[UPDATED 2018-05-16 @ 2213 UTC] The ARRL commended the work of U.S. Representatives Joe Courtney (D-CT), Vicky Hartzler (R-MO), and Mike Rogers (R-AL) for their successful efforts in securing FY 2019 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) language that directs the FCC to grant radio amateurs living in restricted communities the right to install effective outdoor antennas. Text of the proposal Amateur Radio Parity Act (HR 555) formed the basis of the Courtney-Hartzler-Rogers Amendment to the NDAA.
“The law project Is it that allow every amateur radio operator living in a restricted community to erect an effective outdoor antenna. Full stop. That’s the main benefit of this legislation,” said ARRL General Counsel Chris Imlay, W3KD. “There are tens of thousands of amateur radio licensees who, in the absence of legislation, can no longer install outdoor antennas at all. This enables them in the same way PRB-1 has enabled radio amateurs to respond to unreasonably restrictive zoning ordinances for the past 33 years. Imlay points out, however, that certain conditions apply. Before erecting an antenna in a restricted-act community, an applicant for an outdoor antenna may need to apply to the Home Owners Association (HOA) for prior approval of the particular antenna system proposed by the ham. The law would have not empower an HOA to deny approval of all outdoor antennas. But it also does not allow radio amateurs residing in restricted act subdivisions to erect antennas of their choice.
“This legislation is a good solid balance that favors hams and, as I said, allows tens of thousands of hams to erect effective antennae that they are not allowed to erect now,” Imlay said.
The amendment, proposed by the bipartisan trio and accepted by the House Armed Services Committee by voice vote, will ensure that amateur radio operators continue to play a vital role in supporting communications in the event of a disaster or emergency. Amateur radio has a long-standing relationship with the Department of Defense through the Military Auxiliary Radio Service (MARS) and spectrum sharing.
The Armed Services Committee passed the NDAA by a vote of 60 to 1 after a 2-hour markup that extended late into the night. The bill now awaits action by the House. The Senate will begin its NDAA tagging during the week of May 21.
Representatives Courtney and Adam Kinzinger (R-IL/16) led the effort to include Parity Act language in the NDAA. Both are co-sponsors of the Parity Act, which has passed the House by voice vote twice in the past 2 years.
Acknowledging the longstanding relationship between amateur radio and the Department of Defense, Congressman Kinzinger – who has toured several times for the USAF as a fighter pilot and is still a major in the Air National Guard, and Courtney have championed legislation in Congress.
“The unwavering support of the amateur radio community, continually demonstrated by Congressmen Kinzinger and Courtney, has been a boon,” said Hudson manager Mike Lisenco, N2YBB. “The Parity Act would not be close to this milestone without their strong support, and our organization is extremely grateful.”
Lisenco, who is chairman of the ARRL Board of Directors’ Legislative Advocacy Committee, also recognized other proponents of amateur radio, including House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Greg Walden. , W7EQI (R-OR/2), Energy and Commerce Ranking Member Frank Pallone (D-NJ/6) and House Armed Services Committee Chairman Mac Thornberry (R-TX/13 ). “We are deeply grateful for their continued understanding and support,” Lisenco said.
The ARRL is committed to continuing to lobby for support to enact the Amateur Parity Act throughout the legislative process.