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Author Topic: Benefits of sponsoring a repeater?  (Read 2056 times)
N8BHL
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« on: May 01, 2008, 07:28:00 AM »

Hi all. Our small club has been asked to take on sponsorship of a local repeater. It won't involve a lot of technical work, maintenance will be done by the owner. Curious to hear your advice pro and con. What are the benefits to the club? What are the pitfalls?
Thanks, all!
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N0FPE
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« Reply #1 on: June 08, 2008, 04:02:10 PM »

So the club will not own the repeater? But will foot all the bills for its operation? sounds like a great idea for the owner and a bad idea for the club. what happens if the club upgrades all the equipment and then the owner decides he doesnt want to play anymore? He takes HIS repeater and goes home!!!!

I would pass unless there are some very very good WRITTEN agreements.
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W3LK
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« Reply #2 on: June 08, 2008, 04:16:12 PM »

I'm with Dan. The expense of operating and maintaining a repeater system can run into the thousands of dollars a year if you are not careful.

I wouldn't touch this deal with a ten-foot pole

For a start, your club needs for the owner to produce documented evidence of the yearly expenses, age and condition of all equipment associated with the repeater and so forth. If the owner hesitates more than 30 seconds at this request, I'd drop the idea in a hurry.

It sounds like the owner is looking for the radio equivalent of a "sugar daddy".

73,

Lon - W3LK
Naugatuck, Connecticut
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W5ESE
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« Reply #3 on: June 09, 2008, 06:40:45 AM »

I'll take the devil's advocate position on this.

It's not always easy to find someone to work on and
maintain repeaters. It appears you have someone in
your area that is willing and capable of doing that.

If your club doesn't own a repeater, and it feels
that having access to one would be a benefit to
the membership, chipping in a few bucks periodically
to help maintain an existing privately-owned one
could provide a genuine service to the membership
and at a reasonable cost.

The repeater owner may be just trying to encourage
people to make use of a project that he's invested
alot of effort in.

I would not have an issue with contributing a few
dollars myself to a private repeater owner for
repeater improvements and maintenance for their
repeaters that I enjoy using. And it wouldn't
bother me that the equipment purchased would
belong the them.

73
Scott
W5ESE
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W3LK
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« Reply #4 on: June 09, 2008, 08:36:43 AM »

Scott:

Without knowing just what the "sponsorship" of the repeater entails, all we are doing is making educated guesses and they may be way off base - in either direction. Smiley

Still, knowing what it costs the Baltimore ARC to keep its system on the air, I can attest that the cost of the "sponsorship" can easily overwhelm a small club's budget. I would not recommend a club footing the bills for any repeater the club does not own or at least control.

I'd be interesting in hearing just what the owner of the system in question has in mind. It might turn out to be a good deal all the way around ... or not.

73,

Lon - W3LK
Naugatuck, Connecticut
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N3SPW
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« Reply #5 on: April 04, 2009, 05:15:13 AM »

No, you should not take on the "sponsorship" of a repeater owned by someone else.  Others have pointed out that you may invest money only to find the owner decides to do something different with the repeater.  My local club of 22 memembers owns and operates three repeaters.  Two of them at low profile machines (one 70 cm band and one 2-m band) and the third is a mountain-top 2-m band machine.  It can be done on the cheap if you learn how to do things yourself.  We have found that having a repeater project or two has generated lots of interest.  Helps to pull the entire group together for the project.  If your club is thinking of sonsoring a repeater, I'd suggest you consider building a new repeater.  Contact your loacl repeater frequency coordinator about a frequency pair.  We built our 70-cm machine for about $650 in equipment.  Added some for labor but we could have done that ourselves if we wanted to.  Here's a page about it:  http://www.philipsburg-ara.org/444-400.htm  The point:  A club owned repeater will benefit your club with renewed interest and maybe you'll learn a thing or two as well.
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W3WN
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« Reply #6 on: April 08, 2009, 06:27:03 AM »

Define "sponsorship."  Then we can talk.

The Wireless Association of South Hills has helped finance repairs and upgrades to the 146.955 & 442.550 machines, owned by N3RNX and W3SRL, for years.  But keep in mind that the club members are the primary users of the machines.  

The club also agreed to assist N3FB when he purchased 443.650 from N3BV a few years back, by providing manpower when needed, and assisting in the modest electric bill every month.  Again, club members are the primary users of the repeater.  [And I should add that all three aforementioned repeater owners have been active and long standing members of the club for many years]

These arrangements, and yes they are in writing, have worked for us for many years.  Will they work for you?  That I can't answer.

73

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N3BV
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« Reply #7 on: May 31, 2009, 08:00:13 PM »

Beware this arrangement.  Many club members will be happy to use the repeater and bitch if they think the coverage is down 1% from what it was last week but they always seem to be "busy" when you need/want help with the repeater. I built, paid for, designed, and maintained the former N3BV repeater on 443.650 in Canonsburg PA.  This was not a small system!  At the time I got rid of the pig, it was a GE MASTR II Solid state machine with dual 100 watt PA's modified to provide 250 watts output.  The building, 90 foot tower, and all maintenance were built and paid for by me.  The repeater also had a voting system with 2 additional receivers which amounted to 2 more GE receivers, 2 link transmitters, 2 link receivers, 3 omni antennas and 2 yagi antennas as well as the voter controller, site acquisition and more maintenance.  All paid for by me.  The system had a 2 meter remote base for linking in to other machines.  All equipment paid for by me.  The electric bill varied between $50 and $100 per month depending on repeater traffic, paid by me.

I asked for some help with cutting the weeds around the tower and maybe new paint on the building.  NEVER asked for money.  Nobody ever offered to help.  What I did get was complaints from  a few users because one of the remote receivers was down for a few weeks and i hadn't had time to fix it.  I was working 70 hours per week and providing this repeater system to the club (and anyone who cared to use it) for free!

You can probably imagine why I said to hell with it and sold the thing.

Owning a repeater...arguably the best repeater in the Pittsburgh area...did nothing but ruin my passion for ham radio.
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N8BHL
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« Reply #8 on: June 03, 2009, 07:47:35 AM »

Thanks all! We decided against getting involved- there were some very political undercurrents and we're happy with things as they are.
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KI4SDY
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« Reply #9 on: June 08, 2009, 06:36:09 PM »

A wise decision! Now that he has been turned down, maybe he would like to sell the repeater to your club cheap!

I would think your club would want the challenge of setting up and running your own repeater for the control, convenience, economy and educational opportunity. The supporters of the idea probably had some relation; friend, family, financial or otherwise, to the repeater owner. Some of the worst decisions in history were made because of politics rather than logic.    

As far as chores, if needed, have a  combination working, cookout, swap meet and annual club election event on the same day at the repeater site. That will get them out there!
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