FCC collecting data on how antenna restrictions affect emergency communications

FCC LogoFrom ARRL HQ:

Do you live in a CC&R-restricted community or participate in EmComm activities? Have deed restrictions / HOA covenants prevented you from erecting amateur radio antennas? Have these restrictions prevented you from full participation in emergency communications activities during disasters?

If your answer is “Yes”, ARRL needs to hear about your experience.

As you are probably aware, Congress has directed the FCC to conduct a study of the uses and capabilities of Amateur Radio Service communications in emergencies and disaster relief. The FCC was directed to identify ” impediments to enhanced Amateur Radio Service communications, such as the effects of unreasonable or unnecessary private land use restrictions on residential antenna installations”. Finally, the study is to make “recommendations regarding the removal of such impediments.”

The FCC has issued a Public Notice – DA 12-523- soliciting input from the public as part of their study. The ARRL is gathering comments from the Amateur Radio community to present as part of its comments on the public notice.

The ARRL is looking specifically for input in two specific areas:

  • Recent Amateur Radio involvement in actual emergency communications and disaster relief;
  • Specific details about how CC&Rs and other private land use restrictions have impaired licensed Amateurs to participate fully in these disaster relief communications.

If your ability to participate in ARES, RACES, SKYWARN, CERT, or other emergency and disaster relief communications has been limited because the inability to have adequate antennas due to CC&Rs, you are asked to provide that information to the ARRL.

First, we recommend that you prepare a narrative of your exact situation, in as much detail as practical. Some areas for you to consider in writing your story might be:

  • Were there alternative properties without CC&Rs in the area you wished to reside?
  • What exactly does your CC&R allow / prohibit (please include a copy of the specific wording)
  • Have you applied for a waiver of the CC&R with the Home Owner’s Association / Architectural Review Committee but were denied? If so, what was the reason?

To assist you in sharing your information with the ARRL, please visit the special ARRL website built to allow you to readily provide the pertinent information at www.arrl.org/ccr-study-information

This page will present you with an overview of what we are asking and have links to the two forms for you to complete. Please be as factual as you can with the information you provide and please provide only information about events and activities in which you were directly involved.

If you wish to write out the details of your situation in advance, please do so. Then, they can be either uploaded to the website or they can be sent as an email attachment to an email sent to CCRinfo@arrl.org

Keep in mind that the FCC study does not apply to ordinances and zoning laws implemented by the government – such as towns, cities or counties. PRB-1 covers those situations.

TIME IS OF THE ESSENCE! Congress directed that the FCC provide the report back within 180-days and that clock is already counting. The FCC is only accepting comments for a 45-day period, which will end May 17,2012. In order for the ARRL to collate your information in a common report, we ask that you send in your information no later than WEDNESDAY APRIL 25. If you need more information, please contact reginfo@arrl.org The time to act is NOW!

Dan Henderson, N1ND
Regulatory Specialist

FCC’s Spectrum Dashboard

Many hams feel that they “own” the ham bands. Nothing could be further from the truth, though. In the UHF and microwave regions, we share those bands with other services.

Don’t believe me? Try out the FCC Spectrum Dashboard. According to this website,

The Spectrum Dashboard allows new ways for citizens to search spectrum in the United States. Use the dashboard to find out how spectrum is being used, who owns spectrum licenses around the country, and what spectrum is available in your county.

It covers the frequency range 225 MHz – 3.7 GHz, which are the frequencies generally deemed the best for wireless broadband service, and therefore, the frequencies most sought after right now.

You can do all kinds of searches, including:

  • search by frequency band,
  • search by service,
  • search by location, and
  • browse through the spectrum.

I just did a search for frequencies used by the amateur radio service and discovered that we share the 420 – 450 MHz band with the following services:

  • Industrial/Business Radio Service
  • Public Safety Radio Service
  • Radiolocation Service

This is a great tool for any ham interested in spectrum issues.