RARS Monthly Gatherings are on 4th Tuesdays
Welcome to the Raleigh Amateur Radio Society (RARS)! Founded in 1969, RARS has grown to become the largest Amateur Radio Club in North Carolina. In 1999, RARS a new RARS was incorporated with 501(c)(3) nonprofit tax status.
With over 300 members, RARS reflects a wide variety of interests: ARES and Public Service, HF operation, DX, home-brew, vintage equipment, CW, all modes of VHF/UHF, satellites, packet and computers, ATV, new-Ham training, VE testing, contests, awards, special events, FM and repeaters, Field Day operation, club meetings, shortwave listening/scanning, hamfesting and the Exciter newsletter are all part of RARS member's activities.
To find out more about RARS, come to a meeting, ask on a repeater, browse this website, or talk to any member! We're glad you're here!
The RARS General Membership Meetings are held on the second Tuesday of each month, starting at 7:00 pm with a 30-minute social period, during which the participants mingle and talk about whatever is on their minds. The meeting itself starts at 7:30 pm with announcements and club business, followed by an interesting presentation by someone local or from far away, even from a distant country. For now, the meetings are being held on Zoom. The Club Treasurer sends out the Zoom invitations to members, who may invite guests. We hope to resume in-person meetings in the near future.
There are some special meetings held throughout the year:
We have a Monthly Dinner on the first Tuesday of each month at the IHOP Restaurant, 7471 Six Forks Road, Raleigh. The restaurant is on the corner of Sawmill and Six Forks Roads. After entering the restaurant and lobby, move to the left to the glass window enclosed private room. People start arriving at about 6:00 pm and food ordering generally happens just after 6:30 pm. All members and guests are welcome. Informal and Dutch, just bring your appetite and best rag to chew.
The RARS Gathering and Hack Day is held on the fourth Tuesday of every month at the Ridge Road Baptist Church, 2011 Ridge Road, Raleigh, NC 27607. This map should help you find it. If you see lots of cars with antennas all over them, you're in the right place. This is more of an event than a meeting and is run like a science fair where people show up with show-and-tell. The regulars at the meeting try to shake things up with CW across the room, working ham stations, packet radio network demos, nifty ham radio toys, home brew devices. Everybody is welcome to bring a show-and-tell item and find some table space to sit down and talk about it with any interested attendees.
Club business is handled at the Board of Directors meeting, open to all members on the third Tuesday of each month except in December. If you enjoy the nitty-gritty of club operation, or just have a bone to pick, come be board with us. Contact the Club Treasurer for details.
The Exciter is the RARS monthly newsletter, with news and feature articles about RARS, our members, and local Amateur Radio activity. As a RARS member you recceive an email notice each month when the new Exciter issue is available. By simply clicking a link in the email, or by going to the Exciters page on the club web site, you can read the newsletter from the comfort of your home. Members are encouraged to submit articles for the newsletter. Contact the editor for more information.
Note: If you don't have internet access, or for some reason you can't use the online Exciter, the RARS Treasurer will be glad make arrangements to send you a printed copy of the Exciter each month via USPS Snail Mail.
Each spring, RARS sponsors RARSfest. Big enough that we outgrew the Exposition Center and moved to the Jim Graham Building at the NC State Fairgrounds, RARSfest is among the larger hamfests in the Southeast. Dozens of club members volunteer to help with setup, talk-in, tickets, vendor assistance, security, hospitality, exams, the Friday Night Social, and more. Most volunteers work a two-hour shift, leaving plenty of time to check out the flea market and enjoy the event.
If you want to dig in deeper, the hamfest committee meets throughout the year, planning and preparing for the event, contact the RARSfest Chair.
One of the most important aspects of Amateur Radio is Public Service. Whether it involves providing radio operators for a local walking event or for a command post during an emergency, Amateur Radio provides a valuable communications link.
RARS members work with hams from all the area clubs to provide communications for more than a dozen charity fund-raisers each year, including a two-day, 150 mile bike-a-thon for the MS Society, the Raleigh Marathon, Triathlons, the Special Olympics and smaller walks and events.
None of this is possible without RARS members willing to give a small amount of time each year to these events. Public Service activities are not for everyone, but as a new member to RARS, we ask that you volunteer for just one event to try it. If everyone would do this, we would have no problem in providing enough operators for all the events. If you don't enjoy it, fine. But chances are you will find it one of the most rewarding aspects of our hobby.
LICENSE CLASSES & EXAMS
RARS conducts Amateur Radio License classes several times each year. The RARS Education Director plans classes aimed at the Technician, General, and Extra class license. Several members volunteer to teach class segments in areas of their own special interest.
Tne RARS Volunteer Examiners are accredited through the W5YI VEC (Volunteer Examiner Coordinator). They administer exams at several area hamfests including RARSfest, at the end of each RARS licensing class, and other at other locations on occasion.
THE RARS-L MAILING LIST
RARS operates an email list server on the internet. Users "subscribe" to the RARS-L mailing list by registering their e-mail address. Then, when any subscriber sends a single e-mail message to the list's address, the server copies the message and sends it out to everyone on the list. There are thousands of mailing lists on the internet - one or more for just about any subject you can think of. The RARS-L is a great way to let area hams know about RARS related activity, or important bulletins on any ham subject. Click here to subscribe to the RARS-L mailing list.
Every now and then, there are public events that give us an opportunity to set up an operating station and demonstrate Amateur Radio. For example, in 1992, RARS set up a SAREX network with the Wake County School system, making contact with the Shuttle Endeavour. We operated at the State Capitol for the city's bi-centennal. And we've set up in malls for public demonstrations. If you would like to organize a special event station in the name of RARS, contact an officer or board member.
The December meeting is the Holiday Party - a big family event, with lots of food and fun. Sometimes it's catered, and sometimes it's potluck, so check your Exciter or the web page for details.
The fourth full weekend in June is the ARRL sponsored Field Day. RARS goes at it big... but we're not so "out to win" that we ignore the newcomers. We usually have a Novice/Tech station, and new hams are invited to sit in on all the other stations and learn how it's done.
But even with our open door operating policy, we managed to win 1st place in the 7A class in 1997, coming in 11th nationwide in all classes! We did even better in 1998, winning the 8A class and making the TOP TEN box for all stations nationwide at #8, and winning 8A again in 2000! Contact the Field Day Chairman for more info.
QSL CARD CHECKING FOR WAS
As an ARRL Special Service Club, RARS is qualified to have one of its members check QSL cards for some ARRL Awards. Currently, Jeff Wittich AC4ZO can check cards for the ARRL Worked All States (WAS) award and the VHF/UHF Century Club (VUCC) award. You can check the rules and get an application form here on the ARRL web site. Contact Jeff for details on getting your cards checked.
OUTGOING QSL SERVICE
The RARS Outgoing QSL Service is a real cost and time saver for the HF DXer. The service works with the ARRL Outgoing QSL service to conveniently send your DX QSL cards overseas to foreign QSL bureaus. To use this service you must be a member of both RARS and the ARRL. There is no charge.
How to use the Outgoing QSL Service:
PLEASE write neatly!
This service cannot forward cards to US amateurs in the lower 48 states or to those countries which have no operating bureau. You can also reply to foreign SWL stations, or if you go on a DXpedition, we can handle your outgoing US cards with your foreign call shown on the QSL card.
Questions? Contact the RARS Secretary. We're looking forward to see who you work.
SKYWARN is a public service activity sponsored by the National Weather Service. Amateurs across the country act as weather spotters, reporting to organized nets whenever severe weather threatens a region. In this area, Skywarn operates as part of ARES (Amateur Radio Emergency Service), and uses the 146.88 Repeater. If a watch or warning is issued, listen to .88 and follow the net control station's instructions. SKYWARN has their own web page.
Also known as the Tarheel Scanner and Shortwave Listening Group, this popular SIG is for hams and non-hams interested in Shortwave Listening and Scanning. The SIG has made field trips to interesting facilities such as the Voice of America transmitter facitlity, the NC Highway Patrol's Communications Headquarters, and the RDU Airport Control Tower.
Many RARS members sport this classy club badge at meetings, hamfests and other events. You can usually find them at larger hamfests. You can have the ARRL logo added to the badge:The Sign Man of Baton Rouge - This is a special web site set up for ordering RARS badges online.
The Sign Man has also created this color badge using the new RARS logo. It's a little more expensive. You'll find details on their web page.
RARS is an Affiliate and Special Service Club of the American Radio Relay League. ARRL is the national organization for all radio amateurs and provides information on all aspects of Amateur Radio in its monthly journal QST.
The ARRL is also the main voice for Amateurs to the Federal Government and the FCC, and seeks to preserve our position and frequencies at international conferences.
You and RARS both benefit when you join ARRL. Contact the RARS ARRL liaison for league membership applications. Most of RARS members must be ARRL members for RARS to be an ARRL Affiliated Club. RARS recommends you consider joining the League, with or without holding an Amateur Radio license.
PACKET RADIO DATA COMMUNICATIONS
RARS does not itself sponsor any packet radio projects, but there are a bunch and many of our members are involved in some of them.
Here are several different efforts.
APRS is an international packet reporting project with many local operators, both fixed station semi-permanent, and mobile. See the Internet web page at http://aprs.fi. All are welcome to join the fun on 144.39 MHz.
NCPACKET is a regional live chat network that includes many stations in the Raleigh metro area. The NCPACKET project includes supports dozens of active network participants, all who enjoy a lively always-up many station chat. See their web site at http://ncpacket.org to get connected and to participate in expanding their network.
The Network 105 international 20M packet radio network on 14.105 MHz also has a representative in the area. KA9QJT has a full-time up station that moves traffic on that frequency.
RARS operates several repeaters in the area.
W4DW 146.64 MHz -0.6 MHz, no PL tone. This is our "flagship” machine, located near the State Fairgrounds in west Raleigh.
W4DW 145.13 MHz -0.6 MHz, 82.5 PL tone. This is our western repeater, located near the RDU airport, this repeater covers the western end of Wake County and into Durham County.
W4RNC 444.525 MHz + 5.0 MHz, 82.5 PL tone. This is the Bayleaf repeater and it sits at the northern-most point of Interstate 540. This repeater is accessible in southern Granville County, and east out to Wake Forest and Knightdale.
Check Local Area Repeaters for a comprehensive list of repeaters in the area.