The Board of Directors of an antenna-restricted community in Arizona voted overwhelmingly in April to allow radio amateurs to erect certain outdoor antennas on their properties. Some 75 hams live in the 10,000-home Sun City Grand, a self-contained residential community for older adults. An article in the Grand Ham Newsletter by Gordon Bousman, NW7D, called it “a big win” and said the Sun City Grand community homeowners’ association (HOA) is believed to be the largest in the US to permit Amateur Radio antennas. The HOA board includes one radio amateur. The new antenna guidelines went into effect on May 9.
“The road to success took nearly a year of meetings, negotiations, and occasional setbacks driven by a team of dedicated amateurs who were persistent in reaching our goals,” Bousman said in his article. “While our initial discussion points focused on the possibility of passage of the [Amateur Radio] Parity Act, we later shifted our focus to the value that Amateur Radio operators can bring to the community in the event of an emergency or crisis.”
Bousman told ARRL the group “somewhat” modeled its antenna proposal after that of the Sun City Texas Ham Radio group in Georgetown, Texas, which permitted several years ago. “In our research, we learned that Sun City Hilton Head, South Carolina, and Sun City Henderson, Nevada, also allow certain Amateur Radio antennas,” he added. “There may be other communities with similar antenna permissions, but we did not uncover any in our research.”
The types of antennas permitted are modest. The list includes flagpole antennas that do not exceed 16 feet, verticals that do not rise more than 5 feet above the peak of a home, and wire antennas no higher than 5 feet above the roof peak. No traps in wire antennas are allowed and towers of any type remain prohibited.
“[These] antennas should provide amateurs very adequate capabilities to work long distances on the HF bands and to be able to adequately communicate across our community on the VHF/UHF bands — as well as being able to reach most repeaters in the Phoenix area valley including several emergency repeaters,” the newsletter article opined.
Radio amateurs will need to apply to the HOA’s Architectural Review Committee Standards Office to obtain approval and may only erect two outdoor antennas.
Bousman said more than a dozen antenna applications were submitted in the first week and other hams are working on designs. “We have encouraged all of our ham club members to get VHF/UHF antennas installed as soon as possible so that we can begin our [emergency communication] exercises,” he told ARRL.
The newsletter included technical information on various antenna configurations and resources on where to obtain commercial antennas that would meet the HOA requirements. As suggested reading, the newsletter recommended four ARRL antenna books, including The ARRL Antenna Book and Antennas for Small Spaces.
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