W4RAT UHF Repeater
The W4RAT 442.55 MHz repeater first signed on in 1996. With antenna positioned 680 feet above Chesterfield Town Center, this Yaesu DR-2X repeater operates in digital C4FM modes in and out. When not carrying digital traffic, it also supports legacy analog FM for local communications only. 74.4 Hz PL tone is required for FM access. The repeater operates with 50 watts of output power.
This is primarily a digital repeater. Digital traffic takes precedence. It stays linked 24/7 to a network of other repeaters. Only digital traffic passes over this link. As a result, stations on linked repeaters will not hear our local analog traffic and may start a digital QSO at any time. Analog stations must yield to this activity. To avoid conflicts, the repeater may be taken off the WIRES-X network when high-traffic local events are using the analog portion of our system.
Because this repeater may transmit in either analog or digital mode - as determined by the incoming signal - users of analog-only radios should ensure their radio is set to utilize a 74.4 Hz receive PL tone. This will prevent the squelch from opening for the "noise" of digital signals. However, it will be necessary to look at the signal meter or receive activity light on your radio before transmitting in analog mode to ensure you are not colliding with existing digital traffic. Only one mode may be active at a time.
Club member Mike Friedman W4MAF put together an excellent presentation on the capabilities of this repeater in March 2022. We have a copy of it here. New users of the W4RAT 442.55 WIRES-X system should review this to become familiar with local operating practices and the characteristics of our particular system.
The repeater is open to all licensed amateurs. You do not need to be a member of the club to use our repeater. Please take a moment to become familiar with our Repeater Rules and basic repeater etiquette before going on the air. RATS members needing help accessing the repeater may reach out to their Technical Committee.
Regional Linking via the Virginia Room
Unless a user has temporarily connected the repeater elsewhere, the 442.55 machine stays linked to the Virginia Room (#21625) along with several other repeaters in the region. A weekly net is held on Saturday nights at 8:00 PM.
WIRES-X traffic from these systems will be carried on the digital portion of the repeater and will not be heard by analog users.
Above: Maps showing projected coverage of the W4RAT 442.55 MHz repeater, generated using Radio Mobile Online by Roger Coudé VE2DBE.