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Discussion Starter #1
Hello Everyone,

So my HOA is like any other, quite restrictive and generally stupid when it comes to being reasonable. At a maintenance committee meeting a board member let slip that they were going to remove dishes and antennas. I let him know that the HOA is on the losing side of that battle since we have town homes and FCC is on the owner's side.


Since we are having some maintenance work being done, I was asked to figure out an equitable situation for the installation of satellite dishes and antennas. I bought a Lacrosse and mounted it inside my home so people seem to think I have a clue.



Seeing as I am not a jerk and want to do what is right by everyone, I need to come up with guidelines for the installation or antennas and dishes. The current guideline says that we must mount the antenna/dish on the rear of the town home roof. While that location might just work for all satellite dishes, it might not work for all antennas.


I tried contacting DirectTv and Dish Network via their web interfaces, but the responses were just canned garbage. My next step is to call the main lines directly and hopefully talk to someone with a clue. I'm looking to find out which direction the satellites need to point in and look at most town home clusters to see if any will have positioning problems.


What else should I do? I could try calling local installers but I have no idea which ones I should talk to. And to that the town home roofs in the rear are three to four stories high (some are on hills). I was told that some installers just won't go that high.


Should I consider making recommendations about the size and types of dishes/antennas or is that asking for trouble?


thanks in advance,

Amul
 

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Start by reading OTARD (link is in my signature), so you have a reasonable idea of what is allowed by the FCC. As a homeowner - if you tried to exceed what is in OTARD - I'd tell the HOA board to take a LONG walk off a short pier (and I might not be that diplomatic about it).
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by tuskentower /forum/post/14257124


So my HOA is like any other, quite restrictive and generally stupid when it comes to being reasonable. At a maintenance committee meeting a board member let slip that they were going to remove dishes and antennas. I let him know that the HOA is on the losing side of that battle since we have town homes and FCC is on the owner's side......



What else should I do?

Get the FCC regs, give them to the board. Make it very clear that if they try and contradict them, someone will take them to court, and they will lose. Insist the board get a legal opinion, because you don't want to see them incur exorbitant, unnecessary legal costs.
 

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Agree with Ken's post. The FCC regulations are very clear.

Can the HOA ban dishes and antennas? No, the homeowner can use dishes and antennas that meet the FCC regulations, as long as they are mounted in an area under the homeowner's exclusive control.

Can the HOA tell the homeowner where to place the dish? Yes, to some extent. The HOA can say that dishes should be placed in a particular location, (e.g. at the rear of the property) provided that this does not make the homeowner incur unreasonable extra cost, or interfere with the homeowner's ability to get reception. Requiring the dish to be on the roof of a four-story townhome would probably be considered unreasonable because as you say most installers will not install there.

Can the HOA make a homeowner get permission from the HOA to install a dish/antenna? No and yes. The homeowner does not need permission from the HOA to install a dish or outside antenna, that would put the HOA in conflict with the FCC. The HOA can require the homeowner to tell the HOA that he has installed a dish, or is planning to, so that the HOA can make sure the installation meets the FCC regulations plus any acceptable HOA rules like placement, but the HOA can't do anything that delays or increases the costs of the installation.


And in all these situations it is for the HOA to prove that their regulations are reasonable. A stubborn HOA, or one that fails to get legal advice before trying to set up regulations to cover this, can incur a lot of legal costs.
 

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Again, I pretty much echo all the above comments. Make it very clear what the FCC says.


Here are some quick general rule of thumb "guidelines" to keep installations from getting ugly.


Antennas:

-If possible, an eave mount has a smaller profile than a tripod.

-Guy wires are probably never needed for a
 

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Discussion Starter #6

Quote:
Originally Posted by mattdp /forum/post/14260817


Again, I pretty much echo all the above comments. Make it very clear what the FCC says.
texasbrit told me about the FCC regulations a long time back. Which came in handy when I told the HOA not do anything stupid.


So I stopped them from being stupid. Now I'm looking to have a nice set of guidelines to give home owners. I'm going for a balance to have each home owner get OTA/satellite service. The key word being balance.


For instance, does suggesting the Lacrosse or Winegard Square Shooter antennas sound reasonable? I know I didn't mind the extra cost, and most home owners would not want to see an antenna. I live in King of Prussia, PA (zip 19406) and all of our major stations are 10 miles away in Philadelphia. So no one really needs a high power antenna or rotors. An amp certainly helped reception for my TV on the ground floor, the HTPC in the loft didn't need it.


Alot of satellite dishes have been mounted badly on the roofs and stucco exterior. One home has it mounted onto the stucco. Most installations have run the coax cable down the gutters and one or two actually pierced the stucco to run the cabling inside the home. I was told by a cable installer that running coax cables down the gutters is not safe and against code in many places. Stucco issues are the reason for our maintenance committee. Would requiring a mounting block on each home with a coax feed make sense? Obviously this is an added cost for each home owner.


Has anyone ever heard of restrictions on installers preventing them from scaling 4 stories? Does it make sense for me to find local installers that go to that height or should I tell the owner who wants the dish to find the installer?


Think about this as if it were your HOA and what rules are good for everyone. I already told the board that if they didn't have a reasonable guideline they might as well give up and expect people to mount satellite dishes on their decks. That isn't cool since some decks are less than a foot apart.


mattdp, thanks for the information!

Amul


PS, did I mention I was clueless about this stuff? Aside from the OTARD, if there is something that I need to read, just point me in the direction and I'll do my home work.
 

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People use antennas for more than just recieving OTA TV signals.
 

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If it was MY HOA (god forbid I ever live where there is one ever again) - you are facing a hopeless task, If a homeowner wants to mount an antenna or dish(es) - I'd hand them a copy of the OTARD and say "stay within the limits set here". Because I sure would hand YOU a copy of the OTARD and ask you to point out that what I did is outside the limits spelled out within this document.
 

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You can't require a particular antenna, and the Square Shooter or Lacrosse is not sufficient for reception of all Philadelphia market stations in King of Prussia anyway. Remember we have two VHF digitals in 2009, including the low-VHF WPVI.


You CAN insist that homeowners follow the appropriate codes, which includes grounding and mechanical safety issues; that might let you prevent mounting to stucco. If the homeowner owns the exterior wall, you can't stop them from putting holes in it for the cabling. You cannot require a homeowner to use a special mounting block if that costs more, but if the association installs such a mounting block (at the association's expense), you can require the homeowner to use it, provided full reception is possible from that location.
 

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You should also read the FCC rules decisions. It's pretty clear that the HOA will be really limited in what it can enforce. While you may set up some aspirational guidelines, the homeowner is basically entitled to do whatever is necessary to get an acceptable signal. I don't have any of the decisions here, but I recall one where the homeowner was permitted to have something like six? separate dishes on his property. I think there is also a decision that says a $5 to $20 application fee was an excessive fee that could not be charged. Thus, trying to force someone to locate a dish or an antenna in a particular area is going to hard to do if the location costs exceed that number. I haven't looked at this in awhile, but I also think that there is a rule or decision that says the HOA can not restrict OTA antennas except as to maximum height, code and safety issues.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by nybbler /forum/post/14267439


You can't require a particular antenna, and the Square Shooter or Lacrosse is not sufficient for reception of all Philadelphia market stations in King of Prussia anyway. Remember we have two VHF digitals in 2009, including the low-VHF WPVI.


You CAN insist that homeowners follow the appropriate codes, which includes grounding and mechanical safety issues; that might let you prevent mounting to stucco. If the homeowner owns the exterior wall, you can't stop them from putting holes in it for the cabling. You cannot require a homeowner to use a special mounting block if that costs more, but if the association installs such a mounting block (at the association's expense), you can require the homeowner to use it, provided full reception is possible from that location.

Agree with this. It is not for the HOA to get involved in what type of antenna the homeowner wants to use. Those are poor antennas on a price-performance basis anyway. My recommendation is simply to stick with the FCC rulings and city codes, the homeowner can do anything he wants so long as he meets these requirements and if the HOA gets involved beyond this they are likely to have legal issues. Similarly with location - you can specify general rules (like "at the rear of the property not visible from the street") but if the homeowner says that will be more expensive or will make it difficult to receive the signals then he can put the dish on his deck or in front of his anywhere else that he wants, and it would be up to the HOA to show that reception would be OK in the "recommended" location. Most installers won't mount to stucco (it's absolutely not recommended for the 5-lnb dishes). You can put in your rules that the homeowner should not mount a dish to the stucco; that's reasonable because it is unlikely that this will interfere with reception or increase the cost, so it's probably an FCC-acceptable restriction.

And yes, the homeowner can use more than one dish if he needs to. So anyone with DirecTV who wants international channels can install a second dish.

Your HOA can take legal advice on this if they want but the situation is very clear. The FCC is the regulatory authority on these issues and their rulings have the force of federal law.


And don't forget that existing installations are "grandfathered" so you will have to put up with them.
 

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Discussion Starter #12

Quote:
Originally Posted by nybbler /forum/post/14267439


You can't require a particular antenna, and the Square Shooter or Lacrosse is not sufficient for reception of all Philadelphia market stations in King of Prussia anyway. Remember we have two VHF digitals in 2009, including the low-VHF WPVI.


You CAN insist that homeowners follow the appropriate codes, which includes grounding and mechanical safety issues; that might let you prevent mounting to stucco. If the homeowner owns the exterior wall, you can't stop them from putting holes in it for the cabling. You cannot require a homeowner to use a special mounting block if that costs more, but if the association installs such a mounting block (at the association's expense), you can require the homeowner to use it, provided full reception is possible from that location.

Thanks nybbler, I did not know that WPVI is operating on VHF. I just checked antennaweb for the other VHF stations. If I understand what you are saying correctly, then WPVI (ABC) which is operating at
Code:
Code:
UHF  WPVI-DT    6.1     ABC     PHILADELPHIA, PA                131°    9.2     64
will discontinue that broadcast and switch to
Code:
Code:
VHF  WPVI-DT    6.1     ABC     PHILADELPHIA, PA        Feb 17, 2009 (post-transition)  130°    9.2     6
So after the transition, will I need an antenna that does VHF and UHF?


thanks,

Amul
 

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Discussion Starter #13

Quote:
Originally Posted by texasbrit /forum/post/14268338


Agree with this. It is not for the HOA to get involved in what type of antenna the homeowner wants to use.

Guys thanks for the help. I see what you are all saying. I'll look for the local codes regarding antenna and dish installation.


The current board is very heavy handed, and uses the lawyer quite frequently. I'll give them the FCC documents and let them know people are free to mount dishes and antennas on the deck and roof.


Again, thank you all for your insight in understanding this issue.


Amul
 

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Hi there


Assuming that the townhome roofs and exterior walls are part of the common areas (which is most likely), then the HOA would have full control over antenna installations on those roof and walls.


From the OTARD (6th paragraph) :
The (FCC) rule does not apply to common areas that are owned by a landlord, a community association, or jointly by condominium or cooperative owners where the antenna user does not have an exclusive use area. Such common areas may include the roof or exterior wall of a multiple dwelling unit.Therefore, (HOA) restrictions on antennas installed in or on such common areas are enforceable.


Regards
 

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For OTA, check the results of antennaweb.org and tvfool.com to see what is required. If the results indicate small to medium distance UHF or UHF/high VHF, I would think it appropriate to recommend compact antennas like the Winegard HD-1080 or Channel Master 2016, and prohibit the legacy large rooftop antennas.

The HOA could be pro-active by being helpful with solutions rather than just making prohibitions, even to the point of working with a professional installer and maybe having a single OTA antenna split out for each group of buildings instead of individual antennas for each townhouse.

As for DishNet and DirecTV, you would probably have better luck with a local installer to work out a solution that might also include a single sat dish for each building group. I know that DishNet currently requires two dishes for HD in many locations, but are working toward a single dish solution for the near future (called Eastern Arc).
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by SkiSmuggs /forum/post/14272267


For OTA, check the results of antennaweb.org and tvfool.com to see what is required. If the results indicate small to medium distance UHF or UHF/high VHF, I would think it appropriate to recommend compact antennas like the Winegard HD-1080 or Channel Master 2016, and prohibit the legacy large rooftop antennas.

The HOA could be pro-active by being helpful with solutions rather than just making prohibitions, even to the point of working with a professional installer and maybe having a single OTA antenna split out for each group of buildings instead of individual antennas for each townhouse.

As for DishNet and DirecTV, you would probably have better luck with a local installer to work out a solution that might also include a single sat dish for each building group. I know that DishNet currently requires two dishes for HD in many locations, but are working toward a single dish solution for the near future (called Eastern Arc).

skismuggs - There is absolutely no point in going down this path. You CANNOT prohibit any type of antenna, the FCC will NOT allow this. Neither can you force the homeowners to use a common antenna because an individual homeowner has the right to his own OTA antenna, with a rotor if he wants to have one. Neither can you force a homeowner to adopt a particular satellite solution, nor prevent him using two dishes for DirecTV if he wants international. The HOA needs to keep out of this issue otherwise I can guarantee legal action will be taken by a homeowner and the HOA will end up losing and paying the legal fees.


The HOA can prevent people putting a dish on common areas but the FCC rulings are quite specific - if the homeowner owns or is in sole control of the place where the dish/antenna is to be installed, then the HOA has very little control.
 

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I don't believe it is legal action in the sense of filing suit in a local court. I think the remedy is to file a petition with the FCC including supporting documents and photographs. While you could ask for a formal hearing before the commission, I think it is mostly done on paper. I don't know if the FCC regs provide for the recovery of costs and attorney fees, but after the homeowner wins he/she may be able to sue the HOA for the costs incurred in the action, especially if the association documents provide for recovery.


As far as the size/type of antenna/dish, my reading of the regs and decisions is that signal quality has to be acceptable to the homeowner, not the association.


Again, I suggest you try to set up some aspirational guidelines and try to get residents to comply where possible. If you try and imply the "rules" are mandatory, you'll run into someone like me who will install what is needed and clearly in violation and then fight you to the death.
 

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Amen, brother gatorman
.
 

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There is a county in Maryland that had an old regulation that satellite antennas had to be "behind" the house, but one customer of mine had a house with a long driveway and his front door and house were actually oriented 90 degrees differently than the houses of his neighbors, so he could put a dish right near the street and it would still be "behind" his house.


His next door neighbor got pissed and planted a 20' tree in front to it. Fortunately, this happened right around the time tha DirecTV came out, so he bought a DirecTV system for $1,000, which is what they cost back in 1994, and did not furtther confront the neighbor.


The guy eventually the sold this house and took his DirecTV with him, and his brother-in-law hired me to get the C-band dish working. He did not tell me that the tree blocking the dish was planted there to disrupt his reception, so I proceded on the assumption that it had simply grown in the way, and I moverd the mast about ten feet to the side.


The neighbor came by and let me know he was pissed. He said that I should have gotten the "installation" approved by the county. I told him that as far as I knew, whatever approval they had previously should be adequate to authorize what I was doing, because I was simply repairing a defective installation, and I doubted that whatever original installation plan had been approved identified the placement of the mast so specifically that it would not cover the new mast location.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by gatorman /forum/post/14274562


Again, I suggest you try to set up some aspirational guidelines and try to get residents to comply where possible. If you try and imply the "rules" are mandatory, you'll run into someone like me who will install what is needed and clearly in violation and then fight you to the death.

Texasbrit,

This is the point I was trying to make. By helping homeowners with a solution acceptable to both the HOA and residents, a solution can be reached where everyone is happy. Most people have no idea what is needed and are happy for suggestions and will tend to take the easiest path if it is presented to them.
 
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