ALL Simplex users, Echolink, IRLP node operators, etc., PLEASE READ

Discussion in 'Echolink/IRLP Tech Board' started by N4UFO, Dec 20, 2016.

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  1. N4UFO

    N4UFO Ham Member QRZ Page

    I want to make a plea for everyone to please be aware of the satellite sub-bands on the VHF-UHF sub-bands, but especially on 2m. There is a continuing problem with both amateur and non-amateur stations transmitting on the frequencies that are used to uplink to amateur satellites, especially in North America. These folks are completely unaware that their transmissions are being relayed all across the continent and having the unintended consequence of causing debilitating QRM.

    For example...

    In the case of the SO-50 satellite, stations are transmitting on or near 145.850 Mhz, but doing it without the required PL tone and often with way more power than what many satellite ops are using (sometimes 5 watts or less). The result is, satellite stations are being covered over by these stations, causing QRM. But we cannot identify the stations because only short snips of audio can be heard in the squelch tail of the satellite, since the proper PL is not present to make their signals audible. It is presumed that there is some sort of remote base or internet connected station in the southeastern US on this frequency as it is heard with regularity when the satellite is over this area and often during the same time periods as if a weekly net were being conducted. (Saturday mornings, if memory serves.)

    In the case of FO-29, which is an SSB/CW satellite, FM carriers can be heard that seriously degrade the signals of all stations on the transponder. (Transponders are wide band and the power is shared; loud stations will use up a lot of the power and cut back the signals of other weaker stations.) Attempts to copy these stations are not easy and seldom is a callsign heard. It is unknown whether they are unlicensed stations that bought a couple of ham radios and dialed up what they thought were 'unused' frequencies or two licensed hams thinking the same. (Just the other day I heard two guys with rural US accents ending a conversation discussing that he better go as the dog had started barking.) In one incident, callsigns were heard, but they were from all over North America and some in parts of the country not in range of the satellite at the time. Turns out it was a ham station rebroadcasting a local UHF repeater onto two meters over his home dual band radio in cross repeat mode and the UHF repeater was hooked up to some type of internet linking. It took some serious sleuthing, cooperation of the repeater trustee and a lot of luck to figure all this out... it was not simple by any stretch of the imagination.

    I realize that many may be unaware of amateur satellites and be thinking, 'Well, I was on there first and the FCC says... so, they need to move somewhere else.' But what they may not understand is that ham radio satellite frequencies are specified both within the FCC rules and by international agreement, and are assigned prior to launch and CANNOT be changed once in orbit. (Incidentally, some of the satellites currently in use were launched before internet linking existed! FO-29 is over 20 years old.) This situation would be no different than if someone starting having a simplex conversation (or set up a remote linked station) on the input frequency of a terrestrial repeater. The common expectation is for the frequency agile simplex station to move, not the coordinated repeater, right? The difference here is, it is much easier for the typical repeater owner to figure out and contact the person transmitting on the repeater input... with the interference to satellites, not so much.

    So PLEASE... help spread the word. The two primary satellite sub bands 145.80-146.00 MHz and 435.00-438.00 MHz may very well be in use, despite never hearing any signals there. And while setting up a small station there may seem harmless, please remember that even at very low power a receiver overhead in the sky may hear you better than someone a half mile down the road! Great interference can be caused, not just to other hams, but many of these satellites are conducting educational and scientific experiments and are transmitting telemetry to the ground. This is one of the ways that the ham satellite groups gotten access to launch opportunities is by a cooperative effort with educational institutions... the experiments benefit education and science and when they are done (or even at the same time) we get to play radio over them. (Simply put, they get a platform and we get a ride. Win-win!) So again, lots more folks are affected than just a couple of hams across town.

    Bottom line... even though it sounds clear, yes, the frequency may be in use.

    Thank you for any efforts to get the word out in the VHF/UHF and internet linking communities!
    KX4O, WE4B and WD9EWK like this.
  2. ND5Y

    ND5Y Ham Member QRZ Page

    It's not just simplex users. A couple years or so ago I ran across some guy on EchoLink with a repeater on 435 MHz.
  3. NC5P

    NC5P Ham Member QRZ Page

    This would include all the digital hotspots being set up all over the world, in addition to the analog linking. Some are running medium power mobile radios or even regular repeater converted to digital with MMDVM. In addition to interfering with satellite work, some have put these on control and link frequencies used for linked repeater systems such as Cactus. The coordinators won't release any information on those as they are confidential. They also will not tell you that a particular frequency is or isn't in use. If you use them some very nasty letters may show up in your mailbox or a crowd of angry foxhunters at your door. It is best to use frequencies set aside for itinerant or low power use that are often listed on the coordinators' web pages. Look on their band plan chart or list. If they don't list those they should be able to recommend ones they keep in reserve for such purposes. They won't assign these to individuals or guarantee any protection but they are part of the band plan to keep such operations off regular assigned frequencies and out of the satellite sub-bands.
    WD9EWK likes this.
  4. KD8DVR

    KD8DVR Ham Member QRZ Page

    I never operate without checking the band plan first. It's on my wall, and the internet is always a source too. No excuse for not reading the band plan and following it.
  5. KJ4JSN

    KJ4JSN Ham Member QRZ Page

    I have just filed a complaint to the FCC about the IRLP 9050 East Coast Reflector in south Florida is interfearing on 146.520 simplex??This has been a simplex frequency forever!!! it seem the node for the reflector keeps switching from A to B and ends up on 146.520.. I have emailed them and it has ben corrected but keep coming back on 146.520 there is a fair amount of operators from Jupiter to s Dade counties that all use this frequency.It would seem that these group of hams should have to follow the same rules as regular coordinated repeaters do?? Hopefully this can get resolved we will see...
  6. KA9JLM

    KA9JLM Ham Member QRZ Page

    Simplex nodes are operating on simplex. So I see it as legal operation.

    Good idea, Not so much.

    Contacting the owner of the node may get better results. The reflector has little control of who connects to what.

    Good Luck.
  7. KQ0J

    KQ0J XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    Yes, if you listen you will get the ID of the Node station that is transmitting the signal. If you know CW. You can look up the node details on the internet - along with the PL tone for access. FYI - DTMF tones of '73' are standard for disconnecting the node from another.

    You can go to this website and see what nodes are connected to 9050 when you have the issue and you can also use that site to look up the location and frequency of individual nodes.

    I have my own Nano Node and have it set up on 445.800 , not on 2M . Many ops do the ham community a service by setting up a simplex node so others with no node of their own, or no local repeaters that are IRLP linked to be able to use them.

    I have seen the same issue ( but never saw anyone use 146.52 - DUH ! ) , but .43,.46, .55 etc. Good to see dead simplex frequencies used for something productive.
  8. KM6DYO

    KM6DYO Ham Member QRZ Page

    Well, I'm an IRLP node owner. I was originally on 430 MHz, until my transceiver died (that's a story in itself). I was originally operating on 434.100 MHz, which when I looked up was a simplex frequency. Now I operate a simplex 2m node on 147.55 MHz. I see no excuse for not looking at the band plan and listening to make sure the frequency is clear for use. Although my node operates at 5 Watts, I'm leary I'm interfering with someone! ;)
  9. KA9JLM

    KA9JLM Ham Member QRZ Page

    I have seen many nodes on .52

    You should run PL to avoid interference.

    Nobody owns any frequency. Unless you buy it from the FCC.
    KM6DYO likes this.
  10. QRZFAN2

    QRZFAN2 QRZ Member

    " It is best to use frequencies set aside for itinerant or low power use that are often listed on the coordinators' web pages"

    Where can we find the coordinators' web pages to look at? Thanks

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