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[TowerTalk] Chicago Tribune: Antenna Stirs Static Among Neighbors

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Subject: [TowerTalk] Chicago Tribune: Antenna Stirs Static Among Neighbors
From: (Rob Atkinson, K5UJ)
Date: Mon Aug 11 20:44:09 2003
P. 1 of the Metro section of today's Chicago Tribune:

Antenna Stirs Static Among Neighbors
by John Keilman 8/11/2003

Excerpts (summaries in [ ]):

Carmen Ambroggio's lifelong passion for ham radio is all too obvious to some 
people in his Park Ridge neighborhood.  They just have to look up.

There, above his rooftop, is the steel antenna tower the 78 year old retired 
businessman is building in his back yard so he can talk to people on the 
other side of the globe....

But he has few sympathizers among his neighbors.  They call the $9,000 
retractable tower, designed to reach a maximum height of 64 feet, an eyesore 
that is out of place in a community where even telephone wires are buried.

"It's not appropriate for someone to move in and put something like this in 
a residential neighborhood," said Robert Wallace, who lives a few houses 
away.  "It may be legal, but it shouldn't be legal."

..oppposition has led city officials to crack down on Ambroggio for placing 
his tower a few feet farther into his yard than it should be, marking 
another skirmish in the long-standing battle between the nation's 685,000 
ham radio operators and the people living near them.

[Paragraph describing ham radio public service leading to PRB-1]

On the other side, many neighbors of radio operators have no desire to look 
at the towers, which can reach heights of 75 feet or more...[cause] 
interference nearby...concerns prompted some municipalities and home owners 
assns. to get tough on the towers.

Park Ridge zoning laws allow antenna towers up to 75 feet...When some 
neighbors learned about his plan for a tower, they complained that it would 
be out of place on their street of ranch and split-level houses.  After 
several months of deliberation, the city gave Ambroggio a building permit.

Thomas Wong, chairman of the Elec. and Computer Eng. dept. at Ill. Inst. of 
Tech. said interference could be due to improperly installed antennas or 
transmitters that send out too much power.  Home electronics also could be 
to blame if they are not properly shielded from outside radio waves, he 

[Neighbor Kevin] Goll was no fan of the tower to begin with, but as he 
watched construction proceed he grew more irritated as he realized that the 
tower was not being placed where it was supposed to go.

[Account of how Ambroggio found an uncharted drain pipe during tower base 
excavation]  Without getting clearance from the city, he moved the tower's 
base a few feet farther into his yard.  That made the antenna even more 
visible, Goll said.  "By being moved so far out, there's nowhere we can be 
on our back patio and not see this thing," he said.  "This structure is not 

He and other neighbors appealed to the city [Ambroggio reportedly has to 
move his tower at a cost of $3,000].  To Ambroggio and his atty., Sheldon 
Epstein [also a ham], the complaints are tantamount to harassment..."It 
doesn't matter if [neighbors] have an aesthetic objection or not," said 
Epstein, ..."The community has passed an ordinance that permits it.  End of 

Two photos:  1.  Photo of Mr. Goll looking unhappy with retracted tower in 
background.  Caption:  Kevin Goll and other Park Ridge residents have 
complained about the ham radio tower in the yard of Carmen Ambroggio.  Goll 
says he now hears static and voices from his TV and stereo.
2.  Photo of Mr. Ambroggio in basement shack.  Caption:  Carmen Ambroggio 
says his 64-foot tower is legal and necessary to operate the ham radio 
equipment in his basement.

Rob Atkinson

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