The ARRL seems to be rethinking its strategy with regards to the Amateur Radio Parity Act.
The odds that amateur radio could win such a concession through legislative action has always been slim and this may be a concession to reality. They will take some heat from those who always complain about whatever they do (or don’t do) but this too shall pass.
It doesn’t really matter to me. I can’t possibly be alone in the conviction that if you’re a licensed radio amateur, and you want to erect towers with clouds of aluminum over your head, you ought to find a house or property where that is permissible. Even if that puts you twenty minutes further from the golf course, supermarket, or the hospital.
But the need to even debate this point may be fading as amateur radio continues to evolve. Where the old guard used to build shacks loaded with walls of big iron and covered their property with comically huge aerials, a growing number of 21st century hams are making do with attic, stealthy or other low-profile antennas - because they must.
And now there are many who prefer to operate from the field, carrying trail-friendly equipment and innovative new antennas designed to go up and down quickly. Batteries, solar panels with low-powered equipment in the field is trending (as the kids say) right now in the world of amateur radio.
I’ve no such restrictions where I currently live but we’re planning one more move after retirement. I once was certain that would be to some place with a little acreage and wide-open spaces for antennas. But I could probably be just as happy in a cozy, antenna restricted neighborhood given the many options for ham radio in such an environment, including taking my gear to the field.
Effective, stealthy antennas are a reasonable compromise. I have a friend who lives in a condo where any installed antenna is forbidden. He uses a three-band vertical that he keeps in his garage. He sets it up outside when the sun goes down and puts it back in the garage before the sun rises. He calls it his “Vampire Vertical” and has 154 countries confirmed using it with five watts. Go figure.
The even larger issue that faces us all no matter where we live, is noise. It has become a much bigger problem than effectively radiating RF and many afflicted radio enthusiasts have taken to the field to get away from the noise that washes over all of us without regard to home owners associations.
But no matter how you view this issue, we should all be encouraged that as these problems materialize, our hobby evolves into whatever it needs to be in order to continue delivering the adventures of personal, two-way radio communication without regard for the formidable obstacles that living among other humans puts in our path.