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WARNING! - REPEATER COORDINATION!

If you have a desire to put up your own ham repeater, you will probably want to "coordinate" it as per the "gentlemens agreement" to do so. It is NOT a FCC requirement, but most repeater owners/builders rely on coordination for the following reasons;

  • To find an open frequency pair for the repeater to operate on (and not interfere with other repeaters in the coverage area).
  • Intruduce yourself to the coordinators and general membership so they have a face to put with the coordination application.
  • Have the repeater information published in a general database so others can look up repeaters whether they live in the area, visiting, or just passing through. The database also lists "features" of the repeater in case it has the ability to do something above and beyond just voice (such as Echolink, D-Star, P-25, Allstar, IRLP, etc)
  • Meet other repeater owners and users in the area and share knowledge, experiences and drink lots of coffee.

In years past, I have coordinated many repeaters through the appropriate coordination entities in the area where the repeater would operate from. Never had any problems, until I decided to do "the right thing" and coordinate one of my repeaters in Washington State.

Since relocating to Western Washington State three years ago, I have listened to, and used, many of the repeaters all over the state. I still like to build my own repeaters when I have time away from my work responsibilities. (Ham radio is just a hobby after-all). So I built yet "another one", and was ready to coordinate it. Then I attended a meeting of the Western Washington Amateur Relay Association. (https://www.wwara.org ) on April 5th, 2014. As I entered the room, I signed the roster and headed for a seat as the meeting had just started. I listened as the minutes were read and old buisiness and new businees topics were discussed. No one acknowledged my presence or asked who I was. The meeting discussed the usual stuff and was then adjourned and I turned and spoke to the person sitting next to me. It was Mike Ping N3KPU who just happened to be the 2meter chair person for the WWARA. I was in luck! (or so I thought). I handed him a post-it note that I had scribbled a few "open" frequncies I thought would be good for my repeater (as I had monitored them and heard nothing). He immediately scratched out one of the frequencies and penciled in another frequency (147.32). He said "put your application in TODAY!". Wow thats great news! (or so I thought). I also spoke with Frank Wolfe NM7R. He was the man in the front of the room who directed the meeting. Come to find out, he is the "chair" of the WWARA. (I soon found out, that apparently it is "Franks Club"). I couldn't get a word in edge-wise as he was boasting about his "Beachnet linked repeater system". Ok, that is appropriate because, after-all, it IS a repeater coordination club. I quickly tired of Franks yada-yada-yada "how great I am because I own many repeaters" mantra, I headed to the guys sitting at the front of the room and asked them who do I pay to join. A nice guy "Kenny" gladly took my money and had me fill out a form. (it was Kenny Richards KU7M). He entered the info into his computer and said "here's your password for the database". I thanked him, shook hands and headed out the door.  I left thinking what a waste of time. Just another ham club full of politics. Boy was I right!

I will save you the step by step sequence of events that followed, but here it is in a nutshell;

  • Sent in my TDS (application) for coordination for 147.32 as per the instructions from the 2meter chair, Mike Ping N3KPU.
  • Received a phone call from Kenny (WWARA secretary) advising that my TDS "has been entered in the database and it is listed as on-the-air".
  • I program my repeater and put it on the air.
  • Less than 24 hours later, I get a email from a guy in B.C. Canada advising that I am interfereing with their club repeater on 147.32 and to please move my repeater off their frequency. (Come to find out, their repeater has been on the air same frequency for 35 years, I don't hear it here in Burien, but apparently they hear me quite well up there!).
  • I reply to him that I am sorry to cause any interference, and that the frequency was given to me by the WWARA 2meter chair himself so let me contact them and see what they advise.
  • I get a nasty-gram from Frank (WWARA chair) spewing out tons of bullshit like I did something wrong. He states that my repeater is in fact - not yet coordinated and as such I am the one causing the interference and I have to seek out another frequency, resubmit another TDS and reprogram my repeater and retune my duplexer.
  • I ask why would Mike Ping, the 2meter chair for the WWARA, issue me a SPECIFIC FREQUENCY to use KNOWING that there is another repeater within my requested coverage area?
  • Mr bullshitter, oh excuse me, "Frank", responds with a diatribe that would fill volumes, stating that there are NO frequency pairs available and the WWARA just accepts (and coordinates) repeaters KNOWING there are other repeaters on the same frequency you request! If there are interference complaints, the repeater owners must duke-it-out until it is resolved.
  • The WWARA also stands by the fact that they DO NOT KEEP DATA on neighboring countries (i.e. Canada) so they cannot guarantee any frequency they coordinate will not cause or receive interference from any other station, be it US or Canada).

As we say in TEXAS, I think I just stepped in a big pile of cow-dung!

So, as of right now, the WWARA has my money, and stands by their "Bylaws" that they are providing a "service" to the amateur radio community, I say BULLSHIT!

Let me say it again, BULLSHIT!

If you really want to provide a "service" to the amateur radio community, you should AT LEAST get a map of the border between the US and Canada and put a damn push-pin where existing amateur radio repeaters exist including approximate coverage area, then AND ONLY THEN accept a TDS if the propsed repeater coverage area does not overlap the coverage area of another repeater! (US or Canada!).

Damn, how hard can it be?

Apparently the WWARA (i.e. FRANKS CLUB) has LOST FOCUS on their purpose. If they continue to accept a TDS regardless if it might interefere with, or receive interference from, another repeater on the same frequency, then they should DISBAND. Give it up. Adios.

You are NOT providing a "service" to the amateur community. You are just taking money and using it to support "Franks Club", a club I do not wish to belong to but I HAVE TO if I want to play nice in the sandbox. I feel sorry for the chair-people, board, members, etc that must endure "Frank". I know a lot of people work very hard keeping track of the TDS applications, and keeping the database and servers intact, and "trying" to do the right thing. Unfortunately, Frank is the root of the problem here.

My "BEEF" here is that, as a newcomer to the area, I made the effort to coordinate my repeater and not just turn it on and blast away. Nope, I tried to play nice. I attended the meeting in hopes of meeting other repeater owners. When the 2meter chair, Mike Ping N3KPU, gave me a specific frequency to use, I "assumed" he would know best if the frequency pair was available.

All I want to expose here, is that if someone else walked in the door like I did, they will get the same treatment. That is not fair, nor is it right. I know it is your club Frank, but that isn't why people come to your meetings or join the association.

It was NOT FAIR for you to come down on me like a ton of bricks. What did I do wrong? Remember, it was Mike Ping that TOLD me to submit a TDS for THAT frequency. This is where the issue is. If your 2meter chair doesn't care about surrounding repeaters already in use (US or Canada), and he is WILLING to just give out frequencies KNOWING they are in use, he is abusing his position and should be ordered to resign immediately. As the chair of the organization, YOU are responsible for his actions. YOU are the one causing the interference to all the repeater owners and users! The WWARA organization exists solely to assist in coordination. If you knowingly allow anyone on the board to abuse their positions in such a manner, I suggest YOU resign.

Everyone else, If you have to deal with the WWARA, just beware of "FRANK". Stay away! - FAR AWAY!

Turn your dial to a quiet frequency and have fun with amateur radio. Isn't that what it is all about?

My uncoordinated/coordinated/who-gives-a-shit/ repeater is 147.12+ 103.5 PL

I welcome comments, especially if you have had issues with the WWARA and/or FRANK

ihatefrank@naddcomm.com

*** END OF WARNING ***

 

Sorry for the interruption, but now, on to my bio (for anyone still with me):

W7FED

I have been a ham since 1972 in El Paso, Texas with first call of WN5JXY (Novice), (Vince Sparacino taught me morse code with an old paper tape code generator at Ft Bliss, TX if anyone alive remembers him) then I upgraded to TECH with call WA5JXY.

I now hold a FCC General Class license as W7FED.

Here is a (somewhat recent) picture of my hamshack

 

Here I am in my old hamshack in El Paso

(When I still had a beard)

WA5JXY Hamshack approx 1990

I remember sitting on top of the Franklin mountains in El Paso, Texas about 15 years ago. I was playing "briefcase packet" from the top of the mountain (4692 feet ASL). You can see three states (Texas, New Mexico, and Chihuahua Mexico) and two countries (US, Mexico) from up there !

Neil W7FED playing briefcase packet on top of Mt. Franklin in El Paso, Texas

I was one of the first in the country (especially El Paso) to get on PACKET RADIO. Waaaaay before the internet. Packet radio isn't as popular as it used to be (except for APRS and some new digital modes), but I sure enjoyed building one of the FIRST PACKET Bulletin Board System (Xerox 820 CP/M - W0RLI software). I also helped build the FIRST DIGIPEATER in El Paso with a home-built GLB PK1-L TNC (with Dave W5DBC-SK) as well as the FIRST Modem/Packet BBS cross-link and the ELPWX Packet-Based "WeatherNode", and even a PORTABLE PACKET System in a briefcase (utilizing a GLB-PK1L TNC and a Radio Shack TRS-80 portable computer.

I have enjoyed many modes of Amateur radio over the years including RTTY, AMTOR, Packet, AM, SSB, FM, and Satellite. I am most active on FM VHF/UHF repeaters and the ALLSTAR link system (see below). I also do some HF surfing with my Yaesu FT-900 when I get time.

I am also an avid SWL listener utilizing my Icom PCR-1000 receiver and Workman T734 Discone scanner antenna.

Workman T734 Discone Scanner Antenna

 

The TRASH linked repeater system (10 repeaters/sites) that the TRASH group built (and I resurrected) has also been shut down and sold due to my career move.

(*NOTE*)

Everyone always asks what "TRASH" stands for.

Now you know!

(This Represents A Serious Hobby!)

The original TRASH repeater (built by Dave Camp WD5HTQ/W5DBC in 1984, rebuilt by me in 1994 & 2008) has been rebuilt yet again and is now back on the air located atop the Franklin Mountains in El Paso, Texas with city-wide coverage with the callsign of KB6JYF and is node #27081 on the ALLSTARLINK system. Almost 30 years of TRASH on the air! (LOL)

Here are some pics of Dave's (WD5HTQ/W5DBC) TRASH ROOM (Dave's garage) where we (the TRASH GROUP) built up repeaters and antagonized the airwaves for years. Unfortunately, Dave passed away a few years ago. He was one of the best radio techs I have ever met and I would not have the career that I have today, if it were not for what I learned from him! THANKS! is not enough Dave (and Diane).

Here is a picture of the circuit boards I built for a discrete component repeater controller back in the '80s. (ZIA Controller design by WA7ZNY). I believe they are still in use on a repeater in El Paso. (This controller is now software-based. Wow!?)

 

In 2011, My wife and I packed up everything and moved to Washington State, and we LOVE it! (except for the WWARA fiasco as shown above!). There are so many things to do around here! (Most involve WINE!). By the way she hates the term XYL.hihi   (or for the new generation.LOL).

I kept one repeater and it is now on the air in Burien Washington (Allstarlink Node #27422, Echolink #375562). DC and Solar powered. Frequency is 147.12+ 103.5 pl - open to ALL (except Frank NM7L, and Mike Ping N3KPU!)

Here is the approximate coverage area;

Current HAMSHACK Equipment List;

HF: Yaesu FT-900AT, and G5RV-Lite inverted-Vee antenna at 20' above the roof peak of a two-story house.

VHF/UHF: Kenwood TMV-7a and a Cushcraft AR-270B vertical

Power: ASTRON RM-35 Power Supply with Ki0bk Powergate automatic switchover to two Deep-Cycle RV batteries

Current MOBILE Equipment List;

VHF/UHF: Kenwood TMV-7a and a Larsen 270NMO antenna

HF: Remote mounted Kenwood TS-570DG* - various antennas

*Remote mounted Panasonic CF-28 Toughbook laptop with Ham Radio Deluxe to remote-control the TS-570DG. USB monitor on the dash, and wireless keyboard/trackpad. I am also working on a bluetooth microphone/headset.

I used to have APRS installed, but WHY? so I took it out.

**NOTE** Trees around here are very tall. It is tough to get antennas up high enough for good coverage, so that's why I live on a tall hill!

Workman T734 Discone, Cushcraft Dual-Band Vertical, G5RV-Lite

 


I currently support Motorola ASTRO P25 trunking radio systems.

73 de W7FED (ex WA5JXY) Neil


Here is a picture of the radio installation in my old truckwink

 

Last modified: 2014-04-16 00:21:28, 20158 bytes

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