Club logo.  A red circle containing a green map of the state of Virginia, the ARRL logo, and the text "Richmond Amateur Telecommunications Society, Richmond, Virginia U.S.A."

Richmond Amateur Telecommunications Society
W4RAT ยท Richmond, Virginia

An ARRL Affiliated Club Serving Central Virginia Since 1972



How Ham Radio Can Help Your Event

Bike rides, marathons, and other large events draw crowds that can overwhelm cell phone networks, making it difficult to communicate with your event staff, key decision-makers, medical personnel, logistics crew, and others.  That also means it can be hard for your participants and volunteers to reach emergency personnel and other support resources when they need it most.

Amateur ("ham") radio can help.

Ham radio volunteers are skilled communicators.  We are equipped and trained to effectively communicate in challenging environments.  We will get important communications from point A to point B while you focus on running a successful event, keeping you as up-to-date as you want to be in the goings-on of your participants and volunteers.  Whether you're running a small marathon around a few city blocks or a bicycle ride across the state, we have what it takes to keep you connected without reliance on congested cell networks.

To learn more about how ham radio can help your event, keep reading below or contact RATS Public Service Committee Chairman Jim Rubin W4PKR via email.

Fixed Stations at Key Event Locations

We can place volunteers and equipment at rest stops, medical tents, start/finish lines, and wherever else you need regular, reliable communications.  These volunteers can relay requests for supplies, personnel, emergency assistance, lost athletes/children, and regular status updates.  They are highly visible and readily accessible at all times so both volunteers and participants can easily identify who to go to for help.

Mobile Stations in Support Vehicles

We can place volunteers and equipment in your support vehicles.  SAG wagons, medical support and senior staff vehicles can be outfitted with amateur communications for real-time dispatch.  Our equipment requires a license and some skill to operate, so you're not just getting a radio.  You're getting someone who can handle the communications while your drivers keep their eyes on the road.

Shadows for Key Event Personnel

Your most important and active event staff can have a ham radio "shadow" follow them through the day.  The shadow's radio equipment and communications skills ensure that these key personnel are always reachable and always have a way to communicate among themselves.  They give a message or request for information to their shadow, and the shadow handles it from there.

Radios for Support Staff

We have small fleets of radios available that can be issued directly to support staff such as parking attendants, medical staff, security, and logistics volunteers who only need short-distance communications among themselves (up to a mile or thereabouts).  We provide loaner equipment and basic user training.

Net Control

Net Control is the heart of ham radio communications at any public service event.  Think of it as a dispatch or command center.  Net Control has a way to reach every radio volunteer out in the field and can efficiently pass traffic between non-connected radio systems.  Net Control can quickly disseminate critical information to the key locations such as rest stops and medical tents, quickly relaying information like severe weather or emergency response messages.  They can also gather regular updates on your activities and relay them to key event staff in near real-time.

At left, Jay Silvio N9WMU (SK) operates Net Control for the Virginia Special Olympics Summer Games, passing important medical, logistics, and operations traffic in support of thousands of athletes and volunteers.  This Net Control was located inside the Virginia Department of Emergency Management's mobile command center.

Near Real Time Position Tracking

We are able to provide near real time position tracking for support vehicles and other mobile assets using VHF radios and simple GPS trackers.  Position information is available to communications volunteers, event staff, and others who need to know where key assets are located.

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