Organizational Structure and History
In FEB of 2008, NEWCOMM Founder Robert Michaud started to form a communications club, Wisconsin Michigan Citizens Band Radio and Scanner Club, focusing more on Citizens Band Radio and Scanner enthusiasts. This lead to a want and need to expand communications capability and flexibility and finding that in the VHF and UHF spectrum with the addition of MURS, FRS, and GMRS services. N.E.W.Comm Net feels strongly about family and the use of GMRS, MURS, CBRS, iDEN, and the ISM 800/900 MHz & 2.4GHz bands, as well as making a network of friends and emergency communications preparedness.
N.E.W.Comm Net is simply a cooperative; there is no desire to tell a GMRS repeater owner/operator or other system owner/operator what he or she should do, aside from a small collection of guidelines found to be in best practice. In order to accomplish this, we have created an "Advisory Board", which is consistent of the repeater owners and system operators or his/her designee from each system. The Board communicates through a Coordinator, who takes membership and repeater alignment requests from the website and passes them on for approval. We keep track of all of our users through a database system so each owner knows who is coming and going, as well as discuss appropriate operating procedures and expansion of the networks' infrastructure.
There are no dues collected. Each repeater owner or affiliated system operator still maintains 100% control of their system, and although the group has suggested operational outlines we employ system-wide, no repeater or system is "owned" by N.E.W.Comm Net. It is 100% voluntary. Any donations a user wants to make are made directly to the repeater owner or system operator for local maintenance, or to the Coordinator to offset website expenses. There is never any demand.
The N.E.W.Comm Net Coordinator keeps track of each member in a database pursuant to 95.133 of the FCC rules for GMRS system users and shares it with the Advisory Board upon request.
As it stands now, the North East Wisconsin Communications Network is the largest independent cooperative of GMRS, MURS, FRS, iDEN, 800/900MHz-ISM, 2.4 GHz-ISM and CBRS communicators in the United States. We have become a fighting force for dealing with illegal GMRS usage as well. Assisting in the removal of any illegal and expired businesses from GMRS, and by following the rules, are an example for new users to follow. N.E.W.Comm Net has a sub-committee committed to enforcement of GMRS, MURS, FRS and CBRS rules and related issues in North East Wisconsin and outlying Areas.
Together, there is little we can't do. Our people are what make the difference.
We are proud of our accomplishments and look forward to continued success!
The North East Wisconsin Communications Network is a voluntary cooperative, non-incorporated and holds no assets. Each repeater owner and/or system operator still owns, controls, and is responsible for his/her repeater, system, and/or group. We have several regulations in place which all repeater and other system operators should follow to keep operations the same from place to place. Since it is not legal for a business to own a GMRS repeater, this practice is the best for our Network.
Below is a sample copy of our User Agreement. We borrowed this from another user group and made some modifications, but do not remember which one it was. We like to thank whoever wrote this, as it seems it has become the template for many other repeater groups also. It was well written and we'd love to give credit to the person(s) who authored it.
The purpose of this agreement is to clearly define roles and responsibilities of the members and the owner(s)/control operators of the North East Wisconsin Communications Network systems and repeaters as described below.
For the purposes of this particular agreement, the following definitions can be used:
- General Mobile Radio Service is the personal radio service described in the Federal Communications Commission's Rules (CFR 47, Part 95). The GMRS is a licensed radio service, and is different from the Family Radio Service, which requires no FCC license for operation although some frequencies are common to both services.
- GMRS Repeaters are conventional UHF repeaters installed on GMRS channels, and operated by a GMRS Licensee. This agreement applies to all North East Wisconsin Communications Network affiliated repeaters.
- Repeater Owner(s)/Advisory Board is the GMRS licensee who has undertaken the responsibility of maintaining the repeater equipment and making it available for use. This person is ultimately responsible for the proper operation of the repeater. This includes a good faith effort to insure that the repeater is available for licensed and permitted users, and not available to unlicensed users or others who abuse the privilege of access. North East Wisconsin Communications Network Advisory Board in this case operates the repeaters.
- Repeater owner, at his/her discretion, will assign control operators to assist in monitoring the repeater, and will covet the same rights afforded to the owner in reference to assignment of permission to operate the repeater, as well as access the domicile and equipment of the repeater system as needed. The repeater owner will repeal and assign as necessary.
- Repeater User (N.E.W.Comm Net Member) is any GMRS licensed individual whom is an accepted Member of the North East Wisconsin Communications Network, which accesses any listed N.E.W.Comm Net repeater(s). Use by any individual will automatically constitute agreement to the terms of this agreement.
- The Advisory Board hereby grants free of charge permission for use of N.E.W.Comm Net affiliated repeater systems to any user meeting the following requirements:
- The user holds a current and valid GMRS license and is an accepted member of the North East Wisconsin Communications Network.
- The user abides by all GMRS rules, regulations, and guidelines in effect by both the FCC and the repeater owner, especially those about station identification.
- The user is aware and considerate of the shared nature of the repeaters.
- The user has not had access privileges suspended or revoked by the owner/network-group.
- The user is expected to:
- Legally maintain their GMRS license;
- Purchase and properly maintain their own GMRS radio equipment;
- Follow all applicable rules and guidelines (found on website);
- Be courteous, considerate and helpful to other users;
- Report suspected repeater problems to the owner;
- Participate in on-air repeater equipment testing if needed.
- Assist in emergency traffic relay when appropriate.
For reasons of security, the location of all North East Wisconsin Communications Network GMRS Repeaters will be kept confidential and private. There shall be no discussion on the actual location of the repeater or its equipment and/or components. Furthermore, access codes, PL/DPL codes and other information will also be kept private, as only to be relayed to approved members via e-mail or telephone by the Advisors. This privacy is due to alleviating theft and/or vandalism to the repeater, its location(s) or components, as well as limiting on air access, unlicensed users, non-members and pirating. Emergency information will be left at the site as per FCC regulations.
Further more no personal information given to The North East Wisconsin Communications Network will be given/handed out or sold to anyone. We take SECURITY and CONFIDENTIALITY seriously.
The N.E.W.Comm Net Repeater Systems are designed to be available during times of commercial power outage at the antenna site provided equipment is available and has not failed. Efforts will be made to provide battery back up in case of failure of AC Power mains. DO NOT RELY SOLELY ON GMRS, MURS, FRS, or CBRS RADIO SYSTEMS FOR CRITICAL COMMUNICATIONS, always try to have a backup. As much as we try to achieve the goal of 100% operational availability, please be advised there is no guarantee the repeater system will be 100% operational at all times. There are multiple reasons the repeater may not be operational, from upgrades and routine service related outages to failure of equipment and/or failure of field equipment. We hold no responsibility for failures and you agree to indemnify and hold harmless the North East Wisconsin Communications Network and its individual members EXEMPT from any liability arising from outages, failures, and/or inability to access the system. The North East Wisconsin Communications Network will always assess and assist with all emergencies as requested and available.
UPGRADES AND FUNDING
By FCC rule, a repeater owner cannot charge a fee or subscription for GMRS repeater use. It does take a considerable amount of money and time to install and maintain the systems properly. This includes the receiver, transmitter, controller, power supply, antenna system, cabinet, and 100+ hours of labor. Then there is the ongoing cost of electricity and routine maintenance.There is no rule that prohibits donations towards the costs of equipment, maintenance, and upgrades. The North East Wisconsin Communications Network would appreciate any and all donations of any size to defray some of the costs of installing and maintaining the equipment. All donations go DIRECTLY towards keeping the repeater systems running and, possibly adding new sites in the future. If you wish to make a donation, please e-mail the N.E.W.Comm Net for instructions or see our donations page to make a donation.