Notes on 
the Saint Lawrence Valley Repeater Council
in Spring, 2012

To all the members of the amateur radio community in the SLVRC Region who are involved with repeaters and other systems on fixed frequencies, as owners, sponsors or users:

We are all aware that coordination of frequency selection is not required by the regulations under which we as amateurs operate.  The objective of frequency coordination is to provide a service to the amateur radio community.

The Saint Lawrence Valley Repeater Council appears to have arrived at a low point in its long history of serving the amateurs in this area. 

As you know, the Council attempts to provide a service through 'coordination' of the frequencies employed by systems in our area.  In essence, at the most simple definition of the Council's role, this means that we try to recommend frequencies for systems that will, to the greatest extent possible, avoid interference to other systems or in turn be interfered with by others.  The purpose obviously is to assist in the effective use of the VHF and UHF bands - to everyone's benefit.  This activity is not rocket science, but is based on reasonable judgment, which in turn must rely on having current and complete information on frequencies already in use.  You all know this.  The question is, though, how many of you care enough to do your part in the process? 

From November  2010 to January 2012, the Council received only 14 Technical Information Reports for systems within our region information that is required and needed each year.  This indicates to me that most repeater owners and sponsors apparently do not see a need to spend the little time it takes to file a technical information report with the Council.  Is this apathy, or something else?

I must emphasize that there are a number of you who regularly communicate and with the Council in providing your information, needed to make the work of the Council more effective.  You let us know what is going on with your installations.  And you file your technical reports without being begged for them numerous times. You have our sincere thanks for your efforts and cooperation.

Unfortunately, there is the much larger group with frequencies coordinated that does not manage to report their information at least annually, as required to maintain 'coordinated' status for their systems a number complaining about the time it takes to fill out the report form.  Some reports contain information we know to be guesswork or even erroneous. Another group goes ahead with changes or new systems and does not inform the Council of the details.  A further group thankfully small in number seems to oppose the work of the Council, and does not provide technical information even when it is requested. 

In addition to lack of current technical information, another issue is the level of participation with the Council especially at general meetings.  Council meetings are held to discuss with and inform the amateur community about current repeater and related issues and to let the attendees know from each other about changes and improvements in their systems.  So, what is the point of holding a meeting when time after time only about 6 people come?  Even when meetings are held following a flea market, most system representatives who could be participating with others at the Council meeting instead just go home.  How about meetings where perhaps one person or nobody from Ottawa turns up - with many Ottawa repeaters on the books?

On the other side of the coin, I know I personally have not served well enough some of you who have asked for frequency recommendations, by not responding as promptly as I should have, for a variety of reasons.  I admit that after about thirty years of my participation on the Council and with other issues on my mind as well, I am running out of steam and getting somewhat tired.  It is evident to me that the SLVRC needs new leadership.

The Saint Lawrence Valley Repeater Council, if it is to continue in operation,

1)  needs those with frequencies coordinated to file their required information reports, and on time, without being begged to do their part.

2)  needs active participation - by users, system owners and sponsors - with the Council and others, particularly at general meetings.  Given the quite large number of systems in the SLVRC region, only a few people coming out to a meeting just does not cut it.

3)  needs some new volunteers as officers to help with the Council.  The work is being done by a very few people.  Mike and Pierre are doing a great job.  Several of us however need a break, for personal reasons.  We all have many pressures on our time, and of course you all do as well.  However, perhaps some of you knowledgeable and experienced people will feel the Council work is worthy of some priority.  It is interesting that other councils (e.g. UNYRC, WNYSORC, BCARCC) each have enough interest and participation to have large active groups of council officers to share their work. 

So, what is it to be?  Will there be changes, or not?  Will the SLVRC continue or not? To what extent are these issues of interest to you?  There are some alternatives that can be considered if most of you think the SLVRC is not worth continuing in its current form, or if there is not enough support for 'coordination' of system frequencies in this region.

Please let me have your reflections and suggestions on these SLVRC issues as soon as possible.  Your opinions are important, particularly at this time.

73,  Graham Ide
Chairman, SLVRC

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