Repeater Guidelines

Repeater Trustee: David Robertson, KD1NA

PRA Repeater Committee: Chairman, ; Co-Chairman,

Contents

I.OPERATIONAL GUIDELINES

II.TRANSMITTING, RECEIVING, and COURTESY TONES

  • A.Repeater users will yield according to the priority order

III.BREAK-IN PROCEDURES

IV.NETS

V.JAMMERS

VI.INTERFERENCE FROM OTHER REPEATERS

VII.POWER

VIII.LINKED REPEATERS

IX.ADDITIONAL REPEATER COMMANDS

  • A.Signal Report Test
  • B.DTMF Keypad Test


I. OPERATIONAL GUIDELINES
The best repeater user is one who respects other users’ rights to a pleasant operating experience. This generally means listening as well as talking. These guidelines are the accepted repeater operating procedures of the Pentucket Radio Association (PRA).

Please pay particular attention to the notes on identifying. Current FCC enforcement actions have been admonishing amateurs and repeater owners on the use of tactical call signs without properly identifying with the FCC assigned call sign at the appropriate time. Our FCC rules are clear; give your call sign every 10 minutes during the transmission and at the end of the transmission. The station identification issue is becoming more troubling for the FCC, and more Violation Notices are being issued. To use the PRA repeater, all radio stations must be in compliance with FCC rules, and the ‘best practices’ of Amateur Radio procedures listed below:


II. TRANSMITTING, RECEIVING, and COURTESY TONES
All repeater users have an obligation to set a proper example for newcomers. Many people are listening to our repeater including non-hams. What is said and how it is said affects the reputation of our club. Don’t leave a bad impression of our hobby by making thoughtless or off-color remarks. Strive to give a favorable impression of our hobby, our club, and yourself.

A. Repeater users will yield according to the priority order:

1. Emergency Traffic (including emergency autopatch calls)

2. Priority Traffic and other traffic of substance or directions

3. General conversation

Allow time between each transmission so that others may make themselves heard. This assures that the other person has released the microphone push-to-talk switch, is no longer transmitting, and allows a person with an emergency to make it known. Remember, an emergency cannot wait for your conversation to finish. The courtesy tone generated at the end of a transmission is created for several purposes:

a. To indicate to a listener when a person has ended a transmission.

b. To indicate to a listener when a transmit signal has dropped below squelch level at the repeater receiver.

c. To indicate to all listeners that the repeater may be in a special operation mode.

d.To indicate that the Time Out Timer (three minutes) has reset.

The best procedure to follow when you first turn on your radio and prior to transmitting is to LISTEN for a few seconds to see if there is a conversation in progress. There are guidelines for common courtesy for interrupting a conversation already in progress. If you interrupt a conversation, it is assumed that you have a desire to join in on the conversation in progress or that you have more important traffic other than that of the conversation in progress. If your reason for interrupting doesn’t fall into one of these two categories, then you should not enter into the conversation. If you feel you cannot wait with your traffic, but you don’t have an emergency, it is considered courteous for you to ask for permission to make a call by giving your call sign or last portion thereof, and, after making your contact, move to another frequency with your conversation. In general, simply use common sense courtesy rules for normal conversation. After completing your interjection into an existing conversation, it is common courtesy to thank those that relinquished the repeater to you.


III. BREAK-IN PROCEDURES
If you need to interrupt a conversation, make sure you do it properly:

For non-emergency situations simply say your call sign: (ex: W4XYZ)    For priority situations say, or This is W4XYZ with priority traffic

For emergency situations say “Break, Break”, or This is W4XYZ with emergency traffic


IV. NETS

If a Net is in progress, no informal or uncontrolled traffic should be initiated without going through the Net Control Station (NCS). The NCS will open and close the net with an official announcement declaring that a net is/has been in operation. This announcement might include a short description of the event and net operations. This announcement should be repeated by the NCS at regular intervals during the net. We recommend announcing the nets operation every 30 min. At the close of the net, the NCS should “officially” return the repeater to normal-operation.


V. JAMMERS

All repeaters experience occasional jamming. We are fortunate to have a high caliber group of amateurs in the Pentucket Amateur Radio Club and as such do not suffer malicious jamming very often. The PRA philosophy is to ignore jammers if possible. If we talk to them or about them we are encouraging them to continue. To respond to them in any way with anger or negativity is even worse. Listen to a jammer on the repeater input to get an idea of the signal strength and, if possible, the direction of the signal. This could be helpful to those who attempt to locate the jammers signal. The jamming may not be intentional, and some communications may still be possible on top of the jamming.The repeater will be shut down if the jamming results in “illegal” operations, such as broadcasting, playing music, etc. The decision to shutdown the repeater is left to any recognized control operator listening. If the repeater is shut down, then the jammer has been given the recognition and attention they wanted (i.e., the jamming was successful).


VI. INTERFERENCE FROM OTHER REPEATERS

There are coordinated repeaters  on the same frequency as the PRA repeater. Occasionally, atmospheric conditions and other propagation factors, commonly known as skip or tropo will enable you to hear one or more repeaters on 146.625 MHz. The Amateurs you hear on these distant repeaters are NOT intentionally interfering with the PRA repeater. Please resist the temptation to act as a repeater policeman. Normally, this propagation is a short-term event and normal conditions will resume in a brief period of time. The PRA repeater can be used during occurrences of these phenomena but there may be a slight heterodyne on the output frequency.


VII. POWER

The FCC rules state that we can only use the power necessary to maintain communications. Do not use any more power than necessary. If you can easily reach the repeater with one watt of power don’t use 30 watts.


VIII. LINKED REPEATERS

When working a repeater that is linked, there will almost always be delays on receive and transmit. After pressing the PTT button, always pause 1 to 2 seconds to allow the system to fully activate the links. Failure to wait will prevent the beginning words of your message from being heard by others. More importantly, short messages that are inherent in net type operations won’t be heard at all. This might make you think people are not responding to your message when in fact nobody heard anything, because you didn’t wait for the link-delays to finish.


IX. ADDITIONAL REPEATER COMMANDS

A. Signal Report Test The signal report test gives you the ability to record your audio signal then immediately play it back to analyze your signal strength into the repeater and your audio quality. To conduct a signal report test:

  1. Identify using your FCC Amateur Call Sign and announce your intentions to make a Signal Report Test.
  2. Key-up and send the DVR prefix code 24
  3. Un-key and the repeater voice will say READY
  4. Key-up and record a seven second message including your FCC Amateur call sign
  5. When you un-key, your audio message will be played back by the repeater
  6. Identify using your FCC Amateur Call Sign

B. DTMF Keypad TestThe DTMF Keypad test will test your rig sending of DTMF tones. To conduct a DTMF Keypad test:

  1. Identify using your FCC Amateur Call Sign and announce your intentions to make a DTMF Test.
  2. Key-up and enter the DTMF keypad access code 85 followed by the keypad numbers and letters to be tested. The entries can be in any order.
  3. Un-key and the repeater voice will read back all numbers and letters that were decoded including the STAR (*) and POUND (#). NOTE: the D key cannot be used.
  4. Identify using your FCC Amateur Call Sign