ARRL

ARRL General Bulletin ARLB007 (2012)

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ARLB007 FCC Seeks Public Comments on Emergency Communications by
Amateur Radio and Impediments to Amateur Radio Communications

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ARRL Bulletin 7  ARLB007
From ARRL Headquarters  
Newington CT  April 5, 2012
To all radio amateurs 

SB QST ARL ARLB007
ARLB007 FCC Seeks Public Comments on Emergency Communications by
Amateur Radio and Impediments to Amateur Radio Communications

In response to the Congressional directive to prepare a study to
assess Amateur Radio's role in emergency and disaster communications
and the impact of private land use regulations on the amateur
community's ability to provide such communications, the FCC issued
DA 12-523 soliciting comments from the public. The period for public
comment runs until May 17, 2012.

"As part of the study contained in Public Law No. 112-96, the
Commission has opened a 45 day period for comments to be filed on
the issue," said ARRL Regulatory Information Manager Dan Henderson,
N1ND. "Because of the short deadline for the study to be completed
and presented to Congress -- before the end of August -- the ARRL
and the amateur community must quickly mobilize their response."

The FCC Public Notice focuses on two specific areas for comments.
The first is the role that Amateur Radio has played and continues to
play to support emergency and disaster relief organizations, such as
FEMA and local/state emergency management agencies. The second is to
determine impediments to enhanced Amateur Radio communications. This
would include the impact that private land-use regulations -- such
as deed restrictions and homeowner association covenants -- have on
the ability of licensed amateurs to fully participate in providing
support communications to the served agencies.

"This study is not about zoning ordinances or regulations adopted by
the local or state governments," Henderson explained. "Amateurs
already have the limited protection of PRB-1 to assist them with
those situations. The areas of concern here are the limitations that
are placed on a property when it is purchased, either as part of the
deed of sale or by restrictions imposed by the
neighborhood/homeowner's association. Those restrictions --
sometimes referred to as CC&Rs -- are not currently covered by the
FCC's PRB-1 decision from 1985."

To allow the ARRL to quickly collect and collate relevant
information from the amateur community to help support the filing it
will make with the FCC on this issue, a website has been setup. The
site -- www.arrl.org/ccr-study-information -- provides details about
what kind of information is needed by the ARRL.

Also on the site, you will find links to two online data collection
forms. The first form allows you to provide information about
specific emergency communications in which Amateur Radio has played
a role since January 2000. The second form asks for specific
information on the CC&Rs/deed restrictions that control your
property. It also asks you to provide information on how those
restrictions have impacted your ability to fully support emergency
communications.

"Whether you are an ARRL member or not, your information and
situation are important to helping us make the case for all
amateurs," Henderson said. "Whether your support communications are
with ARES, RACES, SKYWARN, CERT or other emergency and disaster
groups, your voice should be heard. If you cannot operate
effectively from home during an emergency because CC&Rs prohibit
adequate antennas on your property, that is important to document
and quantify. This issue affects all of Amateur Radio, not just ARRL
members."

Henderson said that due to the short timeframe that the FCC has
allotted for public comment, time is of the essence. In order to
allow the ARRL to develop its comments, the ARRL asks that all
information sent by the amateur community be received at the ARRL no
later than April 25, 2012: "We realize this is a very short
turnaround asking for your response, but this is based on the time
provided by the Commission for the comment window."

It is important that when you provide specifics of your CC&R, you
also provide the ARRL with a copy of its actual wording. If you have
the CC&R in a digital format (or you can scan the document into a
file), it can either be uploaded through the website above or it can
be sent via an e-mail to CCRinfo@arrl.org . If you do not have an
electronic format, a hard copy may be sent via US mail to: CCR Study
Information, ARRL, 225 Main St, Newington, CT 06111.

"We need factual, specific details," Henderson said. "The more
accurate information we have -- including copies of the CC&R
language -- the stronger case we can make. Having copies of the
exact CC&Rs is important. It allows us to demonstrate the wide
variation of restrictions. Including the specific text is as
important as any other piece of information you provide."

If you have questions about what is being requested, you may contact
the ARRL Regulatory Information Office via e-mail at
reginfo@arrl.org. "Again, time is of the essence in this matter,"
Henderson said. "This is the best opportunity that amateurs have had
to address the impact of overly burdensome private land use
restrictions. If Amateur Radio is to succeed in this effort, it is
going to take all of us working together."
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