W3BE'S BE Informed!
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BE Informed No. 8.3

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Frequency Coordination

Part 97 

John B. Johnston, W3BE

Q. What is a frequency coordinator?

A. Section 97.3(a)(22) defines a frequency coordinator as 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.   

Q. What is the authority of our frequency coordinator?

A. Section 97.205(c) says: where the transmissions of a repeater cause harmful interference to another repeater, the two station licensees are equally and fully responsible for resolving the interference unless the operation of one station is recommended by the frequency coordinator and the operation of the other station is not. In that case, the licensee of the non-coordinated repeater has primary responsibility to resolve the interference. The same provision is codified for Section 97.201 auxiliary stations.  

Q. Does the FCC select our frequency coordinator?

A. No, our regulator does not select our Section 97.3(a)(22) frequency coordinators.

Q. Then who is supposed to select our frequency coordinator?

A. That recognition can only be bestowed by the authorized segment of our amateur service community, either locally or regionally. Should we become dissatisfied with the way that the entity is doing the job, we should replace it with another one that will.

Q. Who is it in our amateur service community are amongst the segment authorized to recognize our frequency coordinator?

A. Section 97.3(a)(22) says that recognition is provided in a local or regional area by the amateur operators whose stations are eligible to be auxiliary or repeater station.

Q. Does the FCC specify how we must go about recognizing our frequency coordinator?

A. No. That is up to the local or regional area Section 97.5 station licensees of stations that are eligible to be Section 97.201 auxiliary stations and Section 97.205 repeater stations.

Q. How do we go about selecting our frequency coordinator?

A. That is entirely up to us. When the hams in any locality desire to avail themselves of the benefits of Section 97.3(a)(22) frequency coordination, they must come together on what it is they expect from their frequency coordinator. Then they must recognize an entity to carry out those expectations.

Q. Then what?

A. Then we should take actions necessary to prove to our amateur service community and our regulator that the entity is recognized as such by local or regional area amateur operators whose stations are eligible to be auxiliary or repeater stations.

Q. There is no frequency coordinator in our area. If another repeater causes interference to our repeater, which station licensee must resolve the interference?

A. Because your Section 97.205 repeater station is uncoordinated, its Section 97.103 station licensee has primary responsibility to resolve interference issues with another Section 97.205 repeater station. If the other repeater is also uncoordinated, both station licensees are responsible for resolving the interference issue.    

Q. The frequency coordinator in an adjoining state has announced that it will be taking over the coordination in our area. Does our area coordinator decide to serve us, or do the licensees in our area decide who is to serve us?

A. The eligible Section 97.205 repeater station licensees in your local or regional area should decide.  

Q. Our repeater is coordinated, but it receives interference from another repeater. The other repeater is also coordinated and its station licensee complains that it receives interference from our repeater. It is really annoying to the users. Who is responsible for resolving this matter?

A.  Section 97.101(d) says: No amateur operator shall willfully or maliciously interfere with or cause interference to any radio communication or signal. Whenever the transmissions from Section 97.205 repeater stations cause interference to each other, therefore, it behooves their Section 97.5 station licensees to resolve the situation.

Q. Many years after our repeater was in operation, the frequency coordinator gave our channel to another station. What is the FCC going to do about that?

A. You should expect our regulator to view the incident as a routine action taken by your  Section 97.3(a)(22) frequency coordinator.

Q. Why didn’t we receive credit for being on the channel first?

A. The answer to that question would come from your  Section 97.3(a)(22) frequency coordinator. Apparently, it has decided that your claim to the channel is outweighed by the need for a more effective arrangement of Section 97.205 repeater stations in your local or regional area.

Q. For too many years, our local frequency coordinator has ignored its own bylaws and standards. I know it is outside of Part 97, but what can be done to correct this situation?

A. Work to try to bring about the recognition of an entity more to your liking in your local or regional area by the amateur operators whose stations are eligible to be auxiliary or repeater station.

Q. Can there be more than one frequency coordinator for the same local or regional area?

A. There is no codified limit to the number of entities so recognized as such by local or regional area amateur operators whose stations are eligible to be auxiliary or repeater stations. But multiple entities would likely defeat the purpose. Wherever the result is conflicting recommendations forthcoming with regard to avoid or minimize potential interference, expect no outside aid for any side.

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July 29, 2017

Supersedes all prior editions