Before several people say ‘you should not have moved into an HOA’, I must say, many, many people begin in our hobby after living in their home and HOA for a number of years.. I purchased my home when I was not licensed.
To seek ‘Architectural Change’ approval from any HOA I suggest the following:
“Think of yourself as an HOA board member.” These volunteers are required to enforce the covenants and restrictions or face lawsuits from agitated homeowners.
Timing: In the spring your volunteer HOA board is ridiculously busy trying to open the neighborhood pool, ensuring HOA common areas have a contractor showing up to mow the property, fixing broken playgrounds or trash in the pond, etc. Also very busy sending out notices to homeowners/renters regarding weeds in the yard/flower bed tall enough to see from the street, homes that are abandoned/bankrupt/in-foreclosure, etc and filing liens against people who are delinquent on paying HOA dues. Not to mention dealing with the people who are complaining about stuff but not taking any initiative themselves to talk to their next door neighbor. They are also busy hearing complaints from homeowners that received a notice of violation because their fence has been down for several weeks, or weeds, or operating an auto dealership or auto repair shop out of their driveway, people draining their swimming pool into the street, dead trees, etc..We had one guy send us a photo of his middle finger and a lot of derogatory comments because we sent violation notice.
So my first suggestion:
Have your lot in good shape with a good history.
My second suggestion:
Serve on your HOA board or volunteer to help and build friendly relationships with them.
My third suggestion:
Don’t poke them with a stick in Spring, arguably the most busy time of the HOA season.
Have sympathy for them – they are dealing with a lot of self-righteous, narcissistic people and their demands with nobody offering to help. Also remember, they likely don’t care about our hobby and don’t want to hear about it – they just want to be assured it will not be another problem to be dealt with. You can get ahead of this by talking to your neighbors and asking how they would feel about a flag pole, then maybe how they would feel about an antenna. Make sure they are not going to interfere, or at least know what their concerns are and work that into your plan. Then when you request approval from the HOA you can tell them you’ve spoken to your neighbors and they are happy for you to move forward.
It takes a lot of personal time to serve on an HOA board and usually comes without any pat on the back (unless you loathe being told-off). Consider joining the board. Use Gridmapper on QRZ to see if there are any other license holders in your neighborhood.. (sometimes it’s accurate) and go ‘break-the-ice’. Ask them if they have put up any antennas and if they have had any interaction with the HOA. https://www.qrz.com/hamgrid?lat=35.640643&lon=-97.534453&sg=N5ZY
In my request I addressed all their possible fears such as “is it going to be a permanent eye-sore”, “will we have to look at it when it stops being used and goes into a disrepair state or if the homeowner becomes ill and can’t take care of it anymore”, “is this person running a business that is going to cause more problems”, “has this person put any thought into keeping their neighbors happy”, “does it benefit the neighborhood in any way or the opposite”.
And now, here is my request for an architectural approval:
(granted, I should have asked before I put it in but originally I was only using it in the dark hours to get 80/40/30/20 meters.)
To: <name removed> HOA Architectural Committee
Subject: Request for approval of antenna installation
I humbly seek approval of an antenna installation that is temporarily erected when in use. I have not requested approval before as I considered it a temporary item. This antenna is a vertical like the radio antenna on a car but it is similar to a flagpole in length, however it is a telescoping aluminum tubing that is merely the width of a pencil at the top. It is painted a battleship gray so it is difficult to see when it is pushed up. When it is not in use I take it down and it’s below the fence where it cannot be seen. It utilizes a tilt-base so I can stand it up and take it down as needed and quickly, by myself. It is located in the backyard of my property.
The official covenants language is “No outside antennas shall extend beyond five feet of the roof line”. My single story roof peak is 30 ft and the antenna is 41, however the view from the street is concealed by my home except between my house and the neighbors house when approaching from the south on <road> Rd. There is a very minimal spot from where it can be observed from <street>th street but it’s very difficult to spot (and I know where to look) due to the houses and trees obscuring the view. The telescoping section at 31 ft is about the diameter of your thumb (diameter reduces every 3 ft).
This antenna is used for my hobby, Amateur Radio. I am an FCC licensed Amateur Radio (HAM) operator (license <CALL>) and I use the antenna to communicate around the world. Amateur licenses are prohibited from receiving compensation for the use of Amateur Radio, this is simply a hobby that allows me to learn about our Earth’s atmosphere and to experiment with electronics. I can also facilitate communications after a disaster if needed by our community. I currently provide many hours of public service using my experience gained here to teach radio communications and electronics to the public at the Edmond Community Center (free). Furthermore, I use my experience to annually demonstrate our capability at the Edmond Fire Department and Training Center for Edmond Emergency Services and Edmond City Council.
The antenna is not raised often, it is only temporarily raised during a weekday or an occasional weekend. Sometimes people like myself travel to South America, Africa, Europe or Oceania and I attempt to make contact with them. My equipment is approved by the FCC and will not interfere with any of my neighbors.
Please contact me anytime for a demonstration or explanation.
<Name, e-mail, address, phone>
3 thoughts on “Operating in an HOA”
It would be nice to see some research into fully automatic antennas. That would make it easier to deploy in areas sensitive to antenna plus also be safer during storms as you could retract them.
One option with automatic antennas is to build a mount with a wench motor to raise and lower a vertical antenna. Otherwise stealth antennas in the attic or thin wire antennas that are well hidden are your friend.
Seeking feedback experience with Gutter antenna
Phil c. KG5COZ