Back in the mid 1960s the FCC finally allowed the licensing of remotely located unattended transmitters. This fact probably did not stir the imagination of too many amateurs but, for those who were involved with land mobile radio communication systems in one way or another, this was right up their alley. There was now a way to legally operate a remotely-located repeater station which could operate on amateur band frequencies.
But there were a few obstacles to overcome. One such obstacle was that repeaters could be licensed only by an amateur radio club and use the call signs of that club. At that time, not too many clubs were interested in owning and operating a repeater, had the necessary equipment or had members with the technical ability to accomplish this task.
What to do? Form a club whose members had the same interests and goals in mind.
Such a club was started in 1964 by a group of amateurs whose interests were to promote the operation of frequency-modulated (FM) communications systems, or repeaters, if you will. This first group of people came from the New York, New Jersey, Maryland and Pennsylvania area and they called themselves the North East Repeater Association. As interest grew and more amateurs were getting involved, the club name was changed to The North East F M Repeater Association. As in the beginning, members continued with the same objectives, which were establishing repeaters and linking systems throughout New England, New York and New Jersey. Worthy of note is the fact that this club was instrumental in standardizing the 600 Khz. repeater split still used on the two-meter band, as well as establishing the first large frequency database to be used for frequency coordination purposes through the Northeast.
There were twenty-one charter members. This group was instrumental in establishing several early repeater systems, some of which still remain in use today. Their calls are as follows.
Through the years rules have changed, making it easier and easier for any amateur to own and operate a repeater station. Little by little the original charge of N.E.F.M.R.A. was no longer needed nor was its original intention. Interest in F M systems continued to grow and other clubs and individuals established their own systems or took over management of some of the club's early systems. Little by little N.F.M.R.A. membership dwindled.
But, N.E.F.M.R.A. still exists today. We dropped the "East" from the original club name, making Northeast all one word. Now we are the Northeast F M Repeater Association (N.F.M.R.A.). If only as a smaller version of its former self, the club either owns, operates or is connected with systems in New York, New Hampshire and Vermont.
We have attempted to make this history as accurate as possible. We apologize for any inaccuracies or omissions.
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