K0GKJ – Just Another Ham
The New QTH – A Floating Shack

After Four Years, Condo Antenna Approved!

“This is the first such request to come before the Marina South Shore Condominium Association and to be approved since our inception in 1981, so there’ s not likely to be a ‘run on the bank’ for a proliferation of such requests in the future! ” 

 

 After four years of lobbying, I’m finally good to go! On to installation!

 Here were my remarks at this morning’s home owner’s board (HOB) meeting, with a couple dozen other owners present, some of whom asked questions, but not many after I addressed the following talking points: 

 “By way of brief background, not long after Hurricane Charley nailed our community in 2004, it was clear that South Shore would have benefited a great deal immediately after that disaster from communications capabilities that would have been independent of cell towers, telephone landlines and power lines that were not working. A close and well-practiced liaison on your behalf with emergency services organizations from our neighboring communities would also have been beneficial to our friends and neighbors within South Shore, some who were injured during the storm.

 As I seem to be the only skilled amateur radio operator within South Shore, I was approached by members of the board and reconstruction committee at that time to investigate and assemble a proposal for a South Shore communications command post so we’d never be stranded with virtually no communication out here at the end of the road again. Since that time, I have been working toward that end on your behalf.

 This July, our board voted & approved the installation of an antenna on the roof of building two. That decision was to be ratified at the October board meeting, but the final ratification was tabled until today’s meeting.

 I’ve been asked to briefly describe the station & its purpose with you today, as well as to attempt to anticipate any remaining questions about the antenna before the topic is closed.

 This antenna would complete the last component of our radio station & command post, to be used by the board & their delegates in times of emergency.

 First, the station is essentially now complete within our home. It will provide both local & long range communication capabilities, independent of land-line phones, cell towers, Internet access or power, by the way, since the entire station can run on a sizable bank of batteries, if necessary.

 Amateur radio, or ham radio as it is often called, is one of my passions, & I willingly offer to open up my station, once operational, to anyone either idly or passionately interested in this fascinating hobby.

 After receiving the board’s support this summer, I purchased the antenna described in my proposal, along with a good deal of additional equipment, all of which, except the antenna, is now installed.

 Antennas for this type of station are normally quite tall in height. A vertical antenna can easily be thirty feet tall or more. Knowing this would NOT be acceptable, I selected a very efficient & proven low profile design that is only a little over four feet tall, & is not very visible.

 In fact, not only does it not look like an antenna at all, rather more like just an inverted umbrella frame, IF you’d even notice it up there, set back from the front of the building as its components are very skinny, mostly just wire in fact, & should be quite hard to see from a distance, & virtually impossible to see from most locations on the ground.

 And it will use the exact same (board-approved) mount that existing satellite TV dishes use.

 But let me be clear – the bottom of this antenna does functionally need to be at least a few feet above the top of the mansard wall to be clear of the effects of that metal roof, which would interfere with, or more likely negate its intended function.

 This is a departure from the current board policy that nothing should extend above the mansard, & would take a board vote to create an exception for this specific installation.

 The decision the board will be ratifying is whether South Shore wants to have access to the kind of emergency communications command post that I’m offering, or not, which is entirely at my own considerable expense, & that comes with my expertise.

And potentially, this could be the genesis of a South Shore ARC, or amateur radio club if there were of interest to some of you.This would enable me to serve our South Shore community in a unique way, AND also enable me to pursue a hobby for which I’m passionate, while sustaining my proficiency with this gear, as well as to create an active liaison with Punta Gorda, Port Charlotte & Cape Coral emergency services organizations at the same time. 

These local & nationally-affiliated organizations known as ARES, or Amateur Radio Emergency Services, are well known for not only providing communication support in times of disaster, but also for methodically preparing for that eventuality with proficiency exercises periodically throughout the year.They did so immediately after Charley, for example, but we simply weren’t in the loop at that time.

Another one of my personal objectives would be to communicate with as many amateur radio operators as I’m able who also happen to be currently serving our nation’s armed forces in Iraq & Afghanistan who may be reaching out over the airwaves. There are many. I’d like to be listening and respond when they call.

Thank you.”

 

Another small victory for community-service-oriented ham radio! 

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