Just a simple question and the answer is probably no, but am I allowed to transmit a picture using SSTV on an FM 2 meter or 70 centimeter repeater?

I am in the United States.


3 Answers 3


Depends on the band plan and the repeaters operator. You wouldn't be violating any FCC rules, though, but if you're outside the US the answer may be different.

To expand on this, you are allowed to transmit any permitted mode on any permitted frequency your license is good for. That frequency and mode happening to correspond to an open repeater another station operates does not preclude you from making your transmission.

However, as a licensee, you've agreed to cooperate with other operators to make the most efficient use of the spectrum provided. This means that unless you have good reason to, or have coordinated with others, you generally follow the band plans in effect in your region.

Generally the band plans keep voice repeater and SSTV operations in separate frequencies. However the band plan is a way to coordinate effort, and not a rigid standard. As shown in this question, there are may groups that regularly use repeaters to send SSTV signals.

If the repeater is regularly used by other operators for voice, or is in service to a community for emergency operations, weather spotting, or other frequent uses, you'd probably be better off not tying it up with SSTV images. It'll be really annoying to those that keep their HT on all the time to hear the SSTV coming through.

If it's a quiet repeater and happens to be in an SSTV portion of the band plan, I wouldn't even bother asking, just go ahead and send and see what the response, if any, is.

If it's outside the SSTV band plan, but appears to be an underutilized repeater, it's your call. Asking might result in people saying 'no' without good reason, but doing it without getting explicit permission may irritate some. It may also intrigue others.

But, being honest with yourself, consider the question, "Who is likely to be listening to this repeater with an SSTV receiver?" If you're communicating specifically with someone who is set up to receive your images, direct communications isn't reasonable, and the repeater appears to be open and available for community use, I'd say go for it. If you're just sending random images to no one in particular, though, or merely experimenting with the mode, you probably don't need to use the repeater to accomplish your goals.

  • $\begingroup$ Thanks for your answer! Maybe I will ask a friend I know who is the control operator of a repeater, and I am sure he would let me transmit a quick picture. I live in the mountains west of denver and the only way I can talk to a friend is through repeaters, so thats the only reason $\endgroup$
    – Skyler 440
    Commented Dec 20, 2013 at 18:44

Just adding to the above answer: If you are going to transmit SSTV on a repeater that is also used for voice, you should try to be a courteous as possible:

  • Make yourself aware of any popular nets that might use the repeater. Avoid sending SSTV during those times.
  • Listen for a least a minute before transmitting.
  • Turn down the volume on your SSTV generator, so as to prevent it from being obnoxiously loud to everyone who might be listening for voice contacts.
  • Use fast, low-resolution modes that transmit in under 30 seconds, like the old-school 8-second black and white mode or the 12 or 24 second Robot color modes.
  • After sending but before releasing PTT, remember to state your callsign. Might be good to also say your callsign initially.
  • Always let the repeater drop and wait a good 30-60 seconds between transmitting images. This gives other operators a chance to chime in or protest.
  • If anyone protests, stop.

Also, if the repeater is retransmitting on SSB you really should contact the operator first before transmitting SSTV. Remember, SSTV transmitted on SSB is considered full duty-cycle. While the SSB output on a well-engineered repeater will have no problems, others might not.

  • $\begingroup$ Hello, and welcome to ham.stackexchange.com! Thanks for the well-written answer, and don't forget to take the tour. 73! $\endgroup$
    – rclocher3
    Commented Jan 9, 2017 at 1:26

This is an issue we deal with all the time here. Currently we are seeking to expand county coverage for our SSTV and Data net with a repeater. Always ask the repeater trustee first. Always. Here we got a no from all the local repeaters. Here is why the local club repeater trustee said no. Most repeaters cannot handle the constant 100% duty cycle. That means repeater finals getting hot. Our net established guidelines for using a repeater. Only transmit pictures that are less than 1 minute in duration Scottie 2 is our preferred mode for simplex. If you are going to be operating a lot at one time use Robot modes. Robot 36 gives great color images. Stay Simplex as much as possible. Set your radio to low power or 1/2 maximum power to keep it from getting hot too. Most of the time you will not need a repeater if you have good antennas at least 20 ft elevation.

  • $\begingroup$ Those are great points you bring up about asking the trustee and the duty cycle of SSTV possibly being too much for the repeater's finals, but it would be better if you expanded your answer a bit; again, you're cramming a lot of info in one paragraph. $\endgroup$
    – rclocher3
    Commented Jan 12, 2017 at 18:54
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ The question says the repeater is FM, which is already 100% duty cycle, so once the repeater is 'brought up' it will be transmitting at full power until it drops again. Given some of the waffling conversations you hear on some repeaters, I'd say SSTV is not very different … $\endgroup$
    – Scott Earle
    Commented May 30, 2017 at 10:20

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