Texas CATRAC Packet Station Uptimes

Follow this link to see the status of the CATRAC RMS Packet Stations in the 11 counties served by CATRAC.  

CATRAC is the Capital Area Trauma Regional Advisory Council, and has taken owner ship of the Amateur Radio gear installed by the City of Austin and Travis Co OEM in 9 hospitals in Travis Co back in 2000-2001.   CATRAC has supply 18 more hospitals with 2 dual band radios, antennas, a TNC and a PC to provide backup communications should normal communications fail.  These RMS packet stations are tested by an all volunter group of hams.  We do monthly site visits on the 3rd Friday of the month to test operate the gear.  

In addiditon to these 27 sites there are approximately 100 more through out the state doing a similar funtion that are online 24/7 or can be when needed.  To see a listing of those sites follow this link to the Texas RMS Packet Station Uptimes status page which is updated every 3-5 minutes by pinging the stations through the internet.

Info on CATRAC can be found here, link to www.catrac.org

Why not put a little Template in your ARCHES adventures?


If you are a member of the Packet Cavalry you might give some consideration to making the third Friday of each month a bit easier by creating and using one or more templates. Using a template allows the user to pre-populate fields inside a message such as “To”, “From”, “Subject” and more. Additionally, Tags can be used within the fields to assist in completing the form and reduce the need to keyboard information into the form. Examples of Tags include “Date”, “Day”, “Time” and several others.

Template files can be created in any text editor that allows you to save the file in a “txt” file format. Once created it should be placed in the RMS Express directory.

Below is a template created for use from my home in support of the ARCHES. One can see it will tell RMS Express that this message is intended for Tom N5TW, Jim K5HTK-1 and Dick W5TA. The Subject line indicates the date and location from which the message was sent; you will only need to type in the “via” station at the end of the subject line (see the message example below) and finally the body of the message will be populated with the text following “Msg:”

Sample Template Text


To:W5TA-1, K7MAL-1


Subj:Check-in <Date> from KF5EXC via

Msg:This message is being sent via radio from KF5EXC in support of the weekly Williamson County ARES packet report.

Via Packet WL2K



When used the sample Template above will produce the message form below

RMS Packet Message screen edited-1

In this example I’m sending a message from my home and the template populates every thing except the station through which I plan to send the message (in the subject line following “via”.

For those of you who are like myself and do not either Keyboard or spell well the use of templates will greatly reduce the potential error rate and should speed up your packet efforts.

The bottom line is Templates are not that difficult to create and very easy to use. To learn more check out the Help file within RMS Express and search the index for “Template”





ARCHES, Amateur Radio Communications Hospital Emergency System:

All 6 hospitals in Williamson Co have Amateur Radio equipment installed as a backup to their normal communications systems.  Each site has 2 dual band radios and antennas.  One radio is dedicated to voice communications and the other to Winlink email via packet radio.  Each radio is a backup for the other so both have voice and packet frequencies programmed.  Similar systems are used throughout the entire CATRAC*/CAPCOG* region.  We also have similar systems install at the Cedar Park, and Round Rock EOCs (Emergency Operations Center).

Read more: ARCHES