[CQ-Contest] AE0M vs. HOA antenna and EMI dispute

Tony and Celia Becker becker at SPRINTMAIL.COM
Sat May 10 20:23:10 EDT 1997

Recall that I live in a duet townhouse with CC&Rs which read in part:
        "... no receiving antennas ... visible to public view ... unless
         installed by a licensed cable television contractor".

In order to minimize EMI especially to the folks who live in the front half of 
my building I have been erecting stealth antennas in the trees behind the 
building.  (Surprisingly, the attic 20 - 10m dipole is usually the better 
signal!) However, whenever the HOA BoD tears down the external antennas as they 
did in the fall of 1995, I am forced to choose between no transmitting at all 
and using the old antenna in the attic.  Of course the attic antenna is much 
closer the folks in the front of the building so they get much more severe EMI, 
especially to the TV and VCR. Two others have reported much less severe EMI, 
one to a VCR, and one to all her telephones.  Last spring I chose to contest 
with the attic dipole several times, but by fall 1996 I decided to risk the HOA 
BoD attack and replaced the backyard stealth antennas.

Thus their are really three interests in conflict:  The HOA BoD wants to 
enforce their interpretation of existing CC&Rs (which stops at "no antennas" 
and doesn't consider the rest of the paragraph) so they can't be accused of 
doing a poor job of administrating, the EMI affected neighbors just want the 
EMI to go away, and Celia and I want to exercise the privileges of our Amateur 
licenses occasionally.

Our first mediation session was yesterday.  Three HOA BoD members, two EMI 
suffering neighbors and the HOA lawyer each gave divergent views on outdoor 
antennas and RFI complaints for 90 mins., then I, YF Celia and our lawyer, 
former FCC - SF enforcement officer Phil Kane, N6SP, made a very organized 
presentation in 60 mins.

Phil noted that Federal law CLEARLY preempts state and local law including CC&R 
contracts in matters of EMI--as "nuisance."  He pointed out that their 
anecdotal descriptions of interference all had the fingerprints of fundamental 
overload, handed out new copies of the FCC Interference Handbook and gave a 
short tutorial on how to cure interference problems at the receiver end.  Phil 
also explained that a NPRM was before the FCC which, when adopted, render the 
CC&R provision above null and void.  In fact, he also pointed out that the 
provision in question  was "cable company monopoly boilerplate" that had 
effectively already been struck down.

Celia and I renewed our standing offer to work with anyone who has a problem, 
and complained that the HOA BoD members have been advising the homeowners to 
refuse our help, and the BoD keeps destroying our outdoor antennas, thus 
obstructing the solution of these problems, in order to carry out a vendetta 
and to build a court case against us.  We objected to the use of our dues to 
attack us in an expensive court action which they could not win.

Three of the next four hours were spent by the mediator trying to get the four 
HOA people and two homeowners to come up with a unified position and a 
realistic proposal (we have already offered them two unanswered proposals). 
 What was interesting was the hour and a half fight that could be heard through 
closed doors and down the hall between the EMI suffering homeowners and 
enforcement bent BoD members.

As a parting shot, Phil passed copies (Celia remembered to bring them) of the 
new FCC regulation 1.4000 and California law 1376 on receiving antennas. 
 Recall that they explictly preempt any state or local law, contract or CC&R 
which does not allow for the erection of an effective television or satellite 
receiving antenna up to 1 meter in diameter.  We offered them no guidance as to 
how we might utilize these new laws if their counter offer is not acceptable to 

The next mediation session will be June 2 after the HOA has their next BoD 
meeting and a planning session.

Hmmm, it seems to me that a 1 meter MFJ loop could be modified to resonate in 
the VHF televison band.

Boy, am I looking forward to transmitting 1500 W through all the huge, high 
aluminum at N6RO for the upcoming WPX CW contest!
AE0M, Tony Becker - becker at sprintmail.com - Silicon Valley, U.S.A.

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>From Joe Subich" <W8IK at ibm.net  Sun May 11 05:17:19 1997
From: Joe Subich" <W8IK at ibm.net (Joe Subich)
Date: Sun, 11 May 97 00:17:19 -0400
Subject: [CQ-Contest] AE0M vs. HOA antenna and EMI dispute
In-Reply-To: < at pop.a001.sprintmail.com>

In < at pop.a001.sprintmail.com>, on 05/10/97 
   at 07:23 PM, Tony and Celia Becker <becker at SPRINTMAIL.COM> said:

>However, whenever the HOA BoD tears down the external antennas as they  did
>in the fall of 1995, I am forced to choose between no transmitting at all 
>and using the old antenna in the attic. 

Did you ever consider filing a Federal Criminal Complaint against the  HOA BoD
for intentional damage to an FCC licensed facility?  Since, the  applicable
rules simply state that nobody may willfully damage any part  of a federally
licensed facility and even the "stealth" antennas are a  vital part of your
federally licensed facility, the criminal complaint  just might give you a
much stronger hand in the next mediation session.   


   ... Joe Subich, W8IK  ex-AD8I
       <W8IK at ibm.net>
       <jsubich at ibm.net>

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