I've been remiss in keeping up with the changes in Part 97, especially in the area of repeater stations. A recent discussion about changing the time-out timer's period had me scurrying to the CFR, and lo, I could not see the requirement in the section dealing with repeater stations.

I do see a mention of a timer required in telecommand service (sub part b. of several parts of 213) but the other requirements of that part do not apply to automatically controlled repeater stations, it seems to me.

I went back to 1999 and found the same language.

I don't see where a repeater station under automatic control is said to be a station operated under telecommand.

What am I missing? Is what we used to call 'remotely controlled repeater stations' now called repeater stations under telecommand?

Cheers, 73, KB3JA

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    $\begingroup$ Hello and welcome to ham.stackexchange.com! $\endgroup$
    – rclocher3
    Feb 22, 2022 at 16:36

2 Answers 2


I think this is what you were looking for: Part 97.88(d) (Remote control): "Provisions must be incorporated to limit transmission to a period of no more than 3 minutes in the event of malfunction in the control link." But "The FCC attempted to clean up and simplify the rules in 1989 when it gave half of the 220 MHz amateur band to UPS (who ended up not using it after all), added the no-code technician license, deleted §97.88 entirely and no longer required repeaters to have separate licenses." (http://www.repeater-builder.com/fcc/repeater-control.html) So it looks to me you aren't crazy.

  • $\begingroup$ Hi Dustin, thanks for the comments. I recall clearly (one of the few things on that list these days) that WR3AKM, later W3MUM/R--I was the trustee for a while there--had a timer, by law. As far as I know, that timer function never was removed from the requirements. But I was confused by not finding it where I thought it should have been in the R&R. Your explanation makes sense. $\endgroup$
    – KenTenTen
    Feb 18, 2022 at 18:00

I'm not sure this was ever a requirement, so much as just good practice.

However, a repeater can be either locally controlled (you walk up to it and flip a switch), remote controlled (you call it on a hard line or internet connection and flip a switch), or controlled via telecommand (you use a radio with touch tones or other methods, either on the repeater input frequency or a control frequency, and flip a switch). So under these conditions, the telecommand rules may apply.

Of course, a repeater may be all three, and the FCC doesn't make much (any) distinction between locally controlled and remote controlled over a hard line.

Most likely, if your repeater is telecommand only with no local or hard line control, it must follow the telecommand rules strictly.

The FCC rules for repeaters mostly talk about how the repeater operates as a repeater. Just because it is a repeater doesn't mean it isn't also a remote radio controlled by telecommand, and those rules may apply separately.

  • $\begingroup$ Oh, it certainly was a requirement (still is, so it seems) and you're right, it made (makes) good sense. There was a time (prior to an episode of learning about circulators & isolators) where we had a most interesting experience with our 147.33 (+600 input) talking with a 146.73 (-600 input) machine. When both were active, each heard the other and locked up until the timer blew the whistle. Third order intermod is a topic to research, hi, hi. Now I see telecommand applies to ground stations (0 to 50 miles elevation) as well as space stations. SOLVED. Thanks for your response. 73 Ken $\endgroup$
    – KenTenTen
    Feb 18, 2022 at 18:07
  • $\begingroup$ Intermod is annoying. I understand coax in weather makes it worse. $\endgroup$
    – user10489
    Feb 23, 2022 at 0:58

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