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I have a commercial GE Phoenix transceiver that I sent out to be programmed on 146.460 but have been informed by a club that my transmissions are interfering with their repeater that has a 146.460 input. According to the ARRL band plan this is a simplex frequency. How is this happening? I have complied and have quit using the radio.

I guess I'll need to send this radio out again to be reprogrammed but how can I choose a simplex frequency for it - other than trial & error since the band plan isn't followed?

  • Additional Info: Thanks, JDV, for your answer. I've found that the local band plan for S.E.usa is unique to this area. SERA Band Plan 146.400 - 146.585 includes "...alternate repeater inputs" that covers my question perfectly. The ARRL ought to provide the advice you've offered to everyone on their site, IMO.

The club rep told me "We can't hear you on 146.460 but the repeater can with a tower on top of the mountain." so I thought the frequency was clear. I'm going to retire the Phoenix radio as per your advice. TNX again, JDV. We appreciate you.

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    $\begingroup$ When adding the legal tag, you need to add a jurisdiction. I looked at the user's profile, and the fact that they mention the ARRL, and decided that they are probably in the USA. I added the united-states tag. $\endgroup$
    – Scott Earle
    Apr 25 at 1:23
  • $\begingroup$ I had to look up this radio. It looks sweet, but mostly if you wanted to make your own emergency repeater! $\endgroup$
    – user21789
    Apr 27 at 19:35

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Depends what the repeater "council" for your state has set up. There is an FCC bandplan but it could also allow for the local groups to still set up a repeater there

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  • $\begingroup$ Very good answer. It took me a long time to discover that this was indeed the case. I used to be an 'associate member' of the South Eastern Repeater Association (SERA) but didn't know they had an alternate band plan. Few people outside the group (and a number who are in it) seem to be aware. It could save a lot of problems if they made it more transparent. TNX for the clarification. :-) $\endgroup$
    – Dax
    Jul 14 at 15:32
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Per the ARRL:

A band plan refers to a voluntary division of a band to avoid interference between incompatible modes.

The regulatory bodies for other countries have similar declarations for their band plans, and there are varying levels of enforcement of those plans. Even countries like the US where the plans and modes are more strictly enforced, the plans themselves are not regulatory. By and large, enforcement is by agreement among Amateurs and a general spirit of conviviality.

A band plan is necessarily a living document that changes over time. Since repeaters are the purview of local clubs and radio organizations, they operate within local guidelines and recommendations at the time they are setup by the community and interested parties. This means that as the plan changes some established repeaters are going to be "grandfathered" in.

Look at the history of this repeater. My guess is that the club that registered it has been around for decades, and either the current band plan was different or it was ignored for some reason and all parties agreed to it at the time. Maybe some local geography made interference with other services or users a problem when the "correct" frequencies were used. Maybe, regardless of the plan, repeaters in this area always used this area of the band. Habit and local custom will often override other factors when making decisions by committee!

But the main takeaway is that a band plan is voluntary arrangement to be used as a set of guidelines to make it easy to share that part of the Amateur spectrum, and not necessarily a legal or regulatory agreement.

Since all Amateurs are allowed equal access to the bands they are licensed to use, you have to negotiate with all Amateurs, including the maintainers and users of any repeater(s), for how to share any of the Amateur spectrum. In this case, "good operating procedures" (since moving repeater frequencies isn't a trivial operation) suggests that the best way to handle it is to move (for 2m, assuming some sort of FM) 10-30 kHz up or down the band and try simplex there.

The clubs in your area would probably know about any other typical traffic around frequencies of interest. For all you know, there is a monthly net that has been running for years on 146.49 MHz. Anyone could be using any frequency you choose for this transceiver at any time in the future. You don't own any frequency even if tuning is a hassle. You are negotiating to use the frequency at your bandwidth every time you send power to the antenna.

It may be advisable to pause on retuning this equipment and simply spend a few weeks listening and talking to local hams to see what other kinds of traffic to expect around your frequency of interest. Amateurs are usually accommodating, but you can imagine folks not being too happy if you stepped on their net from out of nowhere with a claim that you are on equipment with a fixed frequency and they have to move.

There is a reason fixed frequency devices like repeaters go through a local committee before being fired up. You may need to treat this transceiver like a repeater and coordinate with your local clubs to make sure everyone is on board.

Per the FCC regulations Title 47, 97.101(b) since you mention the ARRL (emphasis mine):

Each station licensee and each control operator must cooperate in selecting transmitting channels and in making the most effective use of the amateur service frequencies. No frequency will be assigned for the exclusive use of any station.

Plainly put: assuming you have exclusive access to the spectrum around 146.46 MHz when you fire up your equipment is probably not going to be received well by most Amateurs, is contrary to the spirit of fair and equal use of the spectrum, and a band plan is no remedy for this. Even repeaters don't own those frequencies. They've just been given primary use by local frequency coordinators.

(I am assuming here that you are observing the actual regulations, and using equipment that is essentially fixed to a single frequency is allowed under the regs where you live.)

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    $\begingroup$ One small note: one would need to move a bit further away than 3-5kHz if talking about a typical amateur FM transmission with 5kHz deviation! $\endgroup$
    – nhw76
    Apr 24 at 20:19
  • $\begingroup$ @nhw76 fair enough. On 2 or 6m you could easily move 10-30 kHz. I was thinking the rule for HF in my head, but clearly this is not about HF. I'll fix my answer. $\endgroup$
    – user21417
    Apr 24 at 22:26

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