Procedures for those Checking In
Checking into South-Cars, as well as ANY net, is made easier if you make yourself familiar with net procedures. This involves reading and familiarizing yourself with net procedures and ABOVE all, LISTENING. Much can be learned by listening and paying attention to what the Net Control Operator is saying. This will aid the net in running more smoothly AND eliminates the possibility of embarrassment. Do Not call check-in when the NCS is running a list. Stand-by until he or she runs another list and follow their directions. If you cannot hear the NCS, standby until the band changes so you can hear him or her. The net runs from 8AM till 1PM, so there is a 5 hour window for one to check-in.
Below is a listing of terms, and their meanings, that you will hear used on almost ALL nets, including South-Cars.
Mobiles: When you hear Net Control stand-by for Mobiles and Mobiles Only- This means that he, or she, is wanting only those stations who are operating from their vehicles to check in. For South-Cars purpose, a mobile is a vehicle (car, truck, van, motor home, bicycle, motorcycle etc.) that has a transmitter and an antenna mechanically attached to the vehicle. Parked and attached to an external antenna hanging in a tree or on a pole etc. is not mobile operation. Also, if using a cell phone, note pad, laptop computer or any other device that connects you to a base station (yours or someone else) this is not mobile operation, even if you are in a vehicle or out walking around at some other location.
We give priority to mobiles by calling for them on their own list. When checking in as a mobile during the call for fixed/base/anyone, anywhere, you will be picked up in order of your check-in; unless you declare an emergency or a need for assistance; or if the NCS thinks the band is in such poor condition that he or she will not be able to hear you by the time they work the list to you. Then they can go ahead and pick you up first; it is the Net Control Station’s choice.
QRP and Portable: If one chooses to run QRP, you will be checked in during a call for Anyone, Anywhere, fixed/base and in the order as the NCS hears you; just remember, you are putting yourself in competition with stations running 100 or more watts. The NCS has the authorization to call a list of QRP's only, if he or she desires. The same applies to Portable Operations. However, Portable Operations is for those stations using a disadvantaged antenna i.e. out in the woods, National Park, or where a makeshift antenna is being used. It is not for those who are operating at an alternate base station location, i.e. your summer home or lake home, which is not your primary FCC record of residence. At such locations, one is not normally at a disadvantage.
Fixed or Base Stations: When you hear Net Control stand-by for Fixed or Base Stations. This means that he, or she, is looking for stations operating from a fixed, or permanent location to check in.
Anyone, Anywhere: When you hear Net Control stand-by, or take, "anyone, anywhere", that means fixed or base stations as well as mobile stations, QRP and portable stations may check in.
Contact: The term "CONTACT" is a "priority" term and should be used only when you KNOW that a particular station is on frequency at the PRESENT time. Just state "Contact" and net control will pick you up so that you can make CONTACT with the other station and move off frequency for a QSO. If it is just a sentence, or two to pass on, then it is OK to take care of on frequency. If you hear another station, recognized by the Net Control, call for you, just reply "contact". The important thing is to keep it short and sweet as there are other stations out there waiting their turn.
Recheck: The term "RECHECK" is another priority term. If, after moving off to another frequency with another station you encounter difficulties in making your contact then come back to the net and wait for whoever is talking on frequency to stop. At this time just state "recheck". Net control will then pick you up for another try at getting you and the other station together. Recheck is also used when you leave the station area, or the frequency for a length of time and you want to let net control know you are back.
Come now with your suffix only, one time only slowly and phonetically: Net Control will usually indicate, when asking for check-ins that you should "come now with your suffix only, one time only, slowly and phonetically". The suffix in your call is "the letter, or letters that follow the number. In other words, if your call is WZ5ABC then your suffix is "ABC", or phonetically, Alpha, Bravo, Charlie. Do not give your whole call when the suffix is being asked for by Net Control.
If, during the check-in process, net control asks for your prefix and JUST your prefix, then he, or she, is looking for the letter, or letters as well as the number in your call that precedes your suffix.
The only exception to the above should be those stations who have only one letter after the number. It is best, then, to give the number and letter as the suffix.
Keep in mind that the net control operator has to listen for many stations trying to check in at the same time. The less confusing it is, the more smoothly the net will run and the more everyone will enjoy it! Therefore, it is REALLY important to give your suffix only ONCE during a request for check-ins. If you say it 2 or more times, then the NCS may list you more than once and this leads to confusion and a loss of precious net time. Also, he may only get pieces of it each time and waste time calling for erroneous stations.
Phonetics: Are important in just about all amateur radio endeavors. It really behooves each radio amateur to familiarize himself, or herself, with the International Phonetics, to commit them to memory and to use them. (See phonetic listing at the end of this document.) Most "cutesy" phonetics will result in more confusion with the net control station. NOT using phonetics at all will also usually lead to confusion. Some stations have clever, or cutesy, phonetics that work, particularly when they are regularly known to the net control station, however, you won't go wrong with the proper use of the international phonetic alphabet.
Reading back the check-in list: Following the net control station's request for check-ins, he, or she, should always read back the list of suffixes that was copied. This way you know just how long the list is, and whether or not you were heard, thus you can be prepared when your turn comes or if you have something else to do for the next several minutes you know you can go do it! If net control fails to read back the list after taking it, mention it to him, or her, when you are called to come on board!
What to do when your turn comes: When net control comes to your "suffix" on the list, he will state your suffix and invite you to "come on board". You should then give your complete call, your name, your location and any SHORT comments pertaining to your local weather conditions. Since there are probably many other stations waiting to check in we ask that both Net Control Stations as well as each general check-in keep the contact as short as possible. Long orations should be made by moving off to another frequency with the desired stations. When you turn it back to Net Control, again, state your FULL, COMPLETE CALL. You are required to identify at the end of your transmission.
What does it mean when Net Control asks for the following stations to identify?
Often, Net Control will take a list, that is long enough that more than ten minutes may pass before everyone on the list has been called upon to check in. Remember --- you were asked to check in using your SUFFIX only. There is nothing wrong with that except you have made a transmission that did not include your full, complete, legal call. You are not required to give that full identification for ten minutes following that check-in transmission. Net Control Stations want to help you stay legal. Therefore, when Net Control sees that the 10 minute time limit, since the taking of the list, is approaching he should ask for those stations remaining on the current list to identify. He should then indicate as follows: "At this time I would like the following stations to identify with their complete call". He will then read the suffixes of those stations. He may ask you to identify singularly or all of the remaining stations at once. This is not an invitation to go ahead with your check-in such as name, location, weather etc. All he wants is for you to identify. You will subsequently be called upon, in turn for your complete check-in.
What do I do about malicious, intentional interference and other stations tuning up on the net frequency?
This hair raising question can be satisfactorily answered in two words - ignore it!! Just remember, it is probably being monitored and, eventually, they will be apprehended. Today, the FCC enforcement bureau is really functioning and these culprits are being caught.
INTERNATIONAL PHONETIC ALPHABET
A = Alpha
B = Bravo
C = Charlie
D = Delta
E = Echo
F = Foxtrot
G = Golf
H = Hotel
I = India
J = Juliet
K = Kilo
L = Lima (pronounced Leema)
M = Mike
N = November
O = Oscar
P = Papa
Q = Quebec
R = Romeo
S = Sierra
T = Tango
U = Uniform
V = Victor
W = Whiskey
X = X-Ray
Y = Yankee
Z = Zulu
by Ron Haltermon
Edited by Dave - KF4RO