Hello and welcome back to Everything Hamradio! Thanks for visiting me today. Our topic today is nets. What are nets, you ask? Well a net is defined as anytime a group of two or more people get together to talk about a certain topic. That topic can range from storm spotting, to buy/sell/trade, to training to just a group of friends getting together to talk about chess.
Types of Nets
First off, let’s talk about the different types of nets that there are. There are two types of nets, formal and informal. Formal nets are when you have a person that is in control of the net and everything goes through that person. A good example of this type of net is a storm spotting, or Skywarn, net. One person acts as net control and any reports go through that person. Its his/her job to keep the net running smoothly, to make sure that traffic gets pasted in a timely manner and that everyone isn’t trying to talk at the same time. Imagine, if you will, that 10 people get together and are storm spotting and the net isn’t run as a formal net. There wouldn’t be anyone to give your reports to, their wouldn’t be any reporting criteria, and everyone would just be throwing information out with no one keeping track of it. Sounds kind of hectic huh?
The other type of net, informal, is pretty much just the opposite. There is still a net control in place in case something happens and you need to get a little more structured with a formal net, but people can talk to whoever they want to directly without asking permission to do so. Sometimes during storm spotting an informal net will be brought up before a storm comes in to get people in place and to just be ready for the storm. Another use of an informal net is an event. Lets say that your club/group of hams is helping out with traffic control at an event. Person A needs to tell person B that they have a car coming. In a formal net person a would have to call net control and ask to talk to person B before they could talk. By then the car might already be at person B’s location and ran him over because he wasn’t paying attention. With an informal net, person A can call person B directly and tell him right away that there is a car coming.
What are nets used for?
There are many things that nets are used for, both formal and informal. A hamradio club might, and normally does, hold weekly training nets. These nets are used to teach new hams and to keep old hams in practice so that they know what to do in the event of an emergency net. They could also be used to give announcements, buy/sell/trade equipment, bible studies, etc. You name it, there is probably a net for it. Another use for nets are for traffic handling. There is a system in place in amateur radio called the National Traffic System, or NTS for short. This system is used to pass traffic from one location to another location anywhere in the world. It is used by missionaries who are in a location where their only form of communications is ham radio, to storm victims that don’t have access to phone communications. These messages are normally short n in nature, like 25 words or less.we will talk more about NTS in a later blog post so please check back later.
One thing that I will say and I hope that you will take away from this post if you take nothing else away. As a net control operator for my local club I know first hand that the responsibility of being net control is very stressful. They have a lot of stuff that they do behind the scenes and in emergency situations they are probably listening to multiple radios. So if you are on a net, be mindful of how you talk. Make sure that you are speaking slowly and clearly, think about what you are going to say before you key up and be short, sweet and to the point when you do key up. There are other people on the net too and even though you may have “clearing skys to the west and no rain” someone across the county from you may have a tornado on the ground and need to report it. If you are rambling in about you clear skys they cant talk until you are done. Most importantly remember that we are all human, we make mistakes and hopefully we learn from them
I guess that is the gist of what a net is. If you have any questions, please feel free to comment below and ill answer them. Also please like/bookmark this blog and share it with your friends. I hope that you have liked my postings so far and will continue to come back. With that, I bid you farewell…
73 de K5CLM