Spring Valley Lake
Amateur Radio Club (SVLARC)
Repeater Operating Policy and Guidelines
November 7, 2014
Notes: Enter most recent change information at top of table
May 15, 2014
Initial Rough Draft
November 2, 2014
Updates and corrections
November 7, 2014
Post Membership Review
This Guide is intended for use by members of the Spring Valley Lake Amateur Radio Club (SVLARC) and other users of the SVLARC repeater. It offers guidance on the use of the SVLARC (KK6SVL) repeater located on Quartzite Mountain operating at 449.2 00/444.200 MHz using PL Code 146.2. The site began operation on September 23, 2014 and is owned and operated by Spring Valley Lake Association and operated by SVLARC.
The SVLARC is an officially recognized Club by SVLA and is governed by the SVLARC Charter, as approved by the SVLA Board of Directors.
Special thanks is given to Hi-Desert Communication for their support and assistance in maintaining and operating the SVLARC repeater.
This guide will be updated periodically as required.
Table of Contents
Table of Contents 9
History of KK6SVL 10
Repeater Information 11
General Operating Practices (from ARRL Repeater Directory) 15
SVLARC Operating Practices 19
Emergency Operations & Procedures 22
Repeater Contact Information 23
SVLARC License 24
SCRBBA Application (Partial) 25
Appendix 1 – Repeater Technical Data 26
Appendix 2 – Coverage Maps 27
History of KK6SVL
The Spring Valley Lake Amateur Radio Club was formed in February 2013 and initially assigned call sign KK6COO on Feb 25, 2013. Vanity call sign KK6SVL was issued on April 9, 2013.
Shortly after its formation, the club initiated efforts to install and operate a UHF repeater that would provide reliable coverage in and around the SVL area for three primary purposes:
Provide reliable communications in the event of an emergency
Provide SVLARC members a means to communicate and conduct amateur radio business
Provide access to other area amateur operators on a non-interference basis.
The SVLARC repeater, KK6SVL, is located on Quartzite Mountain, near Victorville CA, and shares support services with many other local, state, and federal agencies.
The system operates at 449.2/444.2 MHz using separate shared UHF transmit and receive antennas through a site-provided duplexer. The antenna tower is at an elevation of 4734 feet above mean sea level. The transmit antenna is mounted at approximately 195 feet above ground level and provides omnidirectional coverage with about 7.5 dB of antenna gain. The receive antenna is mounted at approximately 195 feet above ground level and also provides omnidirectional coverage with 7.5 dB of antenna gain.
Emergency power is provided to the site through a Kohler 80 KW propane generator which is capable of providing up to 10 days of operation in the event of a commercial power outage.
Generator and Propane Tank pictured at left
The repeater began operations on September 23, 2014.
Additional technical information can be found in Appendices 1 and 2.
Courteous and legal use of a repeater is the responsibility of every amateur radio operator. The Spring Valley Lake Amateur Radio Club (SVLARC) has established these guidelines to encourage good operating practices. Individuals who do not abide by these guidelines may be asked to refrain from using the SVLARC repeaters.
Emergency use of a repeater always takes precedence over all other use.
Organized activities such as nets or training drills have priority over routine conversations.
Before keying your transmitter, listen for any activity on the repeater.
Keep individual transmissions short. The timer on most repeaters is set to three minutes to follow FCC regulations. However, someone who talks for that long in one transmission may be using valuable time if someone else has an emergency.
Please limit your continuous use of a repeater to a reasonable length. We recommend 10 minutes as a guideline.
It is considered bad etiquette to interrupt an ongoing conversation unless you have an emergency or something meaningful to contribute to the conversation.
While we want our repeaters to be active, it is discourteous to use a repeater to talk to someone who is within easy simplex range. If you can hear each other on the repeater input frequency, switch to a simplex frequency for that long-winded conversation. Similarly, don't use a wide-area repeater if one with more local coverage will do.
Most repeaters have a courtesy tone to indicate that the other party has released the key to end their transmission. Always wait for the courtesy tone so that someone with an emergency or someone wishing to join the conversation has ample opportunity to break in.
You must identify your station with your call sign every ten minutes and at the end of a conversation. While the FCC rules no longer require that you identify at the beginning of a conversation, it is common courtesy to do so.
Whenever you transmit, always identify your station, even if you just key up the repeater for a test purposes. "Kerchunking" (a short, unidentified transmission to "bring up the repeater") is illegal.
"CB"-style talk and off-color remarks or comments have no place in amateur radio. Keep your activities on our repeaters responsible and courteous.
The FCC rules permit the use of amateur radio for transmissions of a technical or personal nature. Unfortunately, some amateurs use the repeaters to discuss what they don't like about the actions of another amateur or a particular group. Such comments have no place on a repeater. Keep them to yourself or take them off the air directly to the individual(s) involved. Please don't use the repeaters to air "dirty laundry" (yours or anybody else's).
As in all of amateur radio, a transmission for business purposes is illegal. Please be especially mindful of this whenever using the repeater.
A suggested practice is to "Key up" before speaking with a breath and another before un-keying. A 1-2 second pause before, during, and after a conversation is good practice.
Ham Radio is a hobby, an enjoyable one, but one that depends on how we use the shared airways. We all make mistakes - don't be offended if someone points them out. We should always try to improve how we operate on the air.
General Operating Practices (from ARRL Repeater Directory)
Starting a contact (QSO) via a directed call
There are two main ways by which a QSO can begin, one is via a directed call and one is via monitoring. A directed call is where one amateur calls another amateur individually, such as "N3XYZ from K3ABC". In such a case, K3ABC is looking for one particular individual, N3XYZ. It generally is not an invitation for anyone other than N3XYZ to return the call. If N3XYZ doesn't answer the call, K3ABC may just clear off by saying "K3ABC clear", or may clear and listen for other calls by saying "K3ABC clear and listening". The "and listening" or "and monitoring" implies they are interested in hanging around to QSO with anyone else who might be listening at that time. "Listening" and "monitoring" doesn't mean you are listening to somebody else's conversation, they mean you are listening for other people who may want to call you to start a new QSO. Likewise, just saying your call by itself with nothing following it is meaningless. If you were to say "N3XYZ", people listening wouldn't know if that means you were monitoring for calls, whether you were testing, or whether they missed the call sign of a party you were calling. Be concise, but be complete.
Starting a QSO via a monitoring call
If the repeater is not in use, simply stating your call sign followed by "listening" or "monitoring" implies that you are listening to the repeater and are interested in having a QSO with anyone else. Calling CQ on a repeater is generally not common, a simple "N3XYZ listening" will suffice. There is no need to repeat the "listening" message over and over again as you might do when calling CQ on HF. Once every few minutes should be more than sufficient, and if someone hasn't answered after a few tries, it probably means there is nobody around. If someone is listening and wants to QSO, they will answer back. Avoid things like "is anybody out there" or "is there anybody around on frequency"; it sounds like a bad sci-fi movie.
Joining a QSO in progress
If there is a conversation taking place which you would like to join, simply state your call sign when one user un-keys. This is the reason for having a courtesy tone: to allow other users to break into the conversation. One of the stations in QSO, usually the station that was about to begin his transmission, will invite you to join, either before making his own transmission or afterwards. Don't interrupt a QSO unless you have something to add to the topic at hand. Interrupting a conversion is no more polite on a repeater than it is in person.
Interrupting a QSO to make a call
If you need to make a directed call to another amateur but there is already another QSO going on, break into the conversation during the courtesy tone interval by saying "Call please, N3XYZ". One of the stations will allow you to make your call. If the station you are calling returns your call, you should quickly pass traffic to them and relinquish the frequency to the stations who were already in QSO; don't get into a full QSO in the middle of someone else's conversation. If you need to speak with the party you call for a significant length of time (say, more than 15 seconds), ask them to either wait until the current QSO has cleared, or ask them to move to another repeater or simplex channel to continue the conversation.
Demonstrations. From time to time, an amateur may want to demonstrate the
capabilities of amateur radio to another non-amateur. The typical way to do this is to ask for a "demo" such as "N3XYZ for a demonstration." Anyone who is listening to the repeater can answer them back. Usually telling the calling party your name, callsign, and location is what they are looking for, not a lengthy conversation. Someone doing a demo may ask for stations in a particular area to show the range of amateur radio communications, such as if the calling station is in the Poconos they may ask for any
stations in south Jersey or Harrisburg areas, which is more interesting than demonstrating
that they can talk to someone in the same town as they are in.
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. "N3XYZ test" is sufficient. 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 such
as "N3XYZ, can someone give me a signal report?" "Radio check" is a term most often
used on CB, "signal report" is what most amateurs ask for.
1. Monitor the repeater to become familiar with any peculiarities in its operation
2. To initiate a contact, simply indicate that you are on the frequency. "This is (your call sign) monitoring" will suffice.
3. Identify legally; you must identify at the end of a transmission or series of transmissions and at least every 10 minutes during the communication.
4. Pause between transmissions. This allows other hams to use the repeater (someone may have an emergency). On most repeaters, a pause is necessary to reset the timer.
5. Keep transmissions short and thoughtful. Your monologue may prevent someone with an emergency from using the repeater. If your monologue is long enough, you may time out the repeater. Your transmissions are being heard by many listeners including non-hams with "public service band" monitors or scanners; don't give a bad impression of our service.
6. Use simplex whenever possible. If you can complete your QSO on a direct frequency, there is no need to tie up the repeater and prevent others from using it.
7. Use the minimum amount of power necessary to maintain communications. This FCC regulation (97.313a) minimizes the possibility of accessing distant repeaters on the same frequency.
8. Don't break into a contact unless you have something to add. Interrupting is no more polite on the air than it is in person.
9. Repeaters are intended primarily to facilitate mobile operation. During the commuter rush hours, base stations should relinquish the repeater to mobile stations; some repeater groups have rules that specifically address this practice.
10. All repeaters are assembled and maintained at considerable expense and inconvenience. Usually an individual or group is responsible, and those who are regular users of a repeater should support the efforts of keeping the repeater on the air.
FCC Part 97.205 (e) states "limiting the use of a repeater to only certain user stations is permissible." There is no rule which requires a repeater sponsor to let everyone use it. Those who do not follow FCC rules and the rules set forth by the KK6SVL Trustee will be disqualified from using the system and may be subject to FCC enforcement action.
No communications are permitted with persons not holding a valid Amateur Radio license except for transmissions in compliance with FCC rules on third party traffic and control operator supervision. For an unlicensed person to key a transmitter on Amateur Radio bands, the immediate presence of a properly-licensed operator is required. This means that the control (licensed) operator is within a few feet.
FCC Part 97.111(a)1 does not authorize communications with unlicensed operators.
SVLARC Operating Practices
If an operator fails to identify with his or her Amateur Radio call, consider that person to be unlicensed. After a request for their call sign, do not communicate with or acknowledge any transmissions made by unidentified/unlicensed operators. If you hear someone with a questionable call, you can verify via http://www.qrz.com
Do not discuss any details about jammers or jamming on the air at any time and do not acknowledge jammers in any manner.
Use procedures shown further down this page to assist in determining the location of an unidentified/unlicensed operator. When input from observers is sufficient to identify a source of illegal transmissions, details will be filed with the Federal Communications Commission and other agencies for enforcement action. Penalties for malicious transmissions can total thousands of dollars in fines and legal costs plus several years in prison.
KK6SVL Repeater system users are requested to assist in determining the source of interference. In addition to obvious malicious jamming, interference may consist of short bursts or repetitive keying.
Follow these steps when you note interference:
(1) Switch to the input frequency (444.2 MHz) and note strength of the interfering signal. Even an HT is valuable for this purpose. This is the most important thing to do first.
(2) If your station includes a rotatable beam, determine the direction of maximum signal strength on 444.2 MHz.
(3) Send a report by e-mail to TBDmailto:email@example.com?subject=Repeater%20Interference noting direction of signal peak and/or strength. Terms such as " no signal...weak signal....moderate signal....strong signal.....full-scale signal" etc. can be used. Also note any background sounds or unique characteristics.
(4) If the signal on 444.2 MHz is very strong, disconnect your antenna and note if the signal is still heard. If so, the source is within a few blocks.
(5) If time permits, go mobile around town or the area you’re in and note where signal peaks occur on the input frequency.
(6) If jamming consists of very short transmissions (under five seconds or so), using a second radio to monitor the repeater input frequency simultaneously may help you prepare a more accurate report. Remember that reports of "no input signal heard" are very valuable in narrowing down the location of the source.
(7) Do not communicate with a person believed to be unlicensed.
As reports from users in various parts of the coverage area increase, the likelihood of locating the source also increases.
FCC RULES & COMMENTS ON PROHIBITED COMMUNICATIONS
(a) No amateur station shall transmit:
(1) Communications specifically prohibited elsewhere in this Part;
(2) Communications for hire or for material compensation, direct or indirect, paid or promised, except as otherwise provided in these rules;
(3) Communications in which the station licensee or control operator has a pecuniary interest, including communications on behalf of an employer. Amateur operators may, however, notify other amateur operators of the availability for sale or trade of apparatus normally used in an amateur station, provided that such activity is not conducted on a regular basis;
(4) Music using a phone emission except as specifically provided elsewhere in this section; communications intended to facilitate a criminal act, messages encoded for the purpose of obscuring their meaning, except as otherwise provided herein; obscene or indecent words or language; or false or deceptive messages, signals or identification;
(5) Communications on a regular basis, which could reasonably be furnished alternatively through other radio services.
Emergency Operations & Procedures
EMERGENCY USE OF REPEATER
In actual emergency situations, SVLARC defers to FCC part 97.101, subparagraph (c):
§97.101 General standards.
(c) At all times and on all frequencies, each control operator must give priority to stations providing emergency communications, except to stations transmitting communications for training drills and tests in RACES
Please note also that ARES will be given priority but not sole use of the repeaters during actual emergency conditions.
Repeater Contact Information
Spring Valley Lake Association
Director of Operations
Emergency: (760) 245-6400 (Public Safety Dispatch 24/7)
9358 SVL Box
Spring Valley Lake CA 92395
Quartzite Mountain Operations
Tel # (760) 243-2332
SCRBBA Application (Partial)
Appendix 1 – Repeater Technical Data
Fill in as much as we know
Quartzite Mountain - 34° 36´ 43.6"N 117° 17´ 32.1" W
Elevation: 4,734 ft
195 feet above ground
Overall repeater block diagram
VXR-7000 UHF Repeater
On-site Kohler 80KW Propane powered generator
Appendix 2 – Coverage Maps
Note: Coverage maps generated May 2014 by Hi-Desert Comm using FALCON (Harris Corp) propagation software
4 Coverage Maps To Follow:
Mobile Talk-Back Coverage
Appendix 3 – Acronyms
Appendix 4 – Recommended Simplex Frequencies
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