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Florida Repeater Council

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ's)

1. What is frequency coordination?
Basically, it is a form of voluntary participation in an organized program intended to keep interference between repeaters and their users to a minimum. To do this, repeater sponsors work with their local frequency coordinator who maintains a database of repeater frequencies in active use (as well as new repeaters which are under construction but may not yet be in operation). The frequency coordinator assists the repeater sponsor in selecting operating frequencies (and perhaps other technical details) which will, hopefully, be compatible with other existing repeaters.

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2. Who is a frequency coordinator?
Your Amateur Radio frequency coordinator is, first, a volunteer. In the Florida Repeater Council, he is an individual who lives in your community or region of the state. Your coordinator in other areas of the country may be an organization of volunteers who are recognized by the Amateur Radio community as their "coordinator". He/they might participate in the program because they are interested in either the technical or the political aspects of coordination, but they all do it as a way of putting something back into Amateur Radio. These days, no coordinator worth his salt is in it for the ego! It's too much work! But all coordinators do get some form of self satisfaction out of doing the job, or they wouldn't bother.

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3. Who benefits from frequency coordination?
In a nutshell, everyone does. Sponsors of existing coordinated repeaters are assured that the frequency coordinator will attempt to protect their repeaters and their users from interference caused by new repeaters. Likewise, sponsors of proposed new machines will get knowledgeable assistance from the frequency coordinator in selecting frequencies for their machines, so that they and their users can feel confident that their new operation will not adversely affect any existing repeaters, and they should experience little interference on their new machines.

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4. How does frequency coordination work?
In order to make a recommendation, the frequency coordinator needs some data about the proposed new repeater, such as its location, antenna height, ground elevation above sea level, transmit power, etc. These items all affect, to one degree or another, the repeater's area of coverage. The frequency coordinator will review the data on the new repeater. Then in conjunction with the data in his database, he assists the applicant in finding an optimum frequency pair.

Frequency coordinators may consult with the sponsors of nearby co-channel (same frequency) and adjacent-channel repeaters if the proposed location does not meet the minimum requirements according to Coordination Policy, and with adjacent-area Coordinating Agencies, to determine if there any valid objections to the new repeater. Once a new coordination is issued, there is a six month construction period to get the new machine on the air. If it's not active by this deadline, the coordination is allowed one additional two-month period (upon written request), after which the coordination is subject to cancellation. This keeps the coordinator's database from filling up with "paper" repeaters.

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5. Is frequency coordination required?
No. Participation in a frequency coordination program is strictly voluntary. No Amateur Radio frequency coordinator has any "authority" to tell a repeater sponsor what he can, or cannot do. However, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and the amateur community has recognized that participation in a frequency coordination program by repeater sponsors is in the best interests of all Amateurs. Therefore, FCC rules (Part 97.205c) have been adopted which state that the sponsor of an uncoordinated repeater bears the primary responsibility for curing any interference between his repeater and another repeater which is coordinated. Likewise, the sponsor of an uncoordinated machine cannot expect much help from his area frequency coordinator.

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6. How can a coordination be canceled?
1. If a proposed new repeater never gets on the air or if an existing repeater goes off the air, the coordination may be subject to cancellation after a limited amount of time (not in operation after 6 months from date of coordination or 2 months after it goes off the air).

2. If any of the primary parameters which affect a repeater's coverage area are changed by the sponsor, the coordination can be voided. For instance if it gets moved to a different location, of if the antenna height or transmitter power are changed, the changes would affect the coverage area, possibly creating new interference problems for the repeater's neighbors.

3. The repeater sponsors fail to file the required bi-annual coordination updates.

4. If the repeater is ordered off the air by the FCC.

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7. Are other Amateur Radio stations also coordinated?
No. The FRC frequency coordinator does not coordinate repeater links or control receivers. They can assist in your understanding of the many interrelated frequency rules that apply to repeaters, remote-bases, links, remote control, auto-patches, cross-band operation, and so forth.

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8. What kind of problems do frequency coordinators have?
Nowadays there are probably two main problem areas.

1. First, are problems created by uncoordinated machines which pop up from time to time.

2. Second, are problems caused by the proliferation of dual-band transceivers with built-in cross-band repeat capability. Unfortunately, a poor choice of frequencies can cause interference problems which may go totally unknown to the user of the dual-band radio.

There are a small number of uninformed operators who abuse cross-band repeater capabilities causing unintentional, sometimes even malicious, interference.

Other problems are caused when the frequency coordinator is not apprised of changes to existing repeaters, changes of sponsor's mailing address, etc.

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9. What other activities do frequency coordinators conduct?
Many coordinators are involved in "band-planning" or "spectrum management" efforts, often in association with adjacent-area coordinators, other special-interest groups, or the ARRL's Spectrum Management Committee, Digital Advisory Committee, and Membership Services Committee. Different special-interest groups include the packet community, the DX Cluster community, weak-signal/SSB/CW interests, FM simplex users, ATV'ers, etc. All of these other interest groups need to be considered when "band-plans" are being developed or revised, so frequency coordinators need to keep them in mind as they conduct their spectrum management effort. Band-planning/spectrum management cannot be done in a vacuum! Good familiarity with the frequency coordinator Rules is helpful here, since repeater, remote-control, link and remote- base operation is prohibited in some parts of the Amateur HF, VHF and UHF bands.

Many coordinators maintain a list of technical experts who are available to assist repeater sponsors in resolving technical problems. They also maintain a list of Amateurs with the capability and expertise in finding interference sources, both from spurious emissions, as well as malicious interference. Also some coordinators maintain, or have access to, a fairly extensive library of technical information on equipment, system designs, and maintenance. These resources are all available to the sponsors of all coordinated repeaters in the area.

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10. Who is our local coordinator?
The States of Florida is coordinated by the Florida Repeater Council, Inc. (FRC). The FRC is divided into eight districts, each of which is served by a Director. One or more frequency coordinators are appointed by the President to serve the entire State. The FRC Staff and Directors are hams (like yourself) who love ham radio and have volunteered to serve the amateurs of the State. Refer to the Directory of FRC Staff and Directors.

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Reprinted courtesy of the SouthEastern Repeater Association

Latest update: 23 October 1997