Saturday November 20, 1999
On Saturday, November 20, 1999 there was a Southern California Repeater and
Remote Base Association (SCRRBA) general meeting held at Harvey Mudd College in
Chairman Joe Saddler, WA6PAZ, called the meeting to order and welcomed
everyone. The turn-out for the meeting was excellent.
Treasurer's Report - Mike Penrose, W6AP
The treasury is in good shape and will be a bit stronger after today's
membership renewals. There was a request to publish the financial statement on
the web site. However, after a vote, a large majority agreed that it would be
more effective to publish the financial statement in the annual newsletter since
not all the members have web access.
10 Meter and 6 Meter Band Report - Gary Gray, W6DOE
6 meters is alive and well. Lately, there have been a lot of portable users
on the band enjoying some of the 6 meter repeaters. Several new systems are
currently in test.
420 - 440 MHz Band Report - Robin Critchell, WA6CDR
Robin gave a brief report on this band in the absence of Gary Belda (K6ENS)
who couldn't be at the meeting today.
There is quite a backlog of requests for coordination in the 420MHz band. It
will probably take at least six months of daily work to dig out of the backlog.
440 - 450 MHz Band Report - Robin Critchell, WA6CDR
Approximately 90% of the 5kHz moves have been completed (44x.y25 moving to
44x.y20, and 44x.y75 moving to 44x.y80) in response to the bandplan change
approved at the May 1, 1999 440-450MHz band planning meeting. The deadline for
completing 5kHz moves has long past (August 1, 1999) and some systems will need
to be contacted to make the simple 5kHz move as soon as possible.
The 10kHz moves (44x.y50 moving to 44x.y40) are a little slow. Robin has
asked that systems that haven't moved yet to move as soon as possible. These
systems should move even if the 44x.y25 system (one channel below) has not moved
to 44x.y20 yet. The longer people wait to move, the more other systems are held
up making their moves to clear new channels for new users, etc. All moves, and
the availability of new channels, are directly related to each system making
these simple 5kHz and 10kHz moves.
About 16 or 17 of the 100kHz blocks are done moving. Many of these first
moves have been to fix long standing interference problems and to free up
several 100kHz (i.e., 44x.y00) channels for use as new open channels. Three or
four major systems still need to complete channel move agreements with SCRRBA.
SCRRBA will offer moves to new open 100kHz channels (i.e. 44x.y00) for
current open systems not already on 100kHz channels. This is not a requirement.
If any existing system wants to move to a new location or make any changes,
now is the time to let SCRRBA know! You must have a site agreement for the new
location before contacting SCRRBA. If an existing system would like to change
its status, open vs. closed, NOW is the time to contact SCRRBA. Please do so
both on paper and via the 20kHz@scrrba.org
447.200 will be the next open repeater frequency. It should be available in
December and SCRRBA will be moving systems onto that channel soon after it
SCRRBA would like to hear from systems that are still on 44x.y50 channels.
These systems need to move to 44x.y40. Almost four months have passed since
these move began. Systems who have not yet moved should contact SCRRBA and
provide a date stating when they expect to complete this move.
A question was asked about the packet activity on 446.500. 446.500 has been
designated as a voice simplex frequency for several years. A large number of
packet stations have ignored the band plan and have been using the frequency for
packet activity. Many of these packet stations have never been checked for
deviation and are splattering on the adjacent channels. There are lots of places
between 431.0 and 431.7 for packet activity.
The current secretary of the SCDCC (Southern California Digital Coordination
Council) was present at today's meeting. He suggested that people check the
SCDCC web site at www.qsl.net/scdcc.
E-Mail & Web Site Update - Robin Critchell, WA6CDR
Anyone interested in their standing related to the 20kHz moves can inquire
through a special email address (20kHz@scrrba.org).
If there are any problems which are a result of moving to a 20kHz channel,
coordinees should contact SCRRBA at the same email address. Messages not
related to 20kHz issues will not be accepted through this email address.
A new email address has just been setup for administrative changes (email@example.com).
This address should be used to send changes to mailing addresses, phone numbers,
email addresses, or anything else related to how SCRRBA can contact coordinees).
Those present at the meeting were asked if they would like to receive meeting
notices primarily by email. Quite a number of those present agreed. They were
asked to send their email address to firstname.lastname@example.org
so that they can be placed on a mailing list that is currently under
development. Email from SCRRBA will be limited to no more than one message
per month (at the most).
Systems that are interested in recruiting new members can send SCRRBA a few
lines (very few!) to advertise your club on the SCRRBA web site. This
could be a link to your web site, a contact phone number, an email address,
etc. It will be the job of those systems using this service to notify
SCRRBA of changes to their information on the SCRRBA web site. If
interested, send some brief information to email@example.com.
900 MHz Band Report - Dave DeGregorio, WA6UZS
900MHz continues to be a "use at your own risk" band. There are
about 25 coordinated systems. Several more RFCs (request for
coordination) still need to be processed.
1200 MHz - Bill Kelsey, W6QC
Bill Kelsey gave a brief report on 1200MHz in the absence of Tom O'Hara,
There are currently 173 FM voice repeaters, 107 voice link transmitters, 5
high speed digital links, and 7 ATV repeaters -- on the books. A survey of the
band will take place soon to verify these systems.
Channels are still available for anyone interested in having a 1200MHz
repeater. For those who are waiting for 420MHz links, they may want to consider
1200MHz as an alternative. There are many 1200MHz link channels available too.
Tom O'Hara will ask for a site agreement before coordinating any new systems on
1200MHz. Once coordination is granted, he generally allows six months to get the
radio on the air. If its not running in six months, the coordination will be
Microwave Band Report - Bill Kelsey, W6QC
Most of the activity in the microwave bands involves amateur television (ATV)
and contesting. The 2GHz band needs a new band plan drawn up.
Adoption of 20kHz - Joe Saddler, WA6PAZ
Joe asked the membership to vote to adopt the new 20kHz band plan that was
created at the May 1, 1999 band planning meeting. The membership overwhelmingly
voted to adopt the band plan.
FCC Report - Robin Critchell, WA6CDR
Robin spoke briefly about WT Docket Number 98-143, the FCC NPRM on
Restructuring the Amateur Radio Rules. A major changed proposed by the NPRM is
to reduce the number of license classes from 6 to 4.
Robin also had some brief comments about the City of Los Angeles wanting to
obtain an experimental license to transmit surveilance video on 2.4GHz (see full
report on this topic below).
WT Docket 98-143 - Bill Kelsey, W6QC
SCRRBA sent a formal filing and raised several bandplan issues in regards to
this docket about changing the amateur radio service licensing structure. The
status is "wait and see" right now.
A copy of SCRRBA's filing of
comments on WT Docket No. 98-143 is available here.
NFCC Report - Bill Kelsey, W6QC
The National Frequency Coordinators Council (NFCC) recently elected new
officers. Some of the new officers were a good selection and might help get the
NFCC on track. Otherwise, there hasn't been anything new happening with the
organization in the past three months.
Many of the directors are not familiar with VHF and UHF coordination.
In order to stimulate the NFCC, the members of the organization need to
engage the directors in dialogue.
County/City of Los Angeles on 2.4GHz - Robin Critchell, WA6CDR
The cities of Los Angeles, Long Beach, Burbank and Glendale have asked the
FCC for an experimental license to transmit video on 2.4GHz from helicopters.
Since this is not a proceeding before the FCC, only informal comments can be
filed. Both SCRRBA and the ARRL have filed informal comments to protect the
amateur 2.4GHz band.
The county of Los Angeles ran some very crude tests from Oat Mountain and Rio
Hondo to show that they believe 2.4GHz is not used in this region.
Unfortunately, their tests were conducted in the middle of a work day (when
amateur activity is the lowest) and consisted of a small number of azimuth
headings with only a few seconds of sweep time using test equipment with a noise
floor of only -90dBm (sweeping from 2380 to 2450MHz).
This band already has many "part 15" devices in operation. The
county appearently did not bother to consider the actually unused spectrum at
Coordination Issues - Robin Critchell, WA6CDR
Robin reminded the membership that the annual meeting is an opportunity to
change any of the current policies. All the policies currently in use are the
result of discussion and votes by the membership over the years. No motions were
A problem that has become apparent in recent surveys of the 440-450MHz band
is the discovery of several "beacon" transmitters. For example, in one
case a transmitter will identify itself, in CW, about every 10 minutes. However,
there is no input receiver that is connected to the transmitter. This sort of
on-going activity is contrary to the original coordination. It would be
considered a "non-operable" radio in that it simply does not work
according to the parameters in the coordination record for that system.
A motion was made to, "Allow the SCRRBA Technical Committee to send a
certified letter to the coordinee and the contact person (if two such people are
named in the coordination record) notifying them of impending termination of
coordination in 30 days if the station continues to be non-operable."
The motion was overwhelmingly approved. The membership suggested that
coordination may not be terminated if the coordinee demonstrates a working
repeater that needs to be "woken up" before use.
A motion was made to, "Allow the SCRRBA Technical Committee to
coordinate a new user on a channel if a non-operable station fails to make
corrective action, or reasonably satisfy the technical committee, within 30 days
of receipt of a certified letter from SCRRBA."
The motion was overwhelmingly approved.
SCRRBA is continuing its work to become a non-profit corporation. Joe Saddler
has spoken with many lawyers and in each case they have said that fees typically
cost several thousand dollars.
A few members suggested alternatives that Joe will look into.
Mike Penrose reported that SCRRBA now has liability insurance through the
ARRL's insurance program. This insurance costs the
organization about $500 per year.
Bill Kelsey spoke briefly about a problem with older scanners using 10MHz
intermediate frequencies. Users of these scanners have been hearing 448MHz, and
above, amateur repeaters in the 470-471MHz segment due to an image frequency
problem. More information about this problem can be found in a document he
prepared for scanner users who may think that the amateur systems are at fault
when, in fact, their scanner is at fault. The document explains the theory
behind the superheterodyne receiver and is intended for those that don't
understand the concept. That document, Notice
to 470-471MHz Scanner Users in Southern California can be found on the
SCRRBA web site.
The was no other new business items requested by the membership. The election
of officers was commenced. The current officers were voted in for another term.
The meeting adjourned at about 11:45am.