Terrestrial Repeater Rule

The first thing I checked when the new rules came out was the “terrestrial repeater” prohibition.

There’s a ham I regularly talk with when I’m activating. When I talk with him, I’m using VHF simplex. He sometimes sets up his home station as a cross-band repeater and uses his HT to make contacts via his home station while he goes for a walk. When he’s at home, he uses the same home station to make contacts directly.

I view this as remote operation of his primary station. Some might view it as a “terrestrial repeater.” It’s not a repeater in the common sense of the word, but it is terrestrial and it is repeating.

I haven’t needed his contact to qualify the activation, but I’m planning to take some VHF-only operators out for their first activation. If they need his contact in order to qualify the summit, does this mode of operation qualify as a valid chase?
Kevin / K4KPK

I noticed that rule and I’m curious about the exception for airborne repeaters. What is the rationale for that?

I like the wording in the Brendan Awards:

“The contact must be made via natural reflectors within the atmospheric mantle of the earth, which for these purposes may be taken as a distance of 1,000 km. Thus man-made reflectors (aircraft, satellites, etc.) as well as EME are excluded.”

That allows ionospheric propagation, meteor scatter, knife-edge diffraction from mountains, etc. It does not allow contacts made after launching your own Echo satellite.


I’m pretty sure a search of the reflector will turn up reasoning regarding satellites and airborne repeaters, and that the rule is there to prevent activators from qualifying the hill by opening the nearest repeater and then using its power and location to reach and make the required number of contacts.

73, Rick 5Z4/M0LEP

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Operating a terrestrial repeater is trivial. Operation through satellites remains in the rules (it always has been in there) because it’s quite hard to do even with the FM bent-pipe units. I’m not sure if anyone has logged any QSOs via satellite yet.

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Answering the original question, if you cannot contact third parties then for you it isn’t a repeater, it is an extension of his station. If you can only contact him via that remote operation system then you are OK.

TBH, I have never been entirely comfortable with that rule but was - wait for it - over ruled!

IIRC it is because additional skills are needed, both are a moving target and with satellites you also have to deal with Doppler shift.


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20 years ago I used to do CW and SSB on RS10 (144MHz/28MHz) and RS12(28 MHz/21 MHz). Pity they are not operating anymore, I think they would have pretty straightforward for SOTA.

Being planned in VK at the moment.

73 Ed.

There’s a lot fewer active transponders than I remember.

AO-7 (70cms up 2m down) SSB/CW
FO-29 (2m up 70cms down) SSB/CW
SO-50 (2m up 70cms down) FM
AO-73 (70cms up 2m down) SSB/CW

There used to be lots more FM bent-pipe satellites.

It will be fun to get people into the right places at the same time as the satellite is in the right place.

A live satellite status page is here: http://oscar.dcarr.org

Have made satellite QSOs from /P locations though not SOTA yet. A lot more SSB/FM birds coming soon in the form of Funcube 2 & 3 plus the AMSAT US fleet of FOX satellites due for launch over the next 2-3 years. I will certainly be trying to complete some SOTASAT QSO’s soon.


Hi Kevin,
Great question. Remote operation is a most useful facet of AR but …

BTW this topic came up once before wrt using a remote station in EU when living in the USA.

I think its time for a "remote station use in SOTA " rule to be restated and formalized in a clear concise and readily available form. ie in the Rules.

I note that the Rules have just been comprehensively updated and I congratulate the MT on that.

My personal opinion ( worth about 50 AU cents) is that if you are within the boundary of your own home/property it doesn’t matter if you have a long cable, rf or optical link to the rig in the shack, it’s all part of your fixed station.

I suggest that Rule 3.7.10 have an addition:

If a terrestrial station is remotely controlled by other than a short range link then it is classified as a terrestrial repeater and it’s use does not conform with Rule 3.7.10. Short range is defined as not exceeding 100 m.

I know many will disagree and for example say it’s OK to use your home station from the office over the internet but I’ll leave adjudication on that one to your boss and the MT.


We did it from W6YX at W6/NC-209 already, but our faculty advisor, who did the QSO, hasn’t reported it in the database yet.