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Home Forums Rants HOA limitations

  • HOA limitations

    Posted by Jim on 2024-02-03 at 10:23

    The three most dreaded letters in the amateur radio alphabet: H-O-A. Whether you live in a condo, an apartment, an individual home, the restrictions can be daunting. Personally, I get that a nicely designed neighborhood may not want a 250-tower breaking up the skyline. There is such a thing as being unreasonable. But that works both ways. There has to be a happy medium, or at least some dialogue.

    The legislation that has been attempted thus far sought to create an obligatory regime. I’m not convinced that’s the best route. I think there have to be parallel tracks. On the one hand, there has to be an obligation to allow us to set ‘something’ up. We have to be able to ‘operate’. Obviously, RFI is a no-no. We have to be respectful of others. This said, that works both ways (I’ll leave that for another topic). But in addition to the obligation to allow us to have ‘something’ we also need legislation that will force an HOA into a dialogue. They cannot have the power to unilaterally dismiss any setup or to unilaterally limit the setup. There needs to be an instrument or process for escalating the dialogue to some form of neutral body.

    More to come (both from me, and I suspect from others)….

    Unknown Member replied 2 months, 3 weeks ago 5 Members · 10 Replies
  • 10 Replies
  • N8TGQ

    2024-02-03 at 11:47
    5W posting rank

    Sorry, but I disagree. As long as you know the conditions of a contract going in, it’s your choice to accept or reject that conract.

    Ham radio is a privelge, not a right.

    In most of the places I’ve lived since being licensed, antennas have been outlawed or very impractical. I have still figured out ways to stay on the air and within the rules.

    There are many factors that go into choosing where to live. You just have to decide how important ham radio is in your list. For me, it’s pretty low.

    • Jim

      2024-02-03 at 11:50
      25W posting rank

      You bring up a really good point about privilege vs. right. That’s worth further discussion indeed. I’ll open a separate thread for that discussion. I guess, ultimately, the discussion around HOAs does come down to that. Good point, thanks for making it.

  • Unknown Member

    Deleted User
    2024-02-19 at 22:53
    Newbie posting rank

    I agree with N8TGO.
    Do we really want courts of law deciding which contracts are OK and which aren’t? That sounds too much to me like a nanny state. I already have the goobermint in my business enough, telling me what I can’t do and what I’m “not allowed” to own or do.

    I simply don’t believe that a valid contract should be voided by a court of law simply because one of the signators, years after making the contract, decided that the deal isn’t to his liking. That was a conclusion that should’ve been come to before Harry Homeowner signed the contract.

    My town says I can’t have livestock and fowl on my property. I knew that was the ordinance when I bought this house. “But I didn’t know I wanted to be a chicken farmer back in 2010 when I bought the house” isn’t a valid reason to break a contract IMO.

    Real-world example….several years ago I bought a cell phone at US Cellular. It cost $800 and I agreed to pay $30 per month (if I recall) until it was paid for. Two months later while mowing the lawn it fell out of my pocket, I stomped the brake as soon as I saw it fall, and next I heard the noise of the mower blades chewing it up into 253 little pieces. My wife was mad. See, I didn’t run to US Cellular and tell them the deal was off. I paid them $800 for the phone like I agreed to do, even as much as it hurt, because that’s what I agreed to do. And believe me, on a disability income, it hurt.

    That’s what men with integrity do.
    Boys whine about the deal they made and how it isn’t fair.

    ~Anthony, KD3Y

    All the kings horses and all the kings men couldn’t put Samsung back together again! 🙂

  • Jim

    2024-02-25 at 17:24
    25W posting rank

    I just want to thank you all for the amazing input so far. I’m also liking the tone of our conversations. Excellent and constructive.

    As for my own vision, I guess I’m being selfish, but yeah, I wish I could have a little more freedom to set up the bare minimum. But @KD3Y you are correct, when I moved in here, I knew what I was getting into (my bad).

  • wn3r

    2024-02-25 at 17:29
    Newbie posting rank


    As directed by Congress in Section 207 of the Telecommunications Act of 1996, the Federal Communications Commission adopted the Over-the-Air Reception Devices (“OTARD”) rule concerning governmental and nongovernmental restrictions on viewers’ ability to receive video programming signals from direct broadcast satellites …

    IMO, the ARRL let ham operators down by being ineffective in lobbying Congress to do what they did for the satellite industry. HOAs said NO ANTENNAS (some even said none inside either), yet Congress came along and passed rules that NOBODY could ban rooftop dishes in 1996. Even apartment and condo dwellers could have their own dishes.

    In FCC Rules Part 97, the first and most important reason for dedicating bandwidth to us hams is:

    Subpart A—General Provisions

    97.1 Basis and purpose.

    The rules and regulations in this part are designed to provide an amateur radio service having a fundamental purpose as expressed in the following principles:

    (a) Recognition and enhancement of the value of the amateur service to the public as a voluntary noncommercial communication service, particularly with respect to providing emergency communications.

    The rules and regulations in this part are designed to provide an amateur radio service having a fundamental purpose as expressed in the following principles:

    (a) Recognition and enhancement of the value of the amateur service to the public as a voluntary noncommercial communication service, particularly with respect to providing emergency communications.

    Yet, when hams want to live in modern urban or suburban communities, we are restricted from satisfying the first principle the FCC required of hams. How does that make sense? PRB 1 is simply ineffective against HOAs.

    I understand the concept of contracts between the private parties. Government regulation is often passed to improve the well-being of its citizens. Think clean air, clean water, sprinkler systems, traffic signs, signal lights, and a host of others.

    Emergency communications provided by hams seem no longer necessary in the US.

  • Unknown Member

    Deleted User
    2024-02-26 at 04:42
    Newbie posting rank

    “NO ANTENNAS (some even said none inside either)”

    LOL. Yeah that’s easy enough to debate. Ask to visit your local HOA Karens home and the homes of the HOA board members.

    Do they have WiFi? Then they’re breaking their own rule. That’s a transmitting antenna.
    Do they own a cell phone? That’s a transmitting antenna.
    Do they have a “Smart TV”? The new remotes are now radio, not infrared. That’s a transmitting antenna.
    Do they have a smart meter on their condo? That’s a transmitting antenna.
    Smart water meter? That’s a transmitting antenna.
    Do they have even a simple AM/FM radio? That’s an indoor antenna.
    Does their car have OnStar, Car-Net, or Verizon Hum? Can’t park it in their driveway. It’s against the rules. Those are transmitting antenna.
    Do they have an iPad, or wireless laptop? Those are transmitting antenna.
    Do they have an ultrasonic pest repeller plugged into the wall? That’s a transmitting antenna.
    Do they own a sound bar for their smart TV? That’s a bluetooth transmitting antenna.
    Does their kid have an Xbox or Wii? Sorry Karen, that’s a transmitting antenna. They use radio now.
    Does fat Karen have one of those fancy-shmancy treadmills that connects to her cell phone? TRANSMITTING ANTENNA!
    Oh, they use iPods? Again, that’s a transmitting antenna.
    Those popular “Ring” doorbell cameras? Those are transmitting antenna.
    Wireless security cameras? Yep you guessed it…transmitting antenna.
    Apple watch on your wrist? Do I need to say it again? You’re transmitting with an antenna, Karen. Write the secretary a check for your fine.
    Remotely monitored pacemaker? Sorry Karen. You’re gonna die. Those use radio to send your data to your Dr’s monitoring center.
    Life Alert? Sorry karen. You’ve fallen and you’re never going to get up again. Those have transmitting antenna.
    Gas logs use a remote like mine to turn them on and off? I can’t type it again because I’ve used up all the “transmitting antenna” left in my laptop keyboard. 🙂

    An HOA can’t whack you for your indoor antenna unless they enforce the rule equally and ban the other 353,194,223,901,761 antenna that are transmitting in the HOA. That’s selective enforcement, and it’s discriminatory under the law.

    China RF analyzers are cheap. Show the mediator Karen is, in fact, transmitting mucho RF from her condo across several bands in violation of HOA Board rules. Unless the HOA Board wants to move back to 1920, they simply cannot enforce a “no indoor antenna” rule. It’s not possible in 2024. Can they show you they’ve issued warning letters to everyone in the HOA who owns one of these devices? If not then your fine can’t be collected.

    I’d tell Karen to go pound sand. Let the HOA take me to court…and I’m bringing the long list of antennas she has in her home with me. The HOA would only have to pay my court costs and attorney fees once and their HOA treasurer would learn their lesson.

    I can concede the mast antenna or tower in your yard, or dipole strung across the yard. Those can be considered an eyesore or safety hazard. But a blanket “no indoor antennas” rule would never stand in any court in the USA. The only reason HOA’s can keep their boots on our necks is because we say “yes ma’am” and hang our heads and comply. Attorney fees are a better investment in the hobby than are new ham radios.

    DISClAIMER: I am not an attorney, but I have seen every episode of Judge Judy, so this should not be considered legal advice. 🙂

  • Unknown Member

    Deleted User
    2024-02-26 at 05:32
    Newbie posting rank

    After giving it some thought, Jim, I believe I have found the solution to your problem.
    See, you haven’t made the proper donation to the HOA. If you would write them a donation check to build the “K3MRI recreation facility” for the HOA members to use then I suspect your ham antenna request will be approved.

    You gotta think like a politician. LOL

    You can’t take it with you, Old Man. 😉

  • Jim

    2024-02-29 at 10:48
    25W posting rank

    Donation? Yup, nope, not happening LOL. As far as the other points you make, they’re actually really good ones, seriously. I had never thought of it that way. But now time for full disclosure, I’ve actually tried setting up antennas here, surreptitiously in the middle of the night, and nothing gets out. This building is an interference-plagues Faraday cage with enough appliance activity to negate my best efforts. In my case, the battle is lost. All I can do is stare at my countdown clock; we move out of here and, hopefully hit the road, in 1036 days! Meanwhile, for another thread, I have a new go-kit concept I’m dreaming up. When it starts to take shape, I will post details.

  • ns7x

    2024-03-01 at 00:01
    5W posting rank

    It’s true. If you don’t want to live in a neighborhood controlled by an HOA, find another place to live.

    However, I live in a house that my parents bought in 1953. In other words, my neighborhood was extant long before anyone knew how to spell HOA. One day, about 20 years ago, folks in my neighborhood decided to establish a “neighborhood association” (read that HOA). Fortunately, the whole push for the HOA died a quiet death and never became an issue for me. However, my point is that it’s not always a question of not buying a house in an HOA. Sometimes, the HOA moves into your neighborhood in spite of you.

    Anyway, as of January 30, 2024, Senate Bill S. 3690 (the Amateur Radio Emergency Preparedness Act) has been introduced to the Senate and I believe is now in committee. It seeks to amend the Communications Act of 1934 and will protect amateurs from being prevented to place antennas on their property due to HOA restrictions. https://www.congress.gov/bill/118th-congress/senate-bill/3690/text
    This may be a good time to contact your senator and ask their support of this bill.

    • Unknown Member

      Deleted User
      2024-03-03 at 03:00
      Newbie posting rank

      That’s great news. I hope it passes (this time) but I don’t have very much hope. There’s no money in it for the politicians.

      I believe you don’t understand the HOA concept thoroughly. One can’t be forced into a contract here in America. If an HOA “moves into” your neighborhood, they can’t opt you in. You either opt in voluntarily, or you are grandfathered (exempt). If you sell the house, the NEW owner is opted into the HOA by the covenants and restrictions (C&R) added to his deed, and his deed will reflect the HOA C&R’s. An HOA cannot modify your deed C&R’s without your consent and approval. It’s called “grandfathering”.

      The only way you can join an HOA (in America) against your will is if you (or your lawyer) didn’t read those 222,302 pages we all sign when we close on our home.

      I own a rental home in Raleigh. Bought it 30 years ago….25 years before the new HOA gestapo came to town. The HOA paid my lawyer some “tuition” to educate them on grandfathering a couple years ago because I have (had since 2004) two storage barns in the backyard instead of the “only one, less than 100 square feet in size” the HOA “allows”. Now they hate me but I haven’t heard a peep from them in years after they graduated his HOA class. 🙂

      Until you sell your home, Sir, an HOA can’t enforce their rules on you unless you’ve voluntarily joined their organization.

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