A Legislative Update on HAM Radio Towers and Antennas in Your HOA Community

On July 13, 2016, the U.S. House Committee on Energy and Commerce gave its stamp of approval to a compromise version of H.R. 1301, the Amateur Radio Parity Act.

Community Associations Institute opposed H.R. 1301 as introduced, which preempted association restrictions on HAM radio and drastically limited association architectural control of amateur radio antennas. With approval of the committee, the amended version of H.R. 1301 will be referred to the U.S. House of Representatives for a vote – possibly in September.

CAI’s Federal Legislative Action Committee was able to secure key changes to H.R. 1301. These amendments include:

  • HAM radio operators are required to obtain the prior consent of the association to install an outdoor antenna
  • HAM radio operators are prohibited from placing antennas on common property
  • Associations may establish written rules concerning outdoor HAM radio antennas

Prior to the committee vote, U.S. Representative Greg Walden, a Republican representing Oregon’s 6th Congressional District and the chief author of H.R. 1301, said that compromise was necessary “… to ensure amateurs

[HAM radio operators] are protected, but not at the expense of Americans living in deed-restricted communities.”

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The compromise legislation will permit community associations to establish and enforce reasonable written rules concerning the installation of HAM radio antennas. While these rules must be designed and enforced so as to permit installation of an effective antenna, associations may require that HAM antennas meet height, location, and aesthetic standards.

Rep. Walden acknowledged that HAMs who choose to live in a community association should respect the association’s rules. Rep. Walden said, “This amendment also respects … the rights of Americans, including amateur radio operators, who’ve chosen to live in deed-restricted communities. …”

Several steps remain if the compromise version of H.R. 1301 is to become law. The legislation must be approved by the U.S. House of Representatives as a whole and forwarded to the U.S. Senate. The Senate must also vote to approve the legislation if H.R. 1301 is to be presented to President Obama for his signature.

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Congress has a limited schedule now due to national elections. Therefore, if the amended version of H.R. 1301 does not become law in 2016, the bill must restart the legislative process when the 115th Congress convenes in January 2017. On January 23, 2017, this has passed this bill without amendment. It is currently with the Senate, where it was referred to the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation.


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