Tidewater Wireless W4VB News  

November 2007

Website:  http://www.w4vb.org

 W4VB On the Air

Tidewater Wireless W4VB operates the following systems:

145.330 Repeater in Norfolk (-600 kHz input, CTCSS 131.8, autopatch)

147.375 Repeater in Norfolk (+600 kHz input, CTCSS 131.8, autopatch)

442.950 Repeater in Norfolk (+5 MHz input, CTCSS 131.8, autopatch)

444.475 Repeater in Norfolk (+5 MHz input, CTCSS 127.3, autopatch)

EchoLink Node 311763

145.170 Repeater (operated as WA4ZUA)(-600 kHz input, CTCSS 131.8)


The W4VB EchoLink node is normally linked to the 145.33/442.95 system.  EchoLink connections are made with hams on the Internet running the EchoLink software as well as from hams on their radios communicating through another repeater or simplex system connected to the EchoLink on the W4VB repeater.  Amateurs from around the world may connect to us through this node and call out through the repeater.  All amateurs on the repeater are invited to communicate with stations connected via EchoLink. Users of the W4VB repeater system desiring the ability to connect to a specific EchoLink station on demand from over the air may contact us in order to make arrangements for a special code.  Additional EchoLink information is available at http://www.echolink.org

The 145.170 WA4ZUA repeater plans to be relocated to Hampton , but is awaiting final installation. 

The 147.375 repeater is often linked to the 444.475 repeater.

All systems with autopatch capabilities seem to be working well.  The same codes work on all W4VB autopatches.

If you desire an autodial slot for the 145.33/442.95/147.375/444.475 repeaters please contact us with your request.  Repeater supporters receive an unlimited number of autodials.  The autopatch will also function on the 220 repeater once on the air.

The CTCSS tone for the Tidewater Wireless repeaters is indicated above, although not always required for every repeater.  W4VB repeaters transmit the same tone for the benefit of users with the ability to limit interference through the use of the Tone Coded 
Squelch System (CTCSS) on their radio receiver.


            The following nets are conducted on the W4VB repeaters:

Monday-Wednesday 7:30 pm on 145.33/442.95: Radio Amateur Society of Norfolk (RASON) Information Net  - Everyone is welcome and encouraged to check in.  Once the 220 repeater is operational it will also carry this net.

Thursday 7:30 pm on 145.33/442.95: Norfolk Amateur Radio Emergency Service (ARES) Net- Everyone is welcome and encouraged to check in.  Once the 220 repeater is operational it will also carry this net.

As Needed:  Norfolk Amateur Radio Emergency Service (ARES) Tactical, Operations, and Administrative Nets – All W4VB Repeaters as determined by the Emergency Coordinator (EC) or Assistant Emergency Coordinator (AEC).

Repeater Operating Modes

Tidewater Wireless repeaters have several different operating modes, often identifiable by a different courtesy tone.  The most easily recognized are the Normal Mode (M1), Rush Hour Mode (M2),  and Net Mode (M5).

            Here are some of the characteristics of the different modes:

Normal Mode (M1):  Used on all of our repeaters when other modes are not scheduled or activated.  Has a 3-tone burst for the courtesy tone.  Rotates between several different IDs.  Tail Messages may or may not be activated by a control operator.

Rush Hour Mode (M2):  This mode is set on weekdays 5:30 am-9:00 am and 3:30 pm-6:30 pm .  It uses a distinctive courtesy tone and has a Tail Message announcing the time.  Other Tail Messages may or may not be activated by a control operator.  This mode is designed to remind users of the potential for an influx of mobile stations on the repeater while traveling the area roads and highways.

Net Mode (M5):  This mode is used 7:20 pm-8:15 pm on the 145.33/442.95 repeater system to facilitate the RASON Net Monday-Wednesday and the Norfolk ARES Net on Thursday.  A single-tone burst is used for the courtesy tone, however, a different tone is used depending on whether the user is transmitting on VHF or UHF.  Once you recognize the two sounds you will be able to tell which repeater the person is using during the net. Once the 220 repeater becomes operational users on that repeater during the Net Mode will be recognized by a third different sounding single tone courtesy tone.  A single tone courtesy tone on any of the Tidewater Wireless repeaters may indicate a net in progress.  Control operators have the capability of activating the Net Mode whenever needed.  All Tail Messages are normally off while in Net Mode and most IDs will be in CW.

Email Listserver

           The W4VB email listserver provides a method for updated news and information to be exchanged between all members of the list.  Email can only be sent to the list by members of the list.  To be added to the list, or to make a change to your email address used by the listserver, send a note to us.

Norfolk ARES

     The Norfolk Amateur Radio Emergency Service (Norfolk ARES) uses Tidewater Wireless repeaters to support its mission.  The Norfolk ARES website is available at http://www.norfolk-ares.org and they also have a listserver for their members.

            The Norfolk ARES Emergency Coordinator (EC) is Rich Davis (W4NMH).

The Assistant Emergency Coordinator (AEC) is Robert “Stro” Strohmeyer (KO4FR).

For additional information regarding Norfolk ARES, or to schedule training, please contact the Emergency Coordinator, W4NMH .

 User Codes

      Tidewater Wireless repeaters have many functions available to serve its users.  Please be sure to ID prior to activating any of these functions.  Codes should not be given over the air or given to others by any means other than off-air through a W4VB control operator.  Providing assistance to visitors to the area is encouraged, however, the authorized user must dial the codes for the visitor.  If you do not have the codes or have questions please email us .

  Field Day 2008

It has been a few years since Tidewater Wireless W4VB organized and operated a Field Day event.  The next ARRL Field Day will be held June 28-29, 2008 .  If there is sufficient interest in a W4VB Field Day operation and a suitable location available, W4VB may be part of the event.  If interested, please email us and include the distance (in driving time) into the field you would be willing to travel to participate as well.  If you have the ability to obtain use of a suitable site for the event please mention that as well. 

 Member Profiles

      During the course of each week many different voices are heard over the W4VB systems.  This section of the newsletter will introduce a few of them.

Rich Davis – W4NMH

Rich Davis, W4NMH, is originally from Long Island , New York and was first licensed as N2NMH in 1991.  He recently upgraded to Amateur Extra and changed his call sign to W4NMH to reflect the large amount of amateur radio public service conducted in the 4th call area.  His decision to serve in the United States Navy brought Rich to the Tidewater area during several tours of duty.  After a few years of shore duty, he recently transitioned back to sea duty on a Norfolk-based destroyer.  Rich serves the Tidewater amateur radio community in many capacities.  He is a W4VB control operator and provides the W4VB EchoLink system, serves as the Norfolk ARES Emergency Coordinator providing a working relationship between the local amateur radio operators and City of Norfolk officials.  Rich is also a member of the Radio Amateur Society of Norfolk (RASON) and Navy-Marine Corps MARS.  His public service extends beyond amateur radio and includes Virginia Beach Emergency Medical Services (Search and Rescue Services and Emergency Medical Technician) as well as the Norfolk Community Emergency Response Team (CERT).  While stationed in Norfolk , his goals include increasing HAM Radio participation and membership; the way it used to be at NHA.  Rich is most often heard on the 145.33/442.95 repeater system.

Don Midgette – WN3X

Don Midgette, WN3X, is originally from Virginia Beach and was first licensed as N4BMZ.   For a brief time in the early 90’s before earning the Amateur Extra license and WN3X call sign, Don held the call sign KN4UM.  While serving on active duty with the US Coast Guard, he was an active member of the Atlantic Fleet Headquarters Amateur and MARS Radio Station (WA4ZUA/NNN0NHA) during the 1990s and helped expand the station’s operating capabilities when the station sported a roster of over 100 members.  At that time the station was a key MARS phone patch and digital messaging node for deployed military personnel and their families.  Don recently ran across his files from the WA4ZUA station including a photo taken with the Coast Guard’s 5th District Commander as part of a WA4ZUA Special Events operation during the USCG’s 200th Anniversary.  The photo was published in QST magazine.  More recently, Don has been working on his house and supporting his wife’s cake and catering business.  He is also working on obtaining a contractor’s license and certification to do mechanical contracting/geothermal HVAC installations, and has found that ground source heat pumps provide potential savings over home heating oil.  When able to get on the air, Don can be heard on the 145.33/442.95 or 146.97 repeaters.