(Q) “An organization other than AFCRAS is claiming to be ‘the FCC recognized coordination agency for Alabama,’ as though no group other than themselves can provide repeater and frequency coordination services. Does the FCC actually pick who can or can not provide frequency coordination services?”
(A) No. The FCC has made it abundantly clear that they do not pick and choose who can provide coordination services. Rather, the FCC rules state the following:
- 47 CFR, Ch 1, Federal Communications Commission 97.3(22):
- Frequency coordinator. An entity, recognized in a local or regional area by amateur operators whose stations are eligible to be auxiliary or repeater stations, that recommends transmit/receive channels and associated operating and technical parameters for such stations in order to avoid or minimize potential interference.
- Additionally, in an ARRL Executive Committee Meeting, it was stated by Chris Imlay, General Counsel for the ARRL that “FCC rules and policies do not rule out the possibility of there being more than one [frequency coordinator for a given geographic area].”
The bottom line is that by virtue of providing volunteer frequency coordination services to Amateur Radio operators in Alabama, who have in turn joined AFCRAS as members and applied for and received coordination services, the Alabama Frequency Coordination and Repeater Advancement Society (AFCRAS) functions as a frequency coordinating with equal authorization under Federal Law and the FCC Rules. But AFCRAS came into being in response to the outcry of hams throughout the State of Alabama for coordination services provided by means of more modern communications techniques, online facilitation, and improved coordination methodologies. The fact that organizations outside the state of Alabama were also stating the desire for changes and improvements in communications, information sharing, and more cooperative efforts, all of which benefit the entire Amateur Radio community in the long run.
(Q) “Do I have to be a member of AFCRAS in order to apply for and get frequency coordination for my repeater?”
(A) No, you do not have to be an AFCRAS member; however, we highly encourage the individual owner/holder of record for an AFCRAS coordination — or the trustee of a club repeater — to become a member. There are many benefits to membership, including:
- You will have a voice and a vote in how AFCRAS does things and how we handle frequency/repeater coordination
- Notifications of upcoming technical presentations and events, new online media, and information on other events, materials, online media, etc. which your fellow AFCRAS members have found informative and valuable
- The opportunity to be of service through committee participation and information/idea sharing
(Q) “Will AFCRAS post and make the exact physical address of my repeater publicly available?”
(A) No. We value the security of your repeater and radio equipment as much as you do. In order for repeater users to find the pertinent information for conducting QSO’s on your repeater system, for other repeater enthusiasts to avoid inadvertently firing up a non-coordinated repeater and interfering with your AFCRAS coordinated repeater, and for initial review by other coordinating entities, here is what we will do:
- AFCRAS will use the “Preferred Location Description” you include on your Application for Coordination or Modification (FCM) form as the location of your repeater.
- The publicly viewable KML file for your repeater will intentionally be degraded in precision to 2 decimal places (DD.dd), which can shift the pinpointed located seen when opening the file in Google Earth by as much as 1.1 km (0.68 miles) in any latitude and longitude — close enough to know the general area it is in, but not precise enough to know you have it pinpointed to a certain house or building on the map. AFCRAS Frequency Coordinators will create and maintain a much more precise KML (precision to 4 decimal places of more — within 11 meters or better) for internal/coordination use only. We will be glad to provide a copy of the “Coordination” KML file to the owner/holder of record and/or repeater trustee upon request.
(Q) “Will AFCRAS sell my repeater information to repeater directory publishers, websites, etc.?”
(A) No. While some of those publications or websites might crawl and extract data from the AFCRAS publicly viewable database and KML files, we do not look at your repeater information as a commodity to be sold or traded for profit. We do not object to them pulling the publicly viewable information from the online, publicly viewable database, but most “crawlers” and systems designed to perform that function have no way of knowing when the database has been updated. AFCRAS reserves the right to share the database with reputable directory publishers (upon request and the approval of AFCRAS to share it with them) at no charge, and will periodically (within reason and upon request and approval) furnish them with an updated copy of the database if their publication or site has been approved to receive and use the database information. The information they receive will NOT include your contact information, address, telephone, repeater street address, etc. Instead, the online database and KML files will only include the basic information any Amateur Radio licensee would need in order to access and enjoy QSO’s on your repeater, which we realize is the reason repeater enthusiasts in Alabama work so hard and invest the time and money to build, install, maintain, and coordinate repeaters in the first place.