Railroad Depots on the Air

Railroad Depots on the Air (RRDOTA) is a new group whose purpose is to “activate” railroad depots, that is to set up a ham radio station at the station and make contacts from there. It was founded by Rob, W0JRM, who was inspired by the work of the Islands on the Air (IOTA) and Amateur Radio Lighthouse Society (ARLHS)

As an incentive to amateurs to activate railroad depots and for other amateurs to work them, RRDOTA issues awards for various combinations of depots worked. These include Worked All States, which will be awarded when an operator successfully confirms contacts with railroad depots in all 50 states, and Worked All of (State), awarded when an operator confirms an entity in every county which has an entity in a particular state. Of course, since this group is just getting started, there are “entities” only in a few states at this time.

When someone activates an entity, the activation will be listed on the RRDOTA home page and on the mailing list. I really would encourage people who are interested to subscribe to the mailing list. You will not only find activation notifications there, but also interesting discussions about railroad stations in general. For example, Steve, NU7T, recently wrote about the Great American Stations website.

One of the recent discussions on the list has been of selecting a date on which many of the railroad depot entities will be activated. Once that date is selected, I’m hoping to activate the railroad depot here in Ann Arbor, MI. The old train station is now a Gandy Dancer restaurant. The new Amtrak station is just down the street (Depot Street, of course!). I’m thinking about setting up somewhere in between the two.


  1. There is no need to wait, activate them at any time. As hams hear more about RRDOTA the more they will want to activate their depots. I will be activating 2 depots in Huntington, IN very shortly. The 3rd depot in my town will be activated next spring/summer as I will have to setup a portable operation, or activate it from the EOC station after their antennas are installed.

  2. I agree that the depots can be activated at any time, but if 50 or 100 could be activated on a single day, it would have a lot more impact.

  3. Dave W0DLR says:

    What happened to this group. I never hear about it anymore. Is it still active?

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