05/13/2019

The board of directors of a restricted antenna community in Arizona voted overwhelmingly in April to allow radio amateurs to install certain outdoor antennas on their properties. Around 75 hams live in the Sun City Grand with 10,000 houses, an independent shared apartment for older adults. In an article in the Grand Ham Newsletter by Gordon Bousman, NW7D, this was referred to as a “big win.” The Sun City Grand Community Homeowners’ Association (HOA) is considered the largest in the United States to allow amateur radio antennas. The HOA board contains a radio amateur. The new antenna guidelines came into force on May 9th.

“The road to success took nearly a year of meetings, negotiations, and the occasional setback, fueled by a team of dedicated amateurs who persisted in achieving our goals,” Bousman said in his article. “While our first discussion points were on the possibility of passing through the [Amateur Radio] Parity Act, we later shifted our focus to the value that amateur radio operators can bring to the community in an emergency or crisis. “

Bousman told ARRL the group modeled their antenna proposal “something” along the lines of the Sun City Texas amateur radio group in Georgetown, Texas, which approved outdoor antennas a few years ago. “In our research, we found 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 privileges, but we haven’t found any in our research.”

The permitted antenna types are modest. The list includes flagpole antennas that are no more than 16 feet, verticals that are no more than 5 feet above the top of a house, and wire antennas that are no more than 5 feet from the top of the roof. Falling into wire antennas is not allowed and towers of any kind are prohibited.

“[These] Antennas should provide amateurs with a very adequate ability to handle long distances on the RF bands and be able to adequately communicate over the VHF / UHF bands in our community – as well as reach most repeaters in the Phoenix Valley, including several emergency repeaters, “said the newsletter article.

Radio amateurs must contact the HOA Architectural Review Committee standardization office for approval and are only allowed to set up two outdoor antennas.

Bousman said more than a dozen antenna applications were filed in the first week and other Hams are working on drafts. “We have encouraged all members of our ham club to install VHF / UHF antennas as soon as possible so that we can start our work [emergency communication] Exercises, ”he told ARRL.

The newsletter provided technical information on various antenna configurations and resources on where to buy commercial antennas that meet HOA requirements. As mentioned earlier, the newsletter recommended four ARRL antenna books, including The ARRL Antenna Book and Antennas for Small Spaces.