Thursday, January 26, 2017

LARC supporting CNY area repeaters

Jack Smith (W2QYT), Tony Hart (KC2VER) and Kevin Tubbs (KD2SL) are pleased to announce that we have reached an agreement with the Liverpool Amateur Repeater Club (a.k.a. LARC, W2CM), for LARC to become our sponsor for the following repeaters located on Sentinel Heights, between Syracuse and LaFayette:

  • 442.40 MHz (W2QYT), part of the statewide UHF system
  • 145.15 MHz (KD2SL), part of the Central New York linked 2m system
  • 53.67/29.64 MHz (KD2SL)
  • 146.67/444.00 MHz analog (KD2SL) and 145.31 MHz Fusion digital (KC2VER) linked system
  • 224.12 MHz (KD2SL)

These repeaters are located on transmitting towers owned by one of the nation’s largest broadcasting companies.  Many broadcasters do not allow amateur repeaters on their towers; thankfully this company takes a very friendly position toward amateur operation, and allows our repeaters on their towers at essentially no cost for tower space, inside equipment space and electricity.

However, the company has recently implemented new guidelines for amateur repeaters that requires them to be sponsored by a 501(c)(3) organization, rather than private individuals.  

We reviewed our options:
  1. Form a new 501(c)(3) to become the owner and operator of the repeaters.  This is much harder than it sounds, and would likely take much longer than the company was willing to wait.
  2. Enter into an alliance with an existing 501(c)(3), to become the sponsor or “umbrella” organization for the repeaters.
  3. Find new locations for the repeaters.  This would likely require shutting down one or more of the repeaters, and splitting up the rest to different locations, with moderate to severe degradation in coverage area compared to what we now enjoy.
  4. Shut down some or all of the repeaters and call it a day.  Nobody wants to see that happen, because repeaters on prime tower sites are always a strong asset to the amateur community.

We quickly concluded that option 2 was the best path forward, and reviewed the list of area ham clubs:
  • LARC – Has 501(c)(3) status
  • RAGS – Not a 501(c)(3)
  • QCWA – Not a 501(c)(3)

Discussions commenced with the LARC Board, which eventually resulted in the agreement that is being announced in this notice.

We anticipate that you have many questions, such as these:

Q.  What exactly is the agreement?  Does LARC now own and operate the repeaters?
A.  There will be no ownership change.  The KD2SL, KC2VER and W2QYT repeaters listed above will now operate under the umbrella of LARC, which means that LARC will sponsor our presence on the towers by signing the lease with the towers’ owner, and providing liability insurance coverage.  The ownership, maintenance and control of the repeaters does NOT change – it will continue to be handled by KD2SL, KC2VER and W2QYT, who are all LARC members.
Q.  How can LARC sign the tower lease when they don’t actually own the repeaters?
A.  We were completely up front with the towers’ owner about this, that the repeaters would be owned and operated by individual LARC members, rather than LARC corporately.  The owner indicated that this did not conflict with the lease terms.

Q.  What will change on the repeaters?  Call signs?  Nets?
A.  The biggest benefit to this arrangement is that the repeaters will remain in place, continuing to operate as they have been.  The call signs will not change, and the nets will continue on the same schedule.  The only difference you’ll hear is occasional announcements thanking LARC for sponsoring our presence on the towers.

Q.  Who pays for the lease and the insurance?
A.  We three repeater owners will reimburse LARC for any and all costs that may be incurred as a result of this agreement.  Thanks to the generosity of the towers’ owner, these costs are minimal.

Q.  What about maintenance costs for the repeaters - radios, feedlines, antennas – that sort of thing?
A.  The repeater owners will continue to be responsible for all of that.  LARC’s role is to sponsor their presence on the tower sites.

Q.  Do I have to join LARC if I want to use the KD2SL-KC2VER-W2QYT repeaters?
A.  No.  The KD2SL-KC2VER-W2QYT repeaters on the TV towers at Sentinel Heights continue to be open to all well-behaved hams, regardless of club affiliation.

If you have any questions, please contact any of the three repeater owners: KD2SL, KC2VER and W2QYT.  Please join us in thanking LARC for their sponsorship, which allows our repeaters to continue operating on the TV towers!  And thank you to everyone who uses our repeaters.

January 26, 2017

Kevin Tubbs, KD2SL
Jack Smith, W2QYT
Tony Hart, KC2VER

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