To avoid confusion, and wasting time and money, you can follow these simple steps when investigating the availability or requesting frequencies for your repeater:
The first step, even before purchasing any equipment, including radios, repeaters, crystals, or duplexers, is to compete the Application for Proposed Frequency Coordination, and send to the Frequency Coordinator (FC). Accepted methods of submitting the Application, include via United States Postal Service (USPS), and signed, scanned PDF email to the FC.
All Frequency Coordination applications that are mailed to the FC, via United States Postal Service (USPS), should be sent with a Self-Address-Stamped-Envelope for return mailing the applicant.
The FC can help fill in a few parameters using software tools to calculate such things as HAAT (from your supplied coordinates) and ERP from your supplied TX power, gains, and losses, but the form must be competed in its entirety. Ask for help if you need it, do not guess as this will delay the process. Be aware that the person listed as “applicant” becomes the ‘holder of record” (HOR). The ARC will only accept future updates from this person. For club oriented repeaters, we recommend the club itself being listed as “applicant / HOR” while an individual is listed as the Trustee and becomes the Point of Contact (POC) for the ARC. That way, there is no doubt the pair belongs to the club as opposed to an individual and updates can be more easily accomplished.
Once the FC receives the completed application for Proposed Frequency Coordination, he will perform a frequency evaluation, and search to advise of any frequency conflicts, or other available frequencies, as well as initiate contact with the applicant to resolve any issues.
In any case, the applicant will need to provide all required information needed on the application. The proposed frequency can be included in the application; however, frequency availability varies with geographical location, and frequency band. It is also acceptable to leave the TX and RX frequency blank. In this scenario, the FC will conduct a scan, and then inform the applicant of the availability of frequencies, and then wait on the HOPC and NFC process below.
The FC will perform a search for the applicant and indicate frequencies from which to choose. Be aware that both 2-Meter, and 440 pairs are running scarce throughout the state, and even in some areas are not available. Also, be aware in some case, a frequency availability list is preliminary in that while the Alabama data is up to date, its highly possible that data from neighboring states could be outdated, or nonexistent. You are not guaranteed any frequency until the NOPC process is complete, so don’t rush out and buy that repeater, and tune duplexer, just yet!
One the FC has the completed application, it is entered into the ARC database as a “proposed repeater” and a Notice of Proposed Coordination (NOPC) is generated to all neighboring states within 150 miles from the proposed site. The FC will try to include the applicant on email communications at this stage, to stay informed during the process.
When favorable responses are received from all neighboring states (be patient, this can take 3 to 4 weeks in some cases), the FC has some additional paperwork filing to compete, and then a Notice of Frequency Coordination (NFC) is created, and sent to the applicant. This may be mailed via USPS, or returned via PDF form in an email attachment. This document contains important information regarding conditions under which a repeater must be re-coordinated. You must sign and return one copy of the NFC, via USPS, or scanned PDF email attachment to the FC indicating two things before your coordination is complete:
- You have placed the repeater on the air.
- You understand the conditions for your coordination to remain current. The ARC normally allows 60 days to place a repeater on the air, but extensions are generally granted- just ask. Above all, keep your contact info with the ARC current, including USPS mailing addresses, email addresses, and phone numbers. Repeaters have been de-coordinated because ARC lost all contact with the trustee.