East Kootenay Amateur Radio Club, Inc.
VHF Repeater Guidelines and Good Operating Practices:
All amateur radio operators are welcome to use the EKARC Amateur Radio
Club, Inc. 2 meter repeaters. The rules that govern our service require good
amateur operating practices. Our club membership, the repeater board, and the
trustee have approved the following guidelines and repeater operating practices.
We encourage you to follow these guidelines when using our club’s repeaters.
This will make the use of our repeaters more enjoyable for everyone.
Use plain English and avoid jargon. Use plain language on a repeater.
There is no need to use slang or jargon. FM repeater communication is
essentially as clear as a telephone call. Q-signals, pro signs and phonetics are
not necessary for most FM operation.
Content of communications. We are all familiar with types of communications
which the rules prohibit, such as music, codes and ciphers, criminal activity,
false signals, broadcasting, retransmitting radio signals, and obscenity and
indecency. While we support freedom of speech, we need to remember that
there are many listeners of all ages who monitor our repeaters. Our language
should be courteous and sensitive to the considerations of all listeners, free of
expletives,and suitable for family conversations. Use language suitable for
prime-time television, not R rated movies.
We also ask all users to avoid on-the-air conflicts about controversial topics. If
the debate starts getting vehement, change the subject, or continue it off-the-air.
For many years, hams have followed a “rule of thumb” that it is not a good idea to
discuss sex, religion, and politics over the air.
Identify correctly. rules require a station to identify every ten minutes
and at the end of a QSO. Repeating the other station’s call sign and your call
sign following every transmission is not necessary. Never transmit without
Making contact with another station. If the repeater is quiet, just sign your call
or say your call followed by the word “listening.” Anyone on the frequency will
know that you are willing to accept calls from any other station. Nothing else is
necessary. Don’t call CQ to begin a conversation on a repeater.
If you’re in conversation, a brief pause before you begin each transmission
allows other stations to break in – there could be an emergency. Don’t key your
microphone as soon as someone releases theirs. If your exchanges are too
quick, you can prevent other stations from getting in.
To join a conversation in progress, transmit your call sign during the pause
between transmissions. The station that transmits next will usually acknowledge
you. If you are in the midst of a conversation and another station transmits his or
her call sign between transmissions, the next station in line to transmit should
acknowledge the new station and permit the new arrival to make a call or join in
the conversation. It is impolite not to acknowledge new stations, or to
acknowledge them but not let them speak. The calling station may need to use
the repeater immediately, so let him or her make a transmission promptly. Don’t
use the word “break” to join a conversation, unless you need to use the repeater
to help in an emergency.
Testing and signal reports. If you are unsure how well you are making it into
the repeater, DO NOT kerchunk the repeater. Any time you key up the repeater,
you should identify, even if you are just testing to see if you are making the
machine. Keying the repeater without identifying is illegal. Do not use the
repeater as a "target" for tuning or aiming antennas, checking your transmitter
power, etc. Use a dummy load where appropriate, or test on a simplex
frequency. If you need someone to verify that you are making the repeater OK,
ask for a “signal report.”
Emergencies. To make a distress call over a repeater, say “break, break” or
“break for priority traffic” and then your call sign to alert all stations to stand by
while you deal with the emergency. DO NOT USE THE WORD BREAK TO JOIN
IN A QSO UNLESS THERE IS AN EMERGENCY! All stations should give
immediate priority to any station with emergency traffic.
Usage. Keep transmissions on the repeater as short as possible, so more
people can use the repeater. Be considerate of other users, and don’t tie up the
repeater unnecessarily for long periods of time. Don’t overuse the repeater – it is
a shared resource. The repeater is not a soapbox. If you’ve been using the
repeater for quite a while, consider getting off and letting others have an
opportunity to use it, or if possible, move your conversation to a simplex
frequency. Our repeater is considered an emergency resource and as such
requires monitoring by other home stations. Overuse and insensitive
conversations will force these monitoring stations to turn their radios down or even off.
The best way to determine if you are able to communicate with the other station
on simplex is to listen to the repeater input frequency. If you can hear the other
station’s signals there, you should be able to use simplex.
If other amateurs are asking to make calls during a QSO, it is a very good
indication that there are other users waiting to use the repeater. Even if there are
not other stations asking to make calls during a QSO, or if other users are invited
to break in but chose not to, there is still a very good possibility that there are
other users waiting for the QSO to end so they can make a call. Many amateurs
are reluctant to interrupt an ongoing QSO to make a call; they may feel that the
call they want to make is no more important than the QSO already in progress.
Being a wide-coverage system, many mobile stations and travelers use the
system to communicate over a wide distance while on the road. The VE7CAP
repeaters have been built at considerable expense and hard work to provide this
wide-area service. One of the purposes of our repeaters is to expand the range
of mobile and hand-held transceivers.
VE7CAP is NOT a closed repeater system. It is an open, user-friendly and
visitorfriendly and very wide coverage system. Local and visiting amateurs who
are not members of the East Kootenay ARC are welcome to use our repeaters.
Those who use our repeaters frequently are encouraged to consider joining our
club or making a donation to help support our repeaters.
Shutdowns. A control operator may shut off the repeater either due to a violation
of the VE7CAP repeater policies, violations
flagrant disregard for "good amateur practice". A shutdown should be taken as a
hint that something was wrong, either with the conversation or with the operating
practices. Shutdowns are often done in lieu of direct personal intervention by a
control operator as it avoids the situation from becoming a personal
If you have any questions about the East Kootenay Amateur Radio Club, Inc.
repeaters, feel free to contact any member of the repeater board or Joe Reiberger,
VE7CLJ, the President of the club.