The MAVCOM System is a terrestrial linking system which means that operators in geographically distant locations can communicate through two repeaters that are linked together.

The linking system is designed in a way similar to our own nervous system. There is a central trunk or “backbone” that runs throughout each of the provincial systems. The individual repeaters that are part of the linking system are located along the trunk but are normally not connected to the trunk.

However a simple four-digit code can be entered using the keypad on a 2-meter radio and the repeater can be linked into that “backbone”. Now, a second four-digit code can be entered and this will link the first repeater (now on the backbone) into a distant repeater. A few of the repeaters on the system have what is called “one code to destination” access; this means instead of first having to link into the backbone and then into the distant repeater, a single code will get you to the distant repeater. Please check with the sponsors of the repeater you want to use to see if it is a “one code to destination” capable repeater.

Developing and maintaining this sophisticated of repeaters is expensive. Please support your local club or the NSARA so that expansion and maintenance of the system can take place. The NS and PEI system is open to all Radio Amateurs and it is hoped you will find it useful. It is there to be used, so enjoy!

Important: When using the repeater linking system you must key up for about one second before speaking or your first syllable or word will not be transmitted. Also when it is your turn to speak, you should pause before keying up in order to allow timers throughout the system to reset.

Tips for Using the Linking System

  1. First, monitor the repeater for 30 seconds or so to see if it is in use.

  2. Give your call sign and announce your intention to up link. – “This is VE1XXX up-linking”

  3. Push the appropriate buttons on your tone pad to turn the local repeater onto the backbone. Check to see if the link is in use by another repeater, then identify the destination repeater and yourself - VE1SPR - VE1XXX and then dial the code for the repeater you wish to reach.
    Note: It is normally necessary to hold the PTT switch down during this step.

  1. Listen for the CW or Voice identifier that is broadcast by the distant repeater to verify you have reached the correct machine.

  2. Listen again. You may have dropped in on a conversation taking place on the distant repeater. If this happens, wait until the operators acknowledge your presence and invite you to make your call. Be courteous, because a QSO in progress has priority.

  3. If your call is not answered, or at the end of your conversation, give your call sign and announce your intention to downlink – “VE1XXX down-linking”.

  4. Push the appropriate buttons on your tone pad to first turn off the distant repeater and then disconnect your repeater from the backbone.

  5. Give your call sign and announce your intentions - “VE1XXX clear of the link”

  6. Multiple repeaters can be linked simultaneously in NS and PEI. You first link the backbone as outlined above, Then link the other repeaters by dialing their destination codes one after the other; un-key between each code.

  7. Finally, please remember to turn off any repeaters you turn on, including the local repeater. This avoids tying up the link system and leaves it ready for the next user.

  8. Courtesy is mandatory; a maximum 10-minute conversation time (except for nets) is suggested to allow access by others.

This article was updated on June 19, 2023