RR Wiki User's Guide

From The RadioReference Wiki

Revision as of 05:13, 6 April 2010 by W9RXR (talk | contribs) (changed Mike to Bob)

Welcome to the RR Wiki User's Guide.

First however a basic definition; the RR Wiki uses the MediaWiki(c) software to maintain a series of user-maintained articles that discuss numerous radio and TV related topics.

The Administrative Stuff

  • ''Can Anyone View the articles on the Wiki without registering?''

Yes, viewing the articles on the wiki may be done by anyone, regardless of their status on RadioReference.

  • ''Can other websites link to the RR Wiki?''

This is to be encouraged. It will reduce the amount of maintenance the website must do to host such pages themselves. A courtesy link to RadioReference, with an acknowedgment, is requested.

  • ''How can I register so I can edit or add an article?''

Under Personal Tools in the left frame, there is a link for your RadioReference UserID and password.

  • ''My UserID/Password doesn't work. Whom should I contact?''

See the Login Problems article for some suggestions and fixes

  • ''Who are the Administrators of the RR Wiki?''

w9rxr and bezking are the primary administrators of the RadioReference Wiki. You are encouraged to PM Bob at w9rxr or Ben at bezking with any questions you may have that are not answered on this page.

Policies and Procedures

  • ''I would like to add an article. Where do I begin?''

Please see our New Article Guidelines article for some guidelines and hints

  • ''Im not a web designer. I would like to learn about the language the wiki uses to write a article. Where do I begin?''
  • ''When I look at the coding, it's not HTML based. What language is used to write an article?''

MediaWiki(c) used its own markup language to write articles. Please see the following links for more information;

If someone finds more of these, please feel free to add to this list.

  • ''I really messed up an article. Can it be reverted back?''

MediaWiki(c) maintains a history of all revisions of articles, and rolling back to a previous version is a simple matter. Hit the HISTORY tab at the top of each article. Then click on the date and time of the edit you would like to revert to. You should then be taken back to that revision. Click the "Edit" tab. You should see a message near the top of the edit page saying, "WARNING: You are editing an out-of-date revision of this page. If you save it, any changes made since this revision will be lost." Enter the word "revert" in the summary box and press "Submit". You have now reverted to a previous version of the page.

  • ''An article I wrote is obsolete. How can I get it deleted?''

The user should wipe the content of the article. Please send a message to the administrators with the title of the article, along with anything that links to it. You can find such links in the Toolbox section in the left frame, under What Links Here. However, it's preferable to rewrite the article, rather than outright deleting it. That way all the links remain intact.

  • ''Id like to change my article title. Is that possible?''

Use the Move tab at the left, in the tabs under History. The user is responsible for reestablishing all links from the old article name to the new one.

  • ''Should I sign my article? Where should this appear?''

Signatures should not be used on the article itself, as the software captures all changes, who does them, when and to what section. However they are welcome on the discussion page, where having a signature makes it clear to whom the comments came from or are directed to.

  • ''Why should an article always be linked or categorized?''

The reason is simple; if an article isn't linked or categorized, it's very hard for a user to locate or read it. Articles that are not linked to something else are referred to as orphans and are officially discouraged. There's one exception, listed in the next question...

  • ''I need to split my article across several pages, but not all of them are ready yet. Can I create a stub article until they are ready?''

Certainly. Please put text in the article to identify it as a stub. No further indexing or category is required until the article is published.

  • ''Can an article belong to more than one index or category?''

Absolutely. The more an article is indexed, the easier it is for a user to find and potentially read it. To add an article to more than one category simply add the next one on a new line for readability and future maintenance.

  • ''Why are categories encouraged?''

This is because no additional work at the user or admin level is needed to maintain them. MediaWiki(c) keeps track of, and indexes, all categories, along with their member articles, automatically.

  • ''Can I create a new category?''

Yes, just create it using the Category directive. The list of categories available here on RR can be found here. New categories appear in red until some text is entered on them. Edit the category as you would any other article, and add some explanatory text or description. Send a note to the administrators to see if it can be placed on the main page or otherwise indexed.

  • ''Can I pull in data from an external website?''

It's preferable to simply add an external link, rather then copying data. This places the burden of updating the data on the external site, rather then on the user or on the wiki. This also tends to avoid copyright issues, as links are generally accepted to be fair use. The lone exception is if the website has valid data, but is about to be dropped due to the webmaster losing the domain or losing interest.

  • ''What is the "Discussion" tab for above each article?''

The "Discussion" page links to something called a "talk page" for a given article. Please keep posts in this area related to the article, and common sense rules apply - no flaming, ect.

  • ''How do I add data to the wiki that was copied from the trunk system's Miscellaneous or News areas in the database?''

See the Adding Misc Data and News to the Wiki article

Special Functions and Local Extensions

  • ''I see data on articles that looks like it came from the database. How is this accomplished?''
  • ''When I copy/paste data from the database, it looks unformatted and sometimes runs together. How can I fix this?''

There are a series of Extensions that have been specially coded that allows a user to copy data from the database to be put on the wiki. Please see the indicated link for more information.

  • ''Is there a search tool for the wiki?''

Yes, please see our The RadioReference Wiki:Searching article for information on how to use this tool

  • ''I cant use the font commands to put out colored text. How can I do this?''

To accomplish this, use the color template commands. For example; RadioReference Edit this section to see the underlying coding.

  • ''What file formats are supported for uploads to the wiki?''
    • DOC
    • XLS
    • PDF
    • JPG
    • JPEG
    • GIF
    • PNG
    • ZIP
      • NOTE: the wiki seems to currently reject uploading spreadsheets, even though they're supposed to work. As an alternative, zip the file up and use the Media verb to build a hyperlink for it

Adding Images and Tables

  • ''How do I upload an image to the wiki?''

Under Toolbox in the left frame, there is a link for Upload File. Note that images over 150kb in size will cause a warning, but can generally be ignored. Continue to save it if you see this message.

  • ''What formats are supported?''

Currently JPEG, GIF and PNG formats are supported by this version of the software.

  • ''How do I bring the uploaded image into my article?''

There are several ways to do this. Rather than point to a definition of all the commands, here are a few examples of how images are loaded to an article on RR. Note that these are suggestions; feel free to experiment with other formats in your user area before you publish. Edit these articles to view the underlying coding;

1. MyRR Uses the Image verb to insert a pic right into the article
2. BCD396T Uses the Image verb, along with parameters that float the pic to the right, and present it in a smaller pitch with underlying text
3. Excel Copy/Paste Special to Software Uses the Gallery directive to present each image in a gallery display; the user need only click on the image to expand it.
4. Trunked Radio Decoders In the LTR Decoders section, at the end of the Description there's a link using the Media directive to link to a pic that would otherwise make the article too long and cumbersome.

You should note that the name of the file is important; caps, spelling and punctuation all count. Most times the wiki will tend to make the first letter of the name of the file a capital.

  • ''How do I define a table in the wiki?''

Table definitions are somewhat similar to what you would find in HTML; in fact this is one of the few places where HTML is still useable. Many of the commands begin or use the vertical bar symbol - shift of '\'. See the HFDL article for an example of the coding.

{| Begins a table definition. Many of the HTML table options such as border and colspan can be entered here. Note that not all options work as expected. Be sure to experiment to create the desired effect.

! (Exclamation Point) Very much like ; creates column headings |- (Vertical bar and dash) Required. Begins and ends a table row definition, similar to and | (followed by data). Similar to , this defines an element in a table that aligns to the columns you've already defined. A null space for a table is defined with 2 vertical bars ||

|} End of table definition

What Data Can Be Added?

The following data types are nowhere near all-inclusive, but give a fairly good representation of the kinds of data that the wiki can be used to store;

  • Information on releases of new scanners/receivers
  • Radio ID/User ID (RID/UID) Lists for trunked systems. Please be sure to either name the system being documented in the title of the article, or (better) use a link to the database to name the system being described. The article should also be linked to the county or state where the system resides. This gives the article both context and meaning since you are being specific about which system is being documented. Lists without any context or links are to be avoided, as they add nothing but confusion.
  • Undocumented programming tricks, either hardware or software based (or both). For example, the Regional Programming category has instructions on special programming necessary to track certain systems.
  • Links to other websites or wikis that are scanning related
  • Links to other scanning clubs or Yahoo groups that specialize in scanning for an area. This data should also be posted in the region it serves as part of the Collaboration project
  • Rebanding information specific to a region, where special tables or other programming tricks are needed to properly track a system
  • Equipment related information; antennas, filters, power supplies and more
  • Amateur radio - Please insert this data as part of the state or region for which coverage is provided. This data is valid for use in our Collaboration project. This can include repeater frequencies, links to club websites and other data.
  • HF (frequencies below 30 MHz) – This information should be added as an article in the HF section of the wiki
  • Satellite communications frequencies – This information should be included in the SATCOM wiki article
  • Miscellaneous unstructured data – This data type is far harder to define than it actually is, because it's so broad. Think of this data as stuff that cannot be accessed by an application that can download data from the database, such as the various StarrSoft or BuTel programs. This data type comprises the largest percentage of data being moved from the database to the wiki for the Collaboration project. Here are just a few examples:
    • Unit numbering schemes
    • Dispatch codes, 10-codes, status codes, signal codes, disposition codes, terminology
    • District and patrol zone maps
    • Channel plans
    • Fire/EMS station lists
    • Fire/EMS pager tones (Fire Tone Outs)
    • Lists of agencies participating in mutual aid organizations
  • Frequencies for special events such as airshows and parades
  • Frequencies for sports teams and sporting events
  • Any extraneous information not directly related to radio monitoring, e.g., text and images (including badges, patches, logos, etc.) that provide general information about an agency. Please add images of patches, badges and equipment sparingly.
  • Fast Food Resteraunts - as long as they're not already found in the Common Itinerant and Business article. Please store these in the area (state/county, ect.) where the restaurant is found.
  • Unconfirmed data. You may post FCC license data as it applies to the topic under discussion. Use this data with caution; it can be very outdated. It's suggested that a comment be added to such data to flag it as unconfirmed or unverified. Links to press releases about a system being planned are also welcome.

Restricted Data

  • Never post data copyrighted by another source without first obtaining written permission from the author. There are specific legal penalties that could be incurred from such actions
  • Never plagiarize data from another source. Always give credit to the original source
  • Never directly quote news or magazine articles, news sources or other print media without obtaining permission first.
  • Never supply a person's name, address or other identifying information in conjunction with police, fire or other public safety function. As the wiki is intended to be an open source, this kind of information cannot be secured. As such, it is a technical violation of federal Personally Identifiable Information (PII) privacy standards.
  • Do Not place non-radio related data into the wiki. There are other places for such data, such as Wikipedia or a locally-run wiki

Censoring Data

The following is the official RadioReference policy on censoring data put into the wiki;

  • The official policy of is to not censor any frequency or talkgroup information from the wiki except in extremely rare and unique circumstances. Please understand that security by obscurity does not work, and the process of censoring data from our Web site will only serve to draw more attention to the data in question. RadioReference believes that if agencies feel that a public safety official's safety is in jeopardy they should encrypt those communications or utilize a different communications medium. RadioReference also believes and supports the position that routine public safety communications should be made readily available to the general public.
  • As indicated above, the only exceptions to the policy listed above is in extremely rare and unique circumstances. Extremely rare and unique can be defined by as
  1. An instance where a administrator is in a position of authority with an agency or employer for which their job security is in question provided they are held responsible for managing data for their agency in the radioreference database or wiki;
  2. Any instance where is compelled to comply with not posting information due to a legal matter;
  3. Any instance that feels appropriate.
  • In any of these circumstances defined above, formal written authorization must be granted by the owner of for each and every instance where an admin has made the decision to not post something in our wiki. There are no exceptions to this rule, and if an admin does not follow this policy they risk being removed as an administrator.
  • The official policy of is to not censor any information posted to the RadioReference Wiki unless they violate the terms and conditions of the site, or the censorship is authorized by the owner of