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Powhatan Area Radio Club came into existence in 2017. The club was formed to expand Amateur-Radio within Powhatan County, and began with several local radio-operators meeting for Breakfast at a local restaurant. The "Ham-Breakfast", as it became known, quickly outgrew the first location, and moved to the County Seat restaurant, where the club still hosts the monthly Ham-Breakfast at 08:00 on the third Tuesday of each month, except December.
About the same time, Powhatan County hired a new person to fill the retiring Emergency Manager position. The person selected was a licensed Amateur-Radio operator (strictly a coincidence). Knowing the value of the experienced Amateur-Radio community during emergencies, he set out to enlist the help of the Emergency Coordinator for the local ARRL Amateur Radio Emergency Services group, or ARES as it is referred to by "Hams".
Initial meetings between the Emergency Manager and the ARES-EC identified a need for additional radio repeater equipment to support ARES operations in Powhatan County. With only one of the Richmond wide-area repeaters providing reliable coverage to most of the County, the need for a repeater centrally-located in Powhatan seemed paramount for local ARES operations.
In an unusual arrangement, Powhatan County Emergency Management entered into an agreement with the local radio club PARC, to jointly install and operate a local Amateur-Radio repeater station. Through this public-private partnership, a grant request was submitted to the Virginia Department of Emergency Management (VDEM), and $25,000 was awarded to Powhatan to build an Amateur-Radio repeater station for ARES, and general Amateur-Radio use. Powhatan Department of Public-Utilities provided antenna locations atop a new water-tower on high-ground, centrally located in Powhatan County. Powhatan Area Radio Club was responsible for the design, installation and maintenance of the equipment. A club call-sign, granted by the Federal Communications Commission, allows the operation of the N4POW repeaters, with Powhatan County Emergency Manager as the license trustee.
This joint-venture between VDEM, Powhatan County, and the local radio club is a win-win for everyone. The community gets a much needed radio repeater for all licensed operators to use free-of-charge, and the County gets involved Amateur-Radio operators ready to respond to any emergency with top-notch repeater equipment to back-up their abilities.
Radio equipment like the N4POW repeaters would cost well in excess of $80,000 to commercially construct. Rent, electricity, and internet add hundreds to recurring monthly expenses. Were it not for the joint-partnership, a small club like PARC would be unable to support a project like this repeater system. The repeater adds siginificant additional radio capibilities to Powhatan, Amelia, Cumberland, and Goochland, as well as into Chesterfield and Henrico counties.
In support of general, and ARES operations, FM and C4FM modes will automatically be handled on the VHF, WIRES-X linked repeater at 147.315 MHz, with a tone frequency of 74.4 Hz. A DMR repeater on the UHF band will link Richmond, Petersburg, and Powhatan full-time, providing a very large coverage area for local HT users. Our DMR is on 443.350 MHz, with standard DMRVA code-plug configurations. Additionally, a WINLINK gateway will be operating on 145.730 MHz, providing 24x7 access to the International Winlink Mail System. All equipment is housed inside a secure environmental structure (shack) with UPS backup, and generator for extended backup power. Antenna elevation is just below 200 feet AGL at 530' ASL.
We welcome all licensed operators to freely use all of the features our repeaters offer. They are available for general use, except during official ARES operations. ARES traffic always has priority on these repeaters. Compliance with all FCC rules & regulations, and general courtesies of the air-waves is expected of all users, at all times. In the event of abuse, we reserve the right to limit repeater availability until such abuse is no longer an issue. We will attempt to identify any sources of malicious interference, and report offenders to the FCC,
Enjoy the N4POW repeaters, and check out the other fun things happening at Powhatan Area Radio Club.
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