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Net Effectiveness

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I am going to be participating in a Ham net in support of a couple of charity bike races this weekend. As you know, I am a new operator and this will be my first Net that I participated in rather than just listened to. On Saturday, I will be working with an experienced Ham who has done these many times before. On Sunday, I will likely be on my own.


Any advice or tips?

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"Don't speak unless spoken to"

is a good net-mantra.


Net-Ops should poll the stations every so often to make sure that everyone is awake.


Obviously if you see a biker take a header you should call in.

If you need to leave your position, notify Net-Ops.

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I do several nets like this a year for various races. I'm sure you will pick up what you need

to know on that first day while stationed with the experienced operator, but here are a few ideas.


Your lead for the net should communicate to everyone an operations (ops) plan. This

plan should include frequencies to be used (and backup frequencies), what traffic is required from each station, times each station are expected to be open, etc. If you would like to see a sample of the plan we use just drop me a note.


I've done some races where each station just called in the first runner (male/female), and then when the last runner comes through. Other races we called in each runner (in batches) to net control. Of course any emergencies would be radioed in immediately. We've been fortunate to only have a very few emergencies on these events. Most traffic is of the form, "Can station 2 get more ice/water/Gatorade?". "Station 2 what time did runner 4 pass through?" etc.


I find public service to be one of the most rewarding aspects of Amateur Radio. I applaud you for getting involved so quickly after being licensed. If this is something you find you enjoy you might consider joining up with your local ARES group. Info about that can be found from your Section Emergency Coordinator, or Section Manager.


Section list is here: http://www.remote.arrl.org/sections/

Click on your section to get contact info for your Section Manager.



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Keep your comunications SHORT, to the POINT, and do NOT editorialize


Follow the net's lead - Is it a directed net? If so, calls go via net control


If they request the use of tactical call signs, you CLOSE your message with your regular call sign


for instance, let's say your at Mile Post 1, and your going to call in the lead male rider (MP1 for you NC for Net control)


MP1:"Net Control, Milepost 1"

NC:"Milepost 1"

MP1 "Lead Male Rider - Bib Number 2341 @ 3:15"

NC "Bib 2341 @ 3:14"

MP1: (Your Call Sign)

NC: (his call sign)


For other events (let's say shelters etc) - Pass your clients messages exactly has given to you - don't change them, comment on them, or argue with the client - just pass the traffic


73 de KC2IXE

Queens County EC

NYC District ARES

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I have been involved in communications for several charity events, bike and walking. I have been at set stations. I have also been "roving" in a van to watch for people that may need a ride back. It might be helpful for the control to have a laptop with a mapping program on the screen, such as Streets and Trips. The roving stations might want to bring a GPSr, which they can report a location and you can enter this on the map. (Of course you can get real fancy with APRS) Make sure the operators bring their own HTs with spare batteries, or set up base stations if needed.

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BRM, you're AWESOME for volunteering your time. Thanks, even tho I don't directly benefit from it.


A couple of things I can think of, more preparation than procedural. The events I've been part of have been mixed both Mobile and HT. This is primarily about HT.


If you can get a headset with boom mic for your radio, do. It helps to cut out extraneous noise. Go to your assigned station before the event and test at lowest power first, increase until you're copyable. If it's a simplex event, I'd show up earlier than they asked you to and be ready to do a radio check before things really get rolling - see how well you get into NC. If it's a repeater hosted event, check it the day before from your assigned location.


Turn OFF VOX - it only causes grief in an event. Crowds get noisy, setting the sensitivity is not always easy.


Bring extra batteries, recharge the Ni-Cads, bring alkalines if you have an adapter that can use them.


Know how to program your radio in a hurry. Whenever I get to the Command Post, wherever it may be, I get a schedule and list of frequencies and make sure they are programmed in. I keep the upper 5 memory locations free for this purpose. Showing up early may give you the chance to ask for help programming it too.


Some people bring a spare HT with them. Know who has a spare in case of problems. If you have a spare HT to bring, bring it. Someone may need to borrow it.


Bring Water. As my survival instructor friend says, "Itsa Gotta Have" - He's New Jersian.


Go to the bathroom before you check in to the Net.


Have fun, listen well. Put mind in motion before engaging mouth.


Todd - K7PKT

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Thanks for the advice and kudos. Did the event and was told that I did OK. The event director told me that the info telling them that the riders were near the finish line really helped in getting things organized at the end. That was me. Cool.

Edited by bigredmed
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