BC Flag BRITISH COLUMBIA AMATEUR RADIO COORDINATION COUNCIL
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BCARCC Radio Frequency Coordination Policies


COORDINATION REQUIRES COOPERATION!!

The effectiveness of the British Columbia Amateur Radio Coordination Council (BCARCC) depends upon the respect and cooperation of those it serves.  The BCARCC is supported by its members.  One of our functions is the coordination of Amateur Radio fixed-frequency station operations.  Although our Amateur sub-bands are a finite resource, they can support a large amount of fixed-frequency activity if shared in a harmonious manner; abuse can destroy the resource for everyone.  The BCARCC needs input from all users of the resource and will function most effectively when all users participate actively in BCARCC's decision-making process.  The BCARCC is a democratic and cooperative association of Amateur Radio clubs and station licensees in British Columbia making coordination decisions for the benefit of all of our community.  All potential operators of fixed-frequency stations are encouraged to seek coordination through the BCARCC prior to operation.


Frequency Coordination Policies Applicable to All Bands

Table of Contents:

General

1. The BCARCC does not "grant" or "approve" coordination of fixed frequency Amateur stations, but does register coordination.  The final decision regarding operation of a fixed-frequency Amateur radio station lies with the federal government licensing authority (currently Industry Canada), and ultimately involves only the licensing authority and the licensee.  However, the BCARCC exists as a voluntary coordinating body set up by and for Amateurs, whose purpose is to gather and make available information regarding current and proposed use of fixed frequencies for operations in the Amateur service in and adjacent to British Columbia.  The BCARCC, through its appointed Coordinators, is able to provide advice and assistance regarding the selection of frequencies, sites, antennas and other technical details relative to establishing a fixed-frequency Amateur radio station in a manner which will avoid or minimize interference between Amateur operations.

2. BCARCC Coordinators are appointed by the directors of the Council on the basis of the Coordinators' knowledge and experience in spectrum utilization, including propagation of radio signals at VHF and higher frequencies, knowledge of the geography and terrain of the area for which they are responsible, and their ability to manage a complex database.  That knowledge, experience and ability is made available for the benefit of all Amateurs.  Amateurs wishing to operate fixed-frequency stations are encouraged to take advantage of the services of the Coordinator in their area before applying for a licence, both to minimize the potential for interference to existing operations and to provide a basis for avoiding future interference to their own operations.

3. Frequency coordination is a process through which the licensee of a radio station proposing to operate on a fixed frequency agrees to use a selected:
  1. transmit and receive operating frequency;
  2. location (geographical coordinates and ground elevation above mean sea level);
  3. coverage pattern (antenna elevation above ground level, directivity, and effective radiated power);
  4. mode of operation (voice, packet, etc.); and
  5. access coding, if applicable
such that the potential for interference between users of the coordinated radio station and users of other stations using the same or adjacent frequencies is minimized.

4. From time to time, the BCARCC will publish a list of stations which have already been coordinated, with their frequencies and general locations, and of frequencies which are otherwise not available for coordination in certain areas.  Amateurs desiring  new or changed coordination may request coordination of any frequency not on that list in their coverage area.  Coordinators may help to select a frequency, if requested to do so and if they have time available.

5. A successful frequency coordination will be evidenced by a Coordination Letter issued by the BCARCC.  A copy of the Coordination Letter will be sent to Industry Canada.  Industry Canada may, at its discretion, give precedence to a holder of a Coordination Letter in authorizing an Amateur radio licensee to operate a station on a fixed frequency at a specific location.

6. Coordination Letters remain valid as long as all of the conditions listed in paragraph 13. and described in the Coordination Letter remain unchanged.  Holders of Coordination Letters are encouraged to apply for a revised letter if any listed condition is changed, in a spirit of cooperation so the coordination data base can be kept up to date and accurate.

7. Coordination is based on the best data available to the Coordinator at the time a Coordination Letter is issued.  A Coordination Letter is not a guarantee of a clear frequency.  The licensee of a coordinated fixed-frequency station, like all other Amateurs, is responsible for avoiding interference and has a duty to cooperate with other users to mitigate interference if it occurs.  YOUR BEST PROTECTION AGAINST UNINTENTIONAL INTERFERENCE IS ACCURATE INFORMATION IN THE COORDINATION DATABASE.

8. The boundaries for coordination activity of the BCARCC are the boundaries of the province of British Columbia.  The BCARCC makes a best effort to communicate with Amateurs in the Yukon, Alberta and the northwestern U.S.A., but cannot give any assurance regarding frequencies in use in those neighbouring areas at the time of coordination or in the future.

Request for Coordination

9. A request for coordination may be submitted to the BCARCC Coordinator for the area in which the station to be coordinated will be located.  Coordinators' mailing addresses, coordination areas, etc., will be published along with the list of coordinated frequencies.  That information also will be available from the secretary of the BCARCC.

10. Requests for coordination should be made using BCARCC form RFC-32 (Request for Frequency Coordination), signed by the  Amateur who will be responsible for station operation.  (RFC-32 is an adaptation of Industry Canada Form TR32A (12/79), with some additional information requested.  If the Amateur is submitting a Form TR32A to Industry Canada, it is sufficient to submit a completed copy of that form and attach it to Form RFC-32, completing only the second part of RFC-32 and signing it.)  Amateurs should make a best effort to provide all information requested on the form, but Coordinators may allow some latitude at their discretion.  If missing information is deemed essential by the Coordinator, the Coordinator will request the needed information after reviewing the initial request for coordination, and will assist the Amateur to understand the need for, and the means for obtaining, that information.

The RFC-32 forms are available from the secretary of the BCARCC and from individual Coordinators.  Requests for forms should include a self-addressed 9x12 return envelope with adequate postage on it; or stamps, a cheque or money order for $1.50 to cover stationery and postage.  Members of the BCARCC are entitled to a small supply of forms at no charge on joining.

Requests for coordination may be submitted by mail or by facsimile (packet radio, e-mail and other electronic forms presently do not reproduce signatures so cannot be accepted).

Fees

11. The BCARCC may request Amateurs to pay a nominal fee to cover the out-of-pocket costs of processing an request for coordination.  This fee will be adjusted annually on the basis of cost experience in the previous year, and is subject to approval of the membership.  The fee for requests submitted by facsimile must be received within 7 calendar days or the application will be dated on the day of receipt of the fee.

Conditions Applicable to Coordination

12. The BCARCC will process requests for frequency coordination of fixed-frequency stations from individuals or from sponsoring organizations.  However, where an organization sponsors the request, the coordination holder must hold an Advanced Amateur operating certificate or approved equivalent, and be appointed by the organization to be the coordination holder.  The Coordination Letter will be issued to that appointed coordination holder.

13. All registered coordinations are for a specific:
  1. transmit and receive frequency;
  2. transmitter location (latitude, longitude, and ground elevation above mean sea level (AMSL)) (AMSL is shown on standard topographic maps);
  3. antenna elevation above ground, antenna gain and radiation pattern;
  4. feed line configuration (filters, duplexers, feeder type and length);
  5. effective radiated power (ERP);
  6. mode of operation;
  7. method of repeater access; and
  8. sponsoring organization and station licensee.

This information will be on the Coordination Letter, but not all will be considered public information (see "Confidentiality of Information").

14. The BCARCC recommends that all new coordinations use continuous tone coded squelch systems (CTCSS, DPL, etc.) as a means of repeater access.  However, the BCARCC recognizes that in many cases carrier-operated-squelch will not result in undesirable station or system operation or complaints of interference, and does not intend to require CTCSS for coordination in the foreseeable future.  It remains the responsibility of Amateur Radio licensees to avoid creating interference, and to take all reasonable steps to avoid being interfered with.

15. The BCARCC is not concerned with the ownership or control of transmitter or receiver sites.

16. Registered coordination will be evidenced by a Coordination Letter issued by the BCARCC.  It is the responsibility of the coordination holder to notify the BCARCC immediately when the coordinated frequency is activated (put into use), and to submit a revised request for coordination if any of the coordination conditions listed in the letter is changed subsequently.

17. FOR THE PROTECTION OF YOUR COORDINATION, YOU MUST KEEP US INFORMED.  The licensee of a coordinated station (the coordination holder) is advised to keep the BCARCC informed as to the status of the station and any associated system by having an up-to-date Request for Frequency Coordination on file with the BCARCC Coordinator in his area at all times.  A change of any of the parameters listed on the Coordination Letter without prior coordination by the BCARCC may cause the Coordination Letter to become invalid because of incorrect information in the coordination data base, which could lead to other stations being coordinated incorrectly.  The BCARCC recommends that updated Request for Frequency Coordination forms be submitted about every 2 years.  COORDINATION REQUIRES COOPERATION!!

18. Except in special circumstances, all correspondence from the BCARCC will be directed to the coordination holder.  To facilitate this correspondence, the address used by the coordination holder must be his/her home address or personal post-office box.

Trial Period

19. Normally there will be a six-month "trial period" during which other users of the coordinated frequency who experience interference will advise the coordination holder and the BCARCC Coordinator for the area, and those users and the coordination holder are expected to make best efforts to resolve the interference during that period, using common sense and in a spirit of good will.  The BCARCC has no authority to resolve interference issues, but may offer mediation if requested by the parties involved.  If substantial interference to a previously coordinated station or system occurs and cannot be resolved, the Coordination Letter for the new station may be withdrawn (cancelled), on the principle of "first in has priority".

20. During the trial period the coordination holder may find it necessary or desirable to make changes to the conditions of the station from those under which the original coordination request was made (e.g., change antenna pattern, add filters, reduce transmitter power, etc.)  These changes may be made without immediate reference to the BCARCC if they do not result in harmful interference.  The coordination holder should keep a log of hours of operation (by date and time), of all complaints received, and of all changes, including the time and date when the changes were activated or cancelled.  If changes are made, the coordination holder should protect the coordination by submitting a revised request form to the BCARCC Coordinator within a reasonable time (preferably within a month) after the end of the 6-month trial period.

Guidelines for Sharing Frequencies

21. The following general principles apply as guidelines for coordination:
  1. fixed separation distance cannot be used as a criterion for re-use of co-channel or adjacent channel frequency assignments -- natural geographic barriers and terrain characteristics must be taken into account;
  2. receiver coverage may be a significant factor in determining system coverage, but systems using multiple voting receiver sites, or using receiving antennas sited higher than the transmitting antenna need not be given extended coverage protection, unless the system fits within the definition of a "wide-coverage system" (to be defined);
  3. receiver coverage overlap will be based on the 50% probability of a mobile with omnidirectional ERP of 25 watts causing a response; i.e., producing a received signal greater than 0.5 microvolt at more than one repeater over a significant area;
  4. repeaters operating with transmitter ERP greater than 100 watts may be requested to reduce output if required to provide reasonable coordination with other systems, either co-channel or adjacent channel; and
  5. although repeater DX'ing by users may cause unintended interference to co-channel systems, such operation is not a matter for BCARCC action;
22. Where it appears that a proposed new coordination may result in interference between the new or modified station and an existing station or system, the Amateur requesting coordination should make a reasonable attempt to obtain, and submit with the request for coordination, letters of concurrence from current holders of Coordination Letters for the desired frequency.  This requirement may be waived by the Coordinator if the Coordinator is convinced there will in fact be little or no interference.  If harmful interference is likely and no letter of concurrence is submitted with the application, the Coordinator may recommend an alternative frequency or other parameter, or decide the new request can not be coordinated.

23. The BCARCC coordination data base will provide for a number of Shared Non-Protected (SNP) repeater pairs, intended for use with purely local-area repeaters.  SNP systems will be coordinated as for other systems, except that the guidelines for coordination will be as follows:
  1. all repeaters must use tone-coded squelch (CTCSS or DPL) or other approved (by the BCARCC) means of limited access - no carrier-operated squelch is permitted;
  2. applicants for SNP coordination shall propose a CTCSS tone for their system, and the BCARCC will keep and publish a list of tones which have been coordinated;
  3. users are required to share the frequency, without protection from co-channel users;
  4. SNP systems shall be operated without causing interference to regularly coordinated systems - in case of complaint from a regularly coordinated system, the SNP system shall immediately cease operation until the interference cause is eliminated;
  5. SNP systems shall be limited to voice, non-data and non-linked operation; and
  6. ERP of transmitters in SNP service shall be limited to 20 watts for ANTENNAS less than 500 feet AMSL, limited to 10 watts for ANTENNAS between 501 and 1,000 feet AMSL, and as determined on a case-by case basis for ANTENNAS higher than 1,000 feet AMSL.

The SNP frequency pairs which currently are available are 144.53/145.13, 144.69/145.29, 223.12/224.72, 223.24/224.84, 445.00/440.00, and 448.00/443.00.

Conflicting Requests

24. Requests for coordination will be dealt with in the order of receipt of completed requests (i.e., the earliest complete request for coordination has precedence).  However, conflicting requests received during any 24-hour period will be treated as though received simultaneously.  The BCARCC does not accept responsibility for resolving conflicts between requests when a second or later request is received while an earlier application is pending.

25. If asked to mediate between parties in a case of mutually conflicting requests for coordination, factors raised by the Coordinator for consideration may include, but are not necessarily limited to:
  1. limiting the potential for interference with other Amateur operations;
  2. giving preference to serving a larger number of potential users, including proposed operation of an open rather than a closed system;
  3. avoiding duplication of coverage of an existing system in the same band, or providing new coverage for an area not presently covered;
  4. preferring diversification rather than concentration of coordination holders except where there is substantial benefit to the community from concentration;
  5. giving preference to applicants with a satisfactory record for resolution of previously reported problems; and
  6. recognizing any potential for enhancement of the hobby through use of advanced technology or operating features.

The Coordinator may suggest that greater weight be given to items in the order listed (e.g., more weight to avoiding duplication than to potential for enhancement of the hobby).


Transfer of Coordination

26. Coordination of an existing frequency can be transferred to another individual or organization provided:
  1. the party wishing to have the coordination transferred requests the BCARCC to register the transfer, and includes a letter from the present coordination holder agreeing to the transfer;
  2. there will be no changes to the operating parameters of the station as set out in section 13, a. through h., or that any changes requested receive prior coordination from the BCARCC (if the changes include a change of frequency or a change of station location which will cause a significant change of coverage area, the request for transfer will be treated as a new request for coordination, subject to any prior request for coordination in the same general coverage area.)

Denial or Limitation of Coordination

27. The Coordinator may decide that the BCARCC should not register coordination as requested, or may recommend one or more of the following as a condition for coordination:
  1. use of a less congested band for operation;
  2. limitation of antenna height;
  3. limitation of antenna gain and ERP, generally or in specific directions;
  4. use of a special access code or other limited means of access; and
  5. such other technical requirements as deemed necessary to limit interference to existing users.

The Amateur requesting coordination is under no compulsion to accept any or all of the recommendations of the Coordinator.  However, if the Amateur proceeds to obtain a licence and to operate contrary to the recommendations of the Coordinator, the BCARCC will record the existence of the station in its data base with the notation "Not Coordinated".

De-registration of Coordination

28. Under any of the following circumstances the BCARCC may elect to de-register the coordination of a fixed-frequency station, and to record the station as "Not Coordinated" in its data base:
  1. non-operation of the coordinated station or system for any period longer than 3 months unless the BCARCC has been advised in writing before the end of the 3-month period of the reasons for non-operation and the expected date (within 6 months of the original shutdown) when operation of the station or system is expected to resume;
  2. non-operation of the coordinated station or system for any period longer than 6 months;
  3. failure to provide notification to the BCARCC of any substantial change to any of the parameters set out in the Coordination Letter or of the operational status of the station or system within 3 months of such change;
  4. persistent refusal to cooperate with another holder of a Coordination Letter or other licensed radio user over a period of 3 months, or refusal to take reasonably prompt steps to mutually resolve harmful interference; or,
  5. operation not in accordance with the Radiocommunications Act or General Radio Regulations, or cancellation by Industry Canada of the station licence or operator's certificate of the coordination holder.
  6. Harmful interference, as referred to in section 28.d., means that which endangers the functioning of a radio navigation service or of other safety service, or seriously degrades, obstructs or repeatedly interrupts a radio communication service (including Amateur Radio) operating in accordance with the General Radio Regulations.  Hearing the output of another co-channel repeater or radio on the frequency of a repeater or system not in use is not harmful interference.

In the event of a perceived cause for de-registration of registering or maintaining coordination as set out in section 28., the secretary of the BCARCC will notify the coordination holder of the perceived cause by mail or fax.  If a satisfactory reply stating the action which will be taken to maintain coordination is not received within 2 months after the notification date, the coordination will be de-registered automatically, and the coordination holder will be notified, again by mail or fax.

Appeals

29. In the event that a coordination is de-registered, or a Coordinator denies a request for coordination or suggests technical or operational limitations as a condition of coordination, the Amateur requesting coordination or the coordination holder may appeal that action through an informal appeal procedure by sending a letter to the secretary of the BCARCC setting out the reasons why the Amateur believes coordination should be registered or maintained.  The secretary will inform the directors and the policy committee of the contents of the letter.  Within a reasonable time thereafter, the policy committee will consider the reasons for appeal and may confer with the Amateur and/or the Coordinator involved, after which the appeal will either be upheld and the request for coordination returned to the Coordinator for action, or refused and referred to the directors for confirmation or further review if appropriate.  However, the BCARCC expects most disagreement to be resolved at the Coordinator or Policy Committee level without intervention by the directors.

Confidentiality

30. The BCARCC recognizes and respects the right and the desire of many licensees of fixed-frequency Amateur stations to keep most of the information about the station confidential.  For that reason, published data will be limited to the following for general-use stations:
  1. transmit and receive frequency of known fixed-frequency general-use Amateur stations in British Columbia, and whether or not the station is registered as "Coordinated";
  2. the general location of the station (e.g, Mount Seymour, Vancouver).  The exact location will be in the BCARCC database but will not be published;
  3. the general area of coverage of the station;
  4. the name of the sponsoring organization (e.g., Burnaby ARC), and on some lists the name of the coordination holder or contact person.  The address, phone number, etc., of the coordination holder will be made available only on request and only with the prior permission of that person;
  5. the mode of operation of the station (e.g., voice repeater, packet repeater, packet node, etc.);
  6. whether the station is "open" or "closed" (i.e., open if any Amateur can access the station, closed if special access codes or other means are required and available only to a limited number of Amateurs);
  7. any auxiliary services available (e.g., autopatch) which have not been designated as confidential in the application; and
  8. means of accessing the station and auxiliary services, only if the applicant has indicated on the application that such information may be published.

Information from requests for coordination of stations used in inter-station links or control links will not be published.  However, the frequencies used by such stations may be included in published lists with a notation similar to "not available in the ...... area", or "coordinated for special use in the .... area", where the area given will be very general.

Other data obtained by BCARCC from requests for frequency coordination will be entered into the BCARCC data base and made available only to the directors and the Coordinators (all of whom will sign non-disclosure agreements), and to officials of Industry Canada, unless prior written permission is obtained from the coordination holder to release the information.  BCARCC may request such permission from coordination holders from time to time if assistance is requested by another frequency coordination body.

The foregoing policy of confidentiality applies only to information obtained from requests for coordination.  Information about non-coordinated stations obtained in any manner not related to a request for coordination may not be protected and may be made available to others in any manner deemed appropriate by BCARCC.


For More Information:

sec-treas@bcarcc.org or pres@bcarcc.org
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© 1997-2003  BCARCC

Revised June 21, 20032 PB