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

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West Coast Slow Speed Traffic Net

Instruction Manual

Original by O. D. Getz WA7OVC (1973)

WB7OEX (SK) (1998)

Current Revision by K7WCN - W7QM (2000)

PURPOSE

As stated in the net preamble, WCN exists primarily to train CW traffic operators in net procedure and message handling. All net members are encouraged to use the net whenever possible and to actively solicit message traffic from outside sources. The information contained in this manual provides sufficient instructions to enable new member stations to immediately enter into active participation in the regularly scheduled operation of WCN, which is affiliated with the American Radio Relay League National Traffic System (NTS). WCN has liaison with the Washington State Net (WSN), Oregon Section Net (OSN) and Region Seven Net (RN7). Checking into WCN and handling traffic will be no problem if you will first familiarize yourself with these instructions and listen to the procedures on the net.

NET SCHEDULE

WCN meets in regular session every evening of the week, promptly at a time set by the net manager. This time will normally be 0300 Z during standard time and 0200 Z during daylight saving time. During times of poor operating conditions the net manager is empowered to move the starting time of the net. The new starting time will be announced by the net manager by sending a QNC or by an announcement in the activity bulletin or both. All changes in net operating times will be of a temporary nature. Net frequency should only be moved up so that we will cause no problems to novice operators checking in.

NET CONTROL STATIONS

Every regular session of WCN is directed by a Net Control Station (NCS) or when unable by an alternate Net Control Station. These stations are appointed to these leadership positions by their punctuality, reliability, sending technique and resourcefulness.

NET MANNERS

Those of us who check into WCN regularly obviously enjoy the net operation or we would not be net members. Still, there are times when the patience and good humor of the NCS and other net members is more than severely strained. This need not be so and following (Generally accepted on most traffic nets) are offered as a means of making the net more efficient and more enjoyable for all. WCN is a training net and we follow standard net procedures. We do things by the book. We are here to teach new members as well as old the correct way.

NCS OPERATION

The NCS IS BOSS OF THE NET OPERATION. If you are NCS for the evening, make sure that your instructions are followed. It is within the scope of your authority to request any station to cease transmitting and to stand by or to render assistance where possible. Along with your authority comes responsibility. You establish the net operating frequency. This should be close to the specified frequency making allowances for QRM. QSK is desirable. If you use VOX for keying be sure it is set for a short delay or you may miss hail signs.

We all realize that sometimes it is not possible for regular NCS to meet every one of their assigned net duties. In this event he or she should make prior arrangements for a substitute NCS

NCS OPERATION

If NCS does not take control of the net within Three Minutes of the time set for the start of the net then it becomes the duty of any member present to take over as NCS. Once a station takes over as NCS that station will continue as NCS for the session even if the regular NCS should arrive. If the scheduled NCS isn't on frequency within of starting time don't be bashful, check your frequency grab your preamble and roster and be boss of the net!! Our net should be training not only traffic handlers but Net Control Stations as well.

RULES TO FOLLOW

  1. Do Not transmit on net frequency unless asked to so by the NCS. This includes such situations as:
    1. You cannot hear NCS.
    2. You didn't check in when you should have during roll call.
    3. Calling another station or answering such a call.
    4. Relaying a missed station or answering such a call.
    5. Trying to get a QRM'ING station to move.
    6. Relaying for NCS without his permission.
    7. Telling someone to QRT.
    8. Anything Else.
  2. Do not call NCS unless it is something that cannot wait. The only excuses are emergency traffic or checking back into net when you have been off frequency moving traffic, or you have something to say that will speed things up. The next station on roll call that has heard a missed station can and probably will relay the missed station. If not the missed station can wait until roll call is over to be relayed in.
  3. When calling NCS do not transmit more than a Hail Sign until NCS recognizes you. You can imagine the results of three or more stations not waiting to be recognized, all transmitting at the same time. If NCS doesn't recognize your Hail Sign don't transmit!! NCS may have a very good reason for wanting you to wait.
  4. If NCS asks if you can handle certain traffic, transmit single letters C for Yes or N for No. Explanations are not necessary.
  5. Check into net on the frequency NCS is using. Zero beat QNZ. NCS has enough to do without looking for stations that are not on frequency. If NCS tells you QNH, your frequency is high or QNL, your frequency is low. Try to figure what you are doing wrong and correct it.
  6. Once you have checked into net you are expected to remain until excused by the NCS. If you must leave and there is no traffic for you, get permission from NCS to be excused. Our purpose is to move traffic and this becomes impossible if there are no stations remaining on net frequency. Use QNO or QNX as appropriate. Do not leave the Net unless you have been excused.
  7. Have a copy of the standard ARRL message text form and get to know your Q signals. Remember QNC is not just a name for a certain kind of message. Its' meaning is All Net Stations Copy!
  8. Be sure to have handy your copy of the net preamble and roster of net members as you may be called upon at any time to take over as NCS. If the regularly assigned NCS fails to show up you should be prepared to take over as NCS.
  9. Even though NCS may not be right or you feel NCS is wrong, remember that NCS is the BOSS. If you feel that you must correct NCS, do it later on a different evening and in message format preferably.
  10. NCS is "BOSS" of the net for the day and may use the frequency in any manner he or she deems necessary to fit the existing conditions on the net session he or she is in charge of.
  11. When stations have been sent off frequency to handle traffic, they must return to the net frequency immediately upon completion of their traffic and not engage in chit-chat. When returning they should not "Blindly" break into net but should listen and send a Hail sign when no one else is sending. We believe that most of our members will agree that one of WCN's greatest assets is the friendliness of its members. Friendliness and efficiency are not incompatible; therefore we feel that following a few rules will not make WCN less friendly. We hope that the rules we have given you and plain good sense will help you find out how much pleasure can be gained from our net.

NCS PROCEDURE

  1. Call the net at the appointed time and frequency.
  2. Keep a copy of the preamble and roster handy.
  3. Get to know each member by name, QTH and license class.
  4. Excuse promptly any station requesting QNX or QNO after all traffic has been listed providing there is no traffic for the requesting station.
  5. Keep your key under control and your speed at 10 WPM or less. We have Novice Operators training with us and sloppy sending only cause confusion.
  6. Know your "Q" signals and be efficient. Don't use two "Q" signals when one will do. If you don't know your "Q" signals, keep a list handy for reference. AL "Q" signals have an implied please.
  7. The NCS is responsible for the efficient flow of traffic on the net. General or lengthy conversations are not proper and are not permitted.
  8. The procedure for calling roll is as follows: NCS sends (call) K. The reply, if no traffic is to be listed would be: de (call) GE (NCS name) QRU K. NCS should reply GE (operator name) TU AS. When conditions are bad the NCS may repeat the station's call.
  9. When calling roll its' a good idea to wait 3 or 4 seconds before calling the next station to give the called station time to QNI.
  10. The only breaks that should be made during roll call should be for emergency traffic and for stations that have been off frequency to check back into net. The proper procedure is to send a hail sign and when recognized send NCS de (your call) CLR (THE STATION YOU MOVED OFF FREQUENCY WITH) K.
  11. After roll call, transmit: WCN de (your call) QNI QTC ? K at least twice without receiving any replies before dismissing net. In times of bad conditions it is a very good idea to have another station call the net for you
  12. After dismissing the net send the following at about 5 WPM: WCN de(your call) any QNI or visitors please call now de(your call). Again send WCN Last Call for QNI or visitors please call now de (your call).
  13. When you get no replies to your calls and you have no stations off frequency moving traffic, you may close the net. An easy way is to send: WCN QNF (your call) CL.
  14. NCS can take time to correct mistakes that occur on the net but this must be done very carefully and with a helpful spirit. Be a diplomat and use the best of judgment. Feel free to ask the manager, directors or an experienced NCS any questions you feel need to be answered.
  15. Be prompt in sending in your reports to the net recorder ! Reports not over 3 days old are most appreciated.

REPORTING INTO WCN

Promptly at the appointed time the net control station (NCS) will transmit the WCN preamble followed in order by request for QNC, RN7, QTC. If you have any traffic for any of these listings send a hail sign at the proper time and when recognized by NCS list your traffic: de (your call) GE (NCS's name) how many QTCs and (destination, city, state or station call sign).

After NCS has paired stations to move traffic off net frequency NCS will transmit, WCN de (NCS call) "QNA", Meaning calling the roll call in prearranged order. When NCS sends your call you should respond de, (your call) GE (NCS name) and if you have no traffic QRU K. Traffic may also be listed at this time. It is not necessary to send QNI, as NCS knows you are checking in.

NCS HANDLING OF LISTED TRAFFIC

ALL QNCs should be handled as they are listed and all fills processed before asking for additional QNCs. Then any QTCs may be handled as listed. After 3 or 4 have been listed the stations may be sent off frequency to move their traffic. Be especially careful not to send Novices or Technician Plus out of their band privileges.

LISTING TRAFFIC

If you have traffic to move, send a hail sign at the appropriate time and when recognized by NCS list your traffic. If for example you have the following traffic - 1 QNC and 1 each QTC for Seattle, Wash. And Bend, OR - you would send - "de (your call) GE (NCS name) 1 QNC 2 QTC - 1 Seattle, WA - 1 Bend, OR K. NCS would reply GE ( your name) TU AS. This means NCS has copied you and is asking you to stand by.

When NCS is ready for you to send your traffic or when you are asked to take traffic from another station NCS will instruct you using one of the following "Q" signals.

QNY: Shift to another frequency (up or down____KHZ) to clear traffic with (other stations call).

QNK: Transmit message for___to___. This would be done on net frequency.

QNQ: Move to___and wait for___to finish handling traffic. Then send him traffic for___.

QNR: Answer___and receive traffic.

QNV: Establish contact on this frequency. If successful move (up or down)___KHZ and send you traffic for___

When NCS sends you off frequency to move your traffic your only reply should be GG meaning "going". NCS will instruct you which direction to go and approximately how many KHZ. It is the receiving station's priority to find a clear frequency and call the sending station.

CHECKING BACK INTO NET

When stations are sent off net frequency to move traffic, they are expected to return immediately after the traffic has been sent. These stations should not engage in a QSO until they have been excused at the end of net.

To check back into net pick a time when no stations are transmitting and send a hail sign. When recognized NCS. Send your call sign and tell NCS that you are "CLR" (clear) with (call sign of the station you passed traffic to).

Note that the abbreviation for CLEAR is CLR and not CL. The pro sign "CL" means I am closing my station.

Also you do not need to tell NCS "QRU" that you have no more traffic but if you have more traffic list it with NCS now.

ZERO BEATING THE NCS

Zeroing one's transmitting frequency exactly on the NCS's frequency is one of the greatest importances for several reasons. First to be able to hear and communicate with every station on the net. This requirement is no less true for every station on net if all are to communicate effectively. Any time a station has to hunt for stations off frequency is lost time.

Lets discuss zero beating. QRM is a fact of life on and around net frequency. Net members must zero beat the NCS in order to be easily heard. While the preamble does state net frequency is 3702 KHZ up or down to avoid QRM and stay within the Novice band. The frequency is selected by NCS and members tune to (zero beat) the NCS's Frequency.

You should not be looking at your tuning dial or readout when zero beating NCS or the station you are sent off frequency with to pass traffic. The side tone generator in your transceiver will give you a tone with the VOX off and key down. You will hear this tone and still be in receiving mode.

Be sure your RIT is off. Tune in the NCS and with the VOX off press your key down and adjust your frequency until the two tones (your side tone and NCS's signal) merge into one. Your transmitted signal will be the same as your receive signal. Net control stations and stations receiving traffic must not change frequency. If you don't like the tone of the incoming signals use your RIT but do not change your frequency. The other station will have to zero beat your frequency. When band conditions are bad we learn more about good operating procedures and our Rigs.

The traffic frequencies selected by the NCS are not apt to cause interference to other stations.

When sent off frequency to receive traffic and you find the assigned frequency in use move to a clear frequency in the general vicinity. The station that is to receive the traffic is to select the frequency and call the sending station to make the initial contact.

TRAFFIC POLICY

The West Coast Slow Speed Net is affiliated with the National Traffic System and makes every effort to follow the traffic handling procedures of that system. When soliciting traffic from individuals or stations outside of the net there is no limitation on the traffic you choose to handle as long as it is legal traffic within the FCC rules. With traffic that can't be handled directly on the net the NCS will try to get it relayed. Our meeting time in relation to OSN and WSN requires that RN7 traffic be moved quickly to meet with the other net operating schedules.

THE WORD CHECK

A few words need to be added to those previously made about the word count check. If the message was originally sent with a check of 15 and you feel that someone failed to count two "Xs" you may correct the check by listing it as 15/17 indicating that the message was originally received as check 15 but you find the count to be 17. If a message is received with no check, it should have a check when it leaves your station. List it as XX/17. If there are ARRL fixed text numbers (ARRL Fifty) in the text, the check should indicate so by putting the letters ARL before the (check) word count.

If your word count does not agree with the check, please ask the sending operator to verify the check. If the word count still does not agree with the check, send "QTB X". The sending operator will send the first character of each text word.

DELIVERY OF MESSAGE

Earlier it was stated that the primary goal of WCN is the training of traffic handlers but the goal of any traffic net including WCN is the delivery of messages from the sender (originator) to the addressee (recipient). The best procedures in the world are worthless if the message is not delivered. If you can't deliver it by phone it can be mailed. The cost of mailing is continuing to rise but if you aren't willing to spend that much once in a while, I don't think you would have taken the time to learn traffic handling in the first place. Its' a good idea to have a pad or two of ARRL message forms for your mail deliveries. They are neat and have space for all-important information and have an explanation of the traffic so the addressee will understand what it is all about.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

O.D.Getz, WA7OVC, September 18, 1973 wrote the Original WCN Manual while he was Net Manager. Don was a long time member of the net and as Recorder provided an excellent record of net activities with his Roster and Activity Reports for several years. There are many who have contributed to this manual, known and unknown. To all of them, a special thank you for a job well done!


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