By: Richard Hall (K7RLH)
For Amateur Radio Operators and Net Controllers (NC), there are some protocols that should be followed to ensure proper and efficient use of the repeater system and allow all who desire to check-in to do so.
- Net controllers often open the scheduled net with announcements, such as type of net (formal or informal, etc.) and a request for any Emergency or Priority traffic.
- Following the opening comments, the Net Controller may then describe how check-ins will be accomplished, e.g., by call sign prefix. The NC will then call for check-ins and, after a suitable period, he/she should then acknowledge those received and ask for any additions or corrections to call signs. If the check-ins are taken in segments, e.g., prefixes A to J, then NC should follow the above recommendation and acknowledge those received in each segment. Once this has been accomplished the NC may then call upon each sign-in for comments. Those who checked in as ‘In/Out’ should be acknowledged but not called upon further as it is assumed they had nothing to comment upon.
- Amateur Radio Operators choosing to check in should address NC with his/her call sign followed immediately by the operator’s call sign. There is no need to ‘unkey’ between calling the NC and identifying yourself. If you were calling CQ on simplex or a repeater you would typically not unkey when trying to reach another station. Too many times when this occurs, there not only is wasted time, there is the opportunity for doubling. However, one caveat-on DMR it’s best to actually wait 10-15 seconds before responding because you are using the Internet for your transmission.
- Sometimes an operator may wish to ask a question or add something to another operator’s dialogue; to do so, simply say ‘Comment’ and NC should acknowledge that operator for follow-up remarks.
- When it’s time to close the net, the NC will thank the repeater operator for use of the system and ask for a ‘final’ round of check-ins. By doing so, this allows operators who didn’t happen to be on the air during the formal check-in period to have their say and be recognized as a participant in the net.
- Most importantly, both NCs and operators should be courteous and respectful; remember, there is no profanity allowed as well as no political or religious discussions. Every properly licensed individual has a right to participate in net discussions, and, by following these guidelines, nets should run efficiently.
- Some of these suggestions work well when contacting hams on HF as well. If you find a frequency where folks are talking, be courteous and wait for a break in the conversation before throwing out your call sign. This is true particularly if you can hear both sides of the conversation, otherwise you may have to anticipate when a break has occurred.
- Have a good time and enjoy your radio license privileges.