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Author Topic: What are nets and what are they good for?  (Read 5696 times)

gil

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What are nets and what are they good for?
« on: October 06, 2012, 09:04:18 PM »
Hello,

I thought this would be a good topic for beginners. I am not so sure myself about nets... Tonight i have the VHF rig on, and heard a regional net. Stations were signing-in, basically giving their call signs one by one and a "good evening." And that's it! The net closed, end of story. What is it good for, and how is the information gathered used? There has to be something else than just a roll call? How does this relate to emergency management? Why would anyone sign-in other than testing their radio?

I understand it is part of the NTS (National Traffic System), but they don't practice passing traffic.. Actually, I've never heard it happen. They even ask if there are any emergencies. Now, I would understand that on a maritime net on HF, but local VHF? They will NEVER have an emergency, so why ask? People grab the phone and call 911, not the Ham radio..

I haven't yet had a phone QSO, ever. I'm not sure I want or need to. So, it there any advantage of checking in a local VHF net?

Gil.
« Last Edit: October 06, 2012, 09:09:50 PM by gil »

underhill

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Re: What are nets and what are they good for?
« Reply #1 on: October 07, 2012, 06:32:05 PM »
My wife works retail and on saturday nights usually has me drop her off for her shift, which is usually an evening shift that gets off at midnight. While waiting, I usually check into a trivia net (called Insomniac net) on a linked repeater/irlp system, the Winsystem, to pass the time.  Mildly entertaining at times, and a way to verify the gear is working and I am familiar with it.

About a month ago, there was an emergency break call during the net, which immediately was taken, and essentially folded the net that night to handle the emergency.

The break was from the baldy ski hut host in the local mountains, which is run year round by the sierra club, and is located up a ways in the mountains 9000 ft in a designated wilderness area. It's rugged up there, and there was no cellular or phone access of course, but the hut 'host', who happened to be a ham, was able to raise the local repeater that the net was on with a handheld.  A missing hiker who was way overdue was the emergency, and local search and rescue was contacted, via ham radio.  Weak  battery, low signal, still trumped cell phones/ 911 service that night, for that emergency.  The angeles crest mountains are a rugged mountain range, people do get lost , and sometimes even die of exposure, or just stupid mistakes will take them out.

There really are areas, even in the overpopulated media congested region of so cal, that cell phones just don't work and ham radio is the only way to get help.  And that's when things are 'normal'.  This kind of thing happens fairly often in my experience.  Cell phones just don't work where I prefer to be, but I've always been able to find a signal on the ham band if needed. 

Just my experience, ymmv.

Underhill
« Last Edit: October 07, 2012, 08:17:28 PM by underhill »

KC9TNH

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Re: What are nets and what are they good for?
« Reply #2 on: October 07, 2012, 10:15:11 PM »
Hello,

I thought this would be a good topic for beginners. I am not so sure myself about nets... Tonight i have the VHF rig on, and heard a regional net. Stations were signing-in, basically giving their call signs one by one and a "good evening." And that's it! The net closed, end of story. What is it good for, and how is the information gathered used? There has to be something else than just a roll call? How does this relate to emergency management? Why would anyone sign-in other than testing their radio?
Perhaps not the reason for what you heard above, but what would a net of core folks you trust (on CB, VHF, SSB, CW) look like? A roll-call net takes very little time, low-impact, but may accomplish the intent, known only to the members. Everyone doin' OK? Anyone swept away by the flood or swept up by the "authorities?" Is that core group important enough that they could take a few moments regularly (and that's all it would take) and, if they didn't show, would someone be willing to find out why?

I understand it is part of the NTS (National Traffic System), but they don't practice passing traffic.. Actually, I've never heard it happen. They even ask if there are any emergencies. Now, I would understand that on a maritime net on HF, but local VHF? They will NEVER have an emergency, so why ask? People grab the phone and call 911, not the Ham radio..
Unfortunately not all nets practice traffic handling. However, you may want to know that it is standard practice for any net that meets the spirit & guidelines of the regs, who makes itself available also to general check-ins (as it should) to call FIRST to ask if there is any emergency medical or priority traffic on frequency. It is quite common; standard net practice. Not sure I see how one can assume someone would never have an emergency & use their radio; unless it was a rhetorical question - this is the radiopreppers.com forum.

I haven't yet had a phone QSO, ever. I'm not sure I want or need to. So, it there any advantage of checking in a local VHF net?
Modes are tools in the kit. I assure you that basic commonly-used voice capability is going to be used because more people speak a native tongue than speak Morse.

In the specific case of the net you were listening, sounds like one that is just keeping the net going as a tradition and not worth your time. That said, don't judge nets by one VHF net.

Awhile back I couldn't see myself even exploring any digital modes and remembered back when I was first told, "never say never."
« Last Edit: October 08, 2012, 08:10:36 AM by KC9TNH »

gil

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Re: What are nets and what are they good for?
« Reply #3 on: October 07, 2012, 10:31:38 PM »
Good points, thank you..

Gil.

Paul

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Re: What are nets and what are they good for?
« Reply #4 on: October 08, 2012, 12:31:47 AM »
A 'net', short for 'network', is a collection of people/stations that gather for some particular purpose.  That purpose can range from social to whatever you can think of.  ("Esteamed Hams', a group of steam RR enthusiasts, they build their own steam engines/RRs.)  You name it, you can probably find a 'net' about it, probably.  All nets don't last forever, depends on interests.
In ham radio there are quite a few 'WAS', and 'DX' nets, for instance.  Some issue awards, some help in getting awards, some just offer a 'place' to work for awards.  Nets can be 'mode' oriented, AM, FM, CW, SSTV, you name it.  And then there are the public service nets that handle traffic, emergencies, etc.
What does it take to start a net?  At least two people who are interested in the same thing.  Find a clear frequency, and then 'call' the net.  They can be as 'formal' as you want, or don't want.  It's up to the net control and the participants.
Nothing 'wrong' with nets.  They also are not mandatory.
 - Paul
 

KC9TNH

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Re: What are nets and what are they good for?
« Reply #5 on: October 08, 2012, 08:13:22 AM »
Good points, thank you..

Gil.
BTW, short hijack. Right before hittin' the sack last night heard you on 40m, 'bout 0115Z or so.
Was gettin' ready to key up but you had some bites to your call; bit later band shifted around and you were stronger. Went from a 339 to a 469 in about 10 minutes. Atmospherics are funny critters; not bad for 1200+ miles. :)
[/hijack]

RadioRay

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Re: What are nets and what are they good for?
« Reply #6 on: October 08, 2012, 09:51:49 AM »
Nets:   Social Nets are good, regional 'Let's Talk' kind of radio-watering holes and can be very enjoyable and useful.  On the surface, it's just a bunch of old guys (not like ME, ofcourse...;)  on the radio.  However, here's an example:

When I lived in the rugged mountains of Idaho, my group of friends and I used the 'Noontime Net' from California on 40 meters as our dailiy contact point.  Remember, we lived in exceptionally rough terrain and VHF repeaters - while good- simply could not cover it, so we all used HF - even mobile.  The Noontime Net served as our 'who's still alive' bulletin board, or 'Mike said to meet him now on 60 meters.  You're too close on forty.'.  would be a common relayed message between us.  Also, when things WOULD go 'BANG!, this net was probably the best place to hear - first hand- what is actually happening in the region.  The news media will put a happy face on real disaster, but  hams are often seeing it first hand. So, information and relays - two good uses for nets. 

Second: The Maritime Mobile Service Network (14300USB) is my #1 place to go to in a large emergency.  They handle real emergency traffic often enough that it's done well.  They cover half the globe, yet keep it light and VERY friendly.  IT's main purpose is to support mariner's and deployed service personnel, but they are open for everybody - really. I have used them for emergency traffic and to hail the Coast Guard for an emergency in the Caribbean , where a large, foreign fishing boat without the expensive GMDSS (digital emergency) equipment could not raise any help.  I relayed from him on marine HF through MMSN who called Coast Guard on the phone and we eventually got help to the fellow.  Once informed, those Coasties moved FAST!  A Helo was on scene just after dark (night vision/FLIR) & cutter Matompkin making 26 knots to the scene: wow! That net for relays and to lend a hand - priceless.

Then there was that time in Borneo....... Ahhhhh-yessss .........    ::)



>de RadioRay ..._ ._


Ps. There are those nets who WASTE time with an actual roll call...
AA1AA..........AA1AA...... NOPE
AA1AB..........AA1AB.......NOPE
...    ZZZZzz!
« Last Edit: October 08, 2012, 06:52:00 PM by RadioRay »
"When we cannot do the good we would, we must be ready to do the good we can."  ~ Matthew Henry

KC9TNH

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Re: What are nets and what are they good for?
« Reply #7 on: October 08, 2012, 05:59:04 PM »
Second: The Maritime Mobile Service Network (14300USB) is my #1 place to go to in a large emergency.  They handle real emergency traffic often enough that it's done well.
Outstanding summation. Regardless of how well established, those in/on a net don't "own" the airspace. They let it lapse and there's no reason someone else can't use the frequency. But of all the nets, even among those on 14300, the MMSN has set such a standard of excellence that all 3 int'l radio union regions have declared them a "Global Center of Emergency Activity" - no small testament to their expertise. There are some damned good NCSs to be found there (alot of whom have literally lived on a boat at one point in their lives.)

Now if only the contest-sanctioning bodies would disallow any contacts made within 5kHz of that center frequency...
Then there was that time in Borneo....... Ahhhhh-yessss .........    ::)

>de RadioRay ..._ ._
What happens TDY stays TDY... ? 8)

Radio Preppers

Re: What are nets and what are they good for?
« Reply #7 on: October 08, 2012, 05:59:04 PM »