This month's newsletter taken in part from:
The ARRL Letter, Vol 19, No 31
ARRL COLLECTING "RESTRICTIVE COVENANTS" TALES
The ARRL has begun compiling a dossier of amateurs' experiences with CC&Rs--covenants, conditions and restrictions. Imposed by private homeowners' associations or by developers, CC&Rs--also known as "restrictive covenants" and "deed restrictions"--often impede or prohibit the installation of outside antennas.
In January, the ARRL asked the FCC to reconsider its denial of the League's request to extend the limited federal preemption known as PRB-1 to restrictive covenants. The League has said it would like hams to be free to negotiate reasonable accommodation provisions with local homeowners' associations just as they do now with governmental land-use regulators.
"What we're trying to do is compile documentary evidence to present if and when the occasion to do so arises," ARRL Legislative and Public Affairs Manager Steve Mansfield, N1MZA, said this week. "The experiences of amateurs with restrictive covenants will help us to determine our future direction on this issue," he explained.
The ARRL is inviting narratives from amateurs who now are or have been denied the opportunity to install an antenna or support structure on a dwelling they own because of CC&Rs. Narratives should relate directly to situations involving restrictive covenants and should be no longer than one page for inclusion in the CC&R database. Submittals should include name, call sign, the address at which you were denied the opportunity to put up an antenna, and the basis upon which you were denied or would expect to be denied. Participants should include a copy of the contract language that would exclude your antenna or support structure and copies of any denial letters from a homeowners' association.
Submittals should be sent to ANTENNAS, c/o Steve Mansfield, N1MZA, American Radio Relay League, 225 Main St, Newington, CT 06111. E-mail submittals are welcome to email@example.com with the subject line "ANTENNAS".
In declining last fall to act on the ARRL's initial request to expand PRB-1, the FCC drew the line at proposing specific rule changes to bring private restrictive covenants under the PRB-1 umbrella . In asking the FCC to rethink the issue earlier this year, the League pointed out that since PRB-1 was first promulgated in 1985, the FCC has made it clear that it has Congressional authority to prohibit restrictive covenants that could keep property owners and even renters from installing antennas to receive TV, satellite and similar signals. The League asserts the same principle applies to Amateur Radio, in which the FCC has said it has a "strong federal interest."
The League's Regulatory Information Branch reports that the topic of restrictive covenants and antennas is one of the most frequently raised by members contacting the ARRL for information. "Not a day goes by that we in RIB don't hear from amateurs who are restricted by covenants," says the ARRL's John Hennessee, N1KB. "People want to know specifically how they can help, so now we have something to tell them."
While the FCC has yet to act on the ARRL's Petition for Reconsideration to apply the philosophy of PRB-1 to CC&Rs, the League is seeking "additional opportunities" to present its case, Mansfield said, and the narrative database is one step in that direction.
ARRL AND REACT STEP TOGETHER
ARRL and REACT--Radio Emergency Associated Communications Teams--took some first steps together this summer. The ARRL Board of Directors approved a memorandum of understanding between the two radio organizations at its July meeting.
The ARRL was on hand July 26-28 for the REACT 2000 International Convention in Kissimmee, Florida. The event included attendees from the US as well as from Canada and Trinidad and Tobago. ARRL Southern Florida Section Manager Phyllisan West, KA4FZI, coordinated activities for ARRL's representation at the event with Walt Young, convention chairman for the 25th annual REACT gathering.
"REACT folks are dedicated to public service, responding dependably to cover emergencies, marathons and other charity events," said West, who set up and staffed an ARRL exhibit table at the REACT event. "They operate mainly on GMRS and FRS to avoid problems of unlicensed CB channels, and are excited about working more closely with hams."
West said that copies of the ARRL Public Service Communications Manual at the ARRL table were snapped up. "REACT folks were interested in how hams handle NTS and tactical messages," West said. While a lot of REACT members already are amateurs, West said she encouraged those who were not to get ham licenses "to enhance their ability to participate in emergency communications."
While REACT has been associated primarily with Citizens Band in the past, the organization has widened its focus to embrace amateur and other services. Young called REACT "just another radio group that is doing the same basic job as ham radio operators" that provides emergency communications when and where needed.
"The trick is to get various groups to work together," he said. Approximately one-quarter of the REACT conventioneers were ham operators, and one of the official events at the convention was the Amateur Breakfast, at which West and her husband, Art, were guests. FCC Special Counsel for Amateur Radio Enforcement Riley Hollingsworth, K4ZDH, presented an FCC seminar during the REACT convention.
REACT International has a Web site at http://www.reactintl.org/.
RAC SEEKS ELIMINATION OF 12 WPM MORSE REQUIREMENT
Radio Amateurs of Canada has asked Industry Canada--the Canadian equivalent of the FCC--to discontinue that country's 12 WPM Morse code requirement in
favor of a 5 WPM test. During the past year, RAC says it has consulted with the Canadian Amateur community on the issue, and the RAC Board has concluded that a majority of Canadian Amateurs support dropping the 12 WPM Morse test--although RAC acknowledges that many are against the change. "A decision by Canada to drop the 12 WPM test would be in harmony with what is happening in other parts of the world and would simplify the negotiation and implementation of reciprocal operating agreements," an RAC bulletin said this week. In a recent letter to Industry Canada, RAC President Kenneth Oelke, VE6AFO, recommended that full HF operating privileges be granted to amateurs who have passed a 5 WPM Morse test. At the same time, Oelke requested that the IC consider beefing up written tests to strengthen and expand the requirements for operator knowledge and skills in the areas of station setup and operation, on-air procedures and operating practices, and to include more questions on modern modes of communication employed by radio amateurs. RAC says its proposal would give Canadian radio amateurs operating privileges similar to those currently accorded to US amateurs who successfully pass a 5 WPM Morse test.--RAC
Vanity fee stays at $14 this fiscal year: The annual regulatory fee for an Amateur Radio vanity call sign will stay $14 ($1.40 per year for the 10-year license term). The FCC has revised its Schedule of Regulatory Fees in order to collect the $185,754,000 that Congress has required the Commission to collect for Fiscal Year 2000, but it proposed no change in the vanity fee. The Commission adopted the proposed schedule of fees on June 30. (FY 2000 began last September; the fees are paid in arrears.) The FCC said it anticipates 8000 applications for vanity call signs during FY 2000.
* Albert H. Wohlers name change: Albert H. Wohlers, the administrator for the ARRL Amateur Radio equipment insurance program, has changed its name to Seabury & Smith. The change does not affect the ham radio equipment program, which Wohlers has been administering for nearly 20 years. For more information, contact Seabury & Smith, 847-493-4581; 800-900-9772, or visit http://www.wohlers.com/ .--Seabury & Smith
FIELD DAY 2000 PINS The Field Day participation pins are back this year. To earn a pin, all you need to do is participate in Field Day--no minimum number of contacts to achieve or ARRL sections to work. The pin is for anyone active in helping to make Field Day happen--from the set-up crew and on-the-air operators to the covered-dish organizers and generator crew. Field Day 2000 pins are available now for $5 each. Send orders with payment to Field Day Pin Order, ARRL, 225 Main St, Newington, CT 06111. Early orders are recommended, since the 1999 pins sold out rapidly. Clubs and groups are encouraged to purchase their pins together. For more information on Field Day 2000, contact Dan Henderson, ARRL Contest Branch Manager, firstname.lastname@example.org or 860-594-0232.--Dan Henderson, N1ND __________________________
FCC Says Generals Not Allowed in Advanced Subbands The FCC says newly upgraded General class licensees may not operate in the current Advanced class subbands under the new amateur rules. Bill Cross, W3TN, of the FCC's Public Safety and Private Wireless Division notes that no privileges changed for any license class. The Advanced class license continues to exist under restructuring, which became effective April 15, although the FCC no longer accepts applications for Novice or Advanced class licenses. Current Generals do not earn Advanced class privileges until they upgrade to Amateur Extra class, when they earn both Advanced and Extra privileges. The FCC also says General class operators may hold only Group C (1x3) or Group D (2x3) call signs, as it was under the old rules. Generals remain ineligible to apply for or hold Group B (2x2) call signs. Newly upgraded licensees were cautioned to check the revised Part 97 rules carefully to make sure they're not operating beyond their privileges. FCC Part 97 rules are available on the ARRL Web site at http://www.arrl.org/field/regulations/news/part97/. The FCC released the Errata to its December 30, 1999, Report and Order on restructuring. The Errata incorporate minor errors contained in the original R&O and already made in the version of the new rules that appeared in The Federal Register earlier this year. ===========================
The ARRL Letter is published Fridays, 50 times each year, by the American Radio Relay League--The National Association For Amateur Radio--225 Main St, Newington, CT 06111; tel 860-594-0200; fax 860-594-0259; http://www.arrl.org. Jim Haynie, W5JBP, President; David Sumner, K1ZZ, Executive Vice President. The ARRL Letter offers a weekly summary of essential news of interest to active amateurs that's available in advance of publication in QST, our official journal. The ARRL Letter strives to be timely, accurate, concise, and readable. The ARRLWeb Extra at http://www.arrl.org/members-only/extra offers ARRL members access to late-breaking news and informative features, updated regularly. Material from The ARRL Letter may be republished or reproduced in whole or in part in any form without additional permission. Credit must be given to The ARRL Letter and The American Radio Relay League.