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Author Topic: Cross Band Repeater Rules and Frequencies  (Read 27239 times)
AK4SK
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Posts: 150




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« on: December 08, 2012, 08:50:02 PM »

I have a mobile radio that has cross band repeating capability. I have spent a lot of time reading forum threads and websites and I don't think anything is much clearer to me regarding the FCC rules or considerate operating practices for cross band repeater operation.

Are there any clear, concise rules regarding cross band repeater operation? The following issues are specifically a concern.

1) My mobile radio can transmit on 2m, 1.25m, and 70cm. Can I use any combination of transmit and receive bands that I want or are there only certain combinations that are allowed?

2) Is a cross band repeater a "repeater" or an "auxiliary station?" Does this distinction depend on what the transmit and receive configuration is that the cross band repeater is using? For instance I could use simplex from and HT on the receive side of the cross band repeater and transmit on another simplex channel or I could use simplex from and HT on the receive side of the cross band repeater and transmit to a regular repeater. Does operating in either of these configurations change how the cross band repeater is classified?

3) Within a given band, what frequencies in the band plan should be used for cross band repeater transmit and receive frequencies?

4) What are the station ID requirements? Does my mobile radio need to ID when it transmits in both directions or is just my call as I normally identify when communicating satisfy the ID requirements in the FCC rules?

Any help is appreciated.

73,
Chris AK4SK
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WB6BYU
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Posts: 13353




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« Reply #1 on: December 09, 2012, 01:26:46 PM »

There aren't specific rules for cross band operation, but you have to comply with
all the other rules.  In some areas there are also conventions, especially
with regard to frequency usage.  Then there is also the guideline of good
operating practice
.

The most common problem is providing an ID for each transmitter on each frequency
of operation.  If, for example, you are talking to your mobile on 440 from your HT
and it is retransmitting your signal on 2m simplex, then BOTH the 2m transmitter
and the 440 transmitter (back to your HT) must be identified with your callsign.
If you ID as "AK4SK through AK4SK remote" on the 440 side, that probably is sufficient
to ID the 2m transmitter as long as no other signals are repeated through it at times
when you aren't actively using it.  But that doesn't provide an ID on the mobile 440
link back to your HT:  you would need to remember to switch to the 2m input and
transmit a similar ID back through the system to do so.  That may be inconvenient
in many circumstances.  It also doesn't address the problems of other other signals:
you would need make sure you were always the last one to transmit through the
radio, and that it never repeated signals when you were not using it.


Generally you can use any frequency authorized for wide-band FM operation, as long
as you aren't interfering with other stations.  In some parts of the country that might
not be as easy as it sounds.  In other cases repeater coordinating councils may have
set aside specific channels for such use - if that is the case in your area, then it is
best to follow their recommendations.  I also strongly recommend that you use tone
encoding on the receivers so they are less likely to respond to unwanted signals.  You
certainly want to avoid a situation where someone else nearby uses the same input
frequency and tone (or lack thereof), causing the two system to link up unintentionally -
that can make a real mess.

Some repeater owners discourage the use of their systems by remote base or cross-band
stations.
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AK4SK
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Posts: 150




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« Reply #2 on: December 09, 2012, 07:58:14 PM »

Thanks for the info. I had found some old threads that made it seem like there were only certain bands that could be used for cross band repeating and even that you could do 70cm to 2m but not 2m to 70cm. The ID issue is definitely a problem. Why the radios aren't designed to CW ID automatically is beyond me. I think I'm going to contact the repeater coordinators to see if they have a preference on anything.
Thanks and 73,
Chris
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AK4SK
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Posts: 150




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« Reply #3 on: December 11, 2012, 01:30:29 PM »

I've done a little more research on this.

There are frequencies restrictions but nothing other than what the "regular" rules say as you mentioned. A cross band repeater is actually a repeater under the rules and so has the same frequency restrictions as a repeater:
97.3(a)(40) Repeater. An amateur station that simultaneously retransmits the transmission of another amateur station on a different channel or
channels.
97.207(b) A repeater may receive and retransmit only on the 10 m and shorter wavelength frequency bands except the 28.0–29.5 MHz, 50.0–
51.0 MHz, 144.0–144.5 MHz, 145.5–146.0 MHz, 222.00–222.15 MHz, 431.0–433.0 Mhz, and 435.0–438.0 Mhz segments.

This repeater station requires a control operator who in this case is the person with the HT. Also, the person that is controlling the cross band repeater from a HT is doing so remotely and is an auxiliary station and as such is restricted on what frequencies they may use to control the remote station (cross band repeater):
97.3(a)(7) Auxiliary station. An amateur station, other than in a message forwarding system, that is transmitting communications point-to-point
within a system of cooperating amateur stations.
97.201(b) An auxiliary station may transmit only on the 2 m and shorter wavelength bands, except the 144.0–144.5 MHz, 145.8–146.0 MHz,
219–220 MHz, 222.00–222.15 MHz, 431–433 MHz, and 435–438 MHz segments.

The auxiliary station definition and rules are vague, but that is what the ARRL calls the person with the HT using a mobile as a cross band repeater:
http://www.arrl.org/auxiliary-station-faq

I think I figured out a potential but cumbersome solution to the ID problem. The original transmission from my HT through the cross band repeater covers the ID requirement for part of the repeater operation. To cover the other side I could switch frequencies to the band that I was using as an output from the repeater and ID back through from the repeater output back to the frequency link going to the HT. As long as I do that every ten minutes I'm fine.
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KA1MDA
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Posts: 543




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« Reply #4 on: December 16, 2012, 01:58:22 AM »

"Why the radios aren't designed to CW ID automatically is beyond me."

They ARE designed to automatically ID, you're just looking at the wrong radios! Kenwood's TM-V71 can automatically ID in CW when in cross-band repeat mode. It alternates the IDs between both bands, staggering them be a few minutes, so each band gets a CW ID every 10 minutes. If you have the voice synthesizer installed, I believe you can even have it ID in voice mode.
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AB0RE
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Posts: 293




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« Reply #5 on: December 17, 2012, 07:21:57 PM »

"Why the radios aren't designed to CW ID automatically is beyond me."

They ARE designed to automatically ID, you're just looking at the wrong radios! Kenwood's TM-V71 can automatically ID in CW when in cross-band repeat mode. It alternates the IDs between both bands, staggering them be a few minutes, so each band gets a CW ID every 10 minutes. If you have the voice synthesizer installed, I believe you can even have it ID in voice mode.

He hit the nail on the head.  And, the "Remote Control" abilities of the V71 allow you to activate / de-activate crossband, change power levels, frequencies, etc, via DTMF tones on the "control channel" you specifiy, which addresses another whole set of problems with crossbanding.  Hook a 12VDC muffin fan behind your V71 if you plan on high duty cycles and it'll stay cool as a cucumber.  And it's always good operating practice to run a CTCSS (PL Tone Encode AND *Decode*) or DCS on your crossband frequency.  Nothing will get you unfriended more quickly than crossbanding static / intermod / etc into your local repeater.

I put together an artical on the wireless control feature outlined above - it can be downloaded from mods.dk.
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AK4SK
Member

Posts: 150




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« Reply #6 on: December 18, 2012, 10:38:23 AM »

That looks like a neat radio. If I ever find that I need the cross band repeat feature a lot then I may have to change radios.
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NM0O
Member

Posts: 7




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« Reply #7 on: January 05, 2013, 11:29:38 AM »

Chris (AK4SK), the Kenwood TM-D710 has CW ID capability; it's in the crossband repeat menu, which is simple to access and set up.  Although I have yet to use the 710 in UHF-to-VHF mode, I've set it several times when I was going to be out of the car with my HT.  I set the HT on a particular unused frequency designated by the band plan for repeater inputs, and toddled off to see how it worked.

The first time it identified, two things happened: 1) I was so shocked that I hardly recognized my own callsign and 2) it was loud enough that it couldn't be missed by anyone within 30 feet of me.

I can see many uses for this function (especially once I figure out the UHF-to-VHF configuration); I am active in emergency communications, and having the car in a high place helping out with the signal from my HT will be a real help.

There is, of course, a caveat for the casual user:  You want to set the transmit power of the 710 as low as possible (just enough to do the job).  Unless you have an extra battery backup in the car, using the 710 at 50 watts output could strand you in the woods somewhere.

Kenwood did a nice job with the 710 and some others that people have told me about.  Enjoy the options.

Jon, NM0O
Peoria-Area Amateur Radio Club
Peoria Emergency Communications Response Team
Peoria and Woodford Counties ARES team member
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AK4SK
Member

Posts: 150




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« Reply #8 on: January 05, 2013, 07:56:11 PM »

Chris (AK4SK), the Kenwood TM-D710 has CW ID capability; it's in the crossband repeat menu, which is simple to access and set up.  Although I have yet to use the 710 in UHF-to-VHF mode, I've set it several times when I was going to be out of the car with my HT.  I set the HT on a particular unused frequency designated by the band plan for repeater inputs, and toddled off to see how it worked.

The first time it identified, two things happened: 1) I was so shocked that I hardly recognized my own callsign and 2) it was loud enough that it couldn't be missed by anyone within 30 feet of me.

I can see many uses for this function (especially once I figure out the UHF-to-VHF configuration); I am active in emergency communications, and having the car in a high place helping out with the signal from my HT will be a real help.

There is, of course, a caveat for the casual user:  You want to set the transmit power of the 710 as low as possible (just enough to do the job).  Unless you have an extra battery backup in the car, using the 710 at 50 watts output could strand you in the woods somewhere.

Kenwood did a nice job with the 710 and some others that people have told me about.  Enjoy the options.

Jon, NM0O
Peoria-Area Amateur Radio Club
Peoria Emergency Communications Response Team
Peoria and Woodford Counties ARES team member

They are nice looking radios. I've been tempted to sell mine and pick one up. I appreciate the info from somebody that uses one.

73
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KB9TMP
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Posts: 58


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« Reply #9 on: January 07, 2013, 08:30:48 AM »

On the ID issue, that only becomes a problem in full crossband repeat. If you do a one way only crossband then you don't have that issue. If you ONLY use your crossband radio to increase your HT's talk power into a repeater but listen to the repeater directly using your HT and not crossbanding the repeater your normal ID will cover everything. The second you start crossbanding the repeater back to your HT then you have the ID issue. I used a Byonics PicCon (http://www.byonics.com/piccon/) and a low power HT to ID for my crossband radio. Lately I just do one direction crossband and don't have that extra ID worry.

"73" Best Regards
W.W. Warren - KB9TMP
Hoosier Hills Ham Club VP
http://www.w9qyq.org
Hoosier Hills Hamfest
http://www.hoosierhillshamfest.org
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AK4SK
Member

Posts: 150




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« Reply #10 on: January 09, 2013, 06:50:49 AM »

On the ID issue, that only becomes a problem in full crossband repeat. If you do a one way only crossband then you don't have that issue. If you ONLY use your crossband radio to increase your HT's talk power into a repeater but listen to the repeater directly using your HT and not crossbanding the repeater your normal ID will cover everything. The second you start crossbanding the repeater back to your HT then you have the ID issue. I used a Byonics PicCon (http://www.byonics.com/piccon/) and a low power HT to ID for my crossband radio. Lately I just do one direction crossband and don't have that extra ID worry.

"73" Best Regards
W.W. Warren - KB9TMP
Hoosier Hills Ham Club VP
http://www.w9qyq.org
Hoosier Hills Hamfest
http://www.hoosierhillshamfest.org

Thanks for the reply. I can't seem to wrap my head around what you are saying about one direction cross band repeating. If I use a cross band repeater to increase the range of an HT into the repeater input then I would think that any other signal on the repeater input would cross band repeat back to the HT. Is that not correct?
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KA5IPF
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« Reply #11 on: January 09, 2013, 09:33:45 AM »

Think about it this way. Most walkie-talkies can hear the local repeater just fine, they just don't have enough power to get back. Use your talkie to listen to the repeater. When it's your turn, transmit with the talkie to your mobile on the link frequency, the mobile repeats this on the input of the local repeater and you are heard. When you id you are id'ing both the talkie and mobile at the same time. The mobile is only going one direction, talkie to repeater. It doesn't HAVE to go both ways, it's a choice you make in the setup.

If you crossband both ways, rx and tx, then the mobile has to be id'ed, WHEN it is transmitting to you on the link frequency.

Most common usage is around the house. My talkie can hear the repeater just fine anywhere, just can't get back to it. So I use the house radio to pick up my talkie on a 440 frequency and transmit it on the repeater input frequency on 2m.

Clif
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AK4SK
Member

Posts: 150




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« Reply #12 on: January 09, 2013, 09:37:11 AM »

It doesn't HAVE to go both ways, it's a choice you make in the setup.

That's the problem, with my radio is goes both ways.
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WB6BYU
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Posts: 13353




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« Reply #13 on: January 09, 2013, 05:13:17 PM »

If you have a single-band HT, you have to use the cross-band repeater both ways.

If you have a dual-band HT and can set it up to transmit on one band and and receive
on the other, then you can listen to the distant repeater directly on (say) 2m and
transmit on 440 to your cross-band repeater, which will relay your signal to the
repeater on 2m.  That's the "one way" mode.

I would suspect that most cross-band repeaters can be set up to go only one way.
If not, then program an oddball CTCSS tone on the repeater receive side so the
repeater does NOT key your rig when it is transmitting, and you're set.
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AK4SK
Member

Posts: 150




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« Reply #14 on: January 10, 2013, 12:11:56 PM »

If you have a single-band HT, you have to use the cross-band repeater both ways.

If you have a dual-band HT and can set it up to transmit on one band and and receive
on the other, then you can listen to the distant repeater directly on (say) 2m and
transmit on 440 to your cross-band repeater, which will relay your signal to the
repeater on 2m.  That's the "one way" mode.

I would suspect that most cross-band repeaters can be set up to go only one way.
If not, then program an oddball CTCSS tone on the repeater receive side so the
repeater does NOT key your rig when it is transmitting, and you're set.

To my knowledge my radio can only be set up for two way cross band repeat. There aren't any menu settings for cross band operation. To get into cross band mode I select one frequency on one VFO, the other frequency on the other VFO, and then put it into cross band mode by restarting the radio and entering a special setup menu.

Also, there is no way that I know of to do what you're saying with CTCSS tones alone with my radio. I can set a CTCSS encode tone and a DCS decode tone, I think that would work but I can't set a different CTCSS tone for send and receive.

I may also be able to program a split memory channel similar to a repeater memory channel that has the repeater input frequency and tone (or not if the repeater does not have a tone) on the transmit side but then an oddball frequency on the receive side. I'd have to give it a try but I'm not sure if I can have a split channel on one VFO in cross band mode. I've tried a few goofy things in cross band mode. My radio will let me set it up a certain way but then just fail to function if I do something wrong. For instance my radio will also transmit (on very low power) and receive on 220. So I decided to try and cross band repeat from 220 to 144 not knowing that the radio uses the same finals for both 220 and 144 thus making it impossible. It let me set it up that way but it just didn't work. At first I thought that my mobile antenna just wasn't suited well enough for 220 until I did some reading on the internet.

In the end all of this only solves a really small part of the problem. It would let me use my mobile to increase TX power into a repeater and not worry about the ID issue. I would still have all of the other ID issues in any other configuration and the inability to remotely control my station no matter the configuration. Also, the Florida Repeater Counsel would prefer that people do not operate cross band repeaters on any of the known repeater input or output frequencies.

Thanks for the input.
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