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Learning About Repeaters

posted Aug 26, 2016, 4:49 PM by Stones River   [ updated Aug 26, 2016, 4:54 PM ]
Well if you are anything like me you might have lots of questions about Ham Radio repeaters. Who owns them, who's controls them, how are they linked, do they have to be monitored by the trustee while on the air as a transmitting repeater, if there is a stuck repeater who is responsible to find and fix the problem? The list goes on and on. Can my ARES group get a repeater pair and if so what steps do we take? A few links below are where I have found some very useful information.


1. Tidbits below credit from>   http://www.arrl.org/auxiliary-station-faq
  • How does the FCC define a repeater?

    A repeater station is an amateur station that simultaneously retransmits the transmission of another amateur station on a different channel or channels [97.3(a)(39)]. Only repeaters, some types of auxiliary stations, and space stations may automatically retransmit the radio signals of other amateur stations [97.113(f)]. Holding your mic in front of the loudspeaker of a receiver so you can retransit the signals of another station is not "automatic," so this is not "repeater" operation.


Does the control operator of an automatically controlled repeater have to listen 24 hours each day?

No, but a controller cannot detect and correct improper use of the repeater. The licensee is always responsible for the proper operation of the station, Part 97 states The control operator of a repeater that retransmits inadvertently communications that violate the rules in this Part is not accountable for the violative communications [97.205(g)]. In the event of improper use of the machine, the licensee is responsible for correcting the problem as soon as practicable and for making sure that the problem will not happen again. 

  • What other repeater rules are there?

    In addition to the somewhat complex rules mentioned thus far for repeaters, amateurs must be aware of a few more, though simpler, repeater station rules: 1) A Novice licensee may not operate, or be the control operator of a repeater [97.205(a)]. 2) Repeaters may operate on any frequency authorized to the Amateur Radio Service above 29.5 MHz except for 50.0 - 51.0, 144.0 - 144.5, 145.5 - 146.0, 222.0 - 222.15, 431 - 433 and 435 - 438 MHz [97.205(b)]. Note that these frequencies include both the input and output frequencies of all repeaters. 3) If there is an interference problem between two repeaters on the same frequency, the two repeater licensees must work together to solve an interference problem between the repeaters, unless one repeater is coordinated and the other is not. The licensee of an uncoordinated repeater bears the primary responsibility for solving an interference problem [97.205(c)]. 4) If the control operator is someone other than the licensee, both are equally responsible for the proper operation of the station [97.103(a)]. 5) The licensee and control operator(s) of a repeater that inadvertently retransmits communications which violate the rules in Part 97 are not normally held accountable for the violative communications [97.205(g)]. However, they will be held accountable if they become aware of the illegal communications and allow them to continue, because they are no longer "inadvertent." They must make an effort to prevent such communications from continuing. If they are unsuccessful, they must shut the repeater off until the problem can be corrected. The operator of the station originating the illegal communications will be held accountable at all times by the FCC. 6) Before establishing a repeater within 10 miles of the Arecibo Observatory in Arecibo, Puerto Rico, the facility must be notified [97.205(h)].


What is Frequency Coordination?

Although it is not "required" by the FCC rules, most repeater operators coordinate the input and output frequencies for their repeaters, as well as any auxiliary link and control frequencies, with their local or regional frequency coordinators. The FCC defines a frequency coordinator as An entity, recognized in a local or regional area by amateur operators whose stations are eligible to be repeater or auxiliary stations, that recommends transmit/receive channels and associated operating and technical parameters for such stations in order to avoid or minimize potential interference [97.3(a)(22)]. The primary function of frequency coordinators is to help amateurs, who desire to put up new repeaters, in selecting frequencies which will cause, and receive, a minimum amount of interference within the limited number of repeater frequency pairs available. Coordinators are volunteers who serve with the approval of the amateurs within their region. They have no authority to "assign" frequencies - they make recommendations. They maintain an accurate database of information on every coordinated station within their area (this data is held in strict confidence), and they use this data in forming their recommendations. If repeater users do experience harmful interference, coordinators are happy to assist in resolving the problem. The FCC considers frequency coordination to be "good amateur practice".

The primary function of frequency coordinators is to help amateurs, who desire to put up new repeaters, in selecting frequencies which will cause, and receive, a minimum amount of interference within the limited number of repeater frequency pairs available.


  • What is the difference between a repeater licensee and trustee?

    If the repeater or remote base is operating under the auspices, and using the callsign of an individual amateur's personal station license, then the operator is the "licensee" of the station, not the "trustee." If it is operating under the auspices of an FCC-issued club station license, and using the FCC-issued club callsign, then the person whose name appears on the license is the "trustee," not the "licensee."


2. http://www.arrl.org/files/file/Technology/tis/info/pdf/9804093.pdf

3. https://apps.fcc.gov/oetcf/kdb/forms/FTSSearchResultPage.cfm?id=28433&switch=P

4. http://www.mrc.gen.mn.us/010902/rptaux.htm

5. Tidbits below credit> http://www.w3beinformed.org/id43.html

Q. I can’t find anything in Part 97 to cover this: Two interconnected repeaters with different call signs. Each one repeats the call sign of the other. Is that OK?

A. It can be. There is no rule prohibiting interconnected repeaters but there is a how-to challenge in making proper Section 97.119 station identification announcements. No station may transmit as the station call sign any call sign not assigned to the station. It must be made clear for our Maintenance Monitors and other listeners which call sign is for which station.

Q. Our repeater transmits under automatic control. Doesn’t that excuse me from some degree of accountability?

A. No. Section 97.3(a)(6) automatic control is the use of devices and procedures for control of a station when it is transmitting so that compliance with our rules is achieved without the control operator (you) being present at a control point. If your use of devices and procedures isn’t getting the job done properly, you shouldn’t be relying on them. Read Part 97 & Automatic Control BE Informed No. 8.4.

Q. I can’t find anything in Part 97 to cover this: Two interconnected repeaters with different call signs. Each one repeats the call sign of the other. Is that OK?

A. It can be. There is no rule prohibiting interconnected repeaters but there is a how-to challenge in making proper Section 97.119 station identification announcements. No station may transmit as the station call sign any call sign not assigned to the station. It must be made clear for our Maintenance Monitors and other listeners which call sign is for which station. 


A. Yes. Section 97.5(a) can only mean that the Section 97.103 station licensee must be a living person with the capability of having the station apparatus under physical control. If your repeater is one that hams rely upon regularly such that even its temporary loss would disrupt their activities, you should have a backup plan at the ready in case of an unexpected need.


Here is a very useful link to find Ham Radio Repeaters near you.

http://www.artscipub.com/repeaters/

6. Tidbits below credit>  http://sera.org/

5. Is frequency coordination required?
No. Participation in a frequency coordination program is strictly voluntary. No Amateur Radio frequency coordinator has any "authority" to tell a repeater sponsor what he can, or cannot do. However, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and the amateur community has recognized that participation in a frequency coordination program by repeater sponsors is in the best interests of all Amateurs. Therefore, FCC rules (Part 97.205c) have been adopted which state that the sponsor of an uncoordinated repeater bears the primary responsibility for curing any interference between his repeater and another repeater which is coordinated. Likewise, the sponsor of an uncoordinated machine cannot expect much help from his area frequency coordinator.

5. Is frequency coordination required?
No. Participation in a frequency coordination program is strictly voluntary. No Amateur Radio frequency coordinator has any "authority" to tell a repeater sponsor what he can, or cannot do. However, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and the amateur community has recognized that participation in a frequency coordination program by repeater sponsors is in the best interests of all Amateurs. Therefore, FCC rules (Part 97.205c) have been adopted which state that the sponsor of an uncoordinated repeater bears the primary responsibility for curing any interference between his repeater and another repeater which is coordinated. Likewise, the sponsor of an uncoordinated machine cannot expect much help from his area frequency coordinator.


Tennessee State Wide Linked Repeater System
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