Repeater Etiquette

Repeater Etiquette

To encourage proper operating guidelines, we provide members a guide to repeater etiquette and operating guidelines. Our on-the-air guidelines are listed here and are available on the SCARS website at https://w5nor.org/repeateretiquette/ Following these will help new members and not-so-new members get up to speed with the protocols, language, topics, and operations on shared radio systems.

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has created rules and regulations that govern amateur radio. These rules and regulations are listed in Title 47, Chapter I, Subchapter D,  Part 97 of the Code of Federal Regulations. Hams usually call these the “Part 97” rules. Those rules discuss what hams are legally allowed to do.

However, just because you can do it doesn’t mean that you should do it. Learning what you should do usually takes many years and involves a lot of hard lessons. In an attempt to help learn these lessons quicker, we have created this repeater etiquette guide.

Repeaters allow us to amplify our signal to allow others to hear our voices. SCARS repeaters, and all others, typically have hundreds of people listening at all times. This could be hams, family members of hams, people listening to scanners, city officials, or people listening on the Internet rebroadcast or recording, anywhere on the planet. When you are heard on a repeater, your performance should be representative of the host club.

Follow these guidelines and you will quickly become a better operator.

Protocol

  • Take time to listen to the repeater for a while before you transmit. If you are new to the area, listen to get a feel for the operation of the locals. Otherwise, listen for at least 30 seconds to make sure you aren’t barging into a conversation.
  • To transmit, key your microphone, wait for a second, and then start talking. Repeaters and receivers have a built-in delay that may chop off the first few syllables of your statement. Hold the button firmly while you are talking. Be sure to let go of the button when you are finished.
  • Transmit your callsign when you start talking. This lets the other people listening know who you are. While the person you are talking to may know your voice, others listening may not.
  • If you wish to announce that you are listening to the repeater and are willing to converse, give your callsign and the words “listening” or “monitoring.” Stay on the channel for at least a minute because others may take a while to respond. CQ is not used on repeaters.
  • To call another station, transmit their callsign and then your callsign. Be sure to pause before you start talking. If you get no response, make this call again. If you still get no response, simply transmit your callsign and the words “clear”, or “listening”, or “monitoring”.
  • Resist the urge to quickly key to respond to a transmission. Provide a brief pause between transmissions to allow others to join in. People breaking into a conversation will transmit their call sign when the current operator unkeys.
  • Promptly acknowledge any stations that transmit their call and permit them to either join the conversation or make a quick call.
  • You do not need to wait for the repeater transmitter to drop. There are about four seconds between the courtesy tone and the repeater transmitter dropping. Let two of them go by and then key the microphone.
  • Commuting hours are popular for many mobile stations. Repeaters exist to help extend the range of mobiles and portables. Be courteous and give them priority during commuting hours.
  • Do not “kerchunk” a repeater by clicking the microphone button to see if you are in range. If you need to range check your radio, key the microphone, transmit your callsign, and then wait for the repeater to respond.
  • To ask for a radio check, key your microphone, transmit your callsign, and then the words “radio check”. More often than not, you’ll get someone to respond.
  • If you are in an emergency situation, use the word “emergency”. You will get a much better response than if you use other codewords. When someone responds, keep them informed of your situation until you announce that the emergency is over.

Language

  • Watch what you say when you key your microphone. Speak as if your mother is in the room. Avoid ‘mild’ obscenities, including suggestive phrases and innuendos.
  • Speak as if you were talking to someone face-to-face.
  • Don’t use the word “break” to join a conversation. If you want to be involved, simply transmit your callsign. Some regions reserve the word “break” for announcing an emergency.
  • Use plain language and avoid jargon or acronyms that may be prominent in your ‘day-job’, or on HF. Others may not fully understand what your acronym means.

Topics

  • Do not monopolize the repeater. If others turn off their radios because they can hardly talk to someone except you, something is wrong.
  • Be upbeat and courteous. Don’t be the guy that’s always complaining about other hams, the repeater, or some aspect of the hobby.
  • Do not discuss the topics of politics, religion, or make disparaging remarks. While you and the person you are talking to may share certain beliefs, there are hundreds of other listeners that probably have differing opinions. Typically this results in hams turning off their radios and reduces group participation.
  • If you frequently receive jamming interference, it may be a sign that you may need to adjust your use of the repeater. This isn’t always the case, but history has shown that jammers respond to those that have caused the most friction.

Operation

  • Don’t cough, sneeze, or clear your throat on-the-air. Unkey the microphone as you feel these coming on.
  • If you hear someone trying to “jam” a transmission, or disrupt the normal repeater operation, ignore them. These people are looking for attention and typically go away if ignored. “Please don’t feed the trolls.”
  • If you feel that you need to interrupt an existing conversation, remember it is no more polite to do so on the air than if you did it face-to-face.
  • Follow a roundtable, or rotation format to allow 3 or more hams to participate in a conversation. Don’t ignore people by not passing to them for several turns.
  • Perform your legally required station identifications every 10 minutes. Use the repeater timer, or the other station as your guide. When you hear the controller identify the repeater, you should give your callsign on the next transmission.
  • Using the phrase “for ID” with your callsign is not required, or encouraged.
  • Perform your legally required station identification at the end of your conversation. Simply give your callsign. You do not need to repeat the callsign of the other operators.
  • Don’t use any CB phrases, slang, or verbiage. Use plain language.
  • Respond to calls that you aren’t familiar with. It’s a great way to meet new people and hear new stories. They may be a new ham, or new to the area, and are looking for a conversation.

Have fun and enjoy the machines. Should you have a question or would like to add to this list, please send a message to w5nor@w5nor.org.

You Know You’re a Ham When…

You Know You’re a Ham When…
Engineering Humor - RF CafeThese tech-centric jokes, song parodies, anecdotes and assorted humor have been collected from friends and websites across the Internet. This humor is light-hearted and sometimes slightly offensive to the easily-offended, so you are forewarned. It is all workplace-safe.

Humor #1#2, #3

This list came from the Portland Amateur Radio Club website, that notes: “Originated by Mike Lazaroff KB3RG.

Downloaded from the ‘Wireless Institute of Australia, New South Wales Division’ Web Pages on the Internet, and slightly Anglicised by myself.

The only time you get up at 6am is for a hamfest.

You know you can run all your home appliances on your equipment back-up battery.

Someone in a Music shop asks you what bands you like and you answer two meters and seventy centimeters.

A bank clerk asks you to spell your name and you do so phonetically.

In a conversation, you wait for the Roger tone before speaking.

You hear a scraping sound when driving through multi-storey car parks.

A band opening is more important than a grand opening.

Sight-seeing on holiday amounts to looking at rooftops for antennas.

The radios in your car are worth more than your car.

When you walk out of the house you not only feel your pockets for your keys and your wallet, but also your hip for your handheld.

Your child’s schoolteacher calls you on the phone to ask why your child identified countries on the world map as JA, ZL, VE, G, UA and XE.

If you refer to your house as “Ohm, sweet Ohm”.

You’re talking on the phone and end every sentence with “(callsign) this is (callsign), over”.

Your prime criterion for a new car is that it have zero ignition noise.

You and your girlfriend/wife hike to the top of a famous mountain, but rather than enjoy the magnificent sunset and giving her a kiss, you fire up the Hand Portable to see how many repeaters you can hit.

You realize that you’ve been studying code too long because you try and find out who did it in ‘Inspector Morse’ by listening to the background music.

You look at the Pennine Mountain Range and try to figure out how to get an antenna mounted on the highest peak.

You look at the Severn Bridge and develop a plan to get it to resonate on 160 meters.