We want to put up our antennas!

Antennas

Senator Diane Feinstein wrote (or her auto responder wrote) me back:

Dear Dennis:

Thank you for writing to express your support for the “Amateur Radio Parity Act.” I appreciate hearing from you, and welcome the opportunity to respond.

As you may know, current Federal Communications Commission (FCC) rules require local governments to “reasonably accommodate” amateur radio installations. This requirement does not, however, apply to land use restrictions limiting the size and dimensions of installations on private land. This means that many amateur radio operators are unable to install functional outdoor antennas because they do need to be “reasonably accommodated.”

You may be interested to know that Representative Adam Kinzinger introduced the “Amateur Radio Parity Act of 2017” (H.R. 555) on January 13, 2017. This bill passed the House of Representatives on January 23, 2017.

On July 12, 2017, Senator Roger Wicker (R-MS) introduced a Senate companion bill, the “Amateur Radio Parity Act (S. 1534),” which would direct the FCC to clarify that amateur radio stations may be installed regardless of any private land use restrictions. This would provide amateur radio operators with the ability to negotiate with homeowners associations to get their antennas installed. This bill is currently awaiting consideration by the Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee, of which I am not a member.

Please know that I believe that the service that amateur radio volunteers provide to local, state and federal governments in times of emergency is invaluable. I agree that it is important to keep these airwaves accessible so that they can continue their good work.

Be assured that I have made note of your comments, and I will be sure to keep them in mind should this, or related legislation, come before me for consideration.

Once again, thank you for writing. Should you have any other questions or comments, please call my Washington, D.C., office at (202) 224-3841 or visit my website at feinstein.senate.gov. You can also follow me online at YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter, and you can sign up for my email newsletter at feinstein.senate.gov/newsletter.

Best regards.
Sincerely yours,
Dianne Feinstein
United States Senator

It is good to hear that some government officials value the individual and coordinated research that we hams put into amateur radio. Many hams like me are driven by preparedness and volunteering, and would like to hone our skills at home.

Great California Shake-Out Earthquake Drill!

EMCOMM, Radio Club

It was a quick checkin on the W6SF repeater from Folsom, CA today. In participation with The 2017 International ShakeOut Day, today Oct. 19, 2017 at 10:19am, we had a QST to check in to the drill. Most checkins had “no damage” but there could have been mock damage appended with “this is a drill” at the end of the transmission.

Hitting the 147.165+ repeater (located by Fiddletown, CA some 30 miles away) from Folsom was difficult on my 5 maximum watts with mobile-mount antenna in a business parking lot. My radio tests 10 minutes before the drill got reports back of “no copy” with lots of noise, low audio. I had to drive around a bit to find a higher vantage point to hit the Sierras on my limited QRP.

The whole drill was quick, lasting only about 7 minutes. It was great to participate.

“Kilo Foxtrot Six Uniform Juliet Sierra, Folsom, No damage.”

“Acknowledging KF6UJS in Folsom, no damage.”

More final calls for checkins then that was it! The end was a recorded announcement and NZ6Q closed the drill and returned the repeater to normal operation. (Apologies, I only managed to record the end, was too distracted.)

This exercise got me to thinking about what I need for a truly portable EMCOMM rig. A simple mag-mount fixed antenna, and especially with low watt HT (without charger, no less!), is hardly sufficient for the pockets of the valley. I might need to look into a dedicated portable mobile rig that can bump up the tx power, and an antenna that I can raise (e.g. foldable that can deploy on a stand) for clearer more reliable communications.

So if I were stuck at the office during a catastrophe, I think I’d have to resort to other closer repeaters to reach out– and miss out on my own club’s traffic until I could move to a different location. Stuff to think about and plan for.