Stacks Image 19

  WB1GOF Repeater Rules of Conduct

Rev:1.4
Date: 01/06/2014

The repeater owners or trustees can alter or make exceptions to these Rules of Conduct at any time, for any reason, with or without prior notice. We will make every attempt to post the Rules of Conduct in a timely manner online at the PART website, www.wb1gof.org.

Repeater Ownership Statement
The Police Amateur Radio Team (PART) of Westford Massachusetts has been assigned the FCC callsign WB1GOF. The club has appointed a Trustee of the WB1GOF callsign. PART, through its membership, has allowed the WB1GOF callsign to be used on the three amateur radio repeaters located in the Town of Westford. The three WB1GOF repeaters (including all hardware and associated components with each repeater), found on the coordinated (New England Spectrum Management Council) frequencies of 145.330 MHz, 146.955 MHz and 442.450 MHz, are owned solely by individuals who are considered the “owners”. PART from time to time has provided financial support to the repeater owners. Neither PART, nor its members by virtue of their membership status, has any ownership rights to the repeaters.

Why do we need rules at all for repeater conduct or etiquette?
No one likes a bunch of arbitrary rules, but when you have a shared resource, like a wide coverage range repeater they become necessary. We tend to assume that everyone knows the generally accepted rules. But, that could be careless of us and unfair to those who want or need to have a clearer definition of our expectations and requirements. It can also create discord when repeater users offend others by unknowingly breaking some unwritten rule. Activities that may be an irritation or even a flagrant violation to one person might not be an issue at all to another. It's probably best for us to be clear about the rules we really think are important. It is not our intent to define every action allowed or disallowed but to provide the guidelines for proper etiquette and give some “breathing room” to previously established as well as new and exciting uses of the repeaters.

We understand that everyone slips once in awhile, no matter how hard they try. But, we expect all users of the WB1GOF repeaters to do their very best to follow these few simple and obvious rules of repeater conduct. Conduct on the repeaters should be governed by common sense and courtesy.

The rules are pretty basic:
* Always identify yourself according to the regulations
* Avoid lengthy conversations, pause between transmissions
* When using EchoLink, identify yourself often and do not “park” on a connection
* Do not interrupt existing conversations unless you have something meaningful to add
* Yield existing conversations to recognized activities: RACES, Skywarn, Sunday Night PART net, etc.
* Do not engage in political soap boxing. Do not engage in any personal antagonisms.
* Do not use CB lingo/slanguage. Do not use “Q” codes and phonetics excessively.
* Always yield the frequency to a breaking station (any station with emergency traffic)
* Selling items OTHER than ham related equipment is not allowed
* Watch your language; our repeaters are "G-Rated" 24 hours a day
* If you hear stations jamming or interfering do not make any comment, ignore them. Do not antagonize those interfering!
* Transmitting touch tones to gain control of repeater functions or to cause interference to users is prohibited! This includes ANY transmission intended to disrupt communications between users.

Our policy: the WB1GOF repeaters are open for all to use, provided you follow the rules in using them. Part 97, officially called Title 47 of the Code of Federal Regulations, Part 97 (47 CFR Part 97), is the body of rules which governs the Amateur Radio Service.

What gives the owners and trustees the right to tell someone how to operate?
All repeaters have rules. These rules often go beyond Part 97. And, users who refuse to comply with the repeater’s rules can be told to stop using the repeaters. This is entirely at the judgment of the repeater owners or trustees. FCC Rule 97.205(e) says, "...Limiting the use of a repeater to only certain user stations is permissible." There are no qualifications – ifs, ands, or buts – to this rule. This isn’t just the right to close a repeater. In fact, the ARRL says, "...a repeater does not have to be listed as being "closed" in The ARRL Repeater Directory in order to have a limited access." (Source: The ARRL’s FCC Rule Book) The terms "open" and "closed" don’t appear in the regulations at all! All repeater users must follow the rules of the repeater. Here is our policy: the WB1GOF repeaters are open for all to use, provided you follow the rules in using them. Nothing could be fairer. The ARRL says it clearest of all: "A repeater is not a public utility - you don’t have a "right" to use it. When you are using someone else’s repeater you are, in effect, a visitor in the owner’s station. So, you should conduct yourself accordingly. If you use that station in a manner that the owner finds objectionable, that person has every right to revoke your privilege of using it!" (Source: The ARRL’s FCC Rule Book) Each station owner is responsible for the operation of their equipment. They must always meet the FCC defined rules, and may also implement a more stringent set of rules for the operation of their equipment. To use our repeaters you must follow our rules. There are repeaters with more lenient rules than ours are and some which are much more restrictive. Beyond the FCC minimum requirements, it's up to each repeater owner to set their own operating rules. A repeater user needs to try to fit in. If the rules for the WB1GOF repeaters are uncomfortable for you and do not suit your personal needs or style we encourage you to try other repeaters or even try talking on simplex. We wish for everyone willing to abide by these simple rules to freely use our repeaters.

Please report interference and flagrant violations on the repeaters to repeater@wb1gof.org.

We welcome you and hope you have many enjoyable conversations on the WB1GOF repeaters. 73!

Portions of this document were extracted from other repeater owners versions with permission. Thanks to those folks!

  WB1GOF D-Star Linking Policy

D-Star is a relatively new repeater technology and it incorporates some new methods of usage. From time to time our users have inquired on how to use major features or our repeater system, this document attempts to address the issue of linking on the WB1GOF D-Star repeaters and others.

In the past; linking of D-Star repeaters has been restricted to administrators due to the lack of tools to enable RF users to know the status of a repeater's linked state; is it linked?; where is it linked to?; who is using the repeater?; why is it linked? These are not trivial questions to answer and need or should be known prior to linking. The only tool available has been
www.dstarusers.org which provides enough of the repeater state to guess 80% correctly. These tools require a user to have Internet access and do not really support the mobile and HT user. Recently there have been some tools/apps for the smartphone which may assist a user not connected to the internet in a traditional fashion.

All gateways/repeaters use a common tool set to determine repeater status; is the repeater linked (the “I” command)?; where is the repeater linked linked (also the “I” command)?. It does not provide the "why is the repeater linked?" which may be addressed at some time in the future. However, know the physical status and practicing good D-Star usage policies, there is sufficient information available information to allow all users of our WB1GOF repeaters to execute the linking feature.

This is the usage policy that addresses 95% of potential conflicts (not all). These may sound familiar but have some differences. These are also just common sense courtesy to others.

1. Monitor the repeater for a few minutes to ensure it is idle, no audio or text QSOs in progress; then announce on the local repeater, your call sign and intention of linking to whatever repeater or reflector; then wait a moment for replies; if no replies continue.

2. Check to see if the repeater is linked. This is done using the (I command). If linked, note the link because you will need to re-establish the original link when done.

3. If the repeater is linked, monitor for a few minutes to ensure the repeater is idle, no audio or text QSOs in progress; announce to both the local and remote linked repeater or reflector, your call sign & local repeater call sign, then your intentions to unlink your repeater; wait for a 1 minute then if no response to your announcement, proceed. There are several reasons to "wait" after making the announcement; 1.) the link may be a net that is silent, waiting for a user on the local repeater to finish a task who is not listening; 2.) there may be a "text" net currently operating and not listening; 3.) a net is scheduled and not started (scheduled nets should have priority). (We currently have no tools available to indicated "scheduled nets").

4. Unlink the repeater.

5. Execute a Link to your desired repeater or reflector; then prior to any transmission, listen for a full 2 minutes to make sure you do not step on an ongoing conversation on the remote linked repeater or reflector. Note of Caution: Technically with gateway software and the Internet, there can be a short delay immediately after establishing a link before actual packets are passed through from the remote repeaters gateway or reflector (this is not always the case, but the exact moment & timing of the link and the establishment of packet routing at the beginning of a QSO packet stream is critical. After that initial QSO packet stream is completed, the next QSO packet stream is routed to you correctly. For this reason, it is difficult to tell if the remote linked repeater is idle or busy and is really a guess; hence the reason for waiting 2 minutes which is an average QSO length).

5. Make your call, scheduled call, or NET check-in; CQ or scheduled contact; hold your QSO.

6. When you have completed your QSO, announce your call sign and your intention to unlink the repeaters; listen; then execute the "unlink". You may want to give a quick "thanks for the use of the remote repeater or reflector" before unlinking.

7. If the repeater was previously, make an announcement your intention to re-link the repeater, wait for a response, then proceed to execute linking the repeater to its original location.

You are done.

This policy covers the discovery of 95% of the case to avoid disruptions and conflicts. It isn't perfect. As D-Star matures through development of operating practice this policy may be modified.