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 re-incorporated with 501(c)(3) nonprofit tax status.
With over 400 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 via Zoom on the second Tuesday of each month. The link to join the meeting is in the meeting announcement section on our homepage. The Zoom call opens at 7:00 pm for a 30-minute social period, during which the participants 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. The March meeting is our birthday party, during which we recognize RARS members' special efforts during the last year with certificates and plaques.
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 in-person RARS Gathering 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. We start setting up at 6:00 pm. The event itself starts at 7:00 pm in the Fellowship Hall. The RARS Volunteer Examiner team conducts license exams starting at 6:00 pm in even-numbered months (February, April, June, August, October, and December).
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 EXciter Editor for more information.
Note: If you don't have internet access, or for some reason you can't use the online EXciter, the 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 the largest hamfest still in operation on the East Coast. At around 100,000 square feet, our venue is about the same size as the Huntsville hamfest venue. 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.
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.
In times of disaster, RARS members, along with other Amateurs statewide, man the communications centers under the ARES banner. Wake County is unique in that Raleigh is the State capital. Thus, we provide both local communications and state coverage.
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 if you are 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 is not currently offering licensing classes. We hope to be again soon, but in the meantime we are still conducting licensing exams.
The RARS Volunteer Examiners are accredited through the Laurel Volunteer Examiner Coordinator (VEC). They administer exams at the RARS Gathering in even numbered months and at several area hamfests including RARSfest, and other at other locations on occasion.
For more information about the classes or exams see the RARS License Class and Exams page.
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. 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. If you would like to organize a special event station in the name of RARS, contact an officer or board member.
QSL CARD CHECKING
Bill McDowell K4CIA checks QSL cards for ARRL and CQ awards.
Bill is available anytime to check cards, in person or by mail.
You might also find him at the ARRL table at RARSfest most years.
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). If a watch or warning is issued, listen on one of the SKYWARN repeaters and follow the net control station's instructions. For more information, see SKYWARN's 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 has 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 them.
Here are several different efforts.
NCPACKET is a regional live chat network that includes many stations in the Raleigh metro area and beyond. The NCPACKET project supports dozens of active network participants, all of whom enjoy a lively, always-up, multi-station chat. See their web site at http://ncpacket.org to get connected and to participate in expanding their network.
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.
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 and Scouting
Amateur radio has been a part of Scouting since 1918. RARS is working to develop contacts within the local Scouting community to foster and promote education, technical awareness, and achievement in Amateur Radio. For more information or if you are interested in helping the local Scouting youth programs, please contact the RARS Youth Director,