Dear Greater Toronto Area Hams,
I’m writing this note concerning nefarious activity that currently plagues our repeaters in the Greater Toronto Area.
As many of you are probably aware, several of the repeaters in the Greater Toronto Area, including VA3XPR, VE3YYZ FM and VE3YYZ DMR, have become almost unusable due to jamming, profane language, playback of recordings and even radio ID spoofing with DMR. For VA3XPR, the nefarious activity can be found not just on the local talkgroups, but also the global ones, resulting in the disruption of communications, not just here in the greater Toronto area, but around the world as well – thereby tarnishing the image of Toronto area hams on a global scale.
While I do not profess to understand the precise motives of the users that engage in this activity, it is my understanding that it stems from an on-going feud between several local hams that appear unable to resolve their differences in a mature and amicable manner. Personally, I am not interested in the history behind their disagreement, but I am very concerned and dismayed by the impact that is has had on the local ham radio community. Ham radio is a global community and we’re supposed to be courteous and helpful to one another in a manner that is in keeping with the Amateur Radio Code. Yes, we can disagree with one another, and we can do it in a respectful and courteous way.
I launched the VA3XPR repeater in 2004 with the intended purposes of creating a community of users where we are all accepting and respectful of one another, as stated on the VA3XPR website. In 2012, VA3XPR was switched to DMR and a huge, vibrant community of enthusiastic users formed. Unfortunately, the repeater, like others in the GTA, is now plagued by nefarious jamming activity, which is in direct contravention to its intended mandate. Accordingly, after careful consideration, I decided to take VA3XPR off the air on November 12th (UPDATE: VE3YYZ DMR is now off the air as of November 15th) and it will remain so until this nefarious activity ceases. If this activity continues unabated on other repeaters, VA3XPR will remain permanently off the air. While it personally saddens me to do this, I refuse to maintain a system which does little more than operate as a playground for nefarious users and only serves as source of embarrassment and shame for our local ham radio community.
As many of you probably know, Industry Canada, now known as Industry, Science and Economic Development Canada (ISEDC), expects the ham radio community to be self-policing and as such, I am now appealing to each of you for your help and support. We cannot allow this to type of behavior to continue to obstruct our use and enjoyment of these important repeaters, so I ask each and every one of you for your help in resolving this issue. The users that are responsible for this nefarious activity are well known by the local ham community, so I ask that each of you encourage all of these individuals to reconsider their ways and to refrain from disrupting our communications. Let’s not let a small number of bad apples ruin this great hobby for the rest of us. I truly believe that if we work together, we can make this hobby fun, rewarding and enjoyable for everyone.
Finally, as a show of support, please share this post with all of your ham friends in the greater Toronto area and leave a comment on the VA3XPR Facebook page.
Don Trynor, VA3XFT
VA3XPR Repeater Sponsor