RadioReference on Facebook   RadioReference on Twitter   RadioReference Blog
 

Go Back   The RadioReference.com Forums > Amateur Radio > Amateur Radio General Discussion

Amateur Radio General Discussion General discussion forum for amateur radio topics not covered by the above forums.

Reply
 
LinkBack Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
  #1 (permalink)  
Old 02-04-2011, 10:15 PM
Member
  Amateur Radio Operator
Amateur Radio
 
Join Date: Dec 2009
Location: New Bedford,Ma
Posts: 787
Default Owning a repeater

I was wondering if anybody on here knows anything on what you have to do, to put an application into the FCC and if you need anybody else to operate the repeater? Or can it just be you to own/operate? also is the process hard to get "accepted?" and how long does it usually take to go through the enitre process, is it worth it?
Reply With Quote
Sponsored links
  #2 (permalink)  
Old 02-04-2011, 10:56 PM
Member
  Amateur Radio Operator
Amateur Radio
 
Join Date: Dec 2008
Posts: 282
Default

Worth it?

What is your plan for it that public machines can't serve for you already?

Start with how long you've been a ham and what is it about the piles of nearly idle repeaters out there that won't get the job done for you already.
__________________
---------------------
http://www.kc2rgw.com/
Various info on SDR, ham radio, monitoring, and rantings of a lunatic.
Reply With Quote
  #3 (permalink)  
Old 02-04-2011, 10:59 PM
Member
   
Join Date: Aug 2008
Posts: 410
Default

Anybody can own a repeater and it can be under your callsign. The days of needing to be an "extra" as the repeater trustee are over.

You need to find a frequency pair and get it approved by whoever is the "frequency coordinator" in your state. Once that is done, you are golden.

But the problem is more complex. First and foremost, if you are anywhere within 100 miles of a populated metro area, there are probably no repeater pairs available on 6 meters,2meters, or 70 cm. They are almost all in use. If you are in a very rural area and not near any major city, it is usually very easy.

The other problem is the expense. Most repeaters are owned by clubs because they are pricey. From the hardware (radios, duplexer, coax, antenna, electicity), to the tower rental space, most repeaters I know are several thousand dollars initially and $200 a month is site rental fees (or more). It does you no good to put a repeater up at a crappy location, and the god locations are usually owned already and cost a decent amount to play there.

Then you have the constant headache of repairs. Lightning strikes, vandalism, wear and tear ALL take a heavy toll on the pocketbook. Plus, you will have people call you all time of the day and night whenever the repeater has a problem.

My personal recommendation is to NOT worry about setting up a repeater. It is a royal hassle that has sent many a ham screaming away from the hobby, never to return.

WM
__________________
EMT Paramedic, Wyoming State firefighter1/2/ADO, Redcard Engine Boss, Wyoming extrication instructor
High Angle Rescue Tech (HART), Haz-Mat technician
Reply With Quote
  #4 (permalink)  
Old 02-05-2011, 5:01 AM
rfradioconsult's Avatar
Member
   
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Tulsa
Posts: 1,103
Default

If you put together a crappy repeater no one will use it. To do it correctly it takes several kilobucks to do it correctly and if you are renting space on a tower the owner will most likely you use professional tower contractors to install the antenna, for this part alone is again several kilobucks.

you didn't specify a ham repeater, so we are assuming such, commercial repeaters will run up the price even more for the coordination and licensing.
Reply With Quote
  #5 (permalink)  
Old 02-05-2011, 6:32 AM
n8zcc's Avatar
Member
  Amateur Radio Operator
Amateur Radio
 
Join Date: Mar 2004
Location: Oakland, Michigan
Posts: 190
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by ajlessjr View Post
I was wondering if anybody on here knows anything on what you have to do, to put an application into the FCC and if you need anybody else to operate the repeater? Or can it just be you to own/operate? also is the process hard to get "accepted?" and how long does it usually take to go through the enitre process, is it worth it?
The first step you should take is to get a frequency pair. Most areas are full of 2 meter machines but you may find a pair for 70cm, 6 meters, etc. You will also need a high profile location for the antenna. Once you find a frequency pair and a location, you will need to coordinate with your state repeater council which requires you to calculate the average height above terrain for your transmit antenna.

I would suggest you hook up with a local ham club or repeater owner for guidance. Also, make contact with your repeater council and ask them for the process to get your repeater coordinated.

The FCC does not issue licenses for amateur repeaters. You can run the repeater under your call sign or what I did is to form a club and apply for a club license.

One other thing, repeaters have a way, like a child, of always digging into your pockets for cash. If you donít have the funds then donít do it.
Reply With Quote
Sponsored links
  #6 (permalink)  
Old 02-05-2011, 6:59 AM
n5usr's Avatar
Member
  Amateur Radio Operator
Amateur Radio
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: Bethany, OK
Posts: 593
Default

I'll give a slightly different opinion from above. Most people tend to focus on what it takes to put up a "rockstar" repeater. If you really want that, want to have something with huge coverage and that is well utilized, then yes it is expensive and a royal PITA. Thus why you tend to have clubs or larger groups doing it.

However, you can certainly put together a decent repeater system without spending a fortune or going out of your way. No, it won't have the coverage area unless you just happen to have an "in" with a tall tower or building, and you may not have many users. But if it serves a purpose for you, then why not?

If you just want something to tinker with, then I would suggest picking a lesser-used band to do so as pairs are often quite hard to come by in some areas as was already mentioned. While major metro areas are packed to the gills everywhere, in many areas 70cm still has room. And the parts are often cheaper and much more manageable than for 2m, especially duplexers.

You can spend as much as you want on this, depends what bells and whistles you are interested in. I have a "backyard repeater" I put together for a few different reasons. First was just because I wanted to tinker with it. Also, most of the people I talk with regularly were on simplex but I didn't want to be tied to my desk. The repeater with a remote base on the simplex frequency let me be anywhere in the neighborhood with a 50mW handheld or several miles in any direction in the car, and keep full control of the system. The controller I chose even gives me the ability to remotely change frequencies on the remote base, in addition to being able to turn it on/off.

My repeater surprises some people. It isn't made with converted commercial gear, and I'm sure wouldn't take heavy usage as a regional machine. But it does what I need and is still running after a few years without any trouble. The controller is a nicer one, $400 IIRC for a 3-port Arcom, but the radios are just Alinco mobiles. Two DR-235s for the 220 repeater, and a DR-135 for the 2M remote base. TX turned down to low, and a small fan on the heat sink of the 220 TX, it does great. I did get a bit lucky - a friend happened to have two 220 duplexers and gave me one. Without that, I may not have ever put the system together, or would have gone for 70cm as it's a lot easier to find gear for that band. 220 is nice, though, as it's essentially dead in my area so plenty of room to tinker.

The coordinating groups vary from place to place, around here it's easy. I just went to their website and filled out the 1-page form. Sent it in, waited a bit, got notice of approval.
Reply With Quote
  #7 (permalink)  
Old 02-05-2011, 9:41 AM
Member
  Amateur Radio Operator
Amateur Radio
 
Join Date: Dec 2009
Location: New Bedford,Ma
Posts: 787
Default

i live near cape cod and unfortunately we can not use the 70cm range as it interferes with the PAVE/PAWS radar facility. i am most likely looking to get into the 2m range. i contacted a person who is in charge of the new england area, so i'll see what needs to be done. i'll let you guys know whats going on!
Reply With Quote
  #8 (permalink)  
Old 02-05-2011, 9:51 AM
Member
   
Join Date: Sep 2004
Location: NJ USA (Republic of NJ)
Posts: 2,817
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by ajlessjr View Post
i live near cape cod and unfortunately we can not use the 70cm range as it interferes with the PAVE/PAWS radar facility. i am most likely looking to get into the 2m range. i contacted a person who is in charge of the new england area, so i'll see what needs to be done. i'll let you guys know whats going on!
Do you have a tower site? Tall building? Anything? Is your intended site high up on a hill?

That is your first priority besides a usable coordinated freq pair unless you just intend it to be
a local neighborhood repeater.

I have two ham repeaters, one on 220 and another on 23cm and both at great tower sites
but without them all the thousands of dollars I spent would have went to waste.
__________________
fineshot1
NJ USA
Reply With Quote
  #9 (permalink)  
Old 02-05-2011, 10:48 AM
lbfd09's Avatar
Member
  Premium Subscriber
Premium Subscriber
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: California
Posts: 481
Default

Hi - First off congrat's on the interest of wanting to put up a ham repeater.

There am many styles and types of repeaters. Googling repeater builder in your favorite search engine (like Google). Of course your local fellow hams, especially those involved with locally established repeaters are another great resource for information AND help.

All of the above post are important points when considering venturing out in this part or any of the hobby.

You can put together a repeater with something as simple as 2 transceivers and a controller board (and some other neat ingredients) or you can go out and spend the big bucks buying and existing pre-built repeater. Location, depends upon you, i recommend that at first setting one up that has easy access for you, as I am sure this will involve quite a bit of learning and tweaking. Back yard repeaters as great fun and often provide great coverage of your local community; giving you ample examples of coverage and if the opportunity exists, "Why the raising of the antenna even some 40 feet will do to increase the coverage."

With help and introductions from other repeater owners/trustees, you should be able to learn about hilltop repeater sites. This add tremendous range to a repeater but requires a lot more knowledge understanding of coordination of your frequencies, and many time money (though many site owners/managers will let a limited number of hams in for nominal charges, tasks at the site, or yes even sometimes no charge).

ARRL has been known to have books on repeaters and as mentions before you have tons of info on repeater building. Oh, and don't forget the forums like this one for additional help and guidance.

I know we all here have thrown a lot of information at you. Remember rule on on ham radio - "Have Fun!"
Reply With Quote
Sponsored links
  #10 (permalink)  
Old 02-05-2011, 11:15 AM
N8RKY's Avatar
Member
  Amateur Radio Operator
Amateur Radio
 
Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: Mason Co. WV
Posts: 25
Default

Why are so many of you so negative about this? About 20 yrs ago 4 of us hams put up a repeater on a hilltop owned by one of us. We used it to talk to each other because some of us live in "hollers" and mobile simplex was just not getting the job done. We did all of the work ourselves... I did the paperwork... one of us did the pole climbing (we used a wooden utility pole that we got from a friend)... one of us did the technician work... and one of us pretty much just supervised us and gave us moral support.
We certainly did not spend a lot of money but the repeater was very functional. It actually was located so that our buddies in Gallipolis, OH could talk back to their home when they were traveling this way.
The only two problems that I can remember that we had were getting the cans adjusted properly and we had intermittent problems with a repeater on the same freq out in Circleville (or was it Chillicothe) OH. That was not much of a problem since it was intermittent, but it is something you may want to check out before you pick your freqs.
Oh... one more thing... we were all General and Technician Plus Class HAMS... not Advanced or Extra.
Good Luck and Have Fun,
Bill (N8RKY)
Reply With Quote
  #11 (permalink)  
Old 02-05-2011, 11:20 AM
elk2370bruce's Avatar
Member
   
Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: East Brunswick, NJ
Posts: 1,988
Default

As a necessary caveat, as the owner/trustee, YOU are responsible for what goes on during the operation of YOUR repeater. Where there is no control over operator behavior or acceptable activities, it is YOU who will get the FCC nastygrams. Some repeaters have gone off the air in the absence of such trustee control. I would agree that mondo bucks could be involved in setting up a good and reliable repeater and (like a boat) can be a money pit for maintenance costs over the years. Your planning group is the key to a successful outcome and, like our club has established, a technical committee of experienced and technologically-qualified hams are needed to keep it that way. If you have the support of area hams and, collectively, can access the necessary cash - go for it. In the absence of any single element of the above suggestions, think it over TWICE. Good luck with your project.
__________________
K C 2 P B J
Other useless license information.
List of my out-of-date radios.
Other data that nobody cares about.
Reply With Quote
  #12 (permalink)  
Old 02-05-2011, 1:27 PM
Member
   
Join Date: Sep 2004
Location: NJ USA (Republic of NJ)
Posts: 2,817
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by WV545 View Post
Why are so many of you so negative about this?
Bill - you are mistaken.

It is not negativity - we are simply attempting to advise a newby of the bad things
that come along with the good. It is not all iceing on the cake so to speak and that
is all that we are trying to convey to the op. It would be misleading to state it any
other way.
__________________
fineshot1
NJ USA
Reply With Quote
  #13 (permalink)  
Old 02-05-2011, 1:45 PM
davidgcet's Avatar
Member
   
Join Date: Aug 2010
Posts: 1,239
Default

owning any repeater is a crap shoot on expenses. i know folks who have had repeaters on air for 20 years with practically ZERO maintenance costs. then again i know folks who have had to replace the repeater and/or antenna/feedline multiple times in a few years. your grounding system is an important but often under-done part of the system. use surge protectors, a good ground system and tie ALL (electrical system, feedline, control lines, chassis, surge protectectors, etc..) grounds back to a common point. this won't eliminate lightning, but it will drastically reduce problems from it.
Reply With Quote
  #14 (permalink)  
Old 02-05-2011, 2:52 PM
Member
   
Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: California
Posts: 4,567
Default

There are a multitude of repeaters put up by hacks who have no clue what they're doing. Before you go down that route, check out the Repeater Builder website, learn all you can, join the Repeater Builder yahoo group, and then decide whether it's something you want to take on. I'm 1000% in favor of learning how to go about it right, and then proceeding. I don't think Radio Reference is the proper venue to pick up all you'll need to learn. And you'll need to learn a lot if you intend on doing it right.
Reply With Quote
  #15 (permalink)  
Old 02-05-2011, 3:05 PM
Member
  Amateur Radio Operator
Amateur Radio
 
Join Date: Dec 2008
Posts: 282
Default

Not really negative, just a reality check.

They are not something that is easy to implement cleanly and effectively. Based on the questions asked, it is clear the asker doesn't have the experience required.

All of 2m, all of 440, all of 6m and all of 10m are booked solid end to end in my area with only a handful of machines being active. This is true in many areas. Purely saturated by repeaters already.

The world doesn't need yet_another_bad ham repeater.

The world doesn't need yet_another_closed 'ham' repeater either.

What people do need to do is to become active on the radio in general. Use what is already out there and get to know how the hobby works.
__________________
---------------------
http://www.kc2rgw.com/
Various info on SDR, ham radio, monitoring, and rantings of a lunatic.
Reply With Quote
Sponsored links
  #16 (permalink)  
Old 02-05-2011, 5:22 PM
kb2vxa's Avatar
Completely Banned for the Greater Good
  Amateur Radio Operator
Amateur Radio
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Point Pleasant Beach, N.J.
Posts: 6,127
Default

Reality check is it, most new hams and those thinking about becoming hams want to put repeaters on the air but are clueless of what such responsibility entails. That's why they're called ego boxes, once reality sinks in ego is deflated especially when they realize just how many unused repeaters are out there and why they're unused.

RGW, I'll say it more simply and accurately; the world doesn't need yet another repeater... period.

I'll make a useful suggestion though, since a Technician Class ham can use the old HF Novice sub bands and has full privileges above 30MHz there are a lot better things to do besides repeaters and FM in general being the most power hungry mode. There are more modes and uses than I can go into here so I'll leave you with this to ponder; why cripple yourself when you can fly to the moon and back (EME) with radio?
Reply With Quote
  #17 (permalink)  
Old 02-05-2011, 5:40 PM
Member
  Amateur Radio Operator
Amateur Radio
 
Join Date: Dec 2009
Location: New Bedford,Ma
Posts: 787
Default

i made contact with one of the managers, he said there is a 3 1/2 year waiting period! i guess building a repeater is out of the question until, 2014!!! i guess this gives me plenty of time to RESEARCH!!!
Reply With Quote
  #18 (permalink)  
Old 02-05-2011, 9:10 PM
Member
   
Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: California
Posts: 4,567
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by ajlessjr View Post
i made contact with one of the managers, he said there is a 3 1/2 year waiting period! i guess building a repeater is out of the question until, 2014!!! i guess this gives me plenty of time to RESEARCH!!!
What's the wait for 220, 900, or 1200?
Reply With Quote
  #19 (permalink)  
Old 02-05-2011, 9:38 PM
CalebATC's Avatar
Member
  Amateur Radio Operator
Amateur Radio
 
Join Date: Apr 2010
Location: Blairsville, Georgia
Posts: 992
Default

If your going to use it- go for it!

We have 2 repeaters here that are NEVER used. I have only talked on them once, and I am the only person I knew that have ever used them. Just a waste of repeater pairs that are already too hard to get!

If you are going to setup a repeater, you need to use it. It really ticks me off that many people have these repeaters that have good coverage, but they don't use them. And, when other people use them, they are selfish and get mad because they are not the people being talked to. If you are going to setup a repeater, you should make use of it. It'd be great to have a good coverage repeater for your club, your friends, or to hold a net on. Make use of it!

As said before, it will be quite expensive. If you do it right, you will have a nice repeater. Our repeater was setup by someone who used to do it in the TV broadcasting business, so we got professional work for free. The repeater has been up for over 8 years, and still works like a charm. The only thing that went wrong is that we had to replace a antenna and the coax, but that was to make things better. We didn't goto the top of the mountain for five years, and it will probably be another five years till we will go back up again!

Also, talk to the tower owner. We were fortunate enough to let the guy who owns the site let us use it for free. He is using it with a FM radio station, EMS and a sheriff dispatch repeater. Also, he has four repeaters he uses for his business to show people, and rents his repeaters to his customers. So, he makes his money off of it. We sure are lucky to have it for free. It is the best site in over three counties. Our repeater covers five counties on a normal day.

Don't let the repeater and your money goto waste! For that price, you could have a tower, a beam, and coax to get you to the HF rig! And maybe part of a HF radio!
__________________
Private Pilot | Amateur Radio General K-4-C-N-G
Monitoring from 30 KHz to 1.2 Ghz, Operating 80-70cm
Reply With Quote
  #20 (permalink)  
Old 02-06-2011, 8:37 AM
n8zcc's Avatar
Member
  Amateur Radio Operator
Amateur Radio
 
Join Date: Mar 2004
Location: Oakland, Michigan
Posts: 190
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by ajlessjr View Post
i made contact with one of the managers, he said there is a 3 1/2 year waiting period! i guess building a repeater is out of the question until, 2014!!! i guess this gives me plenty of time to RESEARCH!!!
You can still put up a low profile repeater to get your feet wet like N5USR advised above.
Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On



All times are GMT -5. The time now is 8:58 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.2
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
All information here is Copyright 2012 by RadioReference.com LLC and Lindsay C. Blanton III.Ad Management by RedTyger
Copyright 2011 by RadioReference.com LLC Privacy Policy  |  Terms and Conditions