Olympus 2022 Road Rally: Observation about simplex operation and ham courtesy

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Rod Johnson

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Apr 27, 2022, 1:28:32 AMApr 27
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This last weekend, there were probably 100 hams ( and many more non-hams) in the woods generally west of Shelton, in support of the Olympus 2022 Road Rally.  This is a high speed, one car per minute event, on closed private timber land, and on gravel forest and logging roads.  Competitors come from all parts of the country, and from Canada.
  The faster cars often average over 60 MPH for sections a long as 20 miles, and some cars have been clocked at over 100 mph for short stretches (yes, straight, but short) .
 
  The events typically use three of four standard simplex radio frequencies, with each stage using a single frequency for comms on that stage for safety safety communications.  Each stage is operational for about two to three hours including setup and tear-down time.  The bulk of the critical communication is about 1-1/2 hours when the high speed cars are competing on any specific stage road section.. We announce roughly when rally  cars enter the course, and when they have completed the course. That way we know what cars are on the course at all times and in which order. 
  There are hams at many mid-point locations, watching the car order.  If a vehicle does not arrive at a mid-point in roughly the order it started, a notice may be sent out to find out the last known location of that out of order vehicle.
  Subsequently finishing cars will often have noted the location of a vehicle off the road , driving very slowly or completely broken down ( a fairly common occurrence).  Out of some 90 starters, there were less than 60 finishers this last weekend.  Damage such as electrical issues, broken suspensions or drive shafts and transmission failures are fairly common and relatively easily repaired.  Rollovers, and collisions with trees, and fires, are less easily repaired.  Most result in a DNF ( Did Not Finish).

  All this as background for the following rant:
  One stage was attempting to use an established simplex frequency of 147.48.
  There were several local operators who came on, never signed, and then complained that this was their 'chat' frequency.  When politely asked if they could move to allow the rally to use the frequency, for safety of the contestants, all manner of crap came out.  They refused to move.
 
offending stations:  
  "We've been on this for years"
  "you're interfering with us"
  "we are on here all day long"
  "we use it like an intercom"

Us: 
  "there are 100 ham users out here for the event"
offenders:  
  "well you'll have to move, we aren't"
  "you should do some research"  (implying they in some way had priority to the frequency  --  the "it's our channel" mentality)

 Needless to say; I was really disappointed in the lack of cooperation we got from those few operators.

We also heard some weekend SOTA stations, but when contacted, they all agreed to change to different simplex frequencies.


  Rod J
 

 

Paul Butzi

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Apr 27, 2022, 10:55:20 AMApr 27
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  All this as background for the following rant:
  One stage was attempting to use an established simplex frequency of 147.48.

Is ‘147.48’ a typo or that the frequency in question?

-p W7PFB
73, don’t forget to smile and have fun

John MacDuff

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Apr 27, 2022, 3:03:52 PMApr 27
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Rod,
   Sounds like a job for the new ARRL Volunteer Monitors. Here is a link to their WEB site and suggestion of how to report incidents.


As Hams we really should try to keep use of the frequencies open, so I think a report is in order.

John KA7TTY

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Gerard Hickey

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Apr 27, 2022, 3:41:04 PMApr 27
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Not sure if the volunteer monitors can do much of anything. There were not really any rules violated (other than just bad form by the offending stations). Although if the stations could be identified then they could be reminded that they need to identify every 10 mins.

Maybe next year the event should deploy a group of hams with direction finding equipment and baseball bats as corrective and calibration tools :-)

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John MacDuff

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Apr 27, 2022, 9:11:53 PMApr 27
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Not properly IDing is an FCC violation.


Rod Johnson

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Apr 28, 2022, 1:38:29 AMApr 28
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Yes, not a typo.
 Per the 2M band plan, 146.40 to 146.58, and 147.42 to 147.57 are established simplex frequencies.
 146.52 is the National Simplex Calling Frequency. Once a contact is made on the 146.52 frequency, unless if short duration,  operators should move to another simplex frequency to rag chew.
   The event was using three or four specific 2M simplex frequencies at different times. We also had specific permission to use a local repeater (147.13 IIRC) for administratative and any major emergency and coordination needs.
  That repeater allowed us to get a fire truck and/or ambulance in route almost immediately, if needed.
   Rod J

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Paul Butzi

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Apr 28, 2022, 9:49:19 AMApr 28
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On Apr 27, 2022, at 10:38 PM, 'Rod Johnson' via Issaquah Amateur Radio Club <issaqu...@googlegroups.com> wrote:

Yes, not a typo.
 Per the 2M band plan, 146.40 to 146.58, and 147.42 to 147.57 are established simplex frequencies.

The question I have is *which* 2m band plan?  This statement appears to be correct for the ARRL band plan, true.

But I would think we would all want to have our 2m use conform to the WWARA band plan, as WWARA is the coordinator for the area in question.


I see (the relevant part):
147.3950 special UNBD repeater Input #2
147.40625-147.50625 VNBD Repeater Inputs
147.52-147.6 Simplex

I’m still only a few sips into my first cup of coffee but it looks to me like 147.48 MHz lands in the middle of the VNBD repeater inputs.  

Looking at WWARA’s list of current repeater coordinations I see K7SLB repeater, at 146.4750 MHz shift 1.0 MHz tone 110.9.  Note that with the 1.0MHz shift that puts the input frequency at 147.4750.  The location is listed as “Cougar Mtn”, so it’s likely that repeater has pretty good coverage to the west.  I wouldn’t want to depend on being able to reach the repeater from Shelton but it’s certainly not outside the realm of possibility if someone is using, say, a mobile rig putting 50W into a decent 2m antenna.

So I’m wondering why a frequency that overlaps the input of the K7SLB repeater was chosen as a simplex frequency for the comm plan for the event?  


-p W7PFB
73, don’t forget to smile and have fun!

Rod Johnson

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Apr 28, 2022, 1:15:30 PMApr 28
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Paul,
 Thank you for that WWARA band plan
  That is very interesting.
I was not aware the WWARA had split up the ARRL suggested Simplex portions of band plan for the special use of the narrow band FM repeaters.
  The rally community has used the ARRL suggested simplex frequencies for well over thirty years, but thzt is not an excuse for possibly encroaching on other authorized uses..
  I realize that does not give us any more historical rights to the simplex frequencies, tha any other user.
 But throughout our history of use, with very few exceptions, it has not been a problem.  We, the rally community, have been willing and able to move to alternate frequencies, and have done that.  Luckily our event ham coordinator  considered that possibility and the 'Ham plan' has a provision for an 'alternate frequency'.
  Close adjacent NB repeater frequency outputs probably would not affect us in the woods, but our WB transmissions could have a small impact on the repeater input from a close-in RF overload, should our transmissions  reach the repeter location with adequate power, even though we are not using tones.  As  a result of us not using tones, the repeater would not recognize our transmissions.

  The real issue here, was not related in any way to repeaters.

  It was the attitude, lack of any effort to consider other users and the significance of the other users activities , failure to identify over very long periods of time,  (actually never as far as we could determine) and the implication of it being "their frequency'...to quote one of them.." we use it as out intercom".

We will probably be altering our published ham radio simplex frequency choices for the next event.
Rod 
   

  

 


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Mihai Manolache

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Apr 28, 2022, 1:28:07 PMApr 28
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Rod, in my opinion, an e-mail to inform ARRL about the incident would be good. Such things should not be treated light. 

73, 
Mihai (W4MHI) 


Sent from my Verizon, Samsung Galaxy smartphone

Paul Butzi

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Apr 28, 2022, 1:52:20 PMApr 28
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On Apr 28, 2022, at 10:15 AM, 'Rod Johnson' via Issaquah Amateur Radio Club <issaqu...@googlegroups.com> wrote:

Paul,
 Thank you for that WWARA band plan
  That is very interesting.


Glad to help.  2m spectrum is pretty heavily used, so it’s worth helping everyone get along by working from the same bandplan.

  The real issue here, was not related in any way to repeaters.

  It was the attitude, lack of any effort to consider other users and the significance of the other users activities , failure to identify over very long periods of time,  (actually never as far as we could determine) and the implication of it being "their frequency'...to quote one of them.." we use it as out intercom".

I get it.  I was specifically NOT commenting on that, only on the potential for conflict that arises from not conforming to the WWARA bandplan.

That’s all I’ve got - just looked at that frequency and (because I happen to have closely looked at the bandplan a few weeks ago) noticed that it landed in that VNBD repeater region, and I was pretty sure if it was not a typo then you would want to know of the potential conflict.

Rod Johnson

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Apr 28, 2022, 3:23:24 PMApr 28
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Thanks Paul,
  Yes, either 2M band plan is crowded.
 And to complicate things even more, many rally events pass into other states, and even other countries ( Canada being an obvious one for the Washington based rally crowd, with semi-annual events going as far as the Arctic Circle,  based out of this area.
 As result, the ARRL band plan has been a standard for most uses for a very long time.
  The new(ish) WWARA band plan definitely will need to be looked at for the future, particularly as more NB repeaters are shoe-horned in, potentially between established repeater pairs which will may be forced to move.
   Personally, I think there are plenty or repeaters that are way under utilized, and just occupying a frequency pair for no real purpose.
  Rod J


-----Original Message-----
From: Paul Butzi <paulf...@gmail.com>
To: issaqu...@googlegroups.com
Sent: Thu, Apr 28, 2022 10:52 am
Subject: Re: [IARC] Olympus 2022 Road Rally: Observation about simplex operation and ham courtesy

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Paul Butzi

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Apr 28, 2022, 8:32:28 PMApr 28
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For whatever it’s worth the current ARRL bandplan lists 147.42-147.57 Simplex and then 147.6-147.99 as repeater inputs, so it’s not obvious to me whether using 147.5 conforms or not.  The ARRL bandplan seems to be intended for guidance to the various regional frequency coordinators, as there are several important omission that make just using the ARRL plan less than ideal.

The WWARA bandplan has been in existence since at least 2015 (and probably much longer than that), so it really shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone.

A little internet searching netted me:

The BC Amateur Radio Coordination Council (https://bcarcc.org) has two bandplans, one for SW BC and the interior and one for the area adjacent to Alberta, YT, and Alaska

Note that in both their bandplans (both A and B) 147.58 overlaps with an allocation they call ‘Internet linked simplex.

Oregon coordination is done by ORCC http://www.orrc.org

Eastern WA is done by IACC (www.iacc.online)

-p W7PFB
73, don’t forget to smile and have fun!

Daniel Stevens

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May 4, 2022, 1:40:37 AMMay 4
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147.5000 is the input frequency for AF7PR DMR repeater on Lookout Mountain in north Puget Sound.  I can be heard in Tacoma.  In 2010 the WWARA authorized 8 narrow band digital channels with a 1,000 kHz split in the 146,4150 to 146.5000 output frequency, with the inputs at 147.4150 to 147.5000. These 8 channels are 12.5 kHz.

147.4800 has a Cougar Mountain P25 repeater input on 147.4750 and a Kirkland DSTAT repeater output on 147.4875.

Not only should one check the WWARA Band Plan, but also the Coordinated Repeater list.

Daniel Stevens KL7WM
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