The WIN System Guidelines
1. Our Official Guidelines, or Rules.
1 WIN System Official Guidelines
Here are our WIN System Guidelines, or Rules. There are basically three rules here on the WIN System:
#1. Please follow the Golden Rule meaning that you should treat others as you would like to be treated.
You might ask… Why do we need rules at all for repeater conduct or etiquette?
2 WIN System Extended Rules
1. Always identify according to the regulations.
You must identify your station according to the FCC rules 1) at the end of each communication, and 2) at least every ten minutes during a communication. We also request that before sending any DTMF commands, you must also identify your station, by announcing your call sign.
2. Avoid lengthy conversations
Please limit conversations to 15 or 20 minutes. Then take a good long break, or move to another frequency. Other hams probably want to use the WIN System but might not be interested in the subject your group is discussing. None of us should monopolize the WIN System, even unintentionally.
It’s not enough to pause now and then and invite others to join in. Others just may not be interested in the topic. Be polite, and don’t be a “repeater hog.”
In addition, great time and expense was put into adding the IRLP and Allstar functions on the WIN System. In order for stations from across the world to check in from time to time, the System must be free. If you are monopolizing the WIN System, these folks can’t get in. Since these calls are unpredictable and random, you never know when they are coming in, so plenty of free time needs to be reserved to allow this function to work. Since these calls can be from friends, acquaintances, members on vacation, and future friends, these calls are to be given a priority. Think of them as company, and extend a strong welcome to them.
3. Do not engage in political soap boxing.
Soap boxing, which goes hand-in-hand with overly long conversations, is when people carry on a conversation on the WIN System that is a thinly disguised ‘Broadcast.’ The subject is generally to “put down” an institution, group, or an individual for as wide as possible an audience. Of course it can be to gain support for a cause, person, or group as well. Both can be very objectionable to other WIN System users and listeners. Using the WIN System as a platform for soap boxing is unacceptable.
Conversations on the WIN System should be friendly ones. Do not make them negative commentaries on institutions, groups, or people. Avoid discussions on inappropriate subjects including politics, sex and religion! Don’t use the repeaters to “put people down.” Amateur Radio is not a broadcast medium – 97.113(5)(b).
Are we talking about censorship? No, not exactly. A person may have the right to stand on the street and say bad things about someone. They don’t have that same right when they are a guest in that person’s house. When using the WIN System, you are a guest operator of its radio stations. No one has any right to use the repeaters in ways that the WIN System management feels are objectionable.
4. CB Lingo and excessive phonetics.
Amateur Radio operators find the sound of CB lingo worse than fingernails on a blackboard. The main thing to remember is to just talk normally. Talk just like you would to someone in person, face to face. There’s nothing different about talking over the radio. Using slang jargon just labels a person as an ex-CBer, or a CBer wannabe. The use of "10-4", "Good Buddy", "the first personal is" and the like, have no place here.
Also, please don’t use phonetics for every letter you need to say. For example: “The name here is Hollingsworth, Hotel, Oscar, Lima, Lima, India, November, Golf, Sierra, Whiskey, Oscar, Romeo, Tango, Hotel, QSL?, the home QTH is in Manchester, Mike, Alpha, November…….”
You are talking on an FM repeater, not a noisey station in Europe on 20 Meters. Just talk normal.
5. Yield the frequency to a breaking station
When attempting to break into a conversation on the repeater, please follow this procedure. If you have an Emergency, interrupt the conversation by saying "BREAK - BREAK". The talking stations should immediately recognize this as an Emergency, and turn the WIN System over to you. If you just desire to join the conversation or make a comment, interrupt by simply giving your call sign, or say “comment” or “information.”
6. Our repeaters are “G-Rated” 24 hours a day.
You never know who may be listening. Even late at night, there are generally people listening to the WIN System, including non-hams. This is important to understand for several reasons.
a. Our repeaters serve many purposes. One of the most important is the exposure it gives the hobby to the community. Any scanner can be used to listen to our repeaters. That’s good – It’s actually the most visible aspect of our hobby. It’s one of our most effective forms of publicity.
b. We want non-hams to know that Amateur Radio is an interesting hobby and a good group of people to get to know - something clean and educational - something they would want their kids to get involved in. Kids may or may not listen late at night, but their parents do.
c. Think about CB. The government tolerates the language on CB partly because they only use a few kilohertz of spectrum. It’s not a huge waste. Amateur Radio, on the other hand, uses a lot of valuable spectrum. There needs to be a noticeable difference between Amateur Radio and CB. Don’t let our activities on the air become a weapon in the hands of people who want to discredit us. Let’s all do our part to give Amateur Radio a positive image.
d. We want any ham that listens to us to think of us as good operators, not idiots. Any time we talk on the WIN System, we are ambassadors for the hobby. Have you ever noticed how you like to listen to some repeaters, but sometimes you find a repeater that makes you roll your eyes and twist the knob? We can keep or lose good people because of what they hear on our repeaters.
Our rule is simple: absolutely no obscene, indecent or profane language at any time.
What gives the WIN System the right to tell someone how to operate?
All repeaters have rules. These rules often go beyond Part 97. And, users who refuse to comply with the repeater’s rules can be told to stop using the repeaters. This is entirely at the judgment of the repeater trustees.
Rule 97.205(e) says, “…Limiting the use of a repeater to only certain user stations is permissible.” There are no qualifications – ifs, ands, or buts – to this rule. This isn’t just the right to close a repeater. Please operate in a professional manner and obey the rules.
8. Selling items OTHER than ham related equipment
Obviously selling any ham equipment is allowed as long as it’s not done on a regular basis as a business. But conversations advertising, or selling vehicles, toys, other non ham related equipment and discussing prices is absolutely unacceptable on the WIN System and will not be tolerated.
3 WIN System Second-Level Guidelines
Here are some second-level Guidelines that will help you in operating on the WIN System.
Resist the temptation to break into a conversation unless invited or it is obviously open. It is rude to interrupt an in-person face-to-face conversation, and it is also rude to do on the radio too
2. Calling CQ may be a great way to solicit a contact on HF, but not on the WIN System. Unlike the noisy conditions of HF, and the tuning required to hear other stations, we are channelized here on FM. That means we are ALL listening to the same channel, and we will be able to hear your call, without the necessity of a CQ.
As an alternative, we recommend simply putting your call sign out there, with a statement that you’re looking for a contact. Another very good way of getting a response is to ask for a WIN System demonstration. We will usually then come back and identify our selves, with our name and location.
3. All Topics of conversation within the realm of "Good Amateur Practice" are encouraged. Remember that you have an international audience here, thus your conversation will be heard worldwide. If you are discussing IRLP operating procedures or practices, remember that node access and policies vary considerably based upon local requirements. Do not ever say control codes over the air, even connect and disconnect codes.
4. When disconnecting from our 9100 Reflector, it is not necessary to announce that fact to everyone connected before you hit buttons. In fact, a disconnect announcement can be disruptive if you are sneaking in between transmissions of a conversation you are otherwise not a part of. Just bleep in your code and be gone. You may announce your disconnection afterward if you care to, or our disconnect wav file that plays will do it for you. If you are fortunate enough to have a full duplex control connection, it is actually completely silent if you disconnect on top of another transmission.
4 User Tips for FM Operating
• User Tip: when you turn to a repeater or a simplex frequency, listen for at least thirty (30) seconds before transmitting.
• User Tip: listen to a repeater for a while before you make a decision to use it. You might even ask someone on the repeater if you are welcome to use it for occasional conversations.
• User Tip: use Q-signals sparingly. Once in a while. Not very often.
• User Tip: Under normal circumstances, when you are finished with a contact but will continue listening, it is sufficient to merely say your call sign. If you are shutting down operation and will not be there to answer any subsequent calls, then “clear’ is the appropriate sign-off.
• User Tip #2: If you attempt to contact someone and there is no answer, you can notify others that you are finished by saying, "K6xxx clear," or "no contact, this is K6xxx clear the WIN System repeater." This allows someone who may have been standing by to go ahead and make his or her call.
• User Tip: while talking, say your call sign once every ten minutes. Don't say "This is K6xxx for ID, or worse, for identification." Also, don't say "This is K6xxx for license preservation purposes." Identify properly, but do not over-identify.
• User Tip: it's not necessary, but it's not wrong.
• User Tip: avoid CB-style jargon and terms. Generally speaking, plain English is better. For example: "my name is Shorty, what is yours?"
• User Tips:
• If you have emergency traffic, say so immediately.
• If you can help, please do.
• If you cannot help, do not transmit.
• User Tip: call twice.
•User Tips: Proper usage would be similar to this:
• Voice: "OK, Dan, seven-three and I will talk to you later. (pause) K6JSI."
• Voice: "73 for now, K6JSI clear."
• CW: "W2EOS de K6JSI CUL OM 73 SK."
• CW: "N6xxx de K6xxx 73 88 SK."
• User Tip: One method is this: make an entry in the "date" column for each day you operate your station. Each time you contact a "new" station, make entries for call sign, name, frequency, mode and any other information you think necessary or interesting. You probably have no need to make log entries for people you talk to every day, with the possible exception of logging emergency traffic that you may handle for others.
5 Some WIN System tips on Malicious Interference
The following ideas represent the WIN System methods regarding “Jammers” or Malicious Interference on the repeater. Any amateur using the repeater is to abide by the scope of this policy, or risk becoming part of the problem, and therefore asked to refrain from using the repeater.
In this hobby, each of us will deal with a certain problem sooner or later: Malicious Interference. The perpetrator is often referred to as a “Jammer” or “QRMer” or much worse. They have the potential to totally disrupt our communications. The irony here is that, to a large degree, we empower them to do this. If you don’t quite understand how this is possible, please read on.
Let’s start by looking into a Jammer’s mindset. Why do they cause Jamming? I imagine that the reasons vary greatly. Most likely it is a convenient way to vent frustrations that build up due to severe personal inadequacies. Maybe it is a control issue. Maybe it is a vindictive thing aimed at a certain person or group of people. It could be some other pent up frustration or anger not really directed toward anyone or anything in particular. These are probably the top reasons for all Jamming, although to understand the exact motivation is not critical to effectively deal with the problem.
What does the Jammer want? What do they need? What do they expect? I believe that these are the key questions that we need to consider. The Jammer wants to know that they are being heard. They need to know that they are being disruptive and effective. They expect us to get angry and to show it. Let’s look at these facts one at a time. When a carrier appears on a frequency with bad noise or no audio, our first instinct, being the helpful sorts that we are, is to let them know they have a problem. It could be a legitimate station, or it could be a Jammer testing out his setup. Keep this concept in mind and make a determination before you comment.
Sometimes this is a tricky call to make, and a wrong decision could cause problems either way. On the one hand, if the station is legitimate with a problem, they need to know it. On the other hand, if the station is malicious, they don’t need to be told that they are causing problems. If it is a legitimate station with problems, they won’t be trying to cover anyone up. They shouldn’t “double” with someone over and over. The carrier will appear at the “right” times, however, it will have bad or no audio.
If it is a Jammer, the carrier will appear at the “wrong” times. It will be obvious that their timing is calculated to be disruptive. The first well meaning, unknowing ham that says something like, “You have a good signal, but no audio,” provides valuable information for the Jammer. The Jammer now knows that he has at least one person’s attention and that he can be heard. So, what to do? During a Net, the answer is easy. Always let the Net Control Station make the call. It’s part of their job. During a round table discussion, the determination could be harder to make. In a one to one conversation, it may be a little easier. No matter what the situation, listen and think before you speak! If you accidentally acknowledge a jammer at this stage of the game, all is not lost. Your plan, however, has been compromised and your defenses have been weakened.
Time will soon tell what you are truly dealing with. Once the determination has been made that you are dealing with malicious interference, it is critical not to acknowledge any more of their transmissions. What now? Act. Nothing less than your best Academy Award winning performance is called for here! Even if the Jamming is so bad you didn’t hear the other station, act like you did! Make something up if you have to. One should develop a knack for this and be prepared to use it. This will be very frustrating to a Jammer, and often causes the interference to cease quickly. If the Jammer feels like they are not being very disruptive or effective, despite their best efforts, the excitement for them quickly fades.
Remember, any comments about them, no matter how small or innocent, will reinforce their bad behavior. Ignoring the Jammer will maintain our control, and have positive psychological effects for us. Keeping control makes it easier to keep cool. Keeping cool at all times, no matter what happens, is critical. With the last two points in mind, this third point should never come into play. The Jammer expects us to react to them in some big way. The Jammer hopes to get a large response out of a large number of people. Threats, promises, curses, remarks about their parents, etceteras are never justified. They only add fuel to the fire. If this Pandora’s Box is opened, it is hard to close it. If you feel you must respond, TURN OFF YOUR RADIO! This has proven to be a very efficient and effective method of dealing with a Jammer. The more skills we develop to ignore the perpetrator, the quicker this technique works. And it does work! Every amateur on the frequency has to understand and play the game if this is to be effective. Spread the word about this approach. Operate with the mindset that any unidentifiable signal is possibly Jamming. Think before you respond!