USA repeater callsigns

Discussion in 'Echolink/IRLP Tech Board' started by M0LMK, Feb 15, 2017.

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  1. M0LMK

    M0LMK XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    I've taken the rather good "echolinkrandom" script from K0KN which runs on our repeater controller and i've modified it to create a subset of scripts. The scripts are called by dialing a DTMF shortcode on the repeater (*565 for example) and will randomly pick an echolink connected node from the online list of current logons.

    I've modified the code so different shortcodes run different scripts so for example, *565 will select a random UK repeater only whilst *566 will connect to a random US repeater. I filter the logons by looking for the start of the callsign (callsigns starting with GB in the UK are all repeaters) and then matching the -R to ensure it's a repeater and not a personal node.

    It's a great feature and enjoyed by several users to connect to new repeaters all over the world. We call it Echolink Roulette.

    The problem I have is the the US seems to have a lot of personal repeaters which are quiet most of the time. So, my question is, do (non-personal) US repeaters have a defined prefix (like all UK repeaters are GB) that I can use to filter them?

  2. K7JEM

    K7JEM Ham Member QRZ Page

    No, not at all.

    Repeaters used to have distinct callsigns that started with WR. One of the local repeaters here was WR7AGK. But all of that ended around 1978 or so. Today, any amateur or club can put up a repeater using their callsign.
  3. M0LMK

    M0LMK XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    I feared as much.


  4. KF5FEI

    KF5FEI Ham Member QRZ Page

    IIRC, US repeaters now have to be "owned" by a club and use the club callsign. However, there are older, legitimate, active repeaters which bear the owner's callsign. There are also a lot of repeaters which exist on paper, but are not actually operational, as well as uncoordinated repeaters which wind up on the repeater lists, but are no longer operational.

    One method you might employ is looking at the registered owner's name to see if it has the words club, group, etc... This would tell you it is likely operational.
  5. WD9EWK

    WD9EWK Ham Member QRZ Page

    That's not the case now. See 97.205(a):

    "Any amateur station licensed to a holder of a Technician, General, Advanced or Amateur Extra Class operator license may be a repeater. A holder of a Technician, General, Advanced or Amateur Extra Class operator license may be the control operator of a repeater, subject to the privileges of the class of operator license held."

    Of course, this doesn't address the issue of what frequencies are used by the repeater, which is usually handled through a group that coordinates repeaters.

    It's been a long time since the days of repeaters having special WR-prefixed call signs in the US. I know that there are some situations where a repeater needs its own call sign, i.e. D-Star (repeater can't use the same call sign as a user who would use the repeater), but this is not an FCC requirement. Clubs can have repeaters under their call signs, operating within the limits of the club license's trustee, and the control operators of the repeaters would then need to comply with the second half of 97.205(a).

  6. KA9JLM

    KA9JLM Ham Member QRZ Page

    Many operators will get a -R and -L for Echolink so that they can have 3 nodes. You do not need a Link or a Repeater to setup the extra nodes.
    If a person wants to link to random repeaters, Linking to the Win System would be the way to go. You can connect to one node, And then let them connect / find you.

    I would never just start connecting to random repeater nodes, Some repeaters do not like being linked too other repeater / systems. Some repeater owners may ban you.

    Have Fun. Allstar beats them all. ;)
  7. M0LMK

    M0LMK XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    Yes, I much prefer AllStar over echolink and the system we use for the repeater is actually an AllStar node with echolink bolted on.

    If keepers don't want other repeaters linking to their own then there is an echolink config to prevent this. Our repeater only links to somewhere else when there is actually a user in control and has a preset disconnect timeout if there is no traffic being passed. I don't see why anyone would run a repeater on Echolink then get annoyed if someone connects to it (either a user on another repeater or a normal echolink user)! I thought the hobby was about making connections, not blocking them.

    Personally, I'm a little despondent with how little activity there is out there. Yesterday we tried 58 different echolink connected repeaters in the US and Canada and didn't get a single reply :(

    I think this thread has run it's course. I've received the answers to my question and am more knowledgeable for it. Thanks to everyone for your input.

  8. W5TXR

    W5TXR XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    You feared as much? The UK amateur radio rules are way too restrictive. I’m here (US) military only for another year, I have learned a lot. I now appreciate the American amateur radio FCC rules. I had some repeaters up un the US, I wanted to pu5 up one in the UK and discovered that OFCOM is a tyrant organization. I feel sorry for UK hams, y’all can’t do anything without the okay from mother OFCOM! We are extremely fortunate to have the freedoms we have in ham radio....extremely lucky!
  9. M0LMK

    M0LMK XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    Thank you for your insights into our licensing system and how it compares to the US. Personally, I like the way the UK system prevents random repeaters popping up everywhere and causing interference. Please remember that we are just a small island with no where near as much space as the US.

    Judging from the need to revive a 9 month old post without adding anything to the original question, I feel that something may have got lost in translation. When I posted the phrase "I feared as much" back in February it was not a slur on the US licensing system but was in regards to the fact that it makes creating a programming a solution to manipulate a list difficult.

    At the time of the post, I was writing a piece of code to run on a Raspberry Pi that could download the list of current Echolink logins and filter them. For example, if I wanted to see all of the UK based repeaters I could filter the list to show only callsigns that started with "GB" since all of the repeaters here callsigns that start with GB. The same applies to many parts of the world but the US was not as easy due to the fact that anyone can install a repeater without having to give it a unique callsign or identifier. It's also not helped by the fact that most keepers don't bother to add "-R" to the callsign when adding it to the Echolink system.

    I hope that clears up my use of the phrase and you can recognise that it was not used as an attack on the US licensing system.
  10. KA9JLM

    KA9JLM Ham Member QRZ Page

    Then I would not even classify that as a REAL repeater.
    M0LMK likes this.

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