I Beat the HOA!

Monday I attended my first homeowners association board meeting with a letter, petition and images in hand to present my case to erect a 20′ vertical antenna. I will score this round a victory for myself and amateur radio, especially those limited by CC&Rs in their neighborhoods.

I composed a one page letter explaining the benefits of amateur radio, emphasizing the emergency communication aspect in times of disasters. I also took the time to petition four of my neighbors, all of whom signed, supporting my case without any question. I also drove to a few different locations on the roads in front and behind my house taking digital pictures to show what the 20′ antenna looks like.

Things did not get off to a grand start, I said, “I would like to petition the board to allow me to erect a 20′ vertical antenna in my backyard, what are the possibilities?” A moment of silence, some laughter and the President responded with, “Unlikely.” But after that statement I took control of the meeting, explaining ham radio and the benefits. I passed around the letter, petition and images for all to look at and then the questions started.

I explained about RFI/EMI to the best of my ability. Although after reading up on it some more I think I have a better understanding of potential problems if a neighbor complains. There were a few sticking points. First, I was previously cited by the HOA for being in “violation” of the CCNRs [Like my flagpole?] I was honest and forthcoming with them for the most part. Except I did not tell them the antenna was disguised as a flagpole. I could not give that fact away, just in case I need to use it in the future.

Everyone on the board, including the association manager were impressed with the time I took to put together my case, with the exception of one individual. I don’t know who she is or what her position on the board is, it’s really immaterial because she did not want anything to be erected at all. She was also the one who turned me in because of the 42′ antenna I had that was erected on top of a mast. In all honesty it was a bit much and I was more than pushing the limits.

The agreement for now is keeping the 6-BTV erected on a permanent basis for a series of 30-day trial periods (2-3 months). This time will allow association members to comment or complain about it on a monthly basis. If no one complains about how it looks or any RFI/EMI (interference) there is a very good chance I will get to keep it on a permanent basis. If not, I did explain I could use a tilt-base that would allow me to raise and drop the antenna when not in use. They seemed to like this idea more, but still allowed the trial period to proceed.

So regardless of how I look at this meeting, I came out a winner. I had nothing to loose and an antenna to gain. From Monday on I will be logging my station operations. Prior to this, I did not log when I got on and off my radio, but did log all contacts. Should any complaint arise I told my immediate neighbors I would resolve the issue with them or cease operation. I do think the board was pleased with how the meeting went and I look forward to attending the next meeting to provide further information in order to strengthen my case to keep the antenna erected on a permanent basis.