Ham Radio Nets
WHAT IS A NET?
By definition a net is simply three or more radio stations communicating with one another on a common channel or frequency. At its simplest a net is a conference call conducted over two-way radio. To avoid chaos all nets require one station to act as a manager who operates in a commonly accepted manner.
Often this manager or a designee supervises the creation and operation of the net over and over again
In essence the net manager acts as moderator or chairperson and initiates each session on a specific frequency and time including the day(s) of operation. The manager opens and closes the net and during which controls when each station can talk. This role is often called Net Control Station (NCS). A list of the NCS specific duties can be found in the following link: NET OPERATION
STRUCTURE OF THE NET
Nets must always have a definite structure: opening and closing, listing contacts in order usually in the order in which they “check-in” and any announcements or official business. Often the NCS will prioritize any mobile participants.
- Net opening
- Identification of the NCS
- Announcement of the regular date, time, and frequency of the net
- Purpose of the net
- Roll call
- A call for stations to check in, oftentimes from a roster of regular stations
- A call for late check-ins (stations on the roster who did not respond to the first check-in period)
- A call for guest stations to check in
- Net business
- Optional conversion to a free net
- Net closing
For those who may feel unprepared in acting as an NSC you are encouraged to access the following link to give you a detailed suggested script to follow GEORGES OLD TIMERS NET and look for “George’s Old Timers Net -Net Control Script.
TYPES OF RADIO NETS
Maritime Mobile Nets –serve the needs of seagoing vessels and are both available on VHF and HF frequencies. When vessels are in distress they will operate a maritime broadcast communications net to communicate among vessels in distress and all other vessels, aircraft, and shore stations assisting in the distress response
Civil Air Patrol Nets-There are five subset nets for: Command and Control, Tactical, Liaison with other agencies, Contingency for developing conditions that may result in mission activity and finally Training for teaching radio procedures.
U.S. Military Radio Nets – Are defined in U.S. Army Field Manual FM-6-02.53, and are not open to Amateur Radio or other civilian traffic.
Amateur Radio Nets –There are eleven different types and are defined by the International Amateur Radio Union (IARU) as follows:
- DX Net – used to exchange information on long-distance (DX) communications opportunities.
- Hurricane Watch Net –Operating since Labor Day Weekend, 1965 this net is run by Amateur Radio operators in support of the National Hurricane Center using the call sign WX4NHC on 325 MHz USB.
- Skywarn Net – Coordinates Amateur Radio weather spotters, exchange weather reports and ham radio responses to weather disasters – especially tornadoes.
- Club Net –A common practice among Amateur Radio Traffic Net-Handles formal written messages (Radiograms). This function has been largely taken over by the advent of the Internet and phone texting.
- Resource Net- Used for incoming operators to receive assignments, reassigned if needed, locating equipment and operators with special skills. More than one Resource Net may be created if the traffic warrants.
- Logistics Net– A type of resource net specifically tasked with logistics needs separate from those of communications teams.
- Tactical Net – Handles the primary on-site communication.
- Information Net –Used to disseminate official bulletins, answer general questions.
- Health and Welfare (H&W) Net – Handles messages among those people impacted by or in the vicinity of a disaster with those living outside the disaster zone.
- clubs , where a portion of its membership meets on a defined frequency and schedule (often once a week) to conduct official business, share recent radio operating activity and equipment builds or purchases.
- Hospital Net –Conducts official communications for one or more County Departments of Public Health, to provide back-up and auxiliary communications during a time of crisis.