Richmond Amateur Telecommunications Society

Repeater Rules and Policies

RATS and our Technical Committee work hard to provide a quality repeater system for our members and the agencies who rely on our infrastructure.  In the spirit of open access, RATS welcomes all properly licensed amateurs wishing to use our systems, provided a few basic guidelines are followed:

  • All users must operate in a manner compliant with FCC Part 97 at all times.

  • Share the resource.  Leave an adequate space (2-3 seconds) between each transmission to allow enough time for another station to break in.  Someone may have an emergency or may want to join the conversation.  Take breaks in longer conversations and invite other stations to join or use the repeater.

  • RATS has a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with several organizations for priority access to the repeater during emergencies or for special events.  When the repeater is operating in Net Mode or SKYWARN Mode, all transmissions shall be at the direction of that agency's net control operator.  Listen for the CW "N" or "W" courtesy tones.

  • Any user needing emergency assistance or needing to relay emergency traffic during an active conversation, announce "BREAK" or "EMERGENCY" and all other users will yield to the emergency traffic.  (RATS members and MOU'd agencies may operate the autopatch on behalf of any amateur needing emergency assistance.)  Please do not use the word "BREAK" to interrupt a conversation on any repeater, anytime, anywhere, unless you have an emergency.  If you wish to join a conversation, simply announce your call sign in between transmissions.

  • Identify your station immediately before entering any control codes, such as autopatch or IRLP access codes.  Unidentified control code transmissions may result in a temporary system shutdown.
  • When possible, please turn off any unnecessary signaling, "roger beep" or other sound effects which may accompany your transmission.  This includes features such as MDC1200, WIRES, ANI, GE STAR signaling, etc.

  • All transmissions must be in English.  (The FCC doesn't require English for anything other than station identification, but since our control operators are responsible for what goes out over the air through our repeater, we need to know that it's legal.  English is currently the language which is most compatible with our aging fleet of control operators.)

  • The W4RAT VHF analog repeater is intended for FM voice communication.  Please contact a control operator prior to using the system for any other modes (such as SSTV and other "sound card digital modes").

We highly recommend giving this repeater etiquette guide a read.

Additional operating guidelines and etiquette apply to the use of the DMR system.

RATS has always been pretty open-minded about the use of the repeaters.  We prefer users shy away from controversial topics -- politics in particular.  (We can recommend a couple of popular HF frequencies if you'd like to stir a pot.)  Otherwise, keep the language appropriate, be mindful of others, and share the airspace.

If you or your organization wish to use the repeater for a net, special event, or other activity on a one-off or recurring basis, please contact the Board and/or trustee.  One-off use for a special event is generally not an issue; we primarily want to know so we don't plan system maintenance or another event at the same time.  This also allows us to keep you up to date on any system performance issues that might impact your activities.

Like your amateur license, use of the RATS repeater systems is a privilege, not a right.  The RATS Board, trustee, and control operators may prohibit any station from using the repeaters or other club systems at any time.  Illegal, inappropriate, abusive, or discourteous behavior will not be tolerated.

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

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