Change PRB-1

This seems to be a very well composed ECFS Filing from Leonard J. Umina, W7CCE as it relates to modify how PRB-1 reads and who it could effect. Currently individuals, such as myself who signed a private contract (CC&R) is not covered under PRB-1. To be honest, I did cite PRB-1 in my exemption proposal I submitted to my HOA Board of Directors calling for “reasonable accommodation” knowing full well this document did NOT provide me any protect, but I felt it was a legal document on my side.

Today I read this filing from W7CCE and he makes an excellent argument against the “discriminatory” factors of PRB-1, “10. PRB-1 protects the wealthiest 10% of the population from unreasonable restrictions on their antenna structures – those lucky or productive enough to own their own homes outside the reach of restrictive private contracts.”

Unfortunately amateurs, like myself who successfully petitioned their HOA are probably few and far between. Since winning my exemption in 2007 I have not had any complaints from my neighbors, nor have any complaints been brought forth to me by the HOA. To date, I have not seen any articles in magazines like QST or CQ on how to petition an HOA to strengthen their case. There have been dozens of articles on the “art of stealth” when it comes to building antennas that are not obvious or go against the CC&Rs. One of the most common, a simple flagpole antenna.

In the interest of the Amateur Radio Service, public policy, Constitutional Law, environmental policy, and to remove discrimination against the poor, minorities, women, the young, and approximately 90% of the population which lives under restrictive agreements of one sort or another, Petitioner requests that PRB-1 be immediately extended to preempt all private contracts thereby requiring reasonable accommodation of Amateur Radio and SWL interests.

I fully support this filing from W7CCE and would throw my support behind it, and allow me more opportunity when it comes to amateur radio. It will be interesting to see and hear what becomes of this filing. Hopefully the FCC looks upon it favorably and a strong paper like this is above to cut through the red tape and allow more individuals the opportunity to experience amateur radio.

HOAs Revisited – WWYD?

While I am not all that fond of homeowners associations, my wife and I did purchase a home in an HOA controlled neighborhood. Mind you, this was before I was active on HF (2004) and still a Technician. Maybe I did not educate myself well enough before our purchase, but after some 5 months of looking this was the best house of the many we had toured. I will take all the blame for getting myself into this rule dominated agreement.

It’s always fantastic to see ham operators working with their HOA in order to put up antennas or possibly in some cases a tower. I believe I could make a very convincing case to the HOA as to why I feel a tower would be more feasible over a mast, but that’s a discussion for another day. I happened to read a story from KF7NUA titled, HOA response to my question at a meeting they had – WWYD.

Nick approached the HOA to install a UHV/VHF antenna. He seemed to get lucky when the architectural committee member he spoke with mentioned he used to be licensed. He said he would look into for KF7NUA and get back to him. In the meantime, Nick picked up a Cushcraft R7 vertical.

It’s interesting to read the response from the committee member, citing from ARTICLE IX, OTHER RESTRICTIONS, “no antennae shall be above the roof line parapets, and all satellite dishes shall be in walled areas not visible from other Lots or streets.” Based on that alone Nick is in very good shape, in my opinion.

Now my HOA most likely varies, but the HOA did not care what could be seen from the backyard, they were only concerned with “curb appeal.” Thankfully my original proposal has a 6BTV, ground mounted just off center in my backyard and it was not visible from the front of the house.

In Nick’s case I don’t believe I would have even approached the HOA regarding ARTICLE IX, especially if I knew it was not going to be above the roof line and not able to be seen from the front yard. Would I be right? Probably not, because the first part of that section also says, “without written consent of the Developer or Association.” But still things are definitely in Nick’s favor.

With success in presenting my proposal and getting the association to agree to it, I feel I have knowledge to pass on to others who might be in similar situations. I don’t like compromise antennas, but when you live under CC&Rs you need to make some. I still think the flag pole vertical is an excellent way to go if you are denied by the HOA. Wires in trees are usually the simplest and more effective way to “get on the air” if your proposal is not accepted.

I think he will end up beating the HOA (by working with them) and be able to raise his antennas as pe his CC&Rs. While the obvious answer is not to buy in an HOA controlled neighborhood, sometimes that is not possible. Thankfully there are some caveats made that could potentially get you on the air. Don’t hate the HOA, but work with them and with your neighbors. You can read my saga with my HOA.

HOA Help

In 2007 I approached my HOA with a proposition to allow me to raise a 24′ high Hustler 6-BTV in order to pursue my amateur radio hobby. Of course all of this could have been dismissed if I were active prior to purchasing my first home, but since I wasn’t I had to take matters into my own hands in order to get on the air.

It seems many stumble across my posts/threads on eHam when considering how to approach their HOA to gain an exemption to any type of antenna/tower restriction. I recently provided another ham with my letters I composed for my HOA board of directors and management company. Thankfully I have a very understanding board of directors and management company. Maybe the state of the economy and the fact so many homes in our association are foreclosed that there are more important issues to deal with than some guy wanting to pursue his hobby.

Initially, I chose to ignore (play dumb) the CC&Rs set forth by my association. When I was finally cited, I removed my 6-BTV, but soon had it back up in the air disguised as a flagpole. It wasn’t until a winter storm with strong winds snapped the aluminum in half that I took the antenna down in order to look for another option.

I decided to approach the management company representative to see if I would be wasting my time putting together a presentation for the HOA board of directors. She didn’t sound positive in her response, but I decided to pursue it in order to partake in my hobby. Thankfully I made the right decision and spent the next few weeks off the air and working on my presentation.

I initially called this an exemption, then a proposal and finally a petition. It seems to be a combination of all of these. I wanted an exemption from the HOA’s CC&Rs in order to erect my Hustler 6-BTV antenna. I wrote a letter that was revised a few times explaining the hobby, what radio is used for and how it plays a role in emergency communications. I also took many digital photos to show where the antenna could be seen from. I also collected signatures of my immediate neighbors. Oddly enough none of them really cared if I had the antenna. One woman asked if it would interfere with her TV, to which I replied no. But I also said if there were any RFI/EMI issues to contact me and they would be resolved.

The board was quite open to my proposal, maybe because were so used to getting into negative issues with attending homeowners, I don’t know. But the presentation was a success and all but one member agreed to the proposal. By virtue of the majority the accepted my proposal.

So it pays to take the time and make the effort to work with your HOA if you are in a situation where you are restricted. I know some of the recent ham magazines now talk about “hamming from the shadows” for those of us who cannot erect towers with beams above our homes. Nonetheless there are numerous ways around CC&Rs in order to get on the air. But the decision is ultimately yours as to how you proceed. If you are interested in my letters, don’t hesitate to e-mail me.

More Impressed!

I am more impressed everyday with the purchase of the DXE 5-Band Hex Beam. Now I just wish I could get it mounted on the Rohn H50 and push this antenna up to my operating height of 25′. Unfortunately, I am still limited to about 15′ because I have not yet found the telescoping mast I desire. So in the meantime it is temporarily mounted about about 15′ on a makeshift mast, with parts borrowed from my 6BTV setup. Instead of a fancy Yaesu G-450A rotator, I am using the “armstrong mode” when I need to change direction. I have two guy wires on opposing spreaders and when I need to move it I grab one and spin the hex around.

Last night I had the radio on while I was in the shack and ended up working 3 new DXCC entities on RTTY. I was able to work UA0IT and DV1JM on 20M, as well as KH2L on 15M. The day before I logged EA1SA on 20M RTTY as well. I have been very impressed with what I can not only hear buy work, with or without my amp on. If I would have found out about this beam before I purchased the SteppIR I would not have stayed with a vertical.

The only sticking point that remains is the HOA. I have yet to e-mail the representative of the management company and inform her of what I have erected in the backyard. It is much less obtrusive than a 32′ vertical. It is not that easy to see from the road when approaching our house that parallels the backyard because it gets lost in the trees and houses and is somewhat camouflaged. Of course when you get closer to the backyard you can see it, but it is not readily seen. Once I have the telescoping mast in place it will even be lower when retracted. If you ask me, this is win win for myself and the HOA if I can convince them.

Anyway I am looking to log some more DX this afternoon. On the Hex Beam Yahoo Group I communicated with KH2X on Guam and hope to get a chance to work him today on 17M, my first hex to hex QSO. At the rate I am going I hope to work my first 100 DXCC entities before the end of the year.


While I am not disappointed with the SteppIR BigIR Mk III, I am probably at a bit of a disadvantage due to the length and number of ground radials installed. Currently there are 58 radials of varying length (21′ to 48′). While this might have been good enough for the Hustler 6-BTV, it is maybe half of what I should have installed (from what I have been reading). I have read that 108 is about the number of radials that should be installed from the SteppIR Yahoo Group.

While I am pleased with the performance so far, mainly on 20m, but have been working 40m with regularity. I even got K4M on 80m yesterday morning! But, with that said, I am still looking to improve my antenna situation. Of course 5 acres with no neighbors, sitting on a 2000 foot peak would be optimal, I will have to wait for retirement for that situation.

Currently I am in an HOA controller community that does not allow antennas, thankfully I have received an exemption from the management company, which has allowed me to erect the vertical. I decided on a new antenna, a hex-beam, based on the G3TXQ design and information from K4KIO. I received all the pieces last night and began construction. What is nice about this antenna is that its simple to build and has a smaller footprint than say, a 3-el beam.

I am planning on using a pressure treated 4×4 that will be set in concrete in the backyard. I will then add a Rohn H50 (2″ OD) mast, which can extend to 50′ but will be limited to 25′. When the antenna is stored it will sit about 8′ off the ground.

I would like to add a rotator to the antenna and have been looking at a Yaesu G-450A ($295), which would be mounted at the top of the mast, which would not require me to add thrust bearings if I were to mount it at the based, which might be easier for maintenance.

With any luck I should have the beam up in time for the CQ Worldwide DX Contest, SSB on October 24-25. This should really provide me a good opportunity to try to the hex-beam in contest conditions. It is a great time to be building a new antenna.