Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Good News, Bad News, on Antenna Restrictions

Hams in Illinois now have a state law granting them the same protections as FCC rules regarding municipal ordinances restricting amateur radio antennas. Governor Pat Quinn signed the "PRB-1"-based bill into law in early July. Extending the FCC's protections to state law removes any question of federal pre-emption in terms of compliance by municipal governments. The new law does not, however, extend to private land use regulations such as homeowner association rules and so-called CC&Rs (conditions, covenants and restrictions).

Speaking of CC&Rs, the FCC has turned down a petition by Len Umina, W7CCE, to extend the provisions of PRB-1, the limited federal pre-emption of state and local antenna ordinances, to private land use regulations. The Commission said it specifically exempted private rules from its original ruling back in 1985 because they were part of contract agreements, not laws, and in a 2001 ruling, said it would not change that position unless ordered to do so by Congress. The FCC also noted that it is in the midst of conducting a Congressionally-mandated study of the effects of private land use regulations and other "impediments to enhanced Amateur Radio Service communications," and would not consider taking any action in this area until Congress reviews its conclusions and decides whether to require any changes via legislation.