Hello everybody and welcome back to my blog. Last post we started talking about Event Training Standards. First off, I would like to say that what I write about in this series is in no way a mandatory thing that every ham must follow. What I’m writing about is more of a personal set of guidelines that I have learned over my 15 years as a ham and referencing from the ARRL Emergency Communications Handbook. Please take my suggestions as you see fit, if you think they are good, please use them, if not, or you have or do something better, please continue to use that method and better yet, share it in the comments maybe so that others may use it.
One of my first posts, covered the basics of nets, click here to read it. This time we are going to go into a little more detail about some of the components of a emergency net.
Net Control Station
The first part of a net that we will talk about is the Net Control Stations(NCS). The NCS is the person that is in control of the flow of the net. Think of this person as a music conductor or a traffic cop. The job is to make sure that the net operates smoothly, keeping track of where everyone is and making that sure messages get to where they need to go. The NCS can be located anywhere as long as they can hear and be heard by most everyone on the net. Some groups put their NCS at the Emergency Operations Center(EOC) or the Command Post, others intentionally have them at another location to keep them away from the noise and confusion.
It is good practice to always set up a backup NCS. This can either be at the same location of the primary NCS or at another location. Both locations have their pros and cons. If the backup is at the same location as the help the primary out with bathroom breaks, help with logging or just be there for moral support. Having the backup at a different location is arguably the better option because if something happens to the power or radios at the primary location, there is another totally separate station “waiting in the wings” to take over. The drawback to having a backup NCS at a different location is you loose that person out in the field. So, personally, I say do both…in a way. Have someone at the primary location that can help the NCS there to do things but also have someone setup already at another location that can jump in in case something happens at the primary location.
Tactical Call sign
Tactical call signs are a very good practice to use during an event net. They help anyone on the net know how to call a certain station without knowing their call sign. For example, let’s say that you wanting to talk to whatever station is currently manning the red cross shelter but you know that Joe who was there 2 hours ago when you called is currently helping you at the distribution center. So what do you do? Do you call net control, ask them who is at the station and then ask permission to contact them directly? You could, but that would take extra time that someone else could be using the frequency. Instead, if tactical call signs are used you could just say, your callsign, priority traffic for Shelter 1. This tells the NCS everything they need to know to grant you permission to talk to the operator at the shelter and that you need to do is ASAP. If there isn’t any emergency traffic at the time, the NCS could tell you to go ahead and if the operator at the shelter is listening like they are suppose to they could answer right away and you could proceed with your traffic.Â Tactical callsigns can be anything, but they should be something that identifies the location or function of the station.
If during a net that you are either operating or participating in suddenly experiences interference, there is a couple things that you should do. First off you need to determine if it is intentional or unintentional. If what you hear is not clear sounding like everyone else on the channel, it is possible that someone is talking a couple hertz above or below the channel you are working on. Most of the time, if you tune to the frequency that the interference is coming from and tell them that there is a net operating on a close by frequency , the people that are causing the “interference” will most likely move to another frequency.
If, on the other hand, you have someone that is intentionally causing interference on the frequency you are using the best thing to do is to not even acknowledge the interference. Announce on the net that the net will be moving to an alternate frequency and sign off. DO NOT announce the frequency that the net will be moving to on the air because then all the person will do is move with you. This should be set up in advanced. If the intentional interference continues the next step would be to contact an elected League official or an official observer station and ask that the FCC be notified about the interference. They might even be able to track the person.
Well guys and gals, I guess that is all for this post. I hope that you enjoyed it and please dont forget to share and like my video. Please follow my facebook page and/or follow me on twitter. The links to both my pages are that top left of you sceen.
Again thanks for reading my blog and I hope there are many other post that I put up. For now now, I guess its time to off!
73 de Curtis, KC5LM
Creator and Owner of Everything Ham Radio
Owner of 2xC Products at 2xcproducts.com