Where do we go from here?
By Tom W4WLF
First, I am older than dirt according to one of my former students. I have seen a lot in my 83 years on this planet. (Some say that I came from another planet. If that’s so, I don’t remember it.)
Our club is on the brink of breaking up. I have seen it before and it is not pretty. I hope that this presentation has a chance of reversing our path.
I don't claim to be as wise as "The Old Man" of the ARRL, but I hope that I can emulate some of his teachings. (The Old Man, was Hiram Percy Maxim, the co-founder of the ARRL.) I have lifted material from several web pages that have suggestions for repeater users. Repeater Etiquette is something that has been sorely lacking by a few on our repeaters lately. There are no “laws” for repeater use other than the FCC regulations. There are some "rules of etiquette". Below I will try to list a few. Remember the repeaters are there for legal users.
1. We should not Kerchunk a repeater without giving our call sign. Many of us, without thinking, are breaking the law by keying a repeater to see if we have a signal into it. If you transmit you are required to identify. Making any transmission without identifying is not only breaking FCC rules, it is rude. FCC rules require that when you transmit, you must identify with your complete call sign. This must be done at least every 10 minutes. Also, your final transmission must include your complete call sign. Any time you key up the repeater, you should identify, even if you are just testing to see if you have a signal into the repeater. “W4WLF test” is sufficient for this. (Please insert your call sign in place of mine.)
2. Avoid starting or encouraging conflicts on the air. If a topic of conversation starts to draw strong debate or is disparaging of someone, change the subject.
3. Any time you want to get or give a signal report, remember that FM is different from SSB. If you are mobile, you may “picket fence” indicating that the signal is in and out of the repeater. A valid report might be, “You are full quieting” or “some white noise” (the hissing sound).
4. The Citizens Band has a bad reputation with many hams because of the illegal activities and bad language. Therefore, it is probably better that we don’t use phrases learned on 11 meters such as "handle", "making the trip", "got a good copy on me?", "the personal here is...", "what's your 20?", "you're giving me 20-pounds", and other phrases which should stay on CB. Speak plain English. In my opinion, the less said about 11 meters on the air the better.
5. Do not talk about politics or religion on the air. This includes conspiracy theories around politics, health and religion.
6. Do not disparage a person or their name on the air. If you have done so, an apology to that person would be in order.
7. Use the minimum power necessary to complete a QSO.
8. Repeater Hogging.... occasionally invite others by asking if there is anyone that would like join in. We want to welcome everyone (operating legally) onto the repeater. We should not have the repeater being “hogged”. Do not monopolize the repeater. If 90% of the conversation ...... for long periods of time include you and one or two others, something is probably wrong. If other hams turn off their radios for periods of time because they have difficulty being able to talk to someone other than you, something is wrong. You do not own, nor single handedly finance the repeater. It is supposed to be a shared resource. Don't drive other people off the air. You know who you are! If you are someone who is the subject of frequent interference, that may be a sign that you are aggravating people with your operating habits.
9. After the courtesy tone or carrier drops (if there is no courtesy tone), you should wait a few seconds before keying up. This provides time for others to break in.
10. On a repeater you can simply give your callsign. You can add something like “listening”. This says that you are listening for anyone. By the way we don't CQ on repeaters. People looking for a contact will transmit their call sign or maybe their callsign with something like ... monitoring, listening, mobile etc. (Your call, monitoring.)
11. To join a QSO in progress, simply announce your call sign. Do not say "break" unless it is an emergency. A break-break would be for a super urgent problem.
12. Admit to Your Mistakes! Accidents are bound to happen. As an example, you may inadvertently transmit on top of an ongoing conversation. Be a responsible adult – admit that it was you and apologize. You will gain more respectability by expressing your regret for the error.
13. Do not participate in any activity that is in violation of FCC rules and/or any other federal, state or local laws or ordinances (This includes, but is not limited to: jamming, “stepping on” [talking over someone...dual transmissions], broadcasting of music, unidentified carrier, etc.). Intentionally transmitting simultaneously with another station (“stepping on”) is prohibited by FCC regulation... even if the intent is good natured kidding among friends... it is still illegal.
Below are links to some of the web pages that I used in compiling this presentation. A search of the web will find many more.