Analog Repeater Operating Modes and Alerts
There are five main operating modes used by the RATS analog repeaters: drive time, net mode, SKYWARN mode, night mode, and normal operation.
In normal operation the repeater is set to provide voice identification when appropriate, the kerchunk filter is active, and no courtesy tone is used in an effort to mitigate effects of kerchunkers. (Traffic from the IRLP port does have a short courtesy tone.) Repeater timeout is set to 185 seconds and resets 100ms after the incoming carrier drops.
The repeater automatically shifts into drive time mode on weekdays from 7:30 AM to 9:30 AM and again from 4:30 PM to 6:30 PM. No announcement is made when this shift occurs. Minor adjustments are made to facilitate traffic flow and minimize doubling during peak usage periods.
Drive time operation parameters are the same as normal operation, except a gentle courtesy tone is applied and the hang time is extended. The courtesy tone is used as a reminder to insert enough pause between transmissions to allow other stations to jump in should they need to access the repeater. The repeater timeout is still set to 185 seconds, and resets 100 ms after the courtesy tone plays. Please be sure to wait until after the courtesy tone to begin your transmission.
Net mode is used whenever a net or special event is active on the repeater, with the exception of SKYWARN activity. In net mode, most voice ID's are turned off, the kerchunk filter and timeout are disabled, and a special courtesy tone is used. You can identify net mode operation by the presence of a CW "N" (dah-dit) courtesy tone. When you hear this courtesy tone in use, please ask permission from Net Control before using the repeater.
Most nets and special events take place on our VHF repeater. The UHF repeater provides an excellent alternative while the VHF repeater is in use.
SKYWARN mode (Sample Audio Clip) is basically the same as net mode, except the CW courtesy tone is a "W" (dit-dah-dah). SKYWARN mode is manually activated by a SKYWARN net control using codes furnished through a Memorandum of Understanding with NWS Wakefield SKYWARN, and it indicates either a SKYWARN net is active or the repeater is being monitored by SKYWARN for potential severe weather activity. Two SKYWARN modes are available: with and without NOAA Weather Radio. If the net control prefers to read warning information personally, the repeater's NOAA Weather Radio receiver can be temporarily disabled. (It will turn back on automatically when SKYWARN mode is disabled.) When you hear the "W" courtesy tone, be alert to rapidly changing weather conditions, monitor for severe weather broadcasts through the repeater, and please ask permission from SKYWARN Net Control before using the repeater.
Note that NOAA Weather Radio broadcasts are carried on both the VHF and UHF analog repeaters, but at the present time only the VHF repeater is used for SKYWARN activity.
As of February 7, 2019, we now operate in night mode from 11:00 PM to 7:00 AM daily. In night mode, the repeater turns off voice identification and most scheduled announcements are suspended to ensure quieter operation for those who like to leave a radio on overnight. There is no courtesy tone and the kerchunk filter is active.
The repeater's CW ID has been lowered from 660 Hz to 440 Hz 24/7 as part of the rollout of night mode.
NOAA Weather Radio Re-Broadcast
Unless disabled by a SKYWARN Net Control, NOAA Weather Radio alerts will be re-broadcast from WXK65 in Richmond (162.475 MHz). These alerts are carried on both repeaters 24/7. Hear a sample.