Tuesday, October 21, 2003
Be respectful and responsible using the repeaters!
It’s been quite a while since I actually contributed anything to the Aerial, and now I’ve sent in two articles in a row, so, that being said, this article is being written more for the 805 repeater, but pertains to every repeater you will use. First of all, I must warn you all now, it’s not very politically correct, and may be offensive to others. If you don’t have a thick skin, stop reading now!! That’s my disclaimer. Those of you that know me, know where I’m coming from. So, if the above statements haven’t scared you away, don’t say I didn’t warn ya!
As more and more “User Functions” become available, please use them responsibly! Otherwise, they will become “unavailable”…. If you get my drift. And if the CCDX Club receives a pink slip from our local FCC reps because of something that one of the users has done. It aint gonna be pretty. Keep in mind, for those new folks that might not know this, but the repeater trustee (the call sign that’s on .805) IS and WILL BE accountable/responsible for the actions of its users. Basically what this means is: If you just get on the air and start poking out touch-tones and sending commands, or whatever else, let’s say, without giving YOUR CALLSIGN, WE (CCDX) get the ticket! And even though the licenses are “held” by CCDX, the FCC wants a real person to be the license “Trustee”, and that is K1ZO. I’m sure quite a few of you haven’t ever met him, but that’s no excuse to get him a pink slip!! Doesn’t sound too fair, but that’s the way it is.
I hope this doesn’t sound too “mean and nasty” but I don’t want to have anyone not understand what is being said here. No reading between the lines necessary.
The typical way a user should issue commands to a repeater is to ID yourself and say something to the extent of; <insert yourcall here> control, <insert yourcall here> on the patch, or something equivalent as long as you say your callsign FIRST! There are control operators listening most of the time, and if they deem an illegal action has taken place, they can/will terminate any phone calls or even shut off the repeater completely if that’s what’s needed. That’s what control ops do.
Okay, now that I’ve said that, I’ll mention a few operating habits that I’ve noticed. Some of these have been happening for quite a while, others are just re-surfacing, but just a reminder, if you glance down at the front panel of your radio, nowhere does it say “channel 19” – I know, I know….. Yes, you could have it in memory position 19 --- technicalities…. Geez…. We actually are monitored by non-amateurs and it sure would be nice to be a “step above”, okay, a galaxy away from the good ‘ole chicken banders!!
Yes, I know a lot of us started out there, and I did too, but I was 12!! And back then we even had to have licenses on that band too. It was in my moms name because I wasn’t old enough. KEZ-8224 was the call. But once I got my ham ticket, I never looked back.
A couple other things that I’ve noticed over the past several months deal with just some silly stuff. For example: There’s also a pretty good chance that you don’t need to test your touch-tones every few hours. If it worked at lunch time, chances are really good that it’ll still work during your next coffee break. How about those “Smokey reports”? Same with signal report requests? If you’re 45 miles out on a handheld and someone says your signal is scratchy, chances are pretty good that if you move 6 inches it’s still gonna suck. (unless you’re line of sight from a mountain top) I’ve got a thought…. How about mounting an antenna on the roof of the house? Or actually installing a mobile radio in the car?
(Soapbox time) -- When I got my first 2m radio, I was 15 and it was a Wilson 1402 handheld that ran two watts. It was 6 channels, crystal controlled. That was it. There was no digital readout of the frequency. It said “B” for my local repeater (Mt Washington). Mt Ascutney was “D”. There were 10 AA sized nicads in the battery pack that made it play. I also saved my pennies and purchased a Ringo Ranger for my house AND a 12 watt amp. I also purchased a 5/8wave antenna for my moms car. I was able to hit every repeater that was local to me – all 4 of them. Mt Washington, Mt Mansfield, Mt Ascutney – but only if it was on the North antenna – Touch-tone controlled, anybody remember that? And Mt Killington. Does anybody know what 34/94 means anymore? My point being is, that if a 15 year old kid still in high school can afford all this stuff (no help from parents) then so can you!! Improve your stations!! (I still have the Ringo, it’s on my house now!)
There also seems to be a serious lack of general good etiquette and operating practices on the repeaters. Not just the Keene repeaters, but everywhere. I hear a couple stations chatting about whatever and then a third station jumps in – with absolutely nothing to say related to the current on-going conversation. Now what’s the point in that. Shut the hell up! Just listen. You don’t need to be involved in every single conversation that goes on here….. I recently heard a couple stations talking and somebody else jumps in, has nothing to contribute to the topic, says he’s sorry for butting in, but wondered if someone else was listening and proceeds to call a 4th station. How rude. Come on….. It wasn’t even a scheduled call (between station 3 & 4), he was just wondering if such and such was around….
And don’t even get me started on the terms, language and expressions I’ve been hearing…. On the side?…of what?…The road? How about destinated? I’ve looked, can’t even find that one in the dictionary… Portable? I can only guess that this means portable radio, because operating portable always meant operating at some temporary location for an extended period of time that is different from the station licenses permanent address. If you were “walking” around talking on an HT, you were still considered to be “mobile”.
Okay, that’s it, I’m done – maybe until next month. Hummm, let’s see how many comments I get on this one. Maybe I can be the “remember when” guy…..
73 de Joel – WA1ZYX
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