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Please support H.R. 4969

posted Jul 31, 2014, 10:02 AM by Charles Boling

Imagine this:  You live in an apartment building.  One neighbor just put up a satellite dish to watch TV.  Another neighbor already had a log periodic TV antenna mounted on his balcony rail.  You decide that an outside antenna is a really good idea. so you put up a little 19" ground plane on your balcony -- only to be told by your landlord that you must take it down -- it's an eyesore, and radio antennas aren't allowed.  "Outrageous!" you argue -- "Eyesore? What's my little stick compared to those other things that you allow?"  She replies that she wouldn't allow those either, but the law considers television reception to be a right, so she has no choice in the matter.  Arguing that maybe you *could* watch TV using your antenna results only in folded arms and a glare.

Yes, as many of you know, your right to sit in front of the boob tube is better protected than your ability to engage in a useful hobby and potentially serve the public!  While it's true that we have some protection from local governments -- the City can't pass an ordinance prohibiting a reasonable antenna (though "reasonable" is subjective, and even in court, doesn't always fall in the amateur's favor) -- that protection doesn't extend to all the CC&Rs that are cropping up like bad weeds.

Some people believe that "stealth" antennas are the answer, but it's an incomplete one.  Hiding your antenna strengthens, not weakens, the restrictions, and usually results in an less-useful station compared to what you might have enjoyed.

Fortunately, a senator from Illinois has introduced a bill that will increase our protection from all these "private laws" that restrict our ability to do what we do.  Unfortunately, like most bills, if we don't drum up some support for it, it'll die before it even makes it out of committee.  I'm encouraged that the resolution has gained some support in the last few weeks, but it needs a lot more!  You can track the progress of this bill at https://www.govtrack.us/congress/bills/113/hr4969.

The ARRL has a page with more info about this bill.  Please visit it, learn more about the bill, and take advantage of their lobbying ability by writing a letter to Jaime Beutler  asking her to get behind this bill, and sending it to the ARRL so that they can hand-deliver it to her.  The ARRL provides a sample letter (If you can, please take the time to personalize it a bit!) and I've attached a copy of the letter that my family sent her.

You and I may live out in the sticks, but others don't and won't, we may not always, and the CC&R situation is getting worse, not better. 

Charles Boling,
Jul 31, 2014, 10:02 AM