Autopatch-Rules

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Martin Cooper inventor of the cell phone, and first person to make a phone call with a handheld cell phone, April 3, 1973.

W7VNJ Autopatch

145.235- 100Hz tone (144.635 input) Hosted by the W7WMC radio club, this repeater provides excellent Natrona area coverage.

See The Area Repeater Coverage Page for relative coverage maps of this repeater.

Rules

Please, also be familiar with the FCC rules regarding autopatch use.

  1. No business related phone calls.
  2. The patch has a 3 minute timer. It can be reset for emergency calls only. (**3)
  3. Ask yourself if the call is really necessary. Please avoid the “I will be home in 5 minutes” calls.
  4. The phone-patch should not be used to avoid a toll call or when a regular or cellular phone is available.
  5. If there is an emergency, car break-down, etc, you can use the patch to call a wrecker or summon any help you need.
  6. Identify yourself before you bring up the patch and after you bring it down.
  7. You are the control operator when making a call and are responsible for what those on the other end say. (third-party traffic)
  8. If someone puts you on hold and music is played, you must immediately terminate the patch - no exceptions. (FCC rules 97.113 Prohibited transmissions)


Not a Private System

REMEMBER - "Everyone" in Natrona County will be hearing both sides of your conversation. This is NOT a private system by any illusion or imagination. There is no expectation of privacy. Do not discuss anything you wouldn't want printed on the front page of the newspaper.

If you desire or need privacy - use a phone, not the autopatch.

Open Repeater and Autopatch

Both the repeater and the autopatch are open to any licensed Amateur Operator. Please adhere to the rules and guidelines so it can remain open.

Reverse Autopatch

  • There is no reverse autopatch.

That means you can not call the repeater by phone and make contact over the air. If you do happen to call the repeater by phone, all you'll get are the sounds of a FAX machine handshake. Which, if you're a fax machine trying to send a fax is quite handy.

In an Emergency

In an emergency, use your cell phone. The autopatch does NOT support E911 functions! Use your cell phone if at all possible, that way the CAD displays at dispatch will have valid location and user information and dispatch won't send responders to the repeater site. No - most dispatchers are NOT familiar with telephone / radio interconnects or autopatches.

If the autopatch is your ONLY access to emergency services:

Your only option is to call the Casper Combined Dispatch Center's non-emergency number: (307) 235-8278
  • 'If making a call to Emergency Services' it is imperative you tell them you're calling via an Amateur Radio Autopatch.

Even if they don't understand what that means, it will help them to understand why their location information in CAD isn't of use. You must be clear on where you are and be able to describe your location precisely and concisely. Plan ahead before you even dial.

Usage

Place a call

To place a call:

  • Listen first - ensure the repeater or the autopatch are not already in use.
  • ID with your callsign. Then, using your DTMF keypad, dial * (star), followed by the local 7 digit number you want to call.

No Long Distance or Toll calls permitted. Local Exchanges only are allowed.

If you discover an error in our filtering, please - let us know.

An Example

To call Flemming's Electronic Supply, here in Casper:
  After listening to ensure the repeater is not in use, 
  Identify your self and that you're going to initiate an autopatch.
"This is W7VNJ attempting autopatch" (Obviously, use your own callsign.)
  then on your DTMF pad - dial:
*2347144   (that's "star" followed by the number)
  • After you dial, you should hear a message indicating "Autopatch Enabled" and beeps covering the number you dialed.
  • The repeater will then stop transmitting, connect to POTS and dial the number - silently. Once dialing is finished, it'll begin transmitting again and you should soon hear the ring tones.
  • When the other person answers their phone - help them out. Unless they're already familiar with an autopatch, they'll likely be a bit confused by how things sound. The autopatch works HALF DUPLEX - what we hams are used to with normal repeater operation. But, most folks are used to telephones, which are FULL DUPLEX. In full duplex, both parties can talk at the same time and hear each other. You may want to tell them you're calling via radio so they can at least know why it's 'different'.
  • 'If making a call to Emergency Services' it is imperative you tell them you're calling via an Amateur Radio Autopatch. Dispatch Centers use 'caller ID' to discover your location. It's not going to to do anyone any good to send help to the repeater instead of where ever the problem is.

Hanging up

  • When you want to 'hangup' the autopatch, just dial # (pound) on your DTMF keypad.

You can do this at anytime - regardless of who's talking - and you must do this immediately if any un-authorized transmissions are about to occur.

  • The repeater will confirm the end of the autopatch and state the time.
  • You should then ID with your own callsign and release the repeater.

For example: "W7VNJ clearing the autopatch" or similar.

Info

If the person you called starts cussing or saying something inappropriate for over the air Amateur Radio communications - it's up to you to terminate the call. You are the control operator and it's your license at risk. Do that by immediately pressing # on your DTMF pad. The repeater will hang up the line and announce the termination of the patch. Later, preferably in person, you can explain to the person you called why you had to hang up on them. The repeater's radio receiver always has 'priority' and is always listening. If you key up and talk or issue a DTMF command, the person on the phone is 'cut off'.

  • ONE BIG GOTCHYA Many phones these days have musical ring tones for the caller! (KE7AZF's phone is one, we discovered :oops: ). If you hear, "Please wait while your party is reached" or "Enjoy the music while your party is reached" or something similar - you know you've got music coming. HANG UP THE PATCH NOW!! You'll have to find another way to contact that person.
  • For information on how to disable ringback tones using your Verizon Wireless online account management, check out this handy tutorial! NOTE: For Verizon Wireless customers ONLY
  • Cell phones are radios. You're using a radio with the autopatch. 'We're STRONGLY encouraging folks to NOT use the autopatch if you've access to a cell phone.'