The three “Don’ts” explained

Every now and then you’ll hear me, or one of the other folks pointing out to individuals that visit the NE-OREGON room that we like to abide by “The Three Don’ts.” By that I am referring to:

            Don’t Discuss – Sex

            Don’t Discuss – Politics

            Don’ t Discuss – Religion

Although there are a few individuals that may disagree with this policy, for the most part everyone understands and most appreciate the request. But I get the impression that there still needs to be some clarity with regards to my statement about staying clear of the three don’ts while on the W7NEO repeaters. To be clear, I’m not talking political correctness by any stretch, and those that know me know that I’m anything but politically correct. All I’m saying is to just show some consideration for others on the system that may or may not share your opinions let alone wish to debate them on the repeater. That said, here is my interpretation of just what defines the three don’ts:


Unlike the other two, this is the one I think bares the least amount of wiggle room. The idea here is that sex in general is a very private thing between two adults. So, bear in mind that when you’re using one of our repeaters, you’re most likely covering an area that at a minimum has over a hundred miles of average coverage. So, the possibility of your having an audience of more than a dozen or so individuals is pretty good.  Out of that group it’s also a pretty good assumption that there are going to be women, and even children who really would rather not hear a detailed account of your recent weekend spent with the twenty something year old yoga instructor. So please be aware of that, and when you get to your local watering hole, or poker night, then would probably be a better time to share your sexploits with the guys.


We all have our own unique interpretation of life after death, and the spirit world in general. To say that most folks are very passionate about this and take their views as seriously as they do personally would be a gross understatement. So, to openly ridicule someone for their spiritual belief, or even lack thereof, would be not only exceptionally rude, but personally disrespectful, and just down right insulting to that individual, or group of individuals. So, when it comes to a repeater, try to show some respect for others’ beliefs by not using the repeaters as a bully pit in order to push your own beliefs, or to openly ridicule the beliefs of others’. I’m not saying it’s not okay to let folks know about a fund-raising event your church might be having, comment on a particularly great time you had while attending services that weekend, or even referring to a loved one that passed from this world to the next. That’s perfectly acceptable. But if you feel the need to “preach” or to “ridicule” the beliefs of others, or non-believers, please don’t use our repeaters in order to propagate your particular viewpoint. Instead, just as a suggestion, make yourself up a sandwich board displaying whatever rhetoric you choose to spread, find yourself a street corner, and understand if I happen across that street corner I act as though we’ve never met…


To say that now days we as a nation are as divided as we’ve ever been, is to say the least a gross understatement. If you really need an example of that just look back at the events of January 6th , 2021that took place at our nation’s capital. That said, most folks nowadays are very passionate with regards to their personal political views. So much so, it really doesn’t take much, and a simple political discussion can turn physical or worse. Referring to my earlier statement, on repeaters like ours the coverage is such that when you key the mic it’s a better than average possibility that allot of other people are hearing you. Out of those hearing you it’s also a good possibility that not everyone will share your particular political views, let alone be all that interested in hearing those views over their local Ham Radio repeaters. Now I’m not saying we can’t complain about the government, and how much we may feel is, or is not a reasonable level of fleecing when it comes to taxation. Or which law on the books makes sense and which law seems to have had it’s original drafting in the local mental institution. But when it begins to get personal such as those <INSERT PROFANITY HERE> Liberals or Conservatives, or this president or that president needs to be drummed out of office. At that point it’s gone a tad beyond what constitutes acceptable political commentary and is well into the outright personally insulting territory. So please don’t use the repeaters as your own personal campaign podium for your political party’s candidate, or general agenda.

Also remember, as in the case of any other organization, if you don’t pay your dues, you don’t have the right to a say. So, if you don’t vote you really don’t have the right to complain about our government. Yes, it’s that simple.

So, there you have it, the “Three Don’ts” explained. I hope this helps to clarify just what is really meant by observing the Three Don’ts while on the W7NEO repeater system. By adhering to these simple guidelines, you’ll help make our repeaters a considerably nicer place for folks to hang out and have fun meeting and getting to know one another through good conversation. Within the W7NEO repeater system we are purposely pretty lax when it comes to rules while on our system. Along with the Three Don’ts all we ask is that users abide by part 97 of the FCC rules and regulations, along with the accepted standards of good repeater etiquette. So please enjoy the repeaters that allot of really great people worked hard to put on the air and enjoy one of the primary benefits of this great hobby of ours, the people!

Lynn, K7LW

Repeater Use & Etiquette

This is mostly for new HAMs but it’s a good review for all of us.

XID, using your call sign every 10 minutes and at the end of your transmission.
XLISTEN, listen, LISTEN! It is important to get a feel for who traffic is flowing on a repeater and how the current users are handling their conversation. You will always learn a lot by simply listening.
XPause between transmissions. “Quick keying” gives the appearance that other hams are unwelcome in your conversation, not to mention it prevents emergency traffic from breaking in.
XRepeaters can be open or closed. If a repeater is closed it is private to club users only. If you want to use that specific repeater, join the sponsoring club.
X Repeater communications should be kept to a minimum in case someone needs to use it for an emergency; always use simplex mode if you can.
Some repeaters are specifically for “rag chew” or just conversation. In these instances just make sure you are leaving an opportunity for others to get in.
X If you feel compelled to interrupt an existing conversation, remember that it is no more polite to do so on the air than if you did it in person.  Would you barge into a roomful of people engaged in a discussion without saying anything of interest? …or even worse, saying something completely unrelated to the topic of conversation?
XDon’t cough, clear your throat, laugh, or make little noises like hmmm or randomly saying yeah. Always be brief and don’t try to fill dead air. If you have nothing to say or nothing more to contribute back out of a conversation.
XXDon’t act like some sort of Broadcast Radio station.  Your fellow Amateurs  will most likely not appreciate such a blatant display of personal ego.
XWhen you need to break into a conversation, simply give out your call and wait for someone to acknowledge you.
XXIf you have an emergency, you may break into any communication on any frequency by saying EMERGENCY. Don’t use BREAK or BREAK BREAK, these aren’t universally understood. The word EMERGENCY is.
XTo make a call on a repeater to a specific person, give their call and then yours and wait for a response. If you suspect they may have a radio which is scanning, key up for a second before speaking and give their call twice before giving yours. Saying CQ on a repeater is frowned upon and may make you appear like a “newbie”.
XWhen doing a radio check, give your call and then radio check and wait for someone to call back. If you are just testing and don’t want a response, Give your call, then say testing, and then your call again and clear.
XKnow your own signal quality before responding to a signal or radio check. If you aren’t getting into the repeater or hearing it well, you aren’t going to be giving accurate information about someone else’s signal.
XThe word clear means someone is leaving their radio or shutting it off. Do not try to talk to someone after they have said they are clear.
X If one station calls another, and there is no answer, don’t be insulted if the calling station doesn’t respond if you “drop your call”. They may have been looking for someone specific and really aren’t interested in a general chat, or they may have moved to another frequency.
XXIt is no longer required by Part 97 to add mobile or portable to your call, but you will still hear those who do. While adding “mobile”, “portable”, or even “marine” isn’t required, there is certainly nothing wrong with continuing the practice. Doing so allows other to be aware of your circumstance and that you could drop out of range easily.
X Do not monopolize the repeater.  If 90 % of the conversations for long periods of time, night after night, include you and one or two others, something is wrong.  If other hams turn off their radios for big blocks of time because they can hardly talk to someone other than you, something is wrong.  You do not own, nor single handedly finance the repeater.  It is suppose to be a shared resource. Always welcome others into your conversations, don’t drive other people off the air.  You know who you are!
X Ignore those who cause interference and others who try to disrupt the repeater’s normal operation.  Without any reaction from the repeater users, they will have no audience and probably go away in short order.
X If you are someone who is the subject of frequent interference, it may be a sign that you are aggravating people with your operating habits.  This may be a sign that it is time for you to adjust your attitude and use of the repeater.  This isn’t always the case, but history has shown that those who have the most trouble with jammers are the ones who have caused the most friction among the repeater users.
XWhen IDing you don’t need to say “for ID” or anything of that nature. When you give your call everyone knows the reason for it. It is a waste of air time and redundant.
XBe upbeat and courteous.  Don’t complain.  This especially includes complaining about other hams, the repeater, or some aspect of the hobby.  We all deal with unsafe and discourteous drivers, please don’t describe their actions to us on the air.
XDo not use phrases learned on 11 meters such as “handle“, “making the trip“, “got a good copy on me?“, “the personal here is…“, “what’s your 20?“, “you’re giving me 20-pounds“, and other strange phrases which should stay on CB.  Speak plain English; this is not a cult.  The less said about 11 meters on the air the better. Many HAMs are a bit stuck up when it comes to CBers so it’s a good idea to avoid that lingo.
XXUse plain language that everyone understands. 2m and 70cm are interoperability bands. Q Signals and Radio short codes aren’t appropriate. 10 Codes, 12 Codes etc are never appropriate in Amateur Radio. Also on a repeater unless you have a weak signal phonetics aren’t usually necessary and take up precious air time. If requested, use them, otherwise don’t.

Part 97 rules forbid the use of coded transmissions in order to “obscure their meaning”. Anything you say on HAM radio must be able to be understood by all HAMs.
X Following a round-table, or rotation format is the best way for 3 or more to participate.  Don’t ignore people by not passing it to them for several turns.
XXDon’t kerchunk the repeater without IDing. It’s incredibly rude and illegal.
XAs with all amateur radio, NO politics, religion or sex.
XIt is not necessary to give the other person’s call when ending a conversation. This is wasted air time. The other person will give their call when they sign off. You will always hear the old timers do it this way.
XDon’t give out your call on a repeater and then just leave. Others might try to call you and this is incredibly rude. At least say clear so others know you are leaving.
X JUST BECAUSE OTHERS VIOLATE THESE GUIDELINES DOESN’T MAKE IT RIGHT. BE THE EXAMPLE OTHERS WILL FOLLOW. On that same topic, remember not to be the radio police. If others are violating these, don’t confront them on the air. Just be the example. Also remember, much of this is just a set of guidelines to help you be the best HAM you can be. Others may do things a bit different and most cases that’s okay.