Commenting in response to an FCC Public Notice (DA 17-1180) released last month, ARRL addressed the extent of Amateur Radio’s response to recent hurricane disasters and efforts needed to expand the use of Amateur Radio services when it comes to planning, testing, and providing emergency communication. The comments point out that Amateur Radio not only has been “far more than a hobby;” it is a ubiquitous, infrastructure-independent communication resource that’s always ready to deploy effectively whenever and wherever needed. The League cited the remarks of former FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate, KK4INZ, that Amateur Radio “oftentimes is our last line of defense.” ARRL raised three areas where action by the FCC could ensure and enhance the ability of radio amateurs to provide emergency communication, including the current Amateur Radio Parity Act of 2017 (S. 1534), now in the US Senate.
“HOAs can preclude amateur antennas in common areas. HOAs can enact reasonable written rules governing height, location, size and aesthetic impact of, and installation requirements for, outdoor antennas and support structures for amateur communications, but the effective outdoor antenna requirement is paramount,” ARRL noted in its comments. “The bill is currently before the Senate Commerce Committee. If, however, Congress is unable, as has been rumored, to pass any telecommunications legislation this term, it will be incumbent on the Commission to take the action on its own initiative that would be called for by this legislation. The future of Amateur Radio emergency communications is dependent on it.”
ARRL asserted that it “is critical to have stations located at one’s residence in order to regularly participate in disaster preparedness training exercises and drills.”