Join FASMA at HamCation 2018

FASMA will be present at Hamcation 2018 with a booth in the main exhibit hall.  Please come by and speak with the board; feel free to ask any questions you have.

This will be a first for either the FRC/FASMA to have a public outreach presence at the premier hamfest in the southeast.  This is a continuation of the new FRC, now FASMA, boards promise to it’s membership.

 

Please come out and say “hi”.

FASMA will be in both #225 in main hall

Central Florida Fairgrounds and Expo Park
4603 West Colonial Drive
Orlando, Florida 32808

February 9, 2018 | 9AM to 5PM
February 10, 2018 | 9AM to 5PM
February 11, 2018 | 9AM to 2PM

Proposed Itinerant Repeater Policy

This is a proposed policy open for public comment.  We request all comments to rt@fasma.org.

Our policy making is candid process; we continually seek input and new ideas from the community.   We encourage any amateurs wishing to effect change in the operation of coordination in Florida to submit a proposal or comment on existing proposals.

Simply put: if there’s something needing a change here, please speak up and lets fix it.

Summary

FASMA receives many requests for low power, limited coverage repeaters for experimental, mobile, temporary “emergency” systems, neighborhood CERT teams and for just plain “fun”.  The FCC refers to such temporary operation as “Itinerant” users. Due to the number of repeaters on the air, it is difficult to find available frequencies to manage this need, due to protection contours of existing machines.  In some areas, there are no available frequencies to assign within the repeater band plan spectrum.

Our technical committee proposes the following plan to accommodate these needs in a simple, easy to understand manner.  We hope this policy will promote more experimentation in repeater systems, add to the body of experienced repeater operators within FASMA’s members and serve the public interest in times of emergency with a planned deployment guide and coordination of, portable, emergency and mobile (such as those used at Hamfests for group communications) repeaters that can add to the general usefulness of Amateur Radio systems.  Plus, we hope it allows everyone to have more FUN messing around with Ham Radio gear!

Due to existing band plans and congestion, this proposal only identifies suitable frequencies on the  70 centimeter band.  Research has shown the two meter band is too congested and no standard frequency pairs are available statewide.  220/902/1.2 GHz would likely support such itinerant operation and is best the subject of future study.

There is now a plethora of inexpensive 70cm radios now on the market that can service users of Itinerant repeaters. Itinerant repeater pairs are available on a non-exclusive, first come, first served on line application environment for interested parties.

The application process is designed to help applicants learn and understand the basics of the RF parameters needed to plan a working system.  FASMA staff is available, on a volunteer, as time permits, basis, to consult with applicant’s system details, however, applicants will be required to “do the math” on their application.  Through this process, FASMA hopes to encourage learning and broaden the understanding of the details of repeater planning, service contour definition, interference potential and other facets of repeater systems and add to the available technical talent of Florida amateur radio operators as a whole.

Itinerant Repeater Proposal

These repeaters are the Amateur Radio analog to the new FCC licensed Low Power FM stations now being shoehorned into the FM broadcast band.  They are intended for short range, local, limited coverage.

Itinerant repeaters may use any appropriate modulation formats, either digital or analog. The only limitation to the modulation parameters is that any modulation used must not exceed 20 kHz for wideband or 11.7 kHz for narrowband pairs. Multiple modulation formats may be used on a single machine at any time, even concurrently.  Repeaters may be designated as analog, digital or mixed format by operators.

Itinerant repeaters can be designated by as “closed” systems for their users only. However, in keeping with FCC regulations for the Amateur Service, no form of encryption on either digital streams or analog modulation may be used.

Registration of Itinerant Repeaters is predicated under the parameters illustrated in this policy.

As in any FASMA coordination, any deviation or relocation greater than 8km distance, 5m in height or 10% transmitter power will require re-coordination.

Itinerant repeater sub band frequency pairs:

Wideband Narrowband
Pair Output Pair Output
1 441.8250 1A 441.8250
1B 441.8375
2 441.8500 2A 441.8500
2B 441.8625
3 441.8750 3A 441.8750
3B 441.8875
4 441.8000 4A 441.9000
4B 441.9125
*5 441.9250 *5A 441.9250
*5B 441.9375
6 441.9500
7 441.9625
8 441.9750
9 441.9875

All pairs MUST use a standard offset.  i.e. Receive Frequency = Output Frequency + 5.000 MHz

There are 5 pairs available for wideband (25 kHz) channel use, with 14 pairs for narrowband (12.5 kHz) only use.
Pairs 6-9 are narrow band only, with 1A-4B local option only if 6-9 are in use.

Pair 5 Wideband and 5A/B Narrowband is intended to be a truly itinerant use system.

  • The intent of this channel is for hamfest or other mobile repeaters.
  • No permanent install on this frequency is permitted.
  • Users MAY temporally deploy a system on these frequencies for no longer than 36 hours. During an emergency, this rule is waived for the duration of the emergency.
  • No registration is required for this channel; however, it is encouraged.
  • Narrowband users are encouraged to use pair 5B before 5A

Frequency Agile repeaters

This plan was engineered taking into account the performance of a typical “flat pack” duplexer.  In a UHF duplexer of this type it is common to have 100-150 kHz of usable notch depth bandwidth.  This allows a wideband repeater to use a duplexer tuned to 441.8750/446.8750 on channels 1-5 with acceptable performance.  A narrowband repeater could use a duplexer tuned to 441.9625/446.9625 on channels 5-9 with acceptable performance.  Please note this is simply an explanation for the frequency layout, any duplexer should be individually tested by a competent technician prior to use and FASMA assumes no liability caused by such use.

CTCSS Required

All pairs require CTCSS/DCS/NAC/Color Code/etc. (hereafter CTCSS) transmit and receive by all users at all times.  All users of these pairs MUST use CTCSS transmit and receive in all user radios.  Proposed CTCSS codes must be coordinated via consultation with FASMA coordinators.

System Parameters

Operational system parameters for Itinerant Repeaters must adhere to the specifications described below.  Any deviation must follow normal coordination procedures.

  • Maximum service contour for the purposes of planning co-channel assignments is 20 km (12.5mi) (assuming the maximum 15.3m HAAT (50 ft. Height Above Average Terrain).
  • No protection of service coverage past the above defined service contour description
  • Maximum Transmitter Power Output (TPO): No more than 40 watts into antenna
  • Maximum total allowed Effective Isotropic Radiated Power (ERP) in the system: 110w
  • Maximum allowable antenna gain: 6 dBd.
    This is in the range of the common Diamond X50 and its clones, which is one of the typical antennas for these applications. For better null fill “close up”, such as for CERT applications within a neighborhood, a simple unity gain ¼ ground plane is recommended due to the broader radiation pattern of these antennas.
  • Maximum antenna height to center of radiation: 15.3m (50 ft.)
    A 43-foot tower could wear a Diamond X50 at its apex to qualify. This is technically within the reach of people wanting a local repeater and enabling their deployment in most normal city/suburban areas in Florida.
  • Height above Average terrain must not exceed 60 feet out 25 miles.
    This typical of a suburban location in Florida terrain. This precludes someone living at the base of Bok Tower from applying for an Itinerant repeater system – The HAAT for this location is out of range.

Registration Requirements

Prior registration would be required and these repeaters will be listed in FASMA based repeater coordination lists and reports.  All FASMA requires for this repeater service coordination from the applicant are the following system parameters:

  • Ownership Group/Individual address, contact telephone number and email address
  • Callsign of both the trustee/owner and the repeater itself (if different)
  • GPS coordinates of the location (degrees and minutes to two decimal places)
  • Repeater equipment make, model and maximum power output
  • Feedline loss figure
  • Antenna make and model with gain figure
  • Effective Radiated Power
  • CTCSS tone choice
  • Emission designator (preferable) and/or modulation type (WBFM, NBFM, D-Star, DMR, etc.)

Any proposed change in facilities to increase repeater range would require re-coordination to a “main band” frequency, if such a frequency is available for the proposed site.  In cases where, for a given metropolitan area, a “main band” frequency becomes available, Itinerant repeater operators can request a facilities upgrade to that frequency.  Applications will be processed in accordance with normal coordination procedure.

Interference protection

Itinerant repeaters must accept interference from adjacent channel systems close to their coordinated pairs.  Itinerant repeaters operate on their frequency on a “secondary” basis and must accept any interference from other co-channel or adjacent channel users.  Itinerant repeaters shall not continuously utilize a channel via broadcast or other transmissions. Users shall restrict all transmissions to the minimum practical transmission time and must employ an efficient operating procedure designed to maximize the utilization of the spectrum.  This is analogous to the FCC FB2 station class code in the land mobile spectrum.

The only interference abatement available to Itinerant repeater operators is either antenna terrain shielding or CTCSS tone management.  Only one CTCSS tone shall be used for access to Itinerant repeaters.  Multiple CTCSS tones are not allowed. Changes to CTCSS tone must updated in the repeater’s registration in the FASMA database.

Build Out Notification

Itinerant repeater application and grant will be a fully automated service via the FASMA website.  System owners/trustee will have a maximum 60 days to report operational status (build out).  If operational status is not reported to FASMA after 60 days, the repeater registration will be revoked and the frequency will be available for reassignment.  If any Itinerant system is found to be off the air, the repeater registration will be revoked.

If the operator ceases operation for any reason, the operator shall notify FASMA .

End of FRC Year Members Meeting

This will be the final FRC meeting and all members are invited to attend online.

We’ll be considering the dissolution of the FRC and transfer of FRC assets to FASMA under the following agreement.

 

End Of FRC year meeting
Saturday, December 30, 2017
7:00 pm  |  Eastern Standard Time (New York, GMT-05:00)  |  1 hr
Meeting number (access code): 627 678 048
Meeting password: TvAmQm3w

 

Add to Calendar
When it’s time, join the meeting.
Join from a video system or application
Dial 627678048@frc.my.webex.com
You can also dial 173.243.2.68 and enter your meeting number.
Join by phone
+1-510-338-9438 USA Toll
Global call-in numbers

Minutes of the Emergency FRC Meeting

The below are the notes of the emergency members meeting convened on July 6, 2017.

At this meeting the board was censured and removed for cause.  A new interim board of directors was elected and the illegal bylaw changes instituted by the prior board were declared null and void.

An amendment to the Articles of Incorporation was approved to prevent this from happening again.

PDF Version of Minutes

Youtube Video Link

Florida Repeater Council members reject corruption.

The FRC has voted to censure and remove incumbent board members during an emergency members meeting.

St Petersburg, July 6, 2017

Summary:

The Florida Repeater Council, Inc. (FRC) membership has voted at an emergency meeting to censure and remove the board of directors and call for a rewriting of bylaws. The ongoing corruption of the board extends back over ten years and recently was exposed by members at the annual meeting in Orlando. During the Orlando meeting the Board voted to expel all members from the FRC and re-elect itself, in violation of the Articles of Incorporation and state law. Bylaw changes giving the president dictatorial like powers were approved and not disclosed until June 28, 2017.

The rebuke of these now former directors by the members and subsequent election of an interim board shows the radio amateurs of Florida have taken the first steps to correct this mismanagement and check the arrogance which permeated the FRC.

Background on today’s actions:

The background of mismanagement by the former board extends over the past decade. Over the past three year members have questioned the board of directors and made formal requests for information from the FRC. Each request for information was met with contempt and even reported to law enforcement as a means to intimidate the membership.

The FRC Reform caucus (http://frcreform.org) was started in 2015 by Bryan Fields W9CR, to shine a light on these matters. In support of these efforts, FRC members assigned proxies to Mr. Fields to be used during the annual members meeting in Orlando February 2017. During this meeting the board refused to recognize Mr. Fields supporters and claimed it was a closed non-members meeting, though it was announced as the annual members meeting. Board member James Deuel N0XIA, further tried to intimidate the assembled members by calling police over a supposed fire code issue a half hour after taking count.

At this Orlando meeting all members were removed from the FRC by the board in violation of the articles of incorporation. The proposed bylaw changes were not presented for review and a request by Mr. Fields to inspect them at the meeting was denied. These new bylaws were finally released on June 28, 2017. These changes gave the president dictatorial like powers and the board became a rubber stamp to presidential fiat.

An emergency members meeting was called July 6, 2017 by Director Mike Gonzalez N2FSU, to address these issues as he was shocked by the actions of the board. At this meeting the only directors who attended either online or in person were President Glenn (Mike) Fletcher NI4M and Secretary Dana Rodakis K4LK.

During the course of this the meeting the membership presented its charges against the directors and board. President Fletcher and Secretary Rodakis were called to explain the mismanagement and their conduct to the members. The only mitigating argument presented was one of “the board has eliminated membership, you are no longer members of the FRC”.

Our members saw through this and voted to censure the board members, remove them from office and call a constitutional convention to rewrite the bylaws. A new board was voted in and tasked with auditing the FRC and correcting the mismanagement. Further it was resolved during this interim time no FRC funds would be spent without unanimous consent of the board and then only for legally required matters.

Censured and removed directors:

Glenn (Mike) Fletcher NI4M
Dana Rodakis K4LK
Ralph Betts W4ORL
Norman Scholer K4GFD
Steve Lowman N4SGL
Douglas Steward KI4NAD
James Deuel N0XIA
Mark Filla N4DES
Joaquin Pidal KZ4TI
Barry Isbelle N2DB
Chuck Lavender W4CLL
Frank Butler W4RH

New FRC board members:

Chairman:
Jon Pearl W4ABC

Directors:
Ryan Owens KJ4SHL
Mike Gonzalez N2FSU
Lu Romero W4LT
Bryan Fields W9CR

About the Florida Repeater Council:

The Florida Repeater Council, Inc. is the recognized coordination body for amateur radio repeaters in Florida. In addition the FRC is responsible for amateur band planing above 50 MHz. The FRC is a non-for-profit members organization and seeks to represent all users of amateur radio spectrum above 50 MHz in the state.

Contact information:

For more information you may contact Chairman Jon Pearl W4ABC or Director Bryan Fields W9CR at 727-409-1194 as the main FRC website (http://florida-repeaters.org) has yet to be migrated.

Members are encouraged to join the FRC Facebook group for more information and updates: https://www.facebook.com/groups/FloridaRepeaters/