What was the Florida Repeater Council?
The FRC was a group of volunteer peer amateur operators with interest in spectrum management in the VHF and above amateur bands.
What was the purpose of the Florida Repeater Council?
The FRC, founded in the early 80’s, manages the use and reuse of VHF and above spectrum for efficient use. They maintained a list of users of the spectrum and worked towards ensuring that users are managed to maximize use and minimize interference between users. FRC functioned as an arbiter between peer users of spectrum and as a clearing house for frequency management activities.
What is FASMA?
The Florida Amateur Spectrum Management Association, Inc. (FASMA) is a more modern name for the Florida Repeater Council. VHF and above spectrum has progressed beyond analog repeaters to include many modes and many users over and above repeater operations that need to be managed for efficient and effective frequency re-use and management. The functions of FRC and FASMA are identical – FASMA is just a more modern name for FRC. The FRC functions will be incorporated under the FASMA name. Nothing changes; just the name of the organization will change. This transition will happen as the organization’s reorganization progresses.
We’ve heard many rumors about FRC – What really happened?
The original Board of Directors was operating outside of the Corporation’s legal boundaries. Members of the organization elected a new board to replace it with the goal to reorganize the corporation and make it more responsive to its members. FASMA is a new legal entity, the FRCs last action was to transfer it’s assets and charge to FASMA before the FRC was dissolved.
How do the above changes affect me as a Repeater User/Owner?
For Owners: You will find a more responsive organization with direct interest in service. There is a more effective and efficient management process, including web based simplified application and re-coordination procedures have been put in place. A web based ticketing system and database system have been deployed which simplify operations and give accountability to requests In short: Owners will find a more responsive organization with a commitment to service with a more streamlined, web based application fulfillment process.
For Users: The reorganization of the FRC will give users a voice in the management of spectrum in Florida. FRC, through its transition to FASMA, will result in “more than a repeater council” to include band planning for all spectrum users, more accessibility to information via web based applications, and higher levels of accountability and openness via web based applications.
For Everyone: The FRC/FASMA is committed to openness in technical and business processes. Our goal is to become a truly representative organization governed by member developed and publicly published by-laws under Florida law. FRC/FASMA will transition into an OFFICIAL Non-Profit organization to benefit Amateur Radio operations in Florida.
FASMA? Why do we need a NEW organization?
Over the years, the FRC was somewhat lax in record keeping and documentation. The new Board researched the corporate records and learned that in order to be in compliance with State/Federal Non Profit law, better record keeping is required. It would take too long and cost much money to retroactively do this for the existing FRC Corporation’s structure.
While FRC was founded to be a Non-Profit organization, it was never registered as such under State/Federal Law. The transition to FASMA will make FRC a fully 501(c)3 compliant Corporation in full compliance with State/Federal Law. In order to make things simple and keep things transparent, we intend to absorb the original FRC into the newly chartered FASMA to “start fresh”. From a user’s perspective, the only thing that changes is the name; however, all users will find more openness, more accountability, more effective management of spectrum and more timely responsiveness in all interactions with the organization.
But, we were used to the FRC name! We don’t want to change to FASMA!
The new board of directors recognizes this, so the FRC “name” will live on as a part of FASMA. Essentially, we will operate as “FASMA, Doing Business as (DBA) The Florida Repeater Council”. Everything else will remain the same; however, FASMA will be the 501(c)3 “official” organization for legal purposes. The timing for this transition is planned to be in the fourth quarter of 2017 or first quarter of 2018, depending on time available.
That’s all well and good, but we need to get coordinated. What about that?
All existing repeaters that are currently coordinated will remain coordinated. No one will remove your coordinated frequency without consulting with you first. However, we have found that the database contains many errors and “bad data”. As we move forward with the FRC reorganization, we will need coordinated repeater owners to verify our existing records to make sure that we have “clean data” in our database. Our coordination decisions going forward will be based on Land Mobile Radio industry standards and managed via mathematical coverage prediction modeling. We will make these predictive models available to users and owners alike.
What are the goals of the “new” FRC/FASMA going forward?
Our primary goals are service, responsiveness and education to users and owners alike. We are committed to accessibility and responsiveness in all our interactions. We want to make things simple and as easy as possible, keeping in mind the need to be accurate in technical documentation.
OK, great. So I have a coordinated repeater. How do I renew my coordination?
There is NO NEED to re-apply for coordination at the moment. All existing coordinations are extended until further notice. In the future, we will contact you and request some basic information about your facilities to refresh our database’s information. Our goal to begin this work is first quarter of 2018. So relax until then!
OK, so I want to put a NEW repeater on the air or modify and existing repeater… What do I do?
For new repeaters and modifications to existing repeaters (moving to a new location, increasing power, increasing antenna height) we are implementing a web based ticketing system to more effectively manage your applications. Once we have this implemented, you will receive automatic notification of your application, and your application will be assigned by the Coordination Committee to a knowledgeable committee volunteer.
In our testing of the this procedure, we have been successful in coordinating two new repeater systems the rather congested Miami area spectrum in under 10 days. For now, the procedure is to email the board with your request. A board member will then send you a short and simple form to fill out. We will contact you personally with our determination of the feasibility of your proposal and work with you to mitigate any issues. The result will be that you will go on the air with more confidence in knowing you won’t cause interference with existing systems and existing systems.
This sounds great! How can I help you do your work?
We would love to have you aboard as an active member of FASMA/FRC! When you become an active member, you have input into our procedures and policies! We welcome your constructive input! Don’t tell us that it’s “bad”, help us fix it so it won’t be “bad” anymore.
Help us make things better for everyone.
So what do I need to know from a technical standpoint to get involved?
Frankly, we are looking for a “few good men and women” who are technically proficient in VHF/UHF/Microwave technology, not only with things like linear transponders, HamWAN deployment and new digital and computer based communication technology, but also traditional wide band analog FM operations for our coordination committee. We are also looking for associates in various metropolitan areas to ascertain that our database of coordinated repeater systems actually reflect “the real world”. But we have a commitment to education for all our members, so if you don’t know, just ask! You will find our members are committed to telling you what they know, and if we don’t know it, we will find the answers so we can all learn! We are also looking for people with experience dealing with volunteer peer organizations, their procedures and rules and regulations to make sure we are operating not only technically in the state of the art but as a state of the art membership service organization.