ARRL

Secure Site Login

News

Amateur Radio Parity Act Language Inserted in National Defense Authorization Act

05/11/2018

[UPDATED 2018-05-16 @ 2213 UTC] ARRL has praised the work of US Representatives Joe Courtney (D-CT[2]), Vicky Hartzler (R-MO[4]), and Mike Rogers (R-AL[3]) for their successful efforts in securing language in the FY 2019 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) that asks the FCC to grant radio amateurs living in restricted communities the right to install effective outdoor antennas. Text from the proposed Amateur Radio Parity Act (HR 555) formed the basis for the Courtney-Hartzler-Rogers Amendment to the NDAA.

“The bill does entitle each and every Amateur Radio operator living in a deed restricted community to erect an effective outdoor antenna. Full stop. That is the principal benefit of this legislation,” ARRL General Counsel Chris Imlay, W3KD, stressed. “There are tens of thousands of ham radio licensees who now, absent the legislation, cannot erect any outdoor antenna at all. This enables them in the same way PRB-1 has enabled hams to address unreasonably restrictive zoning ordinances during the past 33 years.” Imlay points out, though, that certain conditions apply. Prior to erecting an antenna in a deed-restricted community, an applicant for an outdoor antenna may have to apply to the homeowners association (HOA) for prior approval of the particular antenna system proposed by the ham. The Act would not empower an HOA to deny approval of all outdoor antennas. But neither does it entitle radio Amateurs residing in deed-restricted subdivisions to erect whatever antennas they want.

“This legislation is a good solid balance that favors hams and, as I say, allows tens of thousands of hams to erect effective antennas that they have no right to erect now,” Imlay said.

The amendment, offered by the bipartisan trio and accepted by the House Armed Services Committee by voice vote, will ensure that Amateur Radio operators will continue to play a vital role in supporting communications in a disaster or emergency. Amateur Radio has long-standing relationships with the Department of Defense through the Military Auxiliary Radio Service (MARS) and spectrum sharing.

The Armed Services Committee passed the NDAA by a 60-to-1 voice vote after a 14-hour markup that ran well into the night. The bill now awaits House floor action. The Senate will begin its markup of the NDAA during the week of May 21.

Representatives Courtney and Adam Kinzinger (R-IL/16) spearheaded the effort to include the Parity Act language in the NDAA. Both are cosponsors of the Parity Act, which has passed the House by voice vote twice in the past 2 years.

Recognizing the long-standing relationship between Amateur Radio and the Department of Defense, Congressman Kinzinger — who served multiple tours for the USAF as a fighter pilot and is still a Major in the Air National Guard, and Courtney have been champions of the legislation in Congress.

“The steadfast support of the Amateur Radio community continually demonstrated by Congressmen Kinzinger and Courtney has been a godsend,” said Hudson Director Mike Lisenco, N2YBB. “The Parity Act wouldn’t be anywhere close to this stage without their strong support, and our organization is extremely grateful.”

Lisenco, who serves as Chairman of the ARRL Board’s Legislative Advocacy Committee, also recognized other promoters 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.

ARRL has pledged to continue pressing for support to enact the Amateur Radio Parity Act throughout the legislative process.



Back