(an archived page, this may contain outdated or
Emergency NET procedures.
little training / improvement ...
speaker . . .
Doug Hilton -WD0UG .
is currently the SKYWARN coordinator for WX4HUN - the NWS forecast
office in Huntsville, AL.
District 6 Emergency Coordinator
editorial on Emergency Net procedures,
article submitted to the Huntsville Amateur Radio Club, by WD0UG.
originally in the HARC-VOX
newsletter for April 2008 pages 1 &3)
Doug regularly contributed ARES
District 6 articles
for the HARC-VOX newsletters
Doug has graciously allowed SomeNet to re-publish this article.
is part < 1
> of a special series)
do a little training this month. I have heard from several hams in the
District asking about correct net procedures. I’m glad when I hear
questions about ham-related activities that question current practices,
because then we get a chance to develop more professional approaches.
I’m constantly reminded that “true learning begins with dissatisfaction
with oneself.” This month’s article is inspired by Steve Conklin,
AI4QR, and several others who want to make all of us more professional
on the air. Steve is a first-class ham, and a first-class guy. The fact
that he dares to question “status quo” shows how much he cares about
us, and the Amateur radio community.
In a recent
email to me, Steve said: "In
some nets, stations checking in will say "this is", un-key,
and then send their call sign. Some feel that this practice helps
prevent 'doubles', but informal studies have shown that it actually
wastes valuable time. Instead, the NCS should read back the calls he
has received, and then ask if he has missed anyone. This method can cut
the time required for check-ins by half when compared with the "this is" method. If local operators
are in this habit, consider prohibiting it in the net’s opening script."
of all, Steve recognizes an important underlying aspect of our practice
nets: they are a
simulation of a real emergency, and therefore must be run accordingly.
It is important to cut check-in time, because a PRIORITY message may be
waiting to be passed while the net control station (NCS) checking in 10
or 20 stations. You can understand why it is more important to get
PRIORITY messages vs. get more accurate check-ins. I hear nets all the
time, where the NCS tries 5 or 6 times to get someone’s name right, or
his location right. We
just Can’t Waste Time Doing That!
is no excuse for the NCS not getting the operator’s call sign right the
first time, because minimum, basic net procedure requires that the
operator check-in using the standard ITU phonetic alphabet — but I hear
operators using non-standard phonetics all the time, and each time, I
cringe, because it shows that we have not achieved an adequate level of
professionalism. What do I mean — am I criticizing you who use
“Kilowatt” instead of “KILO” when signing in? When you are talking to
your friends in an informal circumstance, I really don’t care how you
identify yourself. But in an emergency net, including practice nets,
you should Always Use The Proper ITU Phonetic Alphabet. I have read the
correct pronunciations on the air several times in the last couple of
years, and if you need a refresher, it’s easy to find on the web. Last
week, one old-timer signed into an active weather net, and I thought
that he was using his CB call sign, since none of the letters or
numbers were recognizable! If your call sign sounds like “KILOWATT FOUR
DARN COLD BEER”, please don’t check into any net that I’m running,
because as NCS, I simply will not acknowledge you, and I will not waste
time trying to train you on-the-spot.
that I hear is operators that use the phrase “ROGER-ROGER”, when they
mean “AFFIRMATIVE”. Correct use of procedural words (proword) is/are
essential during an emergency net. The proword “ROGER” indicates to the
listening station that you have received their last transmission
satisfactorily. Note this does not mean you agree with the transmission
or that you will comply with any instructions it contained.
Additionally, since it only signifies understanding, the proword
“ROGER” is not used as an action word. For example, it is inappropriate
to say “I ROGER INTO THE NET WD0UG...” or “I ROGER YOUR TRANSMISSION”,
where “ROGER” spoken alone will suffice. The proword “AFFIRMATIVE”
simply means, “yes” or approval of a request. There simply is no
proword “ROGER-ROGER.” A good summary of prowords can be found here: http://www.txarmymars.org/trng5a.pdf
As of now, in District 6 we are going to adopt
When the NCS calls for check-ins, All stations should check in. Pick an
appropriate delay time from the last station, and then proceed.
- 2. Stations shall
check in using proper ITU Phonetic alphabet and numerals.
Stations shall say “THIS IS”, followed by their call sign, name and
location, and traffic report (“NO TRAFFIC”, or “1 ROUTINE MESSAGE”,
- 4. The NCS will read
back the calls s/he has received, and then ask if s/he as missed anyone.
- 5. It is the
responsibility of the NCS to maintain net discipline, and s/he has the
absolute right to get things right.
make the NCS suffer with your inability to conform to well-known
standards— it’s not fair to the net, and is disrespectful of our served
agencies, who are counting on us to provide reliable EMCOMM. If you are
an NCS and you can’t get somebody signed in correctly, instantly, Move
On—it is not an insult to the ham, or the net, it’s what’s going to
happen when poor propagation, and terrible circumstances prevail.
picking on you, or just encouraging you to become more professional —
In our Amateur radio community, I am constantly amazed at the number of
hams who get intensely upset whenever they are corrected in any way.
Some folks tend to go sulk for a few weeks, months or years. If that’s
how you feel, OK — I’ll miss you: but not much and not for long. Listen up:
as Professional-grade Holistic Emergency Communicators, it is our job
to do our absolute best for our served agencies— it is our commitment,
it is our duty, it is our privilege. Small things, like the correct use
of prowords, proper use of the ITU phonetic alphabet, and running every
net like a real emergency is taking place, will make our jobs a lot
easier “when the ball drops.” Let
me state the role of Amateur radio in EMCOMM: ACCURATE, TIMELY, RELIABLE
When we have dozens or hundreds of emergency messages to pass, under
the worst-possible conditions, you will be able to accomplish the task
only if every team member is trained, and ready.
Steve, and the other hams who have the courage to question! We have a
really great “core” group in District 6, and I think that this change
will make a better experience for everyone.
would like to discuss ARES, RACES, EMCOMM, WinLink, Army MARS, or any
District 6 issues, I want to hear from you.
Hilton, WD0UG / AAV4YP
SKYWARN Coordinator, WX4HUN
AL / Southern-middle TN
organizations are consolidating some of the overhead associated with
registration and training of the membership. Join us on the 2nd
Thursday evening of each month for a good meeting at the HMC EMA EOC
(and learn more about this).
Remember, the severe weather
season is available year-round.
|Additional discoveries, rants and
and experiments :|
+ Be sure to check www.somenet.net
for interesting articles inbetween updates to this page.
= Narrow Band Emergency Messaging System - check it out (new Yahoo
Propagation Map = using APRS beacons to visualize current
+ APRS.FI = another view of
the APRS-IS database, from Finland.
= My weather instruments are still active and logging.
I'm not yet satisfied with the radiation shield I made for the external
Previous pages from the archives
+ 2008 . . .
+ 2007 . . .
+ 2006 . . .
2005 . . .
organizations, projects and web sites
that I continue to support and
promote : |