Repeater tips

All repeaters are privately owned by,

Chris Novara-AB7BS, Founder, System Engineer & PRA Trustee 2017/18
Johnny Jones-WA6RHK (Silent Partner)
Carl Di Paolo-W7EXH (Silent Partner)

Our repeaters use the Peak Radio Association club call sign under agreement. However, PRA does not own, operate or control the system. System management, maintenance & operating practices are are handled by Chris, AB7BS in a cooperation with other silent partners. Occasionally, PRA does help with system repairs if asked. All of this combined effort makes this network possible and we THANK YOU!

Over the years, some operators ask if a large repeater system operates differently then a local repeater does. The short answer is YES. However, for the most part, its pretty simple. The below document is to cover all basis but for most of you, its nothing more then a refresh of what you already know. Items listed in  RED, are operating practices that we have in place because of our system size.

Important Update 11/1/2016
We would like to share some information about the cheaper line of radios Such as, Baofung, BTech, Wouxon, TYT, Luxtion, Anytone Lution and others. Receiver performance that some of the time results in operators complaining about poor coverage in areas that have very good service. along with poor sounding transmit audio and mic key clicks at the end of transmit. Our engineers have tested all of the above brands in our labs and found that the largest shortcut taken by these manufacturers is the Receiver AGC control circuits that ultimately set the fate of a radio in multiple ways. We would encourage operators to learn about the shortcuts these manufacturers take and ask to consider other options.

All licensed operators are welcome to use any W7PRA repeater for normal day to day communications. You don’t have to be a member to utilize the repeater system, however, we do encourage all users to become a member of PRA. By becoming a supporting member, you directly support the club & repeater system in helping us maintain each repeater. To become a member, please join us at a monthly meeting to begin the application process. If you or your group wishes to schedule weekly usage of the repeaters for emergency or social nets, please submit in writing your request at a PRA monthly meeting. Normally, the repeater owner performs basic repairs on their own. There are times that larger, more costly repairs are required and the club will typically help fund those if requested.

Daily Repeater Operation:

PRA promotes family oriented repeater use and all users should be courteous at all times.  Please follow good practices along with current FCC Part 97 Rules & Regulations.

Lead others by your example on the air!

PLEASE, don’t quick key. Allow time for the repeater to drop and others to join or clear. This is the most critical policy – otherwise it will block operators out.

Use your call sign suffix to enter an ongoing conversation (leter(s) after your number); using the word “break” usually indicates emergency or priority traffic.  If the party has emergency or priority traffic, please relinquish the repeater immediately. Using “break, break, break” three times also indicates emergency traffic.

Repeater jargon: “clear on your final” “clear and listening” “on the side” and other sayings use more air time then what its worth. As our repeater network is quite busy, these phrases really become unwanted when you hear them all the time. We always consider a operator to be “listening”. Whether they chose to answer a call is different story. When your done with a conversation, just say your call…..simple and quick!

Identification:  When you say your call sign, there is no other reason then to “ID” your station to meet federal requirements. This being said, the phrases “For ID” “For station identification” “For license preservation” are not needed. Say your call sign with plain text. Using phonetics is not necessary unless another user asks for your call more clearly to record in a log or just to double check that they have it clearly.

For daily communications having more then 2 operators present, “tossing” to the next operator at the end of each transmit message is REQUIRED on the PRA system to avoid doubling.    Pausing also allows other stations to break in. This is especially important in the case of an EMERGENCY.

Cross Banding into the PRA system is never allowed. Also, reproducing the PRA system with a cross band radio to another simplex or repeater frequency is not permitted. Here is why- the biggest risk is that a user radio locks up with noise and holds the entire system open until time out timers automatically disconnect the repeaters in a “fail safe mode” when this happens, the entire system is at risk and coverage is lost possibly preventing a priority or emergency call. It is very easy to tell a user is cross banding so we ask you kindly, please don’t.

Repeater Jamming or other Interference Issues

  1. Please do not acknowledge transmissions from unlicensed stations or stations causing the interference.
  2. Please do not discuss the repeater interference on the AIR.  If you are being interfered with, you are required to simply sign off and leave the repeater immediately.  Continuing to use the repeater or arguing with the jammer eggs on the jammer and could possibly get your PRA repeater privileges temporarily suspended.
  3. Be prepared to report the time, your location, signal strength, the type of antenna you were using, and if directional, the direction in degrees from your station, you are receiving the offending signal from.
  4. Let the trustee/repeater owners handle interference problem. There may be a PRA control operator taking action that you are not aware of.
  5. Repeater owners do have the authority and responsibility to monitor and maintain complete control of the repeaters at all times. They have full legal right to ask any operator, for any reason to stop using this repeater system per FCC rules. This action is almost always solved by coaching through Email/phone calls.
  6. While using our repeater system and dealing with jammers, do not add to the situation by making disparaging or snide comments about any repeater owner/trustee or PRA member.  Our control operators are listening most of the time.  Very little goes on that we don’t already know about.

Comments & Language

Regardless of the situation, off color comments, sexual innuendo etc are NEVER allowed and will not be tolerated on the PRA repeater system.

Remember, use of any codes and ciphers are not permitted by FCC regulations. If it can’t be said in plain English, it probably shouldn’t be said on the repeater. Using a Q code every once in awhile is not against our repeater use policy but, the use of the q code’s on FM modes should be minimized if at all possible. Also, the term “Radio Check” is generally not used in ham radio and should be reserved for the 11meter band.

Commercial communications – you can certainly identify your occupation, however, if you are, for example, a car salesman, you CANNOT try to sell your car’s on the repeater. Talking about prices of radio equipment and general reviews of such equipment is okay.

Prohibited Speech – Hate Speech or derogatory remarks directed at any person or group (including political, ethnic, racial, religious, sexual orientation, etc.) is not allowed. Keep that type of speech to yourself.

In all actuality, others on the air simply don’t want to hear personal rants about your current belief system. While Amateur Radio is like a religion to many hams, it is not a bully pulpit for you to preach your views out to the listening public.

Life Threats – saying stuff like you want to ‘harm, inflict injury or kill’ any other person or animal (unless talking about hunting and fishing) is against this Repeater Use policy. Such speech may also be unlawful under both Oregon and Federal Laws.

Bathroom humor – If you wouldn’t tell the joke to your eight year old child, don’t tell it on the repeater.

Any activity in violation of FCC rules and/or any other Federal, State or local laws or ordinances (including, but not limited to jamming, “stepping on”, broadcasting of music, unidentified carrier etc) is against our ‘Repeater Use Policy’.

Intentionally transmitting simultaneously with another station or ‘stepping on’ is prohibited by FCC regulation…even if the intent is good-natured kidding among friends… It is still unlawful.

Proper and legal operating etiquette is really about common sense. While the above limits on content are not all inclusive, they should make clear the type of communications which are allowed on the repeater system and which are not allowed.

Users of any repeater system may find it interesting to note that repeater owners have the legal authority to ban problem users from their repeaters and coordinated frequency pairs on a suspension or permanent basis for any reason at any time. Besides legally banning you from our repeaters and frequencies, PRA repeater owners OR the PRA trustee reserves the right to file an corresponding FCC action against the offending station, including, but not limited to, taking separate Civil action against the offender.

While these repeater use policies seem harsh, we wouldn’t need them if we hadn’t already had problems of this nature.

In general, if what is being said could be construed as embarrassing or hurtful by a listener, it is probably NOT permitted. Always err on the side of caution. When in doubt…DON’T!

Anyone who violates the above will be warned on the first offense, which usually just includes a simple email from a repeater owner or trustee. However, if the offence is serious enough, you can be suspended or banned without warning-though this is very rare.

If your conduct on the air is bad enough, the Trustee or repeater owner may tell you to knock it off over the air, and if so, it’s over, don’t dwell upon it further. However, multiple problems will result in a secondary follow-up notice.

If you received a notice by email or in US mail letter pointing out a possible violation of the repeater use policy or for any other reason, please accept the note as a helpful reminder to follow our guidelines in the future. We have sent you the notice in the spirit of trying to bring your attention to the problem at hand. Unless you were told over the air to cease transmission, any written notice will be sent with your privacy in mind. We will never discuss the matter further unless you continue to violate the policy or reasons that where listed in your message.

All repeaters are privately owned by,

Chris Novara-AB7BS, Founder, System Engineer & PRA Trustee 2017/18
Johnny Jones-WA6RHK
Carl Di Paolo-W7EXH

Questions regarding this policy are always encouraged, please feel free to contact our PRA trustee, Chris AB7BS at…….chris@my513.net……