Richmond Amateur
Telecommunications Society

W4RAT · Richmond, Virginia
Celebrating 50 Years · 1972 - 2022 

Upcoming Events

  • RATS Weekly Club Net: Wednesdays at 7 PM on the 146.88 repeater

Next Meeting

  • Third Friday of each month at 7:30 PM, via Zoom.
  • 20 May 2023 9:15 AM | Steven Crow (Administrator)

    UPDATE:  As expected, this event wrapped up just before 10 AM this morning (Sunday) and participants have left Laurel Park.  See the ARRL Field Day Locator for other Field Day events in our region that may be continuing as late as 2 PM today.  THANK YOU to the many people who came out for Field Day this year.  Great turnout!  Special thanks to Allan Johnson and the WA3J VE Team, and to the RATS members and guests who helped with planning, setup, and tear-down.  We'll share the club's score, attendance information, and other details at the July Membership Meeting.

    RATS will be hosting our annual Summer Field Day at our usual spot: Laurel Recreation Area, 10301 Hungary Spring Rd in northern Henrico County.  We'll be gathering at 10 AM local time Saturday, June 24 to begin setup, and we will go on the air at 2 PM, operating from generator power as a class 2A (or maybe 3A?) station.  Field Day activity is expected to conclude at Laurel Park by around 9-10 AM Sunday morning.  View map of parking and facilities.

    RATS control operators will be on site to assist and supervise operation.  Anyone who is interested in amateur radio (particularly HF) is welcome and encouraged to join us.  No amateur radio license is required to operate at the RATS Field Day.

    A license test session will be provided by Allan Johnson WA3J beginning at 2 PM Saturday.

    For general information about Field Day, visit the ARRL Field Day web site.

    For additional information about the RATS Field Day, see Activities > Summer Field Day.

    For other local Field Day events, visit the ARRL Field Day Locator.

  • 18 May 2023 8:00 AM | Steven Crow (Administrator)

    On May 3, 2023 the RATS Board approved an increase in membership dues.

    Dues for the membership year October 1, 2023 through September 30, 2024 will be as follows:

    • Individual Membership - $35.00
    • Family Membership - $55.00

    This rate increase will be effective for all new applications and renewals submitted on or after October 1, 2023.

  • 3 May 2023 1:00 AM | Steven Crow (Administrator)

    From the ARRL:

    As detailed in a May 2023 QST article by Greg Lapin, N9GL, the rules which took effect on May 3, 2021 now require amateur radio operators to perform station evaluations.  The Amateur Radio Service is no longer categorically excluded from certain aspects of the RF exposure rules, and licensees can no longer avoid performing an exposure assessment simply because they are transmitting below a given power level.  

    A two year transition period was implemented to allow existing stations to make any necessary changes, but as of May 3, 2023, the transition period ends and all transmitters operating in the US are expected to comply with the exposure rules.  The ARRL has on its website an RF Exposure Calculator to assist amateurs in performing station assessments.

    To continue reading and for an assortment of helpful RF exposure calculation resources, visit

  • 26 Apr 2023 7:15 PM | Steven Crow (Administrator)

    The monthly RATS club activity will be this Saturday morning at 8 AM.  We'll meet for breakfast at Golden Corral, 11 S Providence Rd.  Afterward, we'll depart for a group ham radio activity, destination TBD.

    Those joining us for breakfast are responsible for the cost of their food and beverage at regular retail prices - this is not a "group rate" event.  There is no need to RSVP.  We hope to see you there.

  • 20 Apr 2023 6:00 PM | Steven Crow (Administrator)
    The monthly RATS Membership Meeting will be this Friday, April 21 at 7:30 PM via Zoom.  All are welcome -- you do not need to be a member of the club to attend, though we'd appreciate your support.

    As a reminder, ham radio volunteers will be supporting a public service event this weekend.  Certain RATS services are reserved for event traffic Saturday morning and early Saturday afternoon.

    The W4RAT 442.55 MHz and KG4MRA 145.43 MHz repeaters will be in use by amateurs supporting the Ukrop's Monument Avenue 10K race on Saturday, April 22.  These repeaters will not be available for regular amateur use during the event.  WIRES-X services on the 442.55 MHz repeater will be disabled and the repeater will operate with a configuration change from 10 PM Friday night until all event traffic has cleared.  If you must make a brief call on one of these repeaters please coordinate that activity with Net Control and QSY.

    For additional information, please see the Repeater Status page.

    Update:  As of 12:25 PM 4/22/2023, this event has concluded.  The 442.55 repeater has been returned to its usual configuration and all repeaters are again available for regular amateur radio use.  Please be mindful of possible SKYWARN activity on the 146.88 repeater this afternoon and evening.

  • 4 Apr 2023 7:00 AM | Steven Crow (Administrator)

    The RATS Board will meet Wednesday, April 5 at 6:30 PM via Zoom.  All members are always welcome to attend, ask questions, and provide feedback to the Board.

    In addition to a number of general operational items, the Board is expected to vote to accept an equipment donation which will restore the club's previous offering of DMR voice services on 443.5875 MHz from an antenna located at 460 feet on our tower.  This proposal has been under review for a couple of months and was approved by the Technical Committee on March 10.  Following a Board vote and acceptance of the donation, we anticipate a restoration of service under the W4RAT call sign within 90 days.  More details will be provided at the Membership Meeting on April 21.

  • 21 Mar 2023 6:56 PM | Jeff Walton (Administrator)

    Date: Monday, April 24, 2023 - 10:00 AM to 1:00 PM

    Location: North Courthouse Road Library, Community Room 325 Courthouse Rd, Richmond, VA 23236

    The library has wifi, bathrooms, a climate controlled meeting room and is wheelchair accessible.

    this is the link to the flyer where you can RSVP here.

  • 17 Mar 2023 11:45 PM | Steven Crow (Administrator)

    RATS members are encouraged to participate in the Virginia QSO Party this weekend.  See the Virginia QSO Party 2023 web site for contest rules and log submission guidelines.  There have been several important changes to VAQP rules and station categories for 2023.

    Operate from your home, mobile, or portable station, using your call sign and license privileges -- nearly all bands (except WARC) can be utilized for VAQP.  When you submit your log, indicate "W4RAT" for your club affiliation.

    RATS won't be meeting in-person for VAQP, but several members will be hanging out in our Zoom meeting room during the event.  All are welcome to pop in.  We'll be getting together for breakfast and radio next weekend, March 26 -- details to come.

  • 10 Mar 2023 8:45 AM | Steven Crow (Administrator)
    Communications volunteers are needed to support the Ukrop's Monument Avenue 10k on Saturday, April 22.  Participation is open to anyone with reliable radio equipment and a Technician class license or higher.  For more details or to volunteer please contact Jim Rubin W4PKR via e-mail.

    New to public service events?  Generally, ham operators may be in a moving vehicle or stationary at strategic points along the course, or may shadow key event officials, staying right next to them as they buzz around the event all day.  We become part of their official communications plan, moving important logistics, security, and medical traffic with the aid of net control.  These may include requests for additional water or supplies at rest stops, the location of the first or last participants on the course, and calls for emergency medical assistance.

  • 7 Mar 2023 8:00 AM | Steven Crow (Administrator)

    Our March membership meeting will be held via Zoom on Friday, March 17, 7:30 PM.  All are welcome to join us.  For more information and for links to the meeting, see our Meetings page.

    The Virginia QSO Party is the weekend of March 18 and 19.  RATS has again sponsored the Single Operator VHF plaque this year.  We'll be participating as a club activity.  Location and other details are still being worked out, so please keep an eye on the front page of our web site for updates and be sure to join us at our membership meeting the night before.

Richmond Amateur Telecommunications Society, Inc. (RATS) is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. PO Box 70613, Henrico VA, 23255
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