W4RAT VHF Repeater
The W4RAT 146.88 MHz repeater has served central Virginia since 1971. Transmitting 50 watts from 680 feet above Chesterfield Town Center, this repeater accepts input in conventional analog FM (with PL 74.4 Hz) as well as digital C4FM mode. Output is always FM.
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 etiquitte before going on the air. RATS members needing help accessing the repeater may reach out to their Technical Committee.
Using C4FM with Automatic Mode Selection (AMS) on the 146.88 Repeater
The 146.88 repeater lives in an environment packed with very high amounts of RF from nearby broadcast and commercial two-way radio transmitters, paging transmitters, and numerous other sources of noise emanating from the many businesses and residences near Chesterfield Town Center. From time to time, these signals along with fluctuations in band conditions will introduce noise into the repeater system, most prominent on the VHF side. It may take the form of short bursts of noise or flutter, "chop" or "hash" on even nearby stations, or just a persistent light crackle.
Depending on how strong the received station's signal is at the time, noise may knock the station below the repeater's squelch threshold completely, or it may barely bother a signal at all. Rarely, local stations may be noisy while users out on the fringe of coverage get into the repeater just fine.
Most of the time, the 146.88 repeater works very well. Extensive diagnostic work by the Technical Committee, other well-qualified volunteers, and a local two-way radio vendor from at least 2019 through early 2022 has shown that the club's equipment is in good working order, and is doing the best it can in this environment.
The good news is that the 146.88 repeater is a Yaesu System Fusion DR-2X repeater which is configured to accept both analog and C4FM digital input. Unlike our 442.55 repeater, the VHF machine will always retransmit in analog so you can continue to communicate seamlessly with users of non-Fusion equipment. With a properly configured Yaesu Fusion radio, you can take advantage of C4FM's forward error correction (FEC). Using C4FM digital transmission on the uplink from your radio to the repeater may provide improved audio quality and more reliable communications during periods of mild to moderate noise on the repeater.
Refer to your radio's Operating Manual for instructions on enabling Automatic Mode Selection (AMS) if necessary. Then, lock your radio's transmitter to digital, "TX DN" -- those instructions are typically in the manual section immediately following Automatic Mode Selection. With your radio configured in this arrangement, all outgoing transmissions from the radio to the repeater will be in C4FM digital mode, while the radio receives in analog. If you need assistance locating these instructions for your radio, please contact the RATS Technical Committee.
Our 442.55 repeater offers a noise-free, fully-digital experience for Fusion users.
Above: Map showing projected coverage of the W4RAT 146.88 MHz repeater, generated using Radio Mobile Online by Roger Coudé VE2DBE
Also available as a .KML file for Google Earth