|[AMRadio] "FAA Extension, Safety, and Security Act of 2016" to affect towers and masts over 50 feet in height.|
k4kyv at charter.net
Sun Jul 17 16:26:56 EDT 2016
It looks like this one was sneaked in over us, but it has the potential of
severely affecting amateur radio towers and antennas. I have seen no
mention of this from ARRL, and the news just appeared a couple of days ago
in discussions on QRZ.com and the Tower Talk reflector.
New rules would require alternating orange and white paint and obstruction
lighting on towers and poles over 50' tall. Apparently, meteorological
testing towers and cellphone masts have been popping up unexpectedly in
rural areas serviced by crop dusters, and this has become a concern not only
to crop dusters, but other low-flying air traffic like medical evacuation
and news-reporting helicopters. Towers, poles and masts between 50' and
200', below the current minimum height (except near an airport) of 200
feet, out in open fields, have resulted in collisions with the masts or
their guy wires.
As part of new FAA funding legislation, submitted as H.R.636, "In addition
to medical reforms, the legislation requires the FAA to develop regulations
for marking towers between 50 and 200 feet tall to improve their visibility
to low-flying aircraft and help prevent accidents."
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This the organisation that has lobbied for the legislation:
Here is some of their recent propaganda:
The location definitions and the exclusions MAY let most amateurs out of the
requirement, if the tower is located fairly close to the house and
associated structures (the farmstead curtilage): (ii) EXCLUSIONS.-The term
"covered tower" does not include any structure that- (I) is adjacent to a
house, barn, electric utility station, or other building...
Towers with a shelter (dog-house in broadcast engineering parlance) near the
base to house the antenna tuning unit might be excluded. It all depends on
how FAA bureaucrats define "adjacent", "building", "curtilage", etc.
The motivating concern with this legislation is isolated towers out in the
middle of a field on prime farm land that may be serviced by crop sprayers,
which explains why the 'curtilage' of a house or farm outbuilding supposedly
exempts the tower. The danger we face is the propensity of government
agencies to enact 'one-size-fits-all' wording in laws and regulations, so
that in fact they are still applicable in situations totally removed and
unrelated to the purpose behind the legislation, typical of the government
to use a back hoe where a garden spade would have done the job.
It would be VERY expensive for most hams to paint their towers and mark them
with obstruction lighting, or install obstruction markers on wire antennas.
This has the potential of affecting those of us living in rural areas as
severely HOAs and zoning ordinances are affecting hams in urban residential
areas. It could particularly be a problem for 160m and 75m operators,
since the most effective antennas are likely to exceed 50 feet in height.
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