Arizona Repeater Association, Inc
P. O. Box 35758, Phoenix, Arizona 85069-5758

W7ARA

Arizona Repeater Association, Inc

ARA Repeater Conduct and Policies

We tend to assume that everyone knows the generally accepted rules. But, activities that may be an irritation or even a flagrant violation to one person might not be an issue at all to another. Some rules are specific to ARA repeaters, and as such can be enforced by the FCC, per part 97. We understand that everyone slips once in a very great while, no matter how hard they try. But, we expect all users of ARA repeaters to do their very best to follow these few simple and obvious rules of repeater conduct.

1. Always identify according to the regulations.

Correct operating procedure is a distinct characteristic of Amateur Radio. It’s important that you convey to the public and to new hams the image that Amateur Radio operators really know what they are doing. A friendly style is great, but takes pains to operate professionally. Don’t become sloppy. Amateur Radio regulations are largely self-enforced and we all need to work together towards these goals.

2. Do not engage in political soap boxing.

Soapboxing, which goes hand-in-hand with overly long conversations, is when people carry on a conversation on the repeater that is a thinly disguised broadcast. The subject is generally to "put down" an institution, group, or an individual for as wide as possible an audience. This is very objectionable to other repeater users and listeners. Using any repeaters as a platform for soap boxing is unacceptable. Conversations on the repeaters should be friendly ones. Do not make them negative commentaries on institutions, groups, or people. Avoid discussions on inappropriate subjects including politics, sex and religion! Don’t use the repeaters to "put people down." Amateur Radio is not a broadcast medium – 97.113(5)(b). Are we talking about censorship? No, not exactly. A person may have the right to stand on the street and say bad things about someone. They don’t have the same right when they are a guest in that person’s house. When using the repeaters, you are a guest operator of that station. No one has any right to use the repeaters in ways that the repeater trustee feels are objectionable.

3. Do not routinely circumvent the time-out timer.

The repeater’s time-out timer serves two purposes. The first purpose is to satisfy regulation 97.213(b) requiring us to limit repeater transmissions to a maximum of three minutes under automatic control. Like many repeater owners, we also use the time-out timer as a way to encourage users to limit the length of individual transmissions. This gives everyone a chance to speak. Under normal conditions, it is rude to get around the time-out timer by momentarily dropping carrier to reset the timer or saying "Stand by, let me reset" and continuing. Always remember there may be an emergency, someone may need the repeater. Please listen for the beep, wait a few seconds then continue! Resetting the time-out timer should only be done as absolutely required and infrequently. Learn to speak concisely and limit the length of your individual transmissions.

4. Always yield the frequency to a breaking station

This applies to calling or breaking stations you never know if they have an emergency or not.

5. Our repeater is "G-Rated" 24 hours a day.

You never know who may be listening. Even late at night, there are generally people listening to the repeater, including non-hams. This is important to understand for several reasons. Our repeaters serve many purposes. One of the most important is the exposure it gives the hobby to the community. Any scanner can be used to listen to our repeaters. That’s good – It’s actually the most visible aspect of our clubs. It’s one of our most effective forms of publicity. We want non-hams to know that Amateur Radio is an interesting hobby and a good group of people to get to know - something clean and educational - something they would want their kids to get involved in. Kids may or may not listen late at night, but their parents do. Let’s all do our part to give Amateur Radio a positive image. We want any ham that listens to us to think of us as good operators, not idiots. Any time we talk on the repeater, we are ambassadors for the hobby. Have you ever noticed how you like to listen to some repeaters, but sometimes you find a repeater that makes you roll your eyes and twist the knob? We lose good people because of what they hear on our repeaters.

Our rule is simple: absolutely no obscene, indecent or profane language or meaning at any time.

6. Dealing with interference.

DO NOT ACKNOWLEDGE INTERFERENCE OR THE INTERFERER.
Do not talk to him or about him. If he is unlicensed, talking to him is against the law. If possible continue your QSO as if the interference didn't exist. If that is not possible, move to another freq or tell the other person you've got things to do and will contact him/her later. Do NOT let the interferer know you have even noticed him. If his audience goes away, so will he. Please refer to Dealing with Interference for more information and suggestions.

7. No rebroadcasting of material, recorded or direct over the repeaters.

You cannot record then replay any material, even ham conversations over the repeater without permission from all parties involved including the repeater owner. The exception to this is the “Newsline” Ham Radio news broadcast, but even that needs repeater owner approval.

8. No crossband or remote base connections without prior permission
from the repeater owner.

This rule insures the system will not be compromised by connections we have no way to control. Such connections can cause massive interference, even though it seems it is working good.

9. What gives the trustee 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 repeater. This is entirely at the judgment of the repeater trustees. 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! Listing a repeater as "open" means you don’t have to be a member in order to use it, but, you still must follow the rules of the repeater owner. The FCC supports a trustee’s right to control the use of their repeaters. The letter reproduced below is an example. On Dec. 13, 2001, FCC Special Counsel for Amateur Radio Enforcement Riley Hollingsworth wrote to a Mr. Banks because he had not stopped using a repeater when asked. (Reading between the lines it seems that Mr. Banks must have argued that the repeater was "open".) Mr. Hollingsworth explained that a repeater doesn’t need to be "closed" for a trustee to require compliance among the users. Banks had to comply or expect FCC enforcement action. Please take time read this letter.

Warning Letter

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)

To use our repeater 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 any 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 repeater. We welcome you and hope you have many enjoyable conversations on the repeaters.

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Dealing with Interference