October 2014 RATS News

The October RATS general membership meeting will be held on October 17 at the Richmond Volunteer Rescue Squad Building.  The meetings page has more information and directions to our location.

  • Welcome to Tim Farrell, KJ4NPB, the newest member of the RATS Board of Directors.  Tim was appointed to the Board at the October Board meeting. Tim takes the place of Bryan Walker.  We would like to thank Brian for his service to RATS.
  • RATS is looking for a few member volunteers to serve on a committee to review the RATS By-Laws.  We think it’s a good idea to periodically examine our bylaws to make sure that they are a good fit with the current state of the club.  Ideally we would like to have board members and club members participate in this review.  The committee will also accept comments from the general membership.
  • Membership renewal season is still active.  If you haven’t renewed you RATS membership this year, then you can do it online, or at a meeting.  A PDF of our membership application is available.
  • At the October member meeting we will have a brief review of the Simulated Emergency test that occurred in September, as well as updates on other club activities, including Frostfest.  The main program will be an introduction to, and discussion about, Ham Radio Deluxe software.


September 2014 RATS News

The September 2014 membership meeting will be held on Friday, September 19, 2014 at the Richmond Volunteer Rescue Squad Building (formerly known as West End Volunteer Rescue Squad).  The meeting begins at 7:30 PM.  Directions and meeting information are here.

For the Membership meeting, Robert Orndorff, W4BNO, will give a presentation that identifies various things you might see on electrical poles, as well as a brief overview of how the grid works.

Frostfest – The planning meeting will be held Saturday September 13 starting at 9 AM at the Richmond Volunteer Rescue Squad building.  Anyone wishing to help with the planning of Frostfest 2015 is encouraged to attend.  This kickoff meeting generally lasts until around noon or 1 PM.

Member renewal time is upon us again, so if you haven’t renewed for 2014-2015 yet, now is the time to do so.  The link to renew online is here.

We have recently added a page that gives a history of the club, check it out here.

Another ham related event is the MakerFest being held at the Science Museum of Virginia on Saturday September 27.  The Richmond Amateur Radio Club is hosting a table at this event and help is always appreciated from any Hams in the community.

The local six meter net (50215.net) is holding their semi-annual Tailgate Fest at the Scottish Rite Temple on Saturday September 27 from 8:00 AM – noon.
The Scottish Rite Temple is located at 4204 Hermitage Road.

Saturday September 27 is Survivor Day, taking place at several localities in the area.  This event is from 9 AM until noon.  Check out the Survivor Day web site for more information.

August 2014 Membership meeting

The August 2014 membership meeting will be held on Friday August 15 at 7:30 PM at the Richmond Volunteer Rescue Squad building.

Be sure to come out if you can.  On the agenda for this month is:

  • Ballot counting!  The 2014 elections are being held and ballots will be accepted and counted at the meeting.
  • Mike Baker (N4LSP) will give his talk on how to get the most bang for your buck out of Amateur Radio.

July 2014 Membership meeting

Be sure to come out to our July monthly membership meeting.  Once again, we’ll have a full agenda of amateur radio discussion.

  • We had a great turnout for Field Day and we’ll have a recap.and some photos.
  • Elections will be held at the August meeting
  • For the main presentation, Peter Martin, K2VIZ, will be there to talk about his new “Go kit” that he brought to Field Day.

Presentation & Parts List (PDF)

Our meetings are held on the third Friday of the month.  Click here for directions and more information.

Field Day 2014 Wrap Up

We had a great turnout for Field Day 2014!  This year marked the first time that the we operated with three HF stations.  This was also the first time that all the clubs in Richmond came together to host Field Day.  Thanks to everyone that came out.

We will update this post with more information as we talley our score and gather comments and data from everyone involved.  In the meantime, we have some rough numbers and a few pictures.

More information and more pictures are on the Field Day 2014 page.

FD_2014_QSOs (PDF file)

June 2014 Membership meeting

The June 2014 monthly membership meeting will be held on June 20 at the Richmond Volunteer Rescue Squad building.  Directions are here.

Topics this month:

  • Nominations will be presented.  Nominations for the offices up for reelection this year will be presented.  Nominations will also be accepted from the floor.
  • Field Day discussion.  We will give a brief overview of what is planned for this year’s Field Day Event.
  • The main program will be “Introduction to Digital Voice Modes” and will cover DSTAR, P25 and DMR (Mototrbo) modes and will be presented by Jim Bates,K8OI, and Jay Lovelady, KD4BPZ. There will also be discussion of the new digital repeater that just went on the air last month.

We look forward to seeing you there!

May 2014 membership meeting

The May RATS membership meeting will be held on May 16 at 7:30 PM in the Richmond Volunteer Rescue Squad building.

The following items will be discussed:

  • There will be an update on the upcoming Special Olympics public service event.
  • RATS Nominations – We need a nominating committee of two or three members to gather nominations for this year’s election.  The offices up for reelection are Secretary, Treasurer, and three directors.  The current office holders are Secretary- Oliver Kanervikkoaho (KF4HVX), Treasurer – Buck Vaughn (KR4NL), and Directors Tray Murphy (N4PAT), Peter Martin (K2VIZ), and Rob Marshall (KI4MCW).  If you are interested in serving on the nominating committee or running for office, please come to the meeting or email the board.
  • For our main presentation Dr. Joe Palsa, K3WRY, will give a talk about antenna analyzers.



Field Day 2014

The ARRL Amateur Radio Field Day will be held on June 28 and 29 this year.  Four Richmond area clubs are teaming up to put on Field Day this year.  RATS, RARC, CVCC, and DDXG are all participating.  We are still in the planning stages, but here’s what we have so far:

  • We will operate 3A, with three HF operating positions and on VHF station
  • We will be operating off of generator power
  • The location is the Laurel Park Recreation area in Henrico county located at 10301 Hungary Spring Road
  • Set up will begin around 11:00 AM and operating begins at 2:00 PM
  • VE testing will be available Saturday afternoon.  Allan, WA3J is heading up the testing session.

We look forward to another great Field Day Event and hope to see you there.

Public Service Events 2014

Upcoming public service events for 2014.  Please consider helping out.  These events not only present a good public image of what ham radio operators can do, they are also opportunities to have a good time with fellow hams and other members of the local community.

Special Olympics – The Special Olympics will be held June 6 and 7 this year.  Please see K4MTK’s  website to learn more and to sign up.

MS Society Bike Ride – Contact Mike Hackett (AC5PT) to volunteer or for more information.

If you have information about an upcoming event, email us and we will add it.

RATS adds 900mhz repeater

RATS has added a new repeater to the W4RAT stable. A new 900MHz Motorola Quantar repeater, built by Fred Towers, WB4KXS (a RATS Founding Member) and Dave Meier, N4MW, is on the air at our repeater site.
From Fred WB4KXS:
The second 900MHz Richmond repeater is on the air from southside right now. It is on 927.0250/902.0250MHz. It is a mixed mode repeater, that is, it can work in analog mode using 100Hz PL, or it will work in P25 digital mode using NAC $293.The repeater output (after the duplexer) is 60 watts. The antenna is fed by about 500 feet of 7/8 inch hardline. The antenna is one that was already mounted on the WCVE tower. However, it is NOT a 900MHz antenna. In fact we do not really know what the antenna is, but we suspect that it is a UHF (450MHz) antenna. We have a 900MHz Super StationMaster antenna ready to go, but are trying to find a way to cover the cost of having a commercial tower crew (required by WCVE) put the 900MHz antenna on the tower. When the Super StationMaster antenna is in place, this repeater’s range should improve greatly. Then again, even with the current antenna, it works surprisingly well.If you have one of the Kenwood TK-981 radios that N4MW and I have set up and distributed in Virginia, mainly in the Richmond metro area, this repeater is just two channels down from the downtown Richmond repeater you have been using.

If you have one of the P25 EFJ 5100 handheld radios that were recently available on eBay, you are ready to go on analog. You will need to get the very latest version of the software configuration for it to work on P25. Any 5100 programmed at the last Tailgate Fest (or since then) is programmed for P25 on this repeater. If you need a 5100 update, let me know and we can fix you up with the newest configuration.

Thanks to N4MW for the engineering, metalwork, duplexer, time, and sweat to put together this repeater, a Motorola Quantar.  Thanks to K3WRY for the Bird wattmeter panel we are using in this repeater.  Thanks to RATS for getting permission to put this repeater at the WCVE site, and thanks to WCVE for giving that permission.