct low-altitude
    operations in locations described in subsection (b)(1)(A)(i)(VI)
    consult the relevant parts of the database before conducting
    such operations; and
    ‘‘(10) make the database available for use not later than
    1 year after the date of enactment of the FAA Reauthorization
    Act of 2018.
    ‘‘(d) EXCLUSION AND WAIVER AUTHORITIES.—As part of a rule making
    conducted pursuant to this section, the Administrator—
    ‘‘(1) may exclude a class, category, or type of tower that
    is determined by the Administrator, after public notice and
    comment, to not pose a hazard to aviation safety;
    ‘‘(2) shall establish a process to waive specific covered
    towers from the marking requirements under this section as
    required under the rule making if the Administrator later determines
    such tower or towers do not pose a hazard to aviation
    ‘‘(3) shall consider, in establishing exclusions and granting
    waivers under this subsection, factors that may sufficiently
    mitigate risks to aviation safety, such as the length of time
    the tower has been in existence or alternative marking methods
    or technologies that maintains a tower’s level of conspicuousness
    to a degree which adequately maintains the safety of
    the airspace; and
    ‘‘(4) shall consider excluding towers located in a State that
    has enacted tower marking requirements according to the Federal
    Aviation Administration’s recommended guidance for the
    voluntary marking of meteorological evaluation towers erected
    in remote and rural areas that are less than 200 feet above
    H. R. 302—209
    ground level to enhance the conspicuity of the towers for low
    level agricultural operations in the vicinity of those towers.
    ‘‘(e) PERIODIC REVIEW.—The Administrator shall, in consultation
    with the Federal Communications Commission, periodically
    review any regulations or guidance regarding the marking of covered
    towers issued pursuant to this section and update them as
    necessary, consistent with this section, and in the interest of safety
    of low-altitude aircraft operations.
    ‘‘(f) FCC REGULATIONS.—The Federal Communications Commission
    shall amend section 17.7 of title 47, Code of Federal Regulations,
    to require a notification to the Federal Aviation Administration
    for any construction or alteration of an antenna structure,
    as defined in section 17.2(a) of title 47, Code of Federal Regulations,
    that is a covered tower as defined by this section.’’.
    Last edited: Jul 13, 2019
  5. NL7W

    NL7W Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    It is of "some concern" to certain hams adjacent to ag land and within federally-defined "rural" areas (whatever those are).
    It doesn't fully exempt hams.
    Therefore, rural hams with a tower or towers in or near ag lands should review this requirement's stipulations today or in the near future.
    Last edited: Jul 13, 2019
    WB5THT likes this.
  6. KK6NOH

    KK6NOH Ham Member QRZ Page

    I'm pretty sure this new legislation is because of drone pilots. The timing of this happens to coincide with a bunch of new drone regs.
  7. W7UUU

    W7UUU Super Moderator Lifetime Member 133 Administrator Volunteer Moderator Platinum Subscriber Life Member QRZ Page

    If that's the case, then Amazon would plow into 150+ trees on my property that are all a LOT taller than my tower :)

    NL7W likes this.
  8. NL7W

    NL7W Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    Note: the government's "rural area" definition is, "the term “rural area” means a city, town, or unincorporated area that has a population of not more than 10,000 inhabitants."

    This excludes the greater Milwaukee area, but doesn't exclude other federal rules and regs that my office could potentially be unaware of, such as this new requirement I (we) just recently discovered or read about. Therefore, I will "blanket" register all of my professional communication towers per the FCC's Antenna Structure Registration (ASR) Program, adding to the Commission's coordinated efforts with the FAA and their respective databases. Most of my towers are 140 to 190-feet, and most of these shorter ones are not registered. Some are 250 to 300-feet, where these taller ones are already registered and lit per regulations. Registering all of them will remove my worry and doubt going forward. It's part of my "due diligence" and coordination effort for the year...
    Last edited: Jul 13, 2019
  9. KS2G

    KS2G Subscriber QRZ Page

    I didn't say it "fully exempts" hams.

    I pointed out that it's not of concern to the vast majority of hams -- those who have a tower and are not in a "rural" area as well as those who are in a "rural" area whose tower is "adjacent" to their home or other building(s).

    But, yes, the relative handful in or near ag lands should review the requirements and --as you indicated in another post-- simply register their tower to comply.

  10. NL7W

    NL7W Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    Very good.

    Now, I or we have done our research, and know/understand what needs to be done to allay worry into the future. Rural hams that have a 50' or higher tower or towers should research this federal endeavor and determine if they need to comply.

    In my case, I really need to register ALL of my towers. That way, the Feds will know about my towers, and can inform me if there's a future regulatory issue. It's a bit of work gather/verify the necessary tower data and accurately submit, but it's not terrible.

    An once of prevention...

    Last edited: Jul 13, 2019
    KS2G likes this.

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