Local and Wide Area NETS
Nets — regularly scheduled on-the-air meetings of hams who have common interests — are among the oldest ham radio activities. Most of the area nets follow standard operating rules, it’s called a directed net. Nearly all directed nets have a similar basic structure. A net control station (NCS) initiates the net operations, maintains order, directs the net activities, and then terminates net operations in an orderly way. Scheduled nets not only follow the basic structure but also utilize 5- and 10-minute rules. As ham radio is a volunteer activity, we give the NCS a 5-miniute window for starting the net. After 5-minutes an alternate NCS should start the net. The FCC rules also requires that the NCS provide their personal call sign (not just say ‘net control’) every 10-minutes.
Just knowing when to speak is an important part of Ham Radio Etiquette.
Stations that want to participate in the net may check in at the direction of the NCS. When you check into most nets be sure to clearly state your callsign phonetically, your name, your location, and if you have any traffic or comments for the net. You can check in with business (such as an announcement) or traffic (messages) for the net in a couple of ways; listen to the net to find out which method is appropriate. The most common method is to say something like “W4BSF with one item for the net.” The NCS acknowledges your item, and you wait for further instructions. Once you have passed the ‘traffic’ give your call sign and say something like “back to net” signifying you message is complete. There is no requirements to sign out of the net once it concludes but others may hang around afterwards for some informal conversations (QSOs).