Amateur Radio Repeater Frequency Coordinators and Repeater Councils are systematically and literally killing amateur radio repeater use.  They are choking our hobby, denying many hams their right to build and experiment with repeaters, while protecting a few old dinosaur repeater owners.  Their time is over!

As most repeater users know, amateur repeater operation is all but dead.  Even in large cities, one can scan the 2-meter and 70-centimeter bands, and hardly hear a conversation.  And this is with Internet linking and Digital modes such as EchoLink, IRLP, AllStar, D-Star, DMR, Yaesu's Wires and System Fusion, among others.  Repeater clubs that use to have 50 to 100 members can barely scrape enough amateurs together to have a meeting.  By my estimation repeater use is down 90% over the last 20 years.

Despite this, many amateurs who would like to experiment, build and operate their own repeater are being told by their local frequency coordinator that no pairs are available.  How can that be when there is hardly anything on the air?

Amateur radio frequency coordinators, or Repeater Councils, use to provide a valuable service but more recently, most have become evil and self-serving.

Case in point, the Florida Repeater Council ("FRC").  Check out their website  Instead of assisting amateur repeater operators and future repeater owners, they have become tyrannical, oppressive, arrogant and down right stupid!  Their answer isn't logical efficient use of the existing spectrum with intelligent solutions.  No, their answer is more repeater pairs.  To maintain their power they need pairs, lots of pairs!
To achieve their goal of more power and attract new unsuspecting repeater owners, they are now recommending that amateurs narrowband their repeaters!  (If you think narrowbanding is a good idea, check out the No HAM Narrowband FM page on this website)  There is NOTHING good about narrowbanding FM amateur repeaters.  It would be a disaster and would all but kill repeater operation.  And there is no FCC mandate, nor will there ever be, that would force amateur radio operators to use narrowband FM.  In fact, forcing amateurs to narrowband their repeaters would be a violation of FCC rules!

The FRC stupidity doesn't stop there.  The FRC will not coordinate a repeater under 50 feet!  I bet they would be surprised to know how many of their coordinated repeaters, that have significant range, are under 50 feet!  I have a few myself which easily have 10 mile portable and 30 mile mobile coverage.  Many amateur experimenters would love to have such a repeater.  Yet in order to have a coordinated repeater, many amateurs are forced to falsify their coordination application.

Guess what happens when you are truthful and state your repeater antenna is less than 50 feet?  The FRC rejects your application!  And because they don't recognize, or even keep a database of active repeaters, they will coordinate another amateur repeater right on top of your perfectly legal operating repeater then demand that you cease operation or face FCC action!  That has happened to me several times and many other amateurs around the State!

They intimidate amateurs into believing that you need them or you run the risk of FCC action.  They twist and distort the plain language of Part 97 into something that they claim gives them power and authority to say who can "legally" operate a repeater. 

But the real evil in the FRC is even worse.  If you coordination expires, or if you forget to renew it or if you have an uncoordinated repeater, the FRC will reassign another repeater RIGHT ON TOP OF YOUR LEGALLY OPERERATING REPEATER!

Read their 8c. of the FRC coordination policy:

And here is the real evil in 12. :

To clarify the evil of the evil (emphasis added) :

If the coordination is not renewed during the six-month grace period, the pair will become immediately available to be reissued without notice.

Can you believe that?  Not only is that evil, it is also illegal because the FRC is complicit in intentional interference of legal, ongoing repeater operation!

Here are some legal truths that many amateurs don't seem to be aware of:

There is NO rule or legal requirement that a repeater be coordinated.

All amateur repeater frequencies are available to all amateurs licensed to operate of those frequencies.

No amateur has an exclusive right to any frequency including repeater frequencies.  ALL frequencies MUST be shared!

Hearing someone on "your" repeater frequency is NOT interference as defined by the rules. (However someone who intentionally installs a repeater in the same coverage area of an existing repeater would likely be found to be causing intentional interference which is a violation of the Rules!)

Repeater councils and frequency coordinators have no legal authority under law whatsoever. 

If you are operating a legal, but uncoordinated repeater, a frequency coordinator has NO authority under law to recommend the pair to another amateur!

The FCC gives absolutely NO authority to do anything except RECOMMEND frequency pairs.  Read the rules!

Further, the FCC would NEVER give such self-proclaimed authority to an unregulated (and often uneducated) group of volunteer amateur radio operators. 

The FCC can propose law but they cannot create law.  Laws must be proposed to and voted on by congress, and that includes the Code of Federal Regulation Part 97 that govern amateur radio.  The FCC can only enforce law.

I drive all over the southeast scanning 2m and 70cm.  If it weren't for random repeater IDers and cable system leakage, I'd
almost have nothing to listen to!  Repeater councils use to be concerned about "Paper Repeaters," but now we have "Paper USERS."  There are thousands of repeaters that are on the air, protected by Repeater Councils and Frequency Coordinators, that have NO activity!  Yet they are there, hogging the spectrum that could be used by other amateur operators. 

The ONLY protection a coordinated repeater has over an uncoordinated repeater is: if your repeater interferes with THE INPUT of another repeater then YOU as the uncoordinated repeater must take action to resolve the interference!  THAT'S IT!  97.205(c) does NOT apply to users of a repeater hearing another repeater's output on the same frequency.  THAT IS TRANSMITTER INTERFERENCE which ONLY applies to broadcasters.  Because broadcasting is forbidden in amateur radio, such as argument would be laughed out of court!  

There is one more benefit to coordination, the FRC says that if you want to be in the ARRL Repeater Directory you MUST be coordinated by them!  Who cares?  With all the independent repeater listings out there, that don't discriminate against uncoordinated repeaters, why bother?  And why would you want to waste your money for a directory that is void of many active repeater and lists numerous paper and inactive repeaters?

Here in the Tampa Bay area many great repeaters aren't listed because the FRC refuses to recognize them!

Does this mean you can go ahead and put up a repeater anywhere on any frequency and use it any way you want?  Well no, not really, but with a little careful research, it may mean that you can put up a legally operating repeater in your area where you've been told you couldn't.

I believe frequency coordinators and Repeater Councils that have these ridiculous rules need to go.  Their time is over.  Let amateurs govern themselves and in the process, it may save amateur radio!

Don't get me wrong, frequency coordinators that keep an accurate database and knows what is on the air and therefore can make an intelligent recommendation in a given geographic area are a wonderful resource.  That is all a frequency coordinator should be!  That, and nothing more, was the original intention of the FCC.

So go ahead, research a frequency pair with little use and put up a repeater and enjoy this exciting part of amateur radio!  As long as you are not intentionally causing interference with another ongoing communication, you are not in violation of any rule, regulation or law.

DISCLAIMER: If you get into a legal fight, that is your fight, not mine.  I am not offering legal advise, nor am I a lawyer, nor would I ever be.  Keep in mind that the reality is, there is little justice in our legal system. Pick your fights carefully.  Legal battles can be very expensive and in the end, only the lawyers win.

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