W6FM 444.525 REPEATER / IRLP NODE 5570
IRLP OPERATING POLICY
1) Use of the repeater is free and open for all amateurs who hold a valid license to operate in the 440 MHz band. All that is necessary for anyone desiring to use the IRLP is to request the information directly from the repeater owner, W6FM, by clicking here or by going to www.w6fm.net and requesting the information.
2) In being granted permission to use the IRLP system through W6FM repeater you are not authorized to pass any information about control codes on to any third party. DO NOT DISCUSS CONTROL CODES OVER THE AIR….PERIOD!
Before connecting to any IRLP site it is absolutely essential that you have a basic understanding of how the system works.
First of all, the IRLP system is SIMPLEX. That means that you can talk, or you can listen. You CAN NOT control the system while there is someone else talking on the other end of the link. And they can’t control their end if you are talking. This makes it necessary to leave LONG pauses between transmissions to allow others to either join in, or disconnect out of the system. This is especially necessary when connected to a reflector. Since there may be ten, twenty or more stations connected to the reflector, it is very important to give everyone a chance to control their nodes or to just break-in and say something.
Whenever controlling the IRLP system, you must key your radio a full second before sending any tones. If your keypad automatically keys your transmitter when you send tones, just hold the first tone for about a second-and-a-half, then continue normally. This allows all of the equipment in the link to get keyed up and recognize your tones. If you are too quick it will not hear your first tone.
The same is true when you talk on the IRLP system. Key your PTT and count to three before talking so that all the equipment in the system on both ends has time to get keyed up or your first two or three words will be cut off.
Remember that the IRLP is a worldwide network, and when talking to people in other countries, or when connected to a reflector, PLEASE refrain from using “American slang”. Some of us use slang so routinely we don’t even realize that it’s slang because it is so commonplace. Realize that slang terms have totally different meanings in different cultures and what we take for granted here may either not be understood by someone in another culture, or worse, may be offensive to them. Plain English works almost every time.
Also note that words like “hell” or “damn” might be somewhat common on US repeaters but those words could get a foreign repeater owner in trouble. Also don't ask a foreign ham to pass messages for you because they may not allow third party traffic in that country. Some countries are allowing IRLP to exist on a probationary basis, and we don't want to jeopardize the system.
Always try to use proper “ham etiquette” when operating on IRLP. Generally, that simply means giving your call sign whenever controlling the system, and always sign off with another station by giving the other station’s call sign first (if you can remember it) followed by your own call sign, and give your location city and state. Additionally, if you are talking to someone in a foreign country you can even add USA to the end.
Remember, when in doubt, PAUSE.
SOME RULES TO FOLLOW
Always identify yourself by saying your callsign before controlling the system.
Don’t connect to a node somewhere and then go away and not pay any attention to it leaving it to just grind away, or even if there is no activity, don’t leave a node connected and unattended. When you connect to someone you are the control operator and you should stay there to keep an ear on things. Now if you are mobile, and you drive out of range, or you are using a hand-held and the battery goes dead, it is no big deal. The system has a ten-minute inactivity time-out timer that will shut down the link after ten minutes of no activity from this end.
Don’t connect to another node and then engage in an extended local QSO if they are not involved in the QSO. Dumping local chatter on someone else’s machine is in poor taste. If they have connected to us, that is another story. Maybe they just want to sit there and “read the mail.” That is okay because that is their decision.
Be sure to leave a two or three second pause between transmissions to allow someone on the other end of a link to get a word in edgewise, or to control their system. Remember, the IRLP system is simplex. They can’t control while you are talking and vice-versa.
When someone is controlling a link, and they appear to be having trouble, PLEASE don’t butt-in and offer to help, ask questions, or make comments unless the station that is controlling asks for help. Butting-in with questions or comments will usually just confuse things worse.
This is all just common-sense stuff, and if you use these rules as a guideline you shouldn’t have any problems.
Please read and understand the section on Third Party Traffic. Since the IRLP system can reach many foreign countries, this is an important regulation topic to understand.
Since the W6FM system now has virtually worldwide coverage via the IRLP system, the subject of "Third Party Traffic" has come up. The question that has been brought up is whether it is permissible to let an unlicensed person visiting from a FOREIGN COUNTRY talk "to the folks back home" on your radio while you are the control operator of your radio. I called the ARRL and talked to their Regulatory Information Specialist, John Hennessee about international Third Party Traffic.
The following is an attempt to explain how "Third Party Traffic" is defined and how it works, as I understand it. Get a copy and READ the official FCC rules 47CFR97.115 for complete and accurate information. You can get it right from the US Government Printing Office by clicking here.
Even though when I read the rules it doesn’t exactly say this, it is the opinion of the ARRL according to John Hennessee that the Third Party Traffic rules apply whether you are sending the traffic or receiving it. When you are receiving Third Party Traffic, you are engaging in a third party communication. Read the ARRL position on this by clicking here. There is quite a bit of information about this subject on that page including a list that tells specifically who the US has Third Party Traffic agreements with. The list is pretty short.
A "Third Party" is anyone OTHER than a person who is eligible (licensed) to be the control operator of the station over which the traffic is being transmitted or received. The Third Party may, or may not be present at the radio station's location.
To put it another way:
Letting someone talk on your radio who is not licensed to operate your station when YOU are in control of it IS third party traffic.
Also RECEIVING a message for a person who is not licensed to operate your station IS Third Party Traffic whether or not the Third Party is present at the radio's location.
Any amateur radio station can transmit or receive third party traffic to or from any station within the jurisdiction of the United States.
Any amateur radio station can transmit or receive third party traffic to or from any station within the jurisdiction of a FOREIGN GOVERNMENT ONLY IF THAT GOVERNMENT HAS AN AGREEMENT WITH THE UNITED STATES GOVERNMENT TO ALLOW SUCH MESSAGES TO BE PASSED. There are not many that do. When in doubt, assume they DO NOT.
NOTE: This is not part of 47CFR97.115, but if you are allowing a Third Party to speak over your radio, and you are the control operator, they must speak in a language that you can understand. If you do not understand the language that is being spoken, you cannot be in control because you have no idea what is being said.
Again, a "Third Party" is anyone OTHER than a person who is eligible (licensed) to be the control operator of the station over which the traffic is being transmitted or received. The Third Party may, or may not be present at the radio station's location.
There are a few more requirements set out in 47CFR97.115. The US FCC regulations are short and to the point and fairly easy to understand.
I think basically as far as the Third Party traffic situation goes on the W6FM repeater system, it doesn't come up that often, but I would advise all of you to just try to stay away from a third party situation altogether when working someone in a foreign country unless you have checked and made sure that the US has an agreement with the country you are working. You can check to see who the US has agreements with by clicking here. After all, we don't want to get ourselves into trouble and we surely don't want to jeopardize anyone in another country. Nor do we want to jeopardize the IRLP system.
You should note that these same rules apply to operating on HF as well.