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 Welcome to NIHRAC   

The National Institutes of Health Radio Amateur Club (est. 1963)

 Bethesda, Maryland, USA

The Club normally meets the first Saturday of every month at the Club facilities in NIH. See About Us for directions. We also have a weekly net, or on-the-air meeting, every Monday at 9:00 p.m. on our 2 meter repeater (see below).  We welcome check-ins from all stations over the air or via EchoLink (K3YGG-R).


We welcome applications from anyone interested in amateur radio and emergency communications.  We have members who are current and past NIH personnel, representatives from the local community, and others who have traveled to various DX zones.  We do ask that children are accompanied by responsible adults, but other than that an interest in or curiosity about the many aspects of amateur radio will find a home here. To file a membership application, visit our Contact Us page.

NIHRAC members enjoy use of our Club’s facilities and resources, can participate in our meetings, projects and activities, and serve as the backbone of the NIH emergency communication system during scheduled outages and in case of an emergency event. Members' participation in mergency communications activities is not mandatory. After our regular meetings, we often have technical presentations and demonstrations about a variety of topics related to the hobby, and/or collaborate in technical projects of common interest. Club members can also volunteer during emergency communications drills at the NIH campus or vecinity a few times per year.

New members who have not yet received their amateur license from the FCC can be assisted by the club to go through the licensing process. The FCC licensing process is relatively painless. All levels of licensing require the completion of a multiple choice test, graded at the time of completion. The entry-level exam can be easily passed with a modicum of study, and the question pool can be found on the American Radio Relay League (ARRL) Website or the National Conference of Volunteer Examiner Coordinators (NCVEC) Website.  Although we don't administer exams, there are several relatively-close organizations that do.
NIHRAC operates an emergency communications (EMCOMM) capability support resource for the National Institutes of Health (NIH). The Club is responsible for helping support and maintain communications within NIH and with other federal entities in case of emergency.
The club capabilities include:
  • Meeting/operations rooms
  • Electronics workbench & test equipment
  • Two High Frequency (HF) radio stations
  • Very High Frequency (VHF) and Ultra High Frequency (UHF) stations
  • Voice over IP to radio gateway (EchoLink)
  • Portable and fixed Winlink 2000 radio stations for email over radio
  • Computer terminals to support digital communications via radio
  • A wide variety of antennas to support almost any operation
  • Equipment available for check out by club members
  • VHF and UHF repeaters
 We maintain two amateur radio repeaters on the NIH Clinical Center (building 10).  Both are open repeaters, but may be sequestered during drills, safety, and emergency operations.  EchoLink (K3YGG-R) connectivity is provided on the 2M repeater to facilitate participation from members who live outside of the immediate area.  
2 meter FM Repeater
    144.69 MHz input / 145.29 MHz output
    PL5A (156.7 Hz) encoding is sometimes required for access. This feature is activated at the discretion of the control operator to reduce seasonal radio interference problems.
70 cm FM Repeater
    442.925 MHz input / 447.925 MHz output

Amateur Radio:
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Geomagnetic Field:

(Full report at


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