Organizational Structure and History
In April of 2002, LAG Founder Chris Ebert built a GMRS repeater at his home after exploring alternate methods of trying to keep in touch with his family. Soon after the system was built, Chris met John Moore who also found it useful and helped with further construction. Local popularity of the repeater for communications with family and friends expanded and a small "user group" was formed. While listening to the GMRS frequencies, Chris and John heard several other systems on the air and thought it would be a great idea to share their resources with them. After a couple of meetings and endless persistence, several more repeater owners banded together to share their systems, thus the Lakes Area GMRS Repeater Group was born.
As the popularity of the Group kept increasing, a website was built to showcase the systems to potential users and repeater owners. It has become one of the most successful, respected, and often copied repeater cooperatives in decades. Many of the owners and users are current and former members of the public safety and communications sectors, which decided to share their skills and collections with anyone who sought to be part of something better. The LAG Group feels strongly about GMRS and family, thus being an extension of personal beliefs.
As the group increased in size, it was decided that the repeater owners should create some sort of ability to communicate with each other, without all of the problems associated with incorporation or running it like a business. LAG is simply a cooperative; there is no desire to tell a repeater owner what he or she could do, aside from a small collection of agreed upon guidelines the owners collectively found to be in best practice. In order to accomplish this, they created an "Advisory Board", which was consistent of the repeater owner 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 groups' infrastructure.
The best thing many LAG Advisors think about being part of the group is how smooth it runs and how little time it takes out of their day.
There are no dues collected in this group. Each repeater owner or affiliated group still maintains 100% control of their system, and although the group has suggested operational outlines we employ system-wide, no repeater or group is "owned" by the LAG Group. It is a 100% voluntary. Any donations a user wants to make are made directly to the repeater owner for local maintenance, or to the Coordinator to offset website expenses. There is never any demand.
In 2005, we branched out into other Great Lakes states locating like-minded folks. Repeater owners like the benefit of having a web page for their repeater and minimal effort when it comes to advertisement and getting members or users for their systems. The LAG Group Coordinator keeps track of each member in a database pursuant to 95.133 of the FCC rules and shares it with the Advisory Board upon request.
As it stands now, the Lakes Area GMRS Repeater Group is the largest independent cooperative of GMRS repeaters in the United States with hundreds of member families. We have become a clearinghouse of GMRS-related news and information, as well as a fighting force for dealing with illegal GMRS usage. LAG members have assisted in the removal of many illegal and expired businesses from GMRS, and by following the rules, are an example for new users to follow. The LAG Group has a sub-committee committed to enforcement of GMRS rules and related issues in the Great Lakes Area.
Together, there is little we can't do. We have police officers, firefighters, EMT's, nurses, paramedics, doctors, lawyers, mayors, engineers, radio techs, tower climbers, computer programmers, landscapers, information technology specialists, managers, mechanics, carpenters, architects, bankers, and teachers who all work together to see our dreams come true. Our people are what make the difference.
We are proud of our accomplishments and look forward to continued success!
Join us today!
The Lakes Area GMRS Repeater Group is a voluntary cooperative, non-incorporated and holds no assets. Each repeater owner and/or group still owns, controls, and is responsible for his/her repeater system and/or group. We have several regulations in place which all repeater owners have agreed to 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 Group.
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 Lakes Area GMRS Repeaters as described below.
For the purposes of this particular agreement, the following definitions can be used:
- General Mobile Radio System 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 (Repeaters) are conventional UHF repeaters installed on GMRS channels, and operated by a GMRS Licensee. This agreement applies to all Lakes Area GMRS Repeater Group 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. The Lakes Area GMRS Repeater Group 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 (LAG Member) is any GMRS licensed individual whom is an accepted Member of the Lakes Area GMRS Repeater Group, which accesses any listed LAG GMRS 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 LAG 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 Lakes Area GMRS Repeater Group and;
- 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 and;
- The user has not had access privileges suspended or revoked by the owner/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 Lakes Area 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.
The LAG 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 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 LAG Group and its individual members EXEMPT from any liability arising from outages, failures, and/or inability to access the system. The Lakes Area GMRS Repeater Group 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 included 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 Lakes Area GMRS Repeater Group 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 group for instructions.