ETH012 – Nets


In this episode we talk about Nets

Kinds of Nets

  • Formal or Direct Net – This type of net is used in any large disaster or event, typically used in public service events like Parades, Races, Walk-a-thons, etc. This type of net is controlled by normally one person, the net control. Anyone that is participating in the net must ask permission before they talk on the net.
  • Informal or Indirect Net – This type of net is used as a standby type net. A lot of times this type of net is used as an early Skywarn net. the bad weather hasn’t made it to your county yet but you still want spotters to be aware of whats going on, and maybe even moving towards where they normally spot from. This type of net has a net control, but you don’t have to ask permission to talk to someone. They are there in case the net needs to change gears into a formal net and still keep some kind of log as to whats going on.

There are nets on pretty much any frequency or band. The major difference between HF and VHF/UHF nets are that HF nets are more wide spread. You might have people from around the world checking into the net. Another thing about HF nets is that with HF sometimes, you can hear the net but the net control might not be able to hear you. In this instance you would have to go through someone else to relay your traffic to net control. Maybe there is a back up net control that can hear you but the main one can’t so you can talk to the back up to pass your traffic.

Types of Nets

  • Ragcheck nets – These can be both formal and informal nets. It is basically a group of people getting together sharing information whether it is a club information net, a swap net or other things like that.
  • Skywarn Net – This net is used during stormy weather. Often times a Skywarn net uses both a formal and informal net. It may start out as an informal net, trying to get everyone in place or aware of whats going one. Then turn into a formal net when the weather gets to your county. Then back to an informal net as your do your damage assessment afterwards.
  • ARES nets – In ARES, you use nets normally in the aftermath of a disaster or major event. This type of net can also be used during Public Service Events.
  • RACES Nets – In RACES, you generally work DURING an actual event or emergency. you work under the Emergency Management Office or FEMA. A RACES net can and is normally activated by your local Emergency Manager. This type of net is normally a formal or directed net. You can also have sub nets of the main net for things like a Resource Net or a Command Net or other things like this. RACES works under the NIMS system.
  • Traffic Nets – This type of net is used a lot in conjunction with other nets like a Ragchew net or possibly even an ARES nets. This type of net is used to pass traffic from one person or entity to another. The system that is used in this type of net works under the National Traffic System. Check back in the future podcast episode for more information about the NTS.

Things You Should During a Net

  • Listen – While you are participating in a net, always pay attention to whats going on so that you don’t ask a question about something that has already been answers. Listen for announcements or other instructions that are given by net control on what they are looking for at the time.
  • Use Tactical Call Signs – Tactical Call Signs are things like Shelter 1, Hospital or EOC. Multiple operators may be working this location. So rather that the net control operator needing to remember exactly who is at the radio at those locations at any given minute, the net control can just call the location.

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Until net time…

73 de Curtis, K5CLM

*Music used with permission from

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