Wicker, Blumenthal Propose Fair Regulation of Amateur Radio Operators

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U.S. Senators Roger Wicker, R-Miss., and Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., have introduced bipartisan legislation titled the “Amateur Radio Parity Act” that would direct the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to provide regulatory parity for amateur radio operators.

“This legislation would ensure that our nation’s amateur radio operators can continue to provide critical communications support at no cost to taxpayers. This would be particularly beneficial in Mississippi and other rural states,” Wicker said. “During Hurricane Katrina, Mississippians learned firsthand the value of amateur radio and its ability to provide information that could save lives in times of natural disasters.”

“This measure ensures ‎increased access to and availability of critical resources and communication tools to our integral first-responders. We have seen the effectiveness of these systems and the need to provide these emergency response systems to Americans regardless of where you live is evident,” Blumenthal stated.

Because of private land restrictions, a large segment of amateur radio operators are prohibited from installing functional outdoor antennas at their homes. This bill would call on FCC to apply the reasonable accommodation policy evenly to all types of residential land use regulations and offer amateur radio operators the ability to negotiate with subdivisions that now have restrictions that preclude amateur radio antennas completely. This could be accomplished without taking any jurisdiction away from homeowners associations and would protect neighborhood aesthetics.

In times of emergency, amateur radio operators provide communications network backup when first responder network repeaters and infrastructure are not working. During and immediately after Hurricane Katrina, amateur radio operators restored communications lines with FEMA, the Red Cross, and other disaster relief entities when the primary emergency response network was down.

The House version of the bill is sponsored by Rep. Adam Kinzinger, R-Ill. There are currently 84 bipartisan cosponsors, including Mississippi’s Rep. Gregg Harper.

2 COMMENTS

  1. I am a licensed, extra class ham radio operator, call sign KE7HHW & definitely support this bill. As far as I’m concerned, all the HOA’s & CCnR’s are bs. These are the first people who would be wanting information during any natural or other disaster when there are no other means of communications. On another note, I have issues with HOA’s & CCnR’s due to the fact that, I am buying this house & property and for someone to tell me what I can or cannot have on “MY PROPERTY” is infringing on my rights. Are they paying my mortgage, taxes…etc….”NO!!!!” so they should not have that kind of say. Yes, people need to keep their property in good repair so it doesn’t look like a junkyard but radio antennas are a right that we have studied & passed the testing in order to do this hobby & many times life saving services…”FREE OF CHARGE” As a member of a Ham Radio Club in Boise, ID, we do emergency communications for a number of running, bicycle & motorcycle events. If we were not there to assist in this manner, the race official would have no way of knowing if a rider/runner is broke down or injured which could result in death. People need to become more educated regarding the benefits of Ham Radio whether they get their license or not. I truly hope this bill passes. 73 de KE7HHW

  2. I agree with every thing he said, with the exception of “infringing on my rights”. You have a “Privilege” to operate an Amateur Radio, by virtue of the license you earned by taking the required tests and passing the exam. No where in the United States Constitution or any of the Amendments to the Constitution is there any mention of your having the “Right” to Operate a Amateur Radio Station. I am also a licensed Amateur Radio Operator (General Class), I earned that privilege by studying, taking and passing the tests required to obtain the privilege of having a license to operate an Amateur Radio Station. The difference between “Rights” and “Privileges” are this, “Privileges ” can be taken away, Your “Rights” under the United States Constitution cannot be taken away. 73 KE0AYD

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