Repeater Rules & Policy
CARC repeaters are open to all for use, provided you follow the rules in using them.
Per ARRL guidelines: “A repeater is not a public utility – you don’t have a “right” to use it. When you are using a 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!”
Improper Repeater Usage
The Charlotte Amateur Radio Club (CARC) follows a three strikes rule related to improper repeater use as determined by the Club License Trustee:
Strike 1: Confirmed violators are given a verbal warning
Strike 2: If behavior continues, violators are given a written warning
Strike 3: If behavior still continues, violators are removed from repeater use
Egregious offenders may be banned on the first offense.
The Club License Trustee can authorize the Club Secretary to send a Certified Return Receipt letter to operators that are removed from repeater use. This letter serves as an official record for CARC.
Club Call Usage
Usage of the club callsign for events, Field Day, etc. is at the discretion of the Club License Trustee.
Starting a 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 N3XYZ only. This call 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 to 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.
Starting a QSO via a monitoring call
If the repeater is not in use, simply stating your call sign implies that you are listening to the repeater and are interested in having a QSO with anyone else. Calling CQ on a repeater is not a common practice, 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.
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 afterward. Don’t interrupt a QSO unless you have something to add to the topic at hand. Interrupting a conversion on a repeater is just as impolite as 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.
Roundtables and “Turning it Over”
When two or more stations are in a QSO, it is often referred to as a “roundtable” discussion. Such a QSO’s usually go in order from amateur A to amateur B to amateur C … and eventually back to amateur A again to complete the roundtable. To keep everyone on the same page, when an amateur is done making a transmission, they “turn it over” to the next station in sequence (or out of sequence, if so desired). Without turning it over to a particular station when there are multiple stations in the QSO, nobody knows who is supposed to go next, and it causes either dead silence or several stations talking at once. At the end of a transmission, turn it over to the next station by naming them or giving their call sign, such as “…and that’s that. Go ahead Joe.” or “….and that’s that. Go ahead XYZ.” If it’s been close to 10 minutes, it’s a good time to identify at the same time as well, such as “…and that’s that. N3XYZ, go ahead Joe.”
Identifying and Who’s Who?
By FCC regulations, you must always identify at 10-minute intervals and at the end of a transmission. If you are making a test transmission or calling another party, this is a one-way transmission. Since it has no “length” as there is no QSO taking place, you should identify each time you make a call or a test transmission. When identifying yourself and another party (or parties), or when making a directed call, your call sign goes LAST. “N3XYZ, K3ABC” means that K3ABC is calling N3XYZ, not the other way around. There is no need to identify each time you make a transmission, only once every 10 minutes. You do not need to identify the station with whom you are speaking, only your own call sign, but it is generally polite to remember the call of the other station.
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, call sign, 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.
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?”
VOX, APRS, Digital, and Cross Band Repeat
The CARC Club is proud to have some of the widest covering and popular FM repeaters in the area. Users must ensure that their station does not transmit APRS, Digital, or other forms of ID signaling to our repeaters. Keep in mind that some radios do this by default and must be disabled manually. Keep in mind that the only radio that will not hear the interference caused by APRS/Digital/ID Signaling will be the one sending it.
VOX may be a viable option for Single Side Band, but it does not belong on FM repeaters. Differences between the VOX delay and the repeater’s delay tend to make unintentional “kerchunks” and accidental keying. These “doubles” can both be heard on SSB, but make terrible intermodulation on FM.
Given the high likelihood of unintentional transmissions, operators who wish to use VOX must get permission in writing from the club to do so.
Unauthorized linking to CARC repeaters is forbidden without written permission from the club. A chain is only as good as its weakest link and CARC reserves the right to evaluate applicants who wish to “cross-band-repeat” into our station. Unauthorized linking, (usually discovered by the interference they create), will be treated as QRM and reported to the FCC.
In general, use plain conversational English suitable for prime-time television. Avoid starting or encouraging conflicts on the air. If a topic of conversation exceeds strong debate, continue it off the air.
If there is a QSO going on, break into a conversation with the word “Break” or “Break for priority traffic.” DO NOT USE THE WORD “BREAK” TO JOIN IN A QSO UNLESS THERE IS AN EMERGENCY! All stations should give immediate priority any station with emergency traffic.
If there is malicious interference, such as kerchunking, touch-tones, rude comments, etc. DO NOT ENGAGE IT! Note the time and (if possible) see if you can hear the station on reverse. (The input frequency) Forward this information to this email address.
Use the minimum power necessary to complete a QSO. If someone says that you are noisy, increase power, relocate or take whatever measures you can to improve your signal. Continuing to make transmissions after being told your signal is noisy is inconsiderate to those listening.
Repeater Use Policy
We understand that everyone slips once in a very great while, no matter how hard they try. But, we expect all users of the repeaters to do their very best to follow these few simple and obvious rules of repeater conduct.
1. Avoid lengthy conversations.
Please limit conversations to 15 or 20 minutes. Then take a good long break or move to another frequency. It is good to pause now and then and invite others to join in.
2. Do not routinely circumvent the time-out timer.
The repeater’s time-out timer serves two purposes. The first purpose is to satisfy regulation, requiring us to limit repeater transmissions to a maximum of three minutes under automatic control.
3. Always yield the frequency to a breaking station. This applies to calling or breaking stations you never know if they have an emergency or not. Always yield the frequency to an emergency net, whether it is a practice net or not.
4. Selling other items OTHER than ham related equipment is not allowed here or anywhere else on HAM Radio.
Obviously selling any ham equipment is allowed as long as it’s not done on a regular basis as a business.
5. Absolutely no obscene, indecent or profane language at any time. Avoid ad Nauseam discussions of questionable subjects including such as politics, sex, and religion unless it has relevance to those listening. Conversations can be religious, humorous, or satirical in nature, but should go beyond sophomoric entertainment or pure worship/recruitment. Avoid making intentional inflammatory statements.
What gives CARC the right to tell someone how to operate?
All repeaters have rules. These rules can go beyond Part 97, and users who refuse to comply with the repeater’s rules can be told to stop using the repeaters. This is entirely at the judgment of the repeater trustees. The FCC supports a trustee’s right to control the use of their repeaters.