A New Home for a Ham Radio Operator
One reader who is a fellow (amateur radio) ham radio operator recently wrote to me on a web forum that he was going to be house hunting soon. He asked what criteria he should keep in mind for his radio hobby when looking for his new home.
“Covenant Protected” Neighborhoods
Among the several things suggested by others, this is what I told him:
“As a “first criterion” for your house hunting: you could look to see whether the area you might be living in describes itself as a so-called “covenant protected” neighborhood. “Covenant protected” is a euphemism for “lifestyle monitoring committee controls this area”.
Usually these folks do not like or want obtrusive antennas of any kind, and their purview includes any of the lifestyle activities in which you might choose to partake. For example, if you wish to make an “unsightly mess” of your front or back yard assembling radio antennas, they will speak with you about it, usually with the intent of shutting you down.
Some friends of mine would even go so far to say that any visibly creative undertaking requiring the purchase or creation of things you cannot readily buy in Wal-Mart is off-limits. In other words: if you don’t seem normal to them, then you’re not welcome.
Protection of a Sense of Normalcy
I know of one friend living in such a severely “protected” community who was told he could not keep his car parked anywhere in the neighborhood because the governing committee didn’t like that fact that his car had a few dents. At another time, he was told he could not change his oil in the front driveway or even inside the garage with the garage door open because it did not comply with the sense of order and cleanliness the neighborhood committee wished to portray.
Whatever the intent of “covenant protected” neighborhoods is, the seemingly ultimate intent is to protect not the neighborhoods residents – rather to protect the sense of normalcy that the governing few hold so dear.
In other words, ham radio operators should steer clear of covenant protected neighborhoods.
For those folks who already live in a covenant protected neighborhood, there are ways of getting around the antenna issue by stealth. Some companies offer their products here:
For those neighborhoods which are not covenant protected, there still may be some resistance from residents in nonrestricted areas. I suggest finding a mature neighborhood with residents already used to having an occasional aerial pop up here and there.
As an additional criterion, it doesn’t hurt that the location would be located on or near the top of a hill, unobstructed by buildings, trees, rocks or other clutter – open spaces where signal propagation is generally best for ham / amateur radio signal propagation.