June 2014 Membership meeting

The June 2014 monthly membership meeting will be held on June 20 at the Richmond Volunteer Rescue Squad building.  Directions are here.

Topics this month:

  • Nominations will be presented.  Nominations for the offices up for reelection this year will be presented.  Nominations will also be accepted from the floor.
  • Field Day discussion.  We will give a brief overview of what is planned for this year’s Field Day Event.
  • The main program will be “Introduction to Digital Voice Modes” and will cover DSTAR, P25 and DMR (Mototrbo) modes and will be presented by Jim Bates,K8OI, and Jay Lovelady, KD4BPZ. There will also be discussion of the new digital repeater that just went on the air last month.

We look forward to seeing you there!

May 2014 membership meeting

The May RATS membership meeting will be held on May 16 at 7:30 PM in the Richmond Volunteer Rescue Squad building.

The following items will be discussed:

  • There will be an update on the upcoming Special Olympics public service event.
  • RATS Nominations – We need a nominating committee of two or three members to gather nominations for this year’s election.  The offices up for reelection are Secretary, Treasurer, and three directors.  The current office holders are Secretary- Oliver Kanervikkoaho (KF4HVX), Treasurer – Buck Vaughn (KR4NL), and Directors Tray Murphy (N4PAT), Peter Martin (K2VIZ), and Rob Marshall (KI4MCW).  If you are interested in serving on the nominating committee or running for office, please come to the meeting or email the board.
  • For our main presentation Dr. Joe Palsa, K3WRY, will give a talk about antenna analyzers.



Field Day 2014

The ARRL Amateur Radio Field Day will be held on June 28 and 29 this year.  Four Richmond area clubs are teaming up to put on Field Day this year.  RATS, RARC, CVCC, and DDXG are all participating.  We are still in the planning stages, but here’s what we have so far:

  • We will operate 3A, with three HF operating positions and on VHF station
  • We will be operating off of generator power
  • The location is the Laurel Park Recreation area in Henrico county located at 10301 Hungary Spring Road
  • Set up will begin around 11:00 AM and operating begins at 2:00 PM
  • VE testing will be available Saturday afternoon.  Allan, WA3J is heading up the testing session.

We look forward to another great Field Day Event and hope to see you there.

Public Service Events 2014

Upcoming public service events for 2014.  Please consider helping out.  These events not only present a good public image of what ham radio operators can do, they are also opportunities to have a good time with fellow hams and other members of the local community.

Special Olympics – The Special Olympics will be held June 6 and 7 this year.  Please see K4MTK’s  website to learn more and to sign up.

MS Society Bike Ride – Contact Mike Hackett (AC5PT) to volunteer or for more information.

If you have information about an upcoming event, email us and we will add it.

RATS adds 900mhz repeater

RATS has added a new repeater to the W4RAT stable. A new 900MHz Motorola Quantar repeater, built by Fred Towers, WB4KXS (a RATS Founding Member) and Dave Meier, N4MW, is on the air at our repeater site.
From Fred WB4KXS:
The second 900MHz Richmond repeater is on the air from southside right now. It is on 927.0250/902.0250MHz. It is a mixed mode repeater, that is, it can work in analog mode using 100Hz PL, or it will work in P25 digital mode using NAC $293.The repeater output (after the duplexer) is 60 watts. The antenna is fed by about 500 feet of 7/8 inch hardline. The antenna is one that was already mounted on the WCVE tower. However, it is NOT a 900MHz antenna. In fact we do not really know what the antenna is, but we suspect that it is a UHF (450MHz) antenna. We have a 900MHz Super StationMaster antenna ready to go, but are trying to find a way to cover the cost of having a commercial tower crew (required by WCVE) put the 900MHz antenna on the tower. When the Super StationMaster antenna is in place, this repeater’s range should improve greatly. Then again, even with the current antenna, it works surprisingly well.If you have one of the Kenwood TK-981 radios that N4MW and I have set up and distributed in Virginia, mainly in the Richmond metro area, this repeater is just two channels down from the downtown Richmond repeater you have been using.

If you have one of the P25 EFJ 5100 handheld radios that were recently available on eBay, you are ready to go on analog. You will need to get the very latest version of the software configuration for it to work on P25. Any 5100 programmed at the last Tailgate Fest (or since then) is programmed for P25 on this repeater. If you need a 5100 update, let me know and we can fix you up with the newest configuration.

Thanks to N4MW for the engineering, metalwork, duplexer, time, and sweat to put together this repeater, a Motorola Quantar.  Thanks to K3WRY for the Bird wattmeter panel we are using in this repeater.  Thanks to RATS for getting permission to put this repeater at the WCVE site, and thanks to WCVE for giving that permission.


June Special Olympics a big deal, needs lots of hams

The Virginia Special Olympics summer games needs thirty two (32) hams on the field with officials plus a few more serving as net control. It is Friday, June 7 and Saturday June 8. Then there is set up Thursday night, June 6. You sign up for as much of any of the days as you want. So it may take 60 to 70 hams to cover it all for two days. You need an HT, a good hat, a water bottle, and a willingness to have some fun.

The hams are organized by Matthew Kimball, K4MTK. See http://k4mtk.com.

Here is how it works. We hams are assigned to a fixed location and/or to an official that we shadow. You could be running (literally) to incidents with the medical team, sitting pool-side during aquatic competitions, or following a staff member or official as he or she moves around the field. As the ham in a location you will be responding to information polls such as “have awards ceremonies started for tennis yet?” You will be asked to send an APB (all points bulletin) to find a specific individual. Your official may ask you to report that her sport is 30 minutes behind schedule. Although officials use cell phones for direct person-to-person communications, most information needs to be received by all the officials. Ham radio is how that gets done.

You will be shocked at just how hard handicapped athletes work and how much they can accomplish.  It is wonderful to watch. And therefore you will pledge to increase your exercise regimen.

You will have more QSOs is a day than most hams get in a month.

You will feel like you are really accomplishing something important, because you are.

It is difficult to see how they could run these games from the several locations without hams.

Go to the K4MTK.com website and sign up.