Guide - Guidelines for All BARN Systems
The Bay Area Repeater Net maintains open repeater systems
for all licensed GMRS users, and BARN members alike. Most of our
repeater systems have an average range of 100 miles. Here's a
brief list of the available repeater systems we operate:
- BARN-R1: San Francisco / Monterey Bay Area (G-Link Enabled)
- BARN-R2: King City (pending)
- BARN-R3: Bakersfield (pending)
- BARN-R4: Tehachapi (pending)
- BARN-R5: Barstow (pending)
- BARN-R6: East Bay (pending)
- BARN-R7: Central Valley (pending)
- BARN-R8: Sacramento (pending)
- BARN-R9: Redding/Chico (pending)
Although all of our repeater systems are open and free to use,
we do request that you review the system guidelines below, and
all FCC Rules found within Part 95, Subpart A & D.
What is a repeater?
A repeater is an automatically controlled transmitter and
receiver that simply transmits what the receiver hears. By placing
repeaters at sites with high elevation and antennas atop large
towers, workable coverage is greatly increased.
What is a courtesy tone?
A courtesy tone is a short tone or series of tones that sound
over the transmitter of a repeater when someone unkeys a radio.
So, when you let up off the mic, you hear a tone. This tone serves
three purposes: 1) to let the other people on frequency know
you are finished talking; 2) to let the repeater timer reset
(more on this later); and 3) to give a one second pause for anyone
who might need to break into a conversation for emergency purposes.
More advanced repeater systems will provide information by courtesy
tone. Some repeaters will give a tone that does up or down in
pitch according to how well your signal is to the repeater. For
instance, a low tone may mean that the repeater is hearing you
S1, while a high tone may mean S9. (S=signal / number=meter strength).
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What is a repeater (or dropout) timer?
Timers are used on repeaters in the event that someone may
accidentally keep their radio keyed for an extended period of
time. Usually this happens if a microphone gets caught in between
the seats in a car or someone sits atop a microphone. After a
certain amount of time that is determined by the owner(s) of
the repeater, the repeater will turn itself off until the signal
disappears. This helps the repeater from overheating. Most repeaters
have a timer of three to five minutes. So, if you talk for more
than three minutes at a time, the repeater may not be there when
you unkey! The repeater timer resets when you hear a courtesy
tone. Then, you have another three to five minutes of time to
chat! (This timer is also good for keeping long-winded people
in line and give someone else a chance to talk!!!)
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Repeater courtesy is very important. Since many of us enjoy
the use of repeaters daily, and many of us have to share a repeater,
courtesy is a must. Probably the most courteous thing to do on
a repeater is to wait until a conversation that is currently
on a repeater is over before making a call. Unless you have an
emergency, don't interrupt the conversation. If you are in simplex
range, try not to tie up the repeater; use simplex. But, by all
means, if you have an emergency, don't hesitate to break in.
The General Mobile Radio Service and the Amateur Radio Service
is designed for emergency and family communications. Anytime
life or property is in danger, don't be afraid to break in!!
Another very courteous thing to do is to wait until the "roger
tone" sounds before talking. People who quick-key may not leave
enough room for someone to break in. Also, the repeater time-out
timer (TOT) cannot reset and may cut off your message. This timer is 3 mins.
All BARN GMRS repeater systems use unit numbers. For example, the R1
system callsign is "WPUI299". The user of this callsign
uses the unit number "299". These are the last 3 digits
of the callsign. -- Some callsigns have 3 digits while the older
ones have 4 digits. Pre-assigned unit numbers begining with "21xx",
"88xx", and "89xx" are users under the third-party
rule, where they may use a GMRS radio only if accompanied and issued by a
licensed GMRS individual. -- Regardless of how you announce yourself,
always be sure to clear the system with your full callsign as a
courtesy to others and the system owner.
Bay Area Repeater Net currently has six system trustees: WPUI299,
WQPB602, WPYN438, WQMG760, WQVI400, and WQUX714. During priority traffic, an emergency,
or during a system control, if either of these users instructs you or the
system with directions or announces a system status, please follow
what they say and give them priority during these times. When
they are done with their instructions, they will clear the system
by either announcing their callsign or by saying:
"This is (callsign)
with Bay Area Repeater Net: System traffic may return to normal.
Below are some DOs and DON'Ts based on an article in the June
1992 issue of QST. While a few of these may not be covered in
the FCC Part 95 rules, they are mandatory to follow on
all BARN repeater systems.
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- Speak clearly. Give your radio a second to come on after
you key your mic as well as a second to turn off. You may cut
yourself off by not waiting for your radio to respond. This is
also critical when using our G-Link repeaters as it may take a
second or two to key up.
- If you hear a jammer, IGNORE HIM! (report him to a trustee off
the air). Comments toward jammers simply add fuel to the fire.
Just try to bear with it and keep on talking as if you couldn't
even hear the jammer. Our trustees will handle the issue promptly.
- Please follow and respect all BARN trustees. They are appointed
administrators of BARN to control and maintain all BARN repeaters. If they
ask you to do something or to stop using the system, please abide by
their requests. Failure to listen to or follow the trustees directions
will result in loss of membership, use of the repeater network, or
trespass charge (worse case).
- Be sure to identify every fifteen minutes with your callsign!
This is not a courtesy, but an FCC rule. It is a courtesy,
however, to not overidentify. Don't ID every time you key the mic.
- Always be friendly and courteous! Always remember that there
are other licensed users (and non-licensed users) listening!
- When in a group discussion, it is courteous to list the callsigns
currently in the conversation before you ID. The person to talk
next is always listed first.
For example, you are finishing your
transmission and it is WPAA333's turn to talk, and KAD2222 just
talked before you did. So, you would say, "WPAA333 and KAD2222,
this is KAG2222." For larger groups, "WPAA333 and the
group" will work. By listing the people in the conversation,
others will be reminded not to forget the other people waiting
to add something to the conversation. This also keeps the person
happy who's been waiting for several minutes to talk because
he knows he's not forgotten.
- DO support the repeater you use. Repeaters are not cheap!
-- An average system's cost can start at $3,000 just for the
equipment, and another $200+ for the site.
- DO say "clear" after you are done calling someone
that was not on frequency or when you are finished with a conversation.
This informs others waiting to use the repeater that you're done.
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- Don't use radio jargon. Q signals and the like are seldom
used on UHF. Simply talk as if you were using the telephone.
The best way to realize this is to listen to experienced licensed
users. - 95.183(a)(4)
- Don't quick-key! Please wait for the courtesy beep to sound,
and then wait another 2-3 seconds before talking. This allows
for announcements, emergency traffic, or the Control Operator
to use the system. -- It is normal to hear the carrier squelch
after the courtesy beep. Once you hear the courtesy beep and
wait for 2-3 seconds, you may start talking.
- NEVER announce "break break..." unless you have
a life-threatening emergency that the entire network needs to hear.
We take ALL emergency calls seriously, especially when linked
through our G-Link network. Reporting false emergency traffic is a
serious crime and can be charged as a felony by the FCC and/or the
local 911 dispatch center. - 95.183(a)(10)
- Never use the term "mayday" on any BARN system.
This term is used for ship-to-shore radio traffic only. - 95.183(a)(10)
- Don't use the repeater to talk to a near-by station.
Use simplex when possible. If you do make contact with a distant
station, be sure to leave room for people who also need the use
of the repeater.
- Don't use excessive mic gain. Distorted audio is very annoying.
- Don't use harsh or foul language while on the repeater. Respect
those who are on the system and take personal matters elsewhere.
This will not be tolerated. - 95.183(a)(7)
- Per FCC Part 95.119(d), it clearly states that "The
station identification must be transmitted in 1) Voice in the
English language; or 2) International Morse code telegraphy."
With this rule in place, I would require that all communications
on all BARN repeater systems be transmitted only in the English
language, so there is no confusion or hidden messages between
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For more information about BARN, the repeater system, or BARN
membership, contact us via our Contact
Rev 1.9 January, 2016
Original article written by: EARS Wide Area Repeater Network