Meeting Minutes - October 2004


Minutes of the SCRRBA Annual General Meeting

Saturday October 16, 2004

On Saturday, October 16, 2004 there was a Southern California Repeater and Remote Base Association (SCRRBA) general meeting held at Harvey Mudd College in Claremont.

Chairman Joe Saddler, WA6PAZ, called the meeting to order at about 12:50PM and welcomed everyone.

Treasurer's Report - Mike Penrose, W6AP

The treasurer, Mike Penrose, was unable to attend today's meeting due to job commitments.

10 Meter and 6 Meter Band Report - Gary Gray, W6DOE

Only one of the four coordinated 10-meter repeaters could be keyed-up this morning (W6KRW on 29.54-in / 29.64-out).

The 6m band is alive and well, and there's still plenty of interest in the band.  There are a number of active 6m repeaters available for use and there is still room for new 6m repeaters.

420 - 440 MHz Band Report - Robin Critchell, WA6CDR

There are several outstanding coordination requests that need to be completed in this band.  We're not worried about satisfying those requests given the availability of channels, and since we've been able to recover several un-unused channels.  We suspect that we can recover several others if we ask the coordinees on record.

Any request for 420MHz coordination is complicated.  It takes time to sort the request against existing activity and find a place to "shoehorn" in new activity.  The structure of the band is such that some sites cannot talk to other sites because of the frequency polarity.  To link two sites together, it might require a ground hop to maintain the proper polarity.  When you are requesting 420MHz coordination, please send us a single-line block diagram of your system - including all existing coordinations that you have.  When we review your request, we will be pretty strict about specific buildings and maybe even what place your antenna is located on a given tower - to keep interference potentials low.

The military continues to be active from Pt. Magu and Vandenburg Air Force Base on this band.  Fortunately, we haven't heard of any recent requests to turn off 420MHz links during military activity.  In addition, there have been no recent indications of any upcoming changes in our relationship with the military.

There seems to be increased radar activity.  This might be related to Homeland Security but we have no way of knowing for sure.  For now, we should consider radar our friend - it keeps the band available for us to use.

440 - 450 MHz Band Report - Gerry Walsh, KB6OOC

There are 250 channels in the 5MHz between 445 and 450MHz (245 if you exclude the simplex or other use frequencies).  On those 245 channels there are over 600 coordinated systems.

In the region, there are 66 coordinated open repeaters on 21 channels.  During the past year at least one system converted from closed to open status and changed to an open frequency (this was a desert radio.  Some of the open repeaters are not on official open channels, but these are mainly desert radios where the frequency worked out for their use.  They are aware that by not being on an official open channel, they will not be listed in any of the various publications as an open repeater.

Since the last meeting 17 new repeaters have been coordinated.  Some of the 17 involved more than one repeater on a given channel.  Of the 17 new repeaters, 5 are open and 12 are closed.

The band is band is basically full (actually, more than full).  We need to find ways to identify systems who would be willing to share or merge with new groups.  There are a dozen or so new systems waiting on the two test pairs for coordination (some for years).  Our hands are basically tied with nothing new we can issue to them and we need to find ways to get under-used or virtually dead systems to share with new systems.

902 MHz Band Report - Dave DeGregorio, WA6UZS (reported by Robin Critchell, WA6CDR)

A few new coordinations have recently been issued on this band.  Dave has done some work on fixing up the database to better reflect the existing coordinations.

Some commercial equipment works on this band.  There are a number of paging companies going out of business and there should be lots of hardware around from those businesses.

It was suggested that the SCRRBA 902MHz Band Plan be submitted to the ARRL for consideration as the National Band Plan.  Band plans should not be easy to change.  It shouldn't be acceptable for a few people to spend a few hours making a new band plan.  We suspect it would take only 3 or 4 years for the ARRL to consider the SCRRBA Band Plan - just because its a 902MHz plan (probably far longer if it were any other band).

There was discussion about Automatic Vehicle Location (AVL) activity in the band.  Someone noted that 927.7875MHz is being actively used for AVL in San Diego.

It was suggested that SCRRBA publish their Band Plan in the ARRL Repeater Directory.

1200 MHz Band & ATV Activity Report - Tom O'Hara, W6ORG

There are currently 160 coordinations on the band (1/4 of them are open systems).  A number of new (empty) channels are available for coordination.  There are 80 coordinations for point-to-point links in the 1200MHz band.  Both simplex and duplex link pairs are available.

If you're requesting link coordination in this band, a good block diagram of your system really helps speed things along.  Link block diagrams are quite different from basic system block diagrams.

1294.80MHz was recently added as a control channel.  Previously it was allocated as a simplex frequency.  Plenty of simplex room still exists +/-25kHz from 1294.80MHz.

The Amateur Television (ATV) activity in the band hasn't changed in the past year.  There has been a lot of Homeland Security funds going into 426.25MHz ATV gear (using amateur radio operators under RACES) for point-to-point operations.

Part 15 devices have been invading several bands.  A new car "tire inflation" monitoring system is using 433MHz.  The folks building these devices have complained to the FCC about ATV bothering their tire pressure readings.  The FCC basically told them they had to live with it.

Microwave Bands Report - Joe Saddler, WA6PAZ

The band plans for 2.4GHz up through 10GHz can be found on the SCRRBA website.  There is ATV activity in some of these bands.  Other than that, there are a few weak signal users but their activity doesn't require coordination.

ARRL Report - Art Goddard, W6XD

Art talked about ATV in public service.  ATV is attractive to public service agencies.  It isn't fair to the hobby if (for example) a police officer takes a weekend class to get a ham license and the following weekend that officer is in a helicopter doing ATV for his department.  Being so new to the hobby he may have no idea if he is interfering with existing ATV activity.  This is a "grey area" and something we all need to think about.

Last Thursday was not a banner day for the amateur radio community.  The FCC approved the rules for Broadband over Power Lines (BPL).  We won't be able to see the rules for awhile though.  As we speak, the ARRL executives are meeting to decide their next action.  We expect a request to vacate.  The ARRL feels that the FCC Commissioner broke the law when the meeting agenda was released on a Friday and the meeting where the final Commission vote on BPL took place was the following Thursday.  This left no time for objections to be filed.

The ARRL is proposing a new "bandwidth petition" for the FCC.  It's currently up for comment from amateurs.  This petition would propose to regulate the Part 97 sub-bands by their occupied bandwidth instead of their mode.  Modulation and coding methods would be published.  The current regulation allows for a single emitter to occupy all of the 222-225MHz or 420-450MHz band.

The league is proposing to restructure the license classes to appeal to more people and younger people.  The new structure would allow for three classes (Novice, General, and Extra).  There's a lot of emotion related to the Morse code tests.  Each class of license would offer some level of access to every band.  New hams would no longer be relegated to just repeater operations.

In the matter of Jack Gerritsen and his activity on Southern California repeaters, the ARRL has been working with the FCC's Riley Hollingsworth to keep the recent forfeiture notice moving along as rapidly as possible.  The ARRL president and the ARRL general counsel are both involved in this effort.  Art urges everyone to contact their congressman for help.  The ARRL cannot write to the congressman on your behalf.  The congressman will turn to their staffers and ask if they have had any complaints from their constituents.  If not, they won't care.  So, folks need to contact their congressman and not leave it to the ARRL.

Candidate for ARRL SW Division Director - Dick Norton, N6AA

With Art Goddard retiring from his position as ARRL Southwestern Director, the two candidates to replace Art were given the opportunity to speak to the audience...

Dick reports that the ARRL is a business that has $13 million dollars in transactions every year.  There are some 100 employees working for the ARRL. 

Dick is an electrical engineer.  He is on the board of directors for a small aerospace company and has been a licensed amateur for over 49 years.  Dick's background is in most aspects of radio (with the exception of frequency coordination).  Dick is retired and is ready to dedicate the time as ARRL Southwestern Director.

Candidate for ARRL SW Division Director - Tuck Miller, NZ6T

Tuck was on travel on the day of the meeting and could not attend.  A memo from Tuck was read by Joe Saddler (WA6PAZ)...

Tuck has held many field organization positions within the ARRL.  He has been active in public service and has been an active control operator for many nets.  Tuck feels that public service needs a front seat in this day and age.  Tuck says people need a director to take an active stance in emergency communications.  He has been a mentor for ARRL emergency courses.  He has served 4 years as the El Cajon ARC president, and has served 2 terms as San Diego Section Manager before becoming Vice Director.

Tuck intends to conduct periodic polls on major issues and plans to create an online forum for discussions.

FCC Report - Robin Critchell, WA6CDR

Most of the current FCC issues were covered earlier in the meeting.

On the issue of the ARRL bandwidth proposal, SCRRBA band plans for microwave are already oriented around bandwidth.

The Jack Gerritsen issue is not an amateur radio matter since he is not a licensed amateur radio operator.  What he is doing is breaking a "regulation", not a "law" so its not a simple matter of arrest.  Other issues that Riley Hollingsworth deals with work on the premise that people acknowledge that the rules and regulations exist.

Coordination Issues - Robin Critchell, WA6CDR

Our biggest problem is how to handle legitimate people who are waiting for coordination in the 440-450MHz band.  There have been some individuals who have bought out existing systems.

We need everyone to think about how we can change the allocation of the resources we have available.  A bandwidth change is not desirable right now.  We need to deal with re-coordination of frequencies that are inadequately used.  The fundamental issues that we use are ones that do not make value judgments and address "level of useage".  We don't have an intelligent mechanism to use that isn't an excess regulatory tool.

Equipment, nowadays, works well enough to run a very long time.  Under our existing rules, if it answers and appears to be in the correct place, it has the right to exist.

We regularly survey the band.  A comprehensive survey takes about 250 man-hours.  Our ability to survey the band is being impeded, for the time being, by the fact that a large number of radios are disabled or require a non-standard method of access.

We think that we could put two or three lightly used systems on a single channel (with overlapping coverage - because of their low usage level).  All parties involved would have to agree to the change.  Presently we don't have a tool that would allow us to pick candidates.

We've observed that IRLP and Echolink are being used with test pair radios and are dominating the channel(s) for "unreasonable" amounts of time.  This practice is un-fair to the other users on these shared channels.

Website Update - Gerry Walsh, KB6OOC

The website doesn't get updated too often, but we recently added some new 902MHz repeaters and we constantly update the open 440MHz listings as we add new open repeaters.

The Northern Amateur Relay Council of California (NARCC) has offered to share their own web technology with us (for a fee).  They have produced a pretty impressive product that allows for online application filing, and for coordinees to securely login and make changes to their system and contact information.  We hope to discuss this further with them and hopefully use some of their capability on a system of our own to become more "electronic".


President Joe Saddler opened the floor for nominations of new officers. A motion was made to carry the same officers over to the next year.  The motion was seconded and their was no further discussion on the motion.  After a show of hands, the motion was approved and the current officers will continue until next year.


The Chairman, Joe Saddler, adjourned the meeting at about 3:30pm.


Last modified: September 29, 2005