[Namaste-dev] Re: Howie's question

Paul Williamson kb5mu at AMSAT.Org
Fri Jun 13 16:30:24 PDT 2008

At 1:33 PM -0500 6/13/08, Roger Thompson wrote:
>A more serious issue may be that the installation owner might be
>held to be in knowing violation of the FCC rules.

Which rules would those be?

You're certainly correct that the OTARD rules don't require a landlord or HOA to allow an amateur radio dish. An amateur claiming otherwise would be wrong, but he wouldn't be violating any rules by being wrong. If he puts up an antenna that's prohibited by CC&R, he's in violation of the CC&R, not of FCC rules. He could be required to take the antenna down.

>system design decisions that might
>appear to have been made to accommodate, maybe unintentionally, a violation
>of these restrictions don't seem valid.

That's one way of looking at it, but I prefer to think that the design criterion represents a good faith effort to make our antennas acceptable to those people who don't like antennas. We can't make our antennas invisible, but we can make them "no worse" than other antennas people have come to accept (willingly or not). This is cooperation and being a good neighbor and working with a reasonable compromise. It's not just designed to game the system and try to fool the neighbors.

>  Probably more importantly, I
>suspect there is a much larger potential user base than those who live under
>deed restrictions,

I can't find any numbers to back it up, but my perception is that the percentage of hams who don't have to worry about deed restrictions is small and shrinking. There are regional differences here, of course. In Southern California, it is literally impossible to buy a new house in a developer's subdivision without CC&Rs. To avoid that problem you have to look at older houses or go way out into the back country.

The ARRL is certainly taking the CC&R issue seriously, and they have a national perspective on the problem.

>If we discount the apparent self-imposed requirement to use the smaller
>"DSS" dishes, the ground station designs would be free to use larger

That's not really true. Larger antennas are not just harder to get neighbor approval for. They're also more expensive, more hassle, harder to site, harder to point, and harder to get spousal approval for, not to mention ugly. If AMSAT asks the ham community to support a satellite project that would only be usable by hams willing to put up a six-foot dish, we'd be laughed off the map.

Also, recall that part of our charter here is to make something that's useful for emergency communications. It may be no big deal to put a big dish on top of an EOC, but carrying one out to a disaster site and getting it pointed would be significantly harder than with a DSS dish.

And, recall too that we want to design a system that can be used on a high elliptical orbit satellite, in addition to geostationary. Pointing a big dish at a moving target is a big deal. It adds a lot of expense and complexity to the ground station. It also raises the issue of acoustic noise coming from the antenna installation, which I can tell you from experience is *very* annoying to the neighbors. A DSS dish is near the outside limits of what can reasonably be pointed in two axes by a rotator of the type satellite operators use now, in weight, wind load, and required pointing accuracy.

> and the satellite system design could be repositioned to be more
>along the "bent pipe" model.  This should decrease the system costs, provide
>a more robust system, accommodate future changes better, allow for simpler
>redundancy at the satellite, and provide for more types of user terminals.
>There are likely many other reasons we would prefer most of the complexity
>of any communications system to be accessible.

All valid arguments. These arguments drove the industry to bent pipe satellites and big dishes, a couple of decades ago. Must we follow the same path and stay that far behind the curve? I hope not.

73  -Paul
kb5mu at amsat.org

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