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Repeater Etiquette

HELLGATE AMATEUR RADIO CLUB (W7PX) REPEATER ETIQUETTE    

WELCOME—The Hellgate Amateur Radio Club (HARC) welcomes club members, area hams, and visitors to utilize any of the club’s five repeaters; 147.04, 146.90+88.5 tone, 146.96+ 88.5, and 146.80+ 88.5, and 444.80+88.5 tone.  The repeaters are maintained to assist with communications, promote our hobby, provide enjoyment for users, provide assistance when needed, and serve as a viable means of communications during an emergency. Repeater Etiquette will help to minimize problems and maximize everyone’s enjoyment.

AMATEUR’S CODE—if the Amateur’s Code written by Paul M Segal, W9EEA in 1928, is still followed today it will provide a positive influence on the ham community repeater users.  The Radio Amateur is:

CONSIDERATE—never knowingly operates in such a way as to infringe upon the pleasure of others.

LOYAL—offers loyalty, encouragement and support to other amateurs, local clubs, and the American Radio Relay League, through whom Amateur Radio in the United States is represented nationally and internationally.

PROGRESSIVE—with knowledge abreast of science, a well-built and efficient station and operation above reproach

FRIENDLY—slow and patient operating when requested; friendly advice and counsel to the beginner; kindly assistance, cooperation and consideration for the interests of others.  These are the hallmarks of the amateur spirit.

BALANCED—radio is an avocation, never interfering with duties owed to family, job, school or community.

PATRIOTIC—station and skill always ready for service to country and community.

IN AN EMERGENCY—(immediate danger to human life or property)  If you have an emergency and need to use the repeater, simply call out “emergencyor break break and say your call sign” or “I have emergency traffic and say your call sign”.    If there is an emergency do whatever you can to make contact and assist.  If you are asked to call 911, stay calm and collect all necessary information.  Write the information down such as their name and call sign, automobile description, time, location, highway number, mile marker, if there are injuries, and if an ambulance, fire truck or wrecker is needed.  You should ask them to stay on frequency so you can advise them of your actions and progress.  Others that were on frequency should stand by in case they are asked to help.

LISTEN AND THEN TALK—the first and most important rule before using a repeater is to LISTEN.  Nothing is more annoying or embarrassing than someone that “keys up” or doubles in the middle of another conversation without first checking to make sure the repeater is free.  Always LISTEN FIRST!

If the repeater is not in use there is no need to call CQ to initiate a conversation on a repeater.  Simply key your microphone and transmit your call-sign and say listening or monitoring.  After you stop transmitting you will usually hear a short, unmodulated carrier transmitted by the repeater (sometimes called the squelch tail) that lets you know the repeater is working or you will hear the repeater identifier, usually in code.  If someone is listening and they want to talk to you they will respond.

If you wish to talk to a specific person then use their call-sign followed by your call sign and the repeater you are using, such as N7GE this is NZ7S on 04.  If no response, wait a short time and repeat the call.  If there is no response it is not necessary to say anything else, although some will say “nothing heard your call sign clear”.  

If the repeater is in use and you want to join the conversation, wait for a pause in the conversation and transmit your call sign, and wait for one of the other stations to acknowledge your call.  Avoid saying the word “break” as it has several conflicting meanings.

THE PAUSE THAT REFRESHES—when you are using a repeater leave a couple of seconds between exchanges to allow other stations to join in or make a quick call ,or periodically say “Does anyone want to use this repeater?”  Some repeaters have a “Courtesy Tone” (a short beep or series of beeps) that will help in determining how long to pause. 

ACKNOWLEDGING STATIONS—if you are in the midst of a conversation and a station transmits his call sign between transmissions, the next station in line to transmit should acknowledge that station and permit him to make a call or join the conversation.   The calling station may need to use the repeater immediately for an emergency, ask for directions, or other assistance.  This is particularly important during commuting periods, and periods of bad weather, so let them make a transmission promptly.

IDENTIFICATION—you MUST transmit your call-sign at least every 10 minutes during the course of any communication and at the end of your conversation.  You don’t have to give the call sign of the station you’re talking to, but it is a matter of common courtesy to give your call when beginning your first transmission.  This lets others know who you are.  Never transmit without identification.  For example, keying your microphone to turn on the repeater (sometimes called kerchunking) is illegal if you don’t identify.  If you don’t want to engage in conversation, but want to see if you can access a certain repeater, simply say your call and “testing”.  Use the correct official phonetic alphabet when identifying.

BREVITY—keep each transmission as short as possible.  Short transmissions permit more people to use the repeater.  Most repeaters promote this by having timers that “time-out”, i.e., shutting down the repeater when someone transmits too long.  Another purpose of a repeater timer is to prevent extraneous signals from keeping the repeater on continuously, which could damage the repeater’s transmitter.

GO SIMPLEX—after you have made a contact on a repeater, move the conversation to a simplex frequency, if possible.  The function of a repeater is to provide communications between stations that would not normally be able to communicate because of terrain or equipment limitations.  If stations are able to communicate without the need of a repeater, they should not use the repeater except for the initial contact.

PLAIN LANGUAGE—use plain conversational English language on a repeater, free of any codes, obscene or indecent words or language.  Remember anyone could be listening at any time, thus nothing is private on the air.

POWER—use the minimum power necessary to deliver a good signal to the repeater or other radio

AUTOPATCH—an autopatch is a device that allows repeater users to make telephone calls through the repeater.  Only club members are provided with the access code to access this feature.  The 146.90- 88.5 tone repeater has this feature and is linked to the 80 and 96 repeater.   You must be able to access the 90 repeater to take advantage of the autopatch.

Once a call is established, do not speak at the same time as the party at the other end on the line, (you may have to tell the other party that you are on a phone patch and that you can’t hear each other at the same time), because an autopatch only provides communications in one direction at one particular time.  To let each other know when you are finished talking you might want to use the word “over”.

THE LAW—FCC Part 97 rules apply at all times to ham radio operators.  http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_08/47cfr97_08.html 

ADOPTED BY THE HELLGATE AMATEUR RADIO CLUB ON OCTOBER 12, 2009