Colorado Connection - Our Unique Culture
Our Unique Culture
Due to the chain of linked repeaters, special steps are needed to allow
everyone fair access to the Connection. Because the primary purpose of
the system is public service, this is a concern for everyone using the
The Connection is designed unlike many other linked repeater systems.
Our repeaters don't all connect to one main repeater. Checkout the system map
and you'll see that many of the repeaters are chained together
serially. All the linking is done via amateur radio. There are no phone
lines, microwave links, or other non-ham links. With this combination of
linking radios and remote sites that act as clients to other repeaters,
there is a one way signal path across the system. In some cases the
repeater's audio is wired to a link radio and communications with
another site is via a simplex link frequency or repeater pair. Duplex
links are available between some repeaters, but most of the links are in
one direction across the system at any given time.
One of the most significant characteristics of this system is the time
it takes for transmitters to unkey across the system and return to an
idle state, allowing a response in the opposite direction. Consider a
conversation between Jim in Colorado Springs and Steve in Grand
Junction. When Jim unkeys it takes a small but measurable time for each
transmitter along the path to Grand Junction to unkey, drop its carrier,
and allow the next link to follow suit. Only after each transmitter has
unkeyed is Steve able to respond. When he begins transmitting, it takes
more time for his audio to propagate back through each repeater and
link transceiver in the chain back to Colorado Springs. If another user
keys up on the eastern slope before Steve's signal gains control from
the other end, his response is lost.
Similarly, if a conversation takes place on a single machine or two
machines close together and those talking don't leave sufficient breaks,
users of outlying repeaters may never gain access. For this reason
Connection users are asked to leave a pause of 3-4 seconds after hearing
the proceed tone (the CW 'K') before beginning their transmission. This
is especially appropriate when it's your turn in a roundtable
discussion. Failure to follow this procedure will exclude users at the
outer reaches of the system. This can cause extreme frustration and
occasional harsh feelings.
Many users never consider what the 'K' does to the system. What if Steve
in Grand Junction is talking to Fred in Salida? All system messages are
generated from the Denver repeater. After Steve speaks, all the links
drop and the Denver repeater sends the CW 'K' back through the system.
This requires that all the radios key their transmitters in the opposite
direction to send the 'K' back to Steve in Grand Junction and Fred in
Salida. All the repeaters have to drop once again before Fred can speak.
When he does, his signal keys all the transmitters back the other
direction. While his signal may not need to go to Denver for Steve to
hear him, there is still a very significant time delay because when he
unkeys, the 'K' is again generated from Denver and has to traverse the
entire system in the opposite direction. When users anywhere (but
especially in Denver) fail to leave adequate breaks for all the
turnaround time taken during linking and unlinking for each direction
the spoken audio or repeater generated 'K' takes, users on outlying
repeaters can't get a word in edgewise. This is incredibly frustrating
to those of us at the far reaches of the system. It's also very
important that Fred and Steve don't keyup too quickly. If either of them
talk as soon as the system drops, they will double with the 'K' coming
back from Denver. Not only will the first part of their audio not be
heard, but others will hear the squeal of two signals.
Because the linking effect moves slower than actual audio, it is common
for ½ to ¾ second of audio to be clipped from the beginning of each
transmission. To overcome this clipping, we ask that you wait about one
to two seconds after keying before beginning to speak. Your pause will
ensure the smooth transition.
There are many times when the Colorado Connection serves as an on the
air meeting place for large groups. During these times it is
important to remember that the system is there for everyone. No one owns
the system. Please work to include everyone who has expressed an
interest in participating.
With the exception that emergency traffic has absolute priority, there
are no hard and fast rules for operating on the Colorado Connection, but
some simple guidelines should be considered.
Remember, the Connection is for public service operation. Emergency and public service traffic have priority.
Generally, during a conversation, wait 3-4 seconds before beginning to transmit when the conversation is passed to you.
Wait one second after depressing the PTT switch before speaking.
Balance your input (how long you talk) with how many stations are participating. (Don't forget the two minute timer.)
remember who's there and include everyone. Think about to whom you will
pass the conversation during a roundtable discussion. Do your part to
help keep the rotation going smoothly.
others to join in any roundtable discussions. Don't forget to include
those on outlying repeaters. The 145.310 MHz Denver repeater is not the
only repeater on the Connection.
join a conversation, help them continue the rotation by helping them
know who's next in line to pickup the conversation.
common to hear multiple breaking stations during a pause between users.
When there is a breaker extend the pause slightly to assure everyone a
chance to identify.
As user A
passes the conversation to user B, it is generally best for user B to
acknowledge any breaking stations who identify during the transitional
If user A
passes the conversation to user B, but user B does not respond, it is
generally best for user A to pickup the conversation, acknowledge any
identifying stations, and pass the conversation to another user. This
avoids confusion during unusual transitions.
an emergency, it is generally best to listen long enough to get a feel
of who is present before joining a conversation.
Colorado Connection is often the best or only way to make contact with
another part of the state. Even if the frequency is in use for an
informal round robin, it is not discourteous to answer a call from a
distant station and have a short conversation. Don't make it too long
when you interrupt to do this.
conversation is just you and another user, feel free to enjoy your
conversation. Leave adequate breaks for others to identify. If you're
ragchewing, announce your intent and ask if others need the system. If
no one responds, continue your conversation.
if you'd like to break into a conversation, do so during a pause. It
is considered rude to begin a long conversation if you have interrupted
Following these simple guidelines prevents confusion on this, the most
active repeater system in the state. As you become comfortable with
these guidelines, they will become good operating habits and you can
begin educating newcomers about these procedures while using The
© Copyright 1996-2014, Colorado Connection Repeaters, Inc.
P.O. Box 22134, Denver, Colorado 80222