Richmond Amateur Telecommunications Society

The Richmond Amateur Telecommunications Society owns and operates the W4RAT analog repeater on the SERA-coordinated frequency pair of 146.28/88 MHz.  This repeater utilizes full CTCSS encoding and decoding at 74.4Hz.  IRLP service is available.

Autopatch service with emergency speed dial is available to active club members.  This allows RATS members to make outbound telephone calls from anywhere within the W4RAT repeater footprint.  NOAA Weather Radio alerts are carried during severe weather events (this functionality can be temporarily disabled by SKYWARN Net Controls).  A battery bank provides short-term power for the repeater, and a UPS provides short-term power for IRLP, streaming, and the DMR repeater.  The entire system is serviced by a large diesel generator maintained by our host TV station.

The VHF repeater is the primary Wakefield SKYWARN repeater for central Virginia and also serves ARES and other EMCOMM groups through written MOU's.  All transmissions through the repeaters are recorded at the controller 24/7 for use in repeater performance monitoring and enforcement activities.

The 146.88 repeater is located at WCVE Channel 23 in Chesterfield County (near Bon Air), with antenna situated about 680 feet above ground on the taller of the station's two large towers. In the photo below, the upper pair of antennas are the W4RAT primary antennas. The one on the left is the 2m (146MHz) antenna, the one on the right is the 70cm (442MHz) DMR antenna. RATS appreciates WCVE's generosity in allowing us such excellent locations for our antennas and repeaters.

W4RAT repeater antennas

W4RAT/R is a Motorola MTR 2000 repeater with a full featured Arcom controller and Digital Voice Recorders, a Decibel Products DB-224-E antenna on VHF (above, top left), an RF Systems antenna on UHF DMR (above, top right), and 750 feet of 1-1/4-inch hard-line which feeds both antennas from an RX TX coupler.  Our transmitter's output power is approximately 70 watts.

To reduce noise, the repeater utilizes a kerchunk filter which will keep most short transmissions from coming through the repeater.  Except for net modes and drive time, the repeater does not usually transmit a courtesy tone.

This is the projected coverage map of the "88" repeater shown by the mapping program SERA uses.

W4RAT VHF coverage map

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

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