By Dave – W6OAL
The objective of the RMVHF+ Net (other than outlined in the preamble of the net control stations call up sheet) is to have fun, obtain information about local current events, meet others of similar interests as brought out in the comments from checked in stations to the net and just maybe hear and work some of the stations that reside outside of our local area or even outside the State of Colorado.
In order to accomplish this certain amount of discipline should be maintained during the net. We are not primarily not a “traffic net” but a “service net” and therefore not a stickler for “letter of the law” procedures. However it is still a good idea to be familiar with and use the proper pro-words and pro-signs in order to accomplish efficient communications. Furthermore it is just good training in case you are ever in an emergency situation and called upon to be of assistance communications-wise. It sure makes us look a lot better and more acceptable when dealing with “professionals”. Our six net control stations are veterans of other nets over the years (several military and/or professional) and when they are conducting a net they expect to hear certain words common to communications in order to better perform their duties.
One of the most important pro-words in communications is the word “OVER”. It lets the other station know that you have stopped talking and have switched to a receive condition. So many times when running the Monday evening net I will be talking to some one and then they just go silent. At that point I don’t know whether their antenna fell off, they blew a fuse or simply fell over dead! Not only does it affect our communications efficiency but it is a courtesy to the net control to let them know your intent. When you say “OVER” your intent is to listen as you have gone to a receiving condition.
The pro-word “BREAK” is a very powerful pro-word and used to immediately get the attention of the net control station. It should only be said once, if it is said twice in quick succession as “BREAK-BREAK” it means “I have an emergency!” All stations stand-by and let the net control handle the situation; no one else transmits, only at the request of the net control station.
Another very important pro-word in communications is “RELAY”. Our net procedure has the net control looking north a little past the hour, east at a quarter after, south at half past the hour and west at a quarter till the next hour. Stations in the direction and at the time of the net control’s call should respond. There are times when, for whatever reason a station to the west might have emergency or priority traffic and call into the net out of the compass sequence. All the net control stations use highly directive antenna arrays besides Omni’s for local check-ins and may not hear the station checking in. Someone hearing that station and realizing that the net control station did not, should use the pro-word “BREAK”, and then when acknowledged by net control, use the word “RELAY” and then inform the net control station that he is being called by someone giving the other station’s call sign. Simply announcing your call sign to get net controls attention will generally not happen, especially if he is busy checking in stations from the direction in where his antenna array is pointed.
One of the simplest words to use in communications is, “ROGER”. It means I have heard you and I understand. So often I hear a communication (if I can call it that) that every other word is “QSL”! A QSL is an official document acknowledging receipt of a contact, as a QSL card, used to confirm a contact between two stations. IT IS NOT A PRO-WORD! The “Q” signals were devised to be used in CW operation only and have no business being used in voice communications. However a few have been traditionally folded into common practice usage.
The word “CHECK” can be used by an out of order station checking into the net. By “out of order” I mean out of the sequence of stations initially called on alphabetically to check into the net; A-F, G-L, M-R, S-Z. On occasion a station that has checked into the net will have to leave for whatever reason and the word “CHECK” could be used then to let the net control station know that he/she will be leaving the net. Upon returning to the net the pro-word “RECHECK” is proper to inform net control that you are back on the net. Along these lines, once stations have checked into a net it is expected that they will remain on frequency until the close of the net. If one has to leave inform net control using the word “BREAK” to get net controls attention and then announce “CHECKING OUT”.
I used to find it so rude when operating as net control station on the Maryland (state) Emergency Phone Net to have acknowledged check-ins, accept a piece of traffic for a location that I know was in the area of one of the check-ins, call that station to pick up the traffic and find he/she has wandered off in the weed somewhere, checked out without a word to net control. There I‘d be hanging with a piece of traffic I’d accepted for delivery and no one to take it.
Now, I don’t think it would be stressing anyone out to learn these words, be familiar with them and their meaning, when to use them and then use them – simply in an effort to facilitate a little bit of efficiency and professionalism and allow the net to run a bit more smoothly, Thank you!