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Re: [CQ-Contest] Contesting Extinction

To: "n4gi@tampabay.rr.com" <n4gi@tampabay.rr.com>,'CQ Contest' <cq-contest@contesting.com>
Subject: Re: [CQ-Contest] Contesting Extinction
From: Richard DiDonna NN3W <nn3w@cox.net>
Date: Thu, 5 Oct 2006 9:21:20 -0400
List-post: <mailto:cq-contest@contesting.com>
I agree that this is a major problem.  A major problem in the long term.  

I frankly cringe every time that I come up on QRZ.com and see a thread about 
CC&Rs and the standard argument that if you want antennas, you should simply 

I'm sorry, but that argument does not wash with many families - especially 
young ones who live in urban and suburban environments (the ones who we hope to 
make up the bulk of the future contesting ranks).  Moving out to bumblef**k 
simple for the sake of getting the privilege to throw up a lot of aluminum does 
not fly well with a lot of wives, and will often not be to the advantage of a 
ham's life and that of the ham's family.

I could certainly move to Warrenton, but I'd have to commute 2.5 hours every 
day to work, deal with average schools, not enjoy the benefits of being near 
Washington, D.C., and have average government/health services.   Is amateur 
radio worth that much to me?  Nope, not as a husband and a father to two very 
young children.

So, barring wholesale lifestyle changes, what is there to do?  Well, structural 
changes mainly.

Technically my home is in a deed-restricted neighborhood - but one that has 
been around for about 40 years and the "association" has not been overzealous 
in their enforcement of the regs.  In fact, the other ham and I who live in the 
development have basically "trained" the board to accept antennas as a function 
of emergency preparedness and homeland defense.  In suburban D.C., people are 
very sensitive to that issue and will often give some leeway when you describe 
your plans and set-up in those terms.  Get onto your neighborhood association 
board and start educating them - start drafting language - and start revising 
rulings to be more radio friendly.

Speaking of homeland defense, I have wondered why the ARRL hasn't pushed that 
angle harder in Washington and in the state houses.  If the League wants to 
really preserve amateur radio and contesting, you'd think that they'd start 
playing the homeland defense card a lot harder.  Do members of congress, state 
legislatures, and local cities really want to appear to be soft on homeland 
defense?  Do members of  congress, state legislatures, and local cities really 
want to act ill-prepared and not foster activities with NO cost that enhance 
defense?  You'd think that folks with political motivation would recognize that 
free enhancement of defense measures would be enhance their positions by 
allowing for radio operators.  

Further, for the life of me, I cannot understand why the League or somebody 
hasn't forced the issue of exemptions for amateur antennas in CC&R restricted 
neighborhoods by inserting language into omnibus legislation pieces.  Pet 
programs are done all the time.  Extraneous provisions and statutory language 
is dumped all the time into non-relevant bills.  Why hasn't this been done with 
amatuer radio antennas??

Anyhow, coming full circle, the restrictions have indeed crimped a lot of 
contesting stations from fully developing.  While I'm not advocating the 
allowance of 200 foot towers in suburban and urban environments, a 50 foot 
tower with a tribander and a good operator can get you very, very far.  K6LL 
has proved that point in spades.

</rant off>

73 Rich NN3W
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