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



RATS Repeater System Rules

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 (a few 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.

  • Identify your transmissions.  "Kerchunking" (pushing the PTT button simply to activate the repeater without intent to speak) is not permitted on our repeaters.  In addition to being a nuisance to other users of the system, we consider these to be unidentified transmissions, and thus prohibited under Part 97.  If you want to test your ability to reach the repeater, simply announce your call sign and "testing."

  • RATS has a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with some organizations for priority access to the repeater during emergencies or for special events.  While nets are in progress, all transmissions shall be at the direction of that agency's net control operator.

  • 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.  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.  [More Info]

  • Please turn off any unnecessary beeps, boops, and other sound effects such as the "roger beep" function commonly found on many lower-cost radios.

  • 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.)

  • WIRES-X users:
    • If you have connected the repeater to a Wires-X room or node, please disconnect when you are finished.  This will restore the repeater's normal connection to the Virginia Room.
    • The RATS Wires-X system is not intended for extended monitoring of remote Wires-X rooms/nodes.  If you wish to lurk on a high traffic national or global Wires-X room for more than a few minutes, please consider the use of a personal hotspot device.
    • Your radio must transmit a valid call sign corresponding to the current operator.  Unidentified or improperly identified radios will be blocked.
  • DMR users:
    • When activating a dynamic talk group, kerchunk the repeater to establish the link, then wait before making your call.
    • Use the "Clear Timeslot" function on timeslot 2 to drop on-demand talk groups when you're finished using them.
    • Radios must transmit a valid DMR radio ID.  Blank or invalid radio IDs may be blocked from accessing the system.
    • Reminder:  Unlike some digital modes, your DMR radio ID by itself does not satisfy identification requirements of Part 97.  You must identify your transmissions by voice as you would on any analog system.

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 please contact the Board and/or trustee.  This helps us avoid scheduling maintenance on top of your event, and 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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