Revised October 2023 by the VK DMR Working Group
The VK DMR Network is a network of interconnected DMR repeaters, hotspots, and other devices supported by local clubs and amateur radio organizations. Its primary objective is to enable communication among licensed amateur radio operators. In order to achieve this goal, the following guidelines have been established for operators to ensure a dependable network and fair access for all users.
The VKDMR Network is administered by the VK DMR Working Group.
The Working Group is made up of licensed amateur operators who volunteer their time to supervise and maintain the network. Details of the Working Group members are on the Working Group Members page.
Talk Group 505 serves as a dedicated calling channel within the VKDMR network. Its purpose is to allow users to initiate communication by directly calling another user, making a listening call, or using a CQ call. Once communication is established, users should switch to an available talk group for further conversation.
On Talk Group 505, small QSOs are permitted. These can include brief exchanges such as scheduling another contact or conducting a radio check. The reason for designating 505 as a call channel is to promote fair usage of battery and solarpowered repeater sites. These sites’ battery can be depleted, and the repeater can go offline, especially during winter months. Additionally, it provides users with an opportunity to establish communication with others while a parallel QSO is going on.
While we understand that not all users will consider other site operators or respect the wishes of fellow users, we kindly request that you respect the Working Group’s decision regarding the call channel. These guidelines have been put in place to ensure fair sharing of the network and consideration for all users.
Please note that there is an exception to this rule during the official VK DMR Net, which takes place on Tuesday nights for one hour. The power budgets for this event have been accounted for separately.
Establishing a free talk group can be done by using the dashboard, maintaining a listening watch, or making a talk group in-use call. We ask that users give way to other users who were already using the talk group on a “first in, best-dressed” basis. For the avoidance of doubt, no user has priority over a talk group other than the weekly VK DMR net on Talk Group 505. There are plenty of talk groups available, so if your favorite one is in use, please choose another. 505 is there for you to coordinate.
Users are permitted to connect hotspot-type devices to the network. However, anything connected to the network should provide good quality audio with a medium volume level. It is every user’s responsibility to check their audio quality and level using the Parrot or other means so wherever possible transmissions are of a good standard. Persistent unreadable or loud audio after a request to fix the problem may result in an administrative block.
Linking of other networks via hotspots, RF, or any other means without permission is prohibited within the VKDMR network. This network has been established for reliable intercommunication, serving various club events, tasks, and local WICEN groups. In order to maintain the integrity of the network, we do not permit this type of experimentation.
Improperly connecting networks can easily render the VKDMR network unusable, which is why it is imperative to follow this rule. Unauthorized linking of the VKDMR network through any means will result in an administrative block on your radio ID until the link has been removed, and the situation resolved.
One common way networks are inadvertently linked is when two hotspots are in close proximity, with one operating on Brandmeister and the other on VKDMR, for example. Therefore, please ensure that if you have two hotspots, they are separated by a significant frequency step to prevent unintentional linking.
If you have an interest in experimentation, the Working Group suggests exploring other networks that specifically focus on those activities.
Please leave a gap between transmissions, as this is imperative for DMR communication. The VK DMR Network is exceptionally large, even by commercial standards. It takes time for over 70 repeaters and hundreds of hotspots to deactivate the transmission and switch back to receive mode.
Additionally, certain areas in rural locations have slower network connections, with some relying on 3G backhaul. By pausing between overs, you allow others to break in if they wish to do so. It also provides an opportunity for users to deactivate their hotspots or switch talk groups if they are not interested in hearing your QSO. A recommended pause of approximately a 1,2 count is advisable to ensure a smooth flow of communication. We don’t have to remind you that you are also bound by the terms of your license, and the VKDMR working group does not permit the network to be used in a way that would contradict what is allowed under the LCD (License Conditions Determination) and Telecommunications Act.
Please refrain from engaging in inappropriate behavior. We all know what it means to be a “ratbag,” but for the sake of clarity, we will explain it further. Any form of antisocial behavior, including but not limited to bullying, making sexist or racist comments, using offensive language, purposefully disrupting the network or others’ QSOs, will not be tolerated. Violations of these rules will result in punitive actions, as outlined below.
Bans and blocked users on the network:
From time to time, it may be necessary for the VK DMR Working Group to block radio IDs from the network. To ensure transparency, the following process has been developed by the group.
There are two types of blocks:
- Administrative block: An administrative block is implemented when a VKDMR administrator urgently needs to block a user’s radio ID due to network disruption. This typically occurs when a user inadvertently links two networks or when there is a microphone stuck open without a timeout, causing continuous transmission on Talk Group 505. When such incidents arise, an administrator will block the radio ID and attempt to contact the user through their QRZ page or local club to resolve the situation. Once the issue is resolved, the block will be removed.
- Punitive block: A punitive block is put in place as a result of conduct that violates the Telecommunications Act, LCD, VKDMR rules, or social norms and is considered malicious and intentional. The decision to impose a punitive block is made by the majority of the VKDMR working group. Whenever possible, a warning is issued to the user before implementing the block. However, in cases of severe misconduct, a block may be applied without prior notice. Punitive blocks are effective for a period of 90 days, during which a user has the right to appeal the block to the VKDMR Working Group for consideration. If a user continues to exhibit poor behavior after the block is lifted, a lifetime block may be imposed at the discretion of the VKDMR working group.