Discussed at the ORSI Summer Meeting during Ham Holiday 2017

A small group of ORSI members got together during the OKC Ham Holiday 2017. Since the turnout was small and our president Duane KC5NID couldn't make it. Also our NE, SE, and SW directors weren't there, we just held some informal discussions.

1. We want to stick with the format of alternating the site for the Fall meeting between the Enid Hamfest and the Texoma Hamarma in alternating years. Therefore, this years meeting will be at Ardmore during the Texoma Hamarama during the last weekend of October. (We might have an ORSI interest table at Enid, but no meeting this year.)

2. The consensus was to have our main meeting, the spring meeting in Stillwater like we had been doing. THe reason we didn't this year, was due to the Green Country Hamfest moving their date into April, just kind of through things off. Dan K5FVL, who lives in Stillwater informed us that the restaurant, we used formerly the Sirloin Stockade, had changed names. We will need to see if it is still available. We like the Stillwater location, since it is kind of on the border between our NE district and the NW district. It is also about equidistant between Tulsa and Oklahoma City, the state's two largest metropolitan areas, and where most of the repeaters are. Although there are a good number of them in the Lawton/Altus areas.
Also having the meeting independent of a Hamfest, reduces the distractions of a Hamfest. So we can concentrate on Society business a little better.

3. Our treasurer, Jay K5GUD who is also our NW director didn't have a formal report for us, but said we had over $4000 in the bank, and the only expenditure he had was P. O. box rental. The coordinator and Tulsa District director, Merlin WB5OSM, reported he had P. O. box rental, and and renewed our release on our domain name for the web-site for next three years. Also there will be a small bill for computer repair. He also said the with modern trends we did very little business through the P. O. box and he was thinking about getting rid of it. However, we had not done a major mailout campaign for coordination updates for several years, and we needed to do that. Bob W5RAB, said he was available to help with that. THe consensus was that we have plenty of money, so we can keep both P. O. boxes. Merlin also gave Jay a check from ARRL, for this year's repeater listings. He hadn't looked at the check, but it is usually a little over $200. Jay also received dues from a number of the member's present. There was a question about inviting coordination holders to join ORSI. Merlin said he normally sends a statement out with construction permits, that states "While repeater frequency coordination is a free service of Oklahoma Repeater Society INC. We encourage repeater trustees to support this effort, by joining ORSI. Dues are $10.00/ year and usually due at the first meeting of the year. We also encourage repeater trustees to come and participate in our meetings. We normally hold one in the Spring and one in the Fall. There was also a question about, if we would still get a check for publishing our repeater listings in the "ARRL Repeater Directory" each year, since ARRL has contracted publishing the "RD" and managing the data to "RF Finder." Merlin said he understood that "RF Finder" said they would continue this practice. ARRL did this for two reasons, one was to give a little financial support to Frequency Coordinators, and the other was a legal reason, by paying us $1.00 for each repeater listed, we gave them the right to publish this data in the "Repeater Directory" and whatever else they decided to do with the data for a period of one year. THey started publishing the data on a CD, and sharing it with some equipment manufacturers. Such that you could have "Smart Radios" that as you travel through various areas, could automatically find repeaters, and set thing like offsets, PL tones, and what have you. That was the end of the financial discussion.

4. We did bring up the subject of ARRL and their relation with RF Finder. ARRL we believe will still publish the hard copy Repeater Directory, RF Finder does most of the work, and RF Finder will publish everything else, and work with equipment manufacturers. The primary reason the League cited for doing this, was financial. They claim that the Repeater Directory had gone from a cash cow, to a financial liability, and they just couldn't afford to devote staff to it anymore. Mike, N5MS who is an attorney, also said that some of this may be due to the fact, that FCC a few years ago started backing repeater coordination, by enforcing that if an uncoordinated repeater interfered with a coordinated repeater, the control operator of the uncoordinated repeater, would have to take action to resolve the interference. Usually shut his machine down. Then preferably work with a recognized frequency coordinator to get a coordinated frequency pair. The next question is how do you know a repeater is coordinated. The FCC said it says so in the "ARRL Repeater Directory." They cited is as a "nationally recognized publication." This may be making ARRL nervous, what if the information in the "RD" is wrong? Could they be held liable? The FCC has tried for several years, to get the League to take on the repeater coordination can of worms, and really neither the League or FCC wants the "hot potato." So they kind of keep tossing it to each other, so the League came up with a solution, give it to somebody else. A somewhat mysterious third party. Hey! now we can really play hot potato and the blame game. Merlin said not only this, but technical reasons too, repeater coordination is changing rapidly. Used to there were just FM repeaters, and some of those were linked together. Now we have FM, NBFM, D-Star, DMR, P-25, and Yaesu goes and really muddies the waters with their "System Fusion" where the same box can be digital or analog on the same frequency, and we may or may not link it over the internet. Then some people are trying to build bridges so that all of these digital modes can talk to each other. Right now the VoIP modes are mostly a tower of Babel and don't talk to each other. So publishing the information is more complicated, and since a lot of this is mostly software defined, it's just a matter of time before somebody invents a new one.

There was also the attempt to form a national coordination entity called NFCC, they got started after the FCC mentioned they would like for something like that to happen. So a group started organizing and then went to the FCC to get the official blessing from them, the FCC asked for some changes to their bylaws and policies, then when they came back to the FCC, the FCC said they still wouldn't bless them if the ARRL didn't bless them. The ARRL basically side-stepped the issue, but in effect they shot the NFCC down, without formally saying get lost. As far as we can tell now the NFCC is basically dead. It appears someone tries to give it a little CPR now and then, but so far things are very quiet on that front. It really had the appearance that the FCC wanted ARRL to take on repeater coordination in the U. S. however, ARRL appears to be very disinterested in doing so.

5. We got a little into the coordination standards, right now, except for the SNP frequencies we are using 90 miles as the standard to reuse a frequency. This is being applied on all bands and for both analog and digital systems. We are considering going to a tiered coordination, based on height above average terrain of the repeaters transmit antenna. So that backyard repeaters don't tie up a channel for 90 miles when they only have 20-30 mile range. Bob W5RAB said the problem was somebody gets approval to put up a backyard repeater, then gets permission to put his repeater on 500' commercial tower. He will probably just move it without bothering to check with the frequency coordinator. Merlin WB5OSM said he's had a few cases of that happening. I've even had a a few guys pack up a repeater when they moved from another state, and thought they could just unpack it, and put it on the air here. The good thing is most of them did check with me first. Also there is more programmable equipment out there today, and the trustee can simply reprogram his machine to the new frequency. They may have a little challenge though re-tuning the cavities. We do need to point out that when you coordinate a repeater, it is coordinated for a specific frequency at specific geographic coordinates. If you change either of those parameters, it is no longer a coordinated repeater. If it subsequently interferes with a coordinated repeater, the liability will lie with the trustee that moved his machine.

6. Next the proposal from the Missouri Repeater Council to create a digital sub-band on two meters on channels that had been traditionally used for simplex operations. They use 1 MHz offsets. Their reason given was that trustees were wanting to put up digital machines, such as DMR, and Fusion, and in their metropolitan areas, like St. Louis and Kansas City, there are no two meter pairs available. Yaseu has a policy that they will not sell you a system fusion repeater until you send them a construction permit or coordination certificate from a recognized frequency coordinator. Now with them, if you already have a pair, you can operate it as a standard analog machine. Just replacing your existing equipment. D-Star and DMR on the other hand, no such luck. Merlin WB5OSM, said he knew when Texas made a similar move, they threw a rock at hornet's nest. They have so many major population centers there are no clear channels. So no matter what you do you are going to interfere with somebody. Right now, here in Oklahoma, with the exception the OKC metro area, and far NE OK, we still have some two meter frequencies available, and so far the only inquiry we've had concerning DMR on VHF, the trustee decided to put up hot spot on a simplex frequency. No one has complained, and ORSI's policy is what goes on the simplex frequencies, we don't get involved with. The one that Missouri asked for clearance for, the system was far enough from the Oklahoma state line, that I doubted anyone in Oklahoma would even know it was there. Also the frequencies they picked for input and output, I did not know of any organized activity there. To date, no one has complained about it. So my guess is they didn't create harmful interference to anything here, and that is the main goal of all of this, is to keep harmful interference to a minimum.