Our repeater

Our VHF repeater is located atop the water tower on the grounds of the Lake Wales high school.
Vertex Standard VX7000 or Yaesu DR-1 running at 50 watts.
Output is 147.330Mhz
Input is 147.930Mhz
PL Tone 127.3
Operational April 2015:
Our UHF repeater will be located in Dundee.
Vertex Standard VX7000U or Yaesu DR-1X running at 50 watts.
Output is 442.425Mhz
Input is 447.425Mhz
PL Tone 127.3
Map of confirmed coverage here. Green flags indicate confirmed reports.
K4LKW REPEATER SYSTEM

The LWRA, Inc. (a not-for-profit Florida corporation) sponsor of the K4LKW Repeater System allows operators, especially those using mobile and low-powered handheld transceivers, to communicate reliably over longer distances.
The K4LKW Repeater System is for use by:
(1) Participants during club nets, relief efforts and projects of the Amateur Radio Emergency Service (ARES) and its served agencies, as well as general conversation between and among duly licensed amateur radio operators.
(2) Members of the LWRA Inc. (Lake Wales Repeater Assn.) Users are expected to be LWRA members. Membership is available for only $24 per year for an individual. Bulk family rate also available.
(3) Mobile operators passing through and short-term visitors to Central Florida.                                                                                             (4) Participants in other activities approved by the LWRA Repeater Trustee. To contact the trustee send an e-mail to K4KH@ryanstudios.net.
(5) The K4LKW Repeater System is intended to be a meeting point for LWRA members and to provide a public service. K4LKW is associated with Polk County Amateur Radio Emergency Service (ARES) as a backup in time of emergency operations should the WC4PEM (Bartow and Davenport, FL) repeaters fail or be inundated with emergency traffic.

K4LKW OPERATING RULES

FCC Part 97.119 (a) Each amateur station, except a space station or telecommand station, must transmit its assigned call sign on its transmitting channel at the end of each communication, and at least every 10 minutes during a communication, for the purpose of clearly making the source of the transmissions from the station known to those receiving the transmissions. No station may transmit unidentified communications or signals, or transmit as the station call sign, any call sign not authorized to the station.

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(1) No communications are permitted with persons not holding a valid Amateur Radio license except for transmissions in compliance with FCC rules on third party traffic and control operator supervision. For an unlicensed person to key a transmitter on Amateur Radio bands, the immediate presence of a properly-licensed operator is required. This means that the control (licensed) operator is within a few feet and can observe the operation of the Amateur radio station.

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FCC Part 97.5(a)The station apparatus must be under the physical control of a person named in an amateur station license grant on the ULS consolidated license database or a person authorized for alien reciprocal operation by §97.107 of this part, before the station may transmit on any amateur service frequency from any place that is:

(1) Within 50 km of the Earth’s surface and at a place where the  amateur service is regulated by the FCC;
(2) Within 50 km of the Earth’s surface and aboard any vessel or craft that is documented or registered in the United States; or
(3) More than 50 km above the Earth’s surface aboard any craft that is documented or registered in the United States.

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(1) If an operator fails to identify with his or her Amateur Radio call, consider that person to be unlicensed. After a request for their call sign, do not communicate with or acknowledge any transmissions made by unidentified/unlicensed operators. If you hear someone with a questionable call, you can verify via http://www.qrz.com

(2) Do not discuss any details about jammers or jamming on the air at any time and do not acknowledge jammers in any manner.

Use procedures shown below to assist in determining the location of an unidentified/unlicensed operator. When input from observers is sufficient to identify a source of illegal transmissions, details will be filed with the Federal Communications Commission and other agencies for enforcement action. Penalties for malicious transmissions can total thousands of dollars in fines and legal costs plus several years in prison.

(3) Communications must be non-commercial. Prohibitions have been relaxed by the FCC. One may order fast food or conduct some personal business. But an operator is not allowed to benefit financially from using Amateur Radio. One could not use ham radio to dispatch employees of a profit-making business (except as outlined by the FCC regarding hospitals and other commercial entities in time of emergency, or an emergency drill, when an employee of a particular entity is a duly licensed amateur radio operator on duty at their job) or to solicit customers. It is permissible to disseminate information on personal gear for sale or trade on nets and during conversations.

FCC RULES & COMMENTS ON PROHIBITED COMMUNICATIONS  SECTION 97.113(a)

(a) No amateur station shall transmit:

(1) Communications specifically prohibited elsewhere in this Part;

(2) Communications for hire or for material compensation, direct or indirect, paid or promised, except as otherwise provided or amended in these rules;

(3) Communications in which the station licensee or control operator has a pecuniary interest, including communications on behalf of an employer. Amateur operators may, however, notify
other amateur operators of the availability for sale or trade of apparatus normally used in an amateur station, provided that such activity is not conducted on a regular basis;….

(4) Music using a phone emission except as specifically provided elsewhere in this section; communications intended to facilitate a criminal act, messages encoded for the purpose of obscuring their meaning, except as otherwise provided herein; obscene or indecent words or language; or false or deceptive messages, signals or identification.

OPERATING TIPS

The K4LKW Repeater System has only a very short “beep” and delay (hang time) at the end of each transmission. It is good procedure to pause between transmissions for a second or two so that other stations may call, and to give the repeater time to “drop” so it does not “time out” due to constant use without a break. Allow a second of lead time when you key your microphone before speaking. This allows equipment time to engage and “repeat” your transmission. PTT means “push-to-talk,” but on the repeater it also means “push then talk.”

To join a conversation, simply announce your complete call or suffix of your call during a break. When joining a conversation and at all other times use your complete call sign.

ANNOUNCEMENTS

Voice announcements concerning LWRA activities such as meetings, testing sessions and group events are made periodically to advise members. A digital voice announcer (DVA) is used for these announcements.

A DVA identification occurs at the top of every hour and approximately every 10 minutes during the hour.

REPEATER INTERFERENCE REPORTS

K4LKW Repeater system users are requested to assist in determining the source of interference. In addition to obvious malicious jamming, interference may consist of short bursts or repetitive keying.

Follow these steps when you note interference:

(1) Switch to the input frequency
(147.930 MHz) and note strength of the interfering signal. Even an HT is valuable for this purpose. This is the most important thing to do first.

(2) If your station includes a rotating beam antenna, determine the direction of maximum signal strength on 147.930 MHz.

(3) Send a report by e-mail to the repeater trustee, K4KH@ryanstudios.net. Note the direction of signal peak and/or strength. Terms such as “no signal…weak signal….moderate signal….strong signal…..full-scale signal” etc. can be used along with directional compass quadrants or headings from your location. Also note any background sounds or unique characteristics. Reports also can be made by telephone to the repeater trustee (Thomas 863-605-1715).

(4) If the signal on 147.930 MHz is very strong, disconnect your antenna and note if the signal is still heard. If so, the source is within a few blocks.

(5) If time permits, go mobile and attempt driving in an ever expanding circle away from the repeater site and note where signal peaks occur on the input frequency based upon the signal meter on your mobile rig.

(6) If jamming consists of very short transmissions (under five seconds or so), using a second radio to monitor the repeater input frequency simultaneously may help you prepare a more accurate report. Remember that reports of “no input signal heard” are very valuable in narrowing down the location of the source.

(7) Do not communicate with a person believed to be unlicensed. As reports from users in various parts of the coverage area increase, the likelihood of locating the source also increases.

Q & A ABOUT THE K4LKW REPEATER SYSTEM

1. HOW MANY TRANSMITTERS DOES THE SYSTEM HAVE?

There are two transceiver, one on 147.330 +600 Khz., and through a lease agreement between LWRA and the City of Lake Wales, its antenna is on top of the water tower near Lake Wales High School. The antenna is approximately 150 feet above ground on one of the higher points of land in this area (on the ridge). Placing it 380 feet above sea level. There is a 442.425 MHz UHF+ 5Mhz repeater transmitter on top of the Dundee Water Tower which will be able to link to the 147.330 MHz system. The UHF repeater has a shorter antenna height and no remote receivers. Coverage is generally limited to a much smaller area.

2. IS THERE A CTCSS ENCODE TONE FOR THE SYSTEM?

Yes. Both of the repeaters require a CTCSS sub-audible access tone of 127.3 Hz. Not using this tone will cause the repeater to come up when you first begin your transmission, but it will drop out within mere seconds if it does not sense the proper CTCSS tone. From time-to-time, you may hear one of our members advising another station to set their “PL” tone to 127.3 so they may access the repeater.

3. ARE THERE ANY OTHER 147.330 REPEATER SYSTEMS THAT CAN BE HEARD IN THE LAKE WALES AREA?

Yes. There is one to the East in Brevard County FL, on the East coast, one to the South in Ft. Lauderdale, FL, and a third repeater located to the North, in the Gainesville, FL area, as well as others within 500 miles. If the band conditions are “open”, other repeaters can be heard. The best way to reduce their signal is to increase your squelch setting or set your receiver to decode only the 127.3 Hz CTCSS tone. Most of the other repeaters have different CTCSS tones to prevent interference. At the time of this writing, there are no other repeaters in Florida on the 442.425 UHF repeater frequency.

4. IS THERE A REQUIREMENT TO IDENTIFY AT THE BEGINNING OF A TRANSMISSION ON THE K4LKW REPEATER SYSTEM?

No. But it also makes good sense as there is a FCC Part 97 Rule that prohibits the transmission of a signal to an unlicensed person. When a call is received in a clear, readable manner, the opportunity for call verification is available. So best practices would be to identify as soon as reasonable during a communication. The official FCC rule is as follows:

FCC Part 97.119 (a) Each amateur station, except a space station or telecommand station, must transmit its assigned call sign on its transmitting channel at the end of each communication, and at least every 10 minutes during a communication, for the purpose of clearly making the source of the transmissions from the station known to those receiving the transmissions. No station may transmit unidentified communications or signals, or transmit as the station call sign, any call sign not authorized to the station.

5. IS LWRA,Inc. MEMBERSHIP REQUIRED TO USE THE REPEATER?

Generally yes, all regular users are expected to be LWRA members. Repeater systems are not free to keep up; with maintenance, leasing fees, insurance, replacement, or upgrade of equipment  All of this requires members to help with costs of upkeep. With our low dues rate, there is no excuse for any regular user not to be a member. Exceptions to this policy are made for repeater use during our regularly scheduled Tuesday night net, emergency activation’s, drills and nets by ARES and SkyWarn, or other organizations should the Bartow ARES repeater fail, or be inundated with emergency traffic. Short-term visitors to our area and out-of-state or out of area mobile operators passing through are also exceptions.

6. WHAT SHOULD I DO IF I COMMUNICATE WITH A NON-MEMBER ON THE REPEATER?

Most likely you will hear mobiles visiting or passing through the area. Many times these stations use the repeater to ask questions about the area, obtain driving directions, or simply just to say, “hello” as they pass through. If you hear other users on a regular basis over a lengthy period of time, especially base station operators, invite them to join our organization and invite them to a monthly club meeting. Dues are only $24.00 per year; there is no better bargain around. LWRA, Inc. members are listed via the roster on www.LWRA.US and membership information for prospects is available there also. Several of our members actually reside “up North” but, spend considerable time in the Polk County area during the winter months. Dues help support the cost of monthly electricity bills, Insurance, lightning damage, repeater maintenance and parts, new antennas, tower climbers, etc.

7. CAN I ACKNOWLEDGE OR COMMUNICATE WITH UNLICENSED OR UNIDENTIFIED OPERATORS?

Please do not discuss any details about “jammers or jamming” on the air at any time and do not acknowledge jammers in any manner. No communications are permitted with persons not holding a valid Amateur Radio license except for transmissions in compliance with FCC rules on third party traffic and control operator supervision.

8. WHAT SHOULD I DO WHEN UNLICENSED OPERATORS OR JAMMERS APPEAR?

Use procedures listed above to assist in determining the location of the unidentified/unlicensed operator. When input from observers is sufficient to identify a source of illegal transmissions, details will be filed by the repeater trustee with the Federal Communications Commission and other agencies for enforcement action.

9. CAN LICENSED HAMS BE BANNED FROM A REPEATER?

Yes, Closed repeaters have been recognized and legal for many years. FCC Part 97.205 (e) states “limiting the use of a repeater to only certain user stations is permissible.” There is no rule which requires a repeater sponsor to let everyone use it. Those who do not follow FCC rules and the rules set forth by the K4LKW Trustee can be disqualified at will from using the repeater system equipment and/ or FCC enforcement action.

For any specific rules, please refer to the FCC Part 97, or the local repeater information on our web site. For the K4LKW Repeater, please visit www.LWRA.US for several items of interest including K4LKW repeater rules and protocols. FCC Part 97, which governs all of Ham Radio, makes it clear that the trustee, who is in charge of the repeater, has total control, and responsibility for the system. The repeater system trustee has the right, under Federal Law, FCC Part 97, to deny access to anyone they choose at any time, and to silence the system in the case of misuse or conduct not in the standards of the repeater. Please identify and clearly, with your full call sign, at the beginning of a conversation, every ten minutes during the conversation, and at the end. All this information is intended to produce better, well informed Ham Radio Operators.

Let’s keep our standards high!

The underlying theme to all this is to operate your station properly and assist others to enjoy the fun of amateur radio. Exchanging information, talking about the weather or myriad other subjects is what it’s all about. Use the repeater and “have fun” but, also be considerate of others, and understand that if the repeater is in use for a net, emergency traffic or other serious communications, it’s best to “stand-by” and listen until the repeater is released for normal operation. Although our hobby is referred to as “amateur,” we can certainly be “professional” in our operating techniques.

Check out http://www.ham-operating-ethics.org/versions.html

The FCC stance on over the air transmissions

Part 97 rules regarding prohibited transmissions