West Coast Slow Speed Traffic Training Net - Manager: Dave Robbins, K7WCN

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The Beginning of NSN
by Bob Klepper W7IEU
(undated)

On September 2, 1958, at exactly 2100 PST, this call was heard for the first time. NSN NSN NSN de W7IEU GE ALL PSE QNZ QNI QTC ? QND QNA - - - and NSN (Northwest Slow speed Net) was born.

NSN was started with one purpose in mind. To train amateur radio operators in the correct procedure of making up and handling of amateur radio messages. Thus trained, they should become proficient in handling traffic on CW. With this training, it would also make it easier to check into the higher speed nets.

NSN was originally patterned after WSN (Washington Section Net), which follows the same basic procedures as most CW nets. Wherever you may travel, you can participate in a traffic net because you would have the training of NSN.

2100 was chosen as the time because by then most of the other nets were closed. Any left over traffic could, in some cases, be handled by NSN. by this time, also, most of us who were going to work with the net were clear of nets and could devote as long a we liked to the operation of it. Most of the traffic on the last session of RN7 was traffic coming into one of the three northern states. At one time we received some of this traffic from the RN7 liaison station. This not only gave us practice, but, at the same time relieved the liaison station of a heavy traffic load the next day. Some of this traffic we took was delivered if it was destined for our town, or we relayed it through other nets or outlets the next day.

At one time near the beginning of NSN some of the sessions were lost due to band conditions. Some thought was given at that time to changing the time of the net. After talking with members of other nets, we found that they also had been bothered from time to time with erratic band conditions. We also found out that these band conditions had prevailed for years and will continue to bother nets as long as they operated. Consequently, any plans we had made to change the time were canceled.

3700 was chosen as the net frequency as a convenient frequency to the Novice Band and at the same time there were no nets listed for this frequency in the ARRL Net Directory. this closeness to the Novice Band made it easy for the novices to either listen or participate in the net. Many of them did and kept on handling traffic after they received their General Class.

At first, traffic was slow and messages were created to the stations to find out to what towns they could deliver a message to. If they could relay a message through another net was also noted for future reference. This information combined with the routing guide issued by PANN enabled us to place a message in the right channel for quick delivery with a minimum of relays. As new stations checked into net they were sent a message, usually by the manager, asking them for this information and a reply was expected in message form. All stations were requested to copy these messages, not for practice only, but for possible relay if needed. If anything was wrong the the message as to form or procedure, the NCS corrected it. Sometimes the manager was asked for the correct procedure and possibly and explanation of why it was done this way. In this way everyone benefited and we all learned from it. Many times schedules were made before or after net and a more thorough discussion was gone into.

Sometimes the sessions ran so long that when I was working swing shift I could get home in time to check in after eleven o'clock. Part of this was due to handling all traffic on net frequency at slow speed. This situation led us to having some stations move off frequency to handle traffic and, at the same time, handle some traffic on net frequency to give the participating stations a chance to copy traffic for practice.

Any station that moved off frequency was to report back into net when through handling his traffic and when this was done he was excused if there was nothing further for him. This method works well for the stations that know how to do it. If the NCS has to stop and explain it to either of the stations then it was just as easy to go ahead and handle that particular piece of traffic on net frequency.

All the shortcuts that were known at the time were tried to speed up the net operation and at the same time not increase the speed of sending above 10 WPM. The idea behind this was to let all stations that had no traffic or had handled their traffic to be excused from net as soon as possible. Excusing them early is a good insurance to maintain their continuous participation. Sitting still and doing nothing is still a problem and one of the hardest things to contend with on a net.

I developed the idea of NSN because I felt that my copy was not fast enough to participate on the higher speed nets without slowing them down. All the credit for getting the net started, however, does not belong to me. I enlisted the aid of Bob, W7PGY, SCM for Washington. His aid was invaluable in picking the time and the frequency and the advice on traffic handling and the many other things would be apt to encounter on a net. NSN also got lost of good publicity for itself from Vic, W7FIX, editor of PANN. Also, from PANN I gathered information on traffic handling and routing of traffic. In addition, many frequency checks were made to see that I was staying close to 3700. Very helpful, too, were the stations who were going to participate in the net. Some of their ideas and suggestions are still in use today on NSN.

The stations that checked in the first night and were to be the charter members of the net were: K7AJT, VE7AOG, W7AYZ,W7BBT, K7DRZ, W7IEU/NCS, K7BUC, W7IRH, W7JIA, W7PWA, W7WZY, and KN7DKO.

The second night W7PGY checked in with a message for the net congratulating us on the move we had made. This was to me the biggest thrill I think I received during my term as NSN manager.

From that time on NSN settled down into the routine and became a good efficient CW net.


This typewritten document was found in a box of historical net materials. On it was noted: "Dalton found this." This was probably long time member Dalton Shinn, WA7NDB, who was net recorder for many years.


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