In its report released on the congress required study the FCC (Federal Communications Commission) made the following statement: “Section 6414 of the Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2012 (Statute) states that the Commission, in consultation with the Office of Emergency Communications (OEC) in the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), shall complete a study on the uses and capabilities of amateur
radio service communications in emergencies and disaster relief not later than 180 days after the date of the enactment of the Statute. It also states that the Commission shall submit a report to the Committee on Energy and Commerce of the House of Representatives and the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation of the Senate on the findings of such study within the same 180-day period. The Statute requires that the study include a review of the importance of emergency amateur radio service communications relating to disasters, severe weather, and other threats to lives and property in the United States; and recommendations for enhancements in the voluntary deployment of amateur radio operators in disaster and emergency communications and disaster relief efforts; and recommendations for improved integration of amateur radio operators in the planning and furtherance of initiatives of the federal government. The Statute also requires that the study identify impediments to enhanced amateur radio service communications and provide recommendations regarding the removal of such impediments. The Statute specifically identifies “the effects of unreasonable or unnecessary private land use restrictions on residential antenna installations” as an example of such an impediment. In conducting the study, the Statute directs the Commission to use the expertise of stakeholder entities and organizations, including amateur radio, emergency response, and disaster communications communities.”
I am sorry, I know that was long, monotonous, and maybe a bit difficult to understand but there were some interesting bits of information found in the above paragraph.
The first thing that struck me as a little strange is what does the Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2012 have to do with how prepared amateur radio is for disaster assistance? It is just one of the many things that makes me wonder about the way our government operates. (I must apologies to those of you in other countries because I probably should not air our dirty laundry on an international forum but for this matter I don’t know where else I can express my view on this one issue.)
The study itself was a good proposal and I believe we, in the ham radio community that are involved in disaster communications preparation and implementation, will benefit from this study.
The report for the most part was very positive about our current state. The FCC did recommend that the OES (Office of Emergency Services) and the DHS (Department of Homeland Security) provide more training.
One area of concern the FCC had was concerning the proliferation of specific land-use restrictions, such as deed restrictions and homeowner’s association covenants prohibiting the erection of even modest Amateur Radio antennas. Without the ability to erect visible antennas it greatly restricts those hams living under these restrictions from participating in disaster or emergency communications.
There are tens of millions of homes and condominiums currently under such restrictions and if this study will help reduce the number of these restrictions and prevent further spread of them that would be great.
You can read a complete report given by the FCC by clicking HERE.