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
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
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
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.
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
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
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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