Monday, January 19, 2015

Local Ham Radio Nets

If you're a ham radio operator, do you participate in your local net?    Ol' Backwoods runs our local club's weekly net on our local repeater, on Sunday nights, and I think I will start telling you about it on Mondays.

Nets are regularly scheduled roundtable-style group meetings on amateur radio.  Most of them ask for "checkins", stations willing to participate, then go down the list, calling on each station to give a short status. Mobile stations or those that don't want to talk can check in as "short-time."

Until I moved down here, I'd never been a part of an amateur radio club net that didn't have a roundtable, or "ragchew" segment.  These folks all checked in as "short-time" stations, the net control operator read some amateur radio news, and gave times and frequencies for other nets in the area, and that was pretty much it.  Ol' Backwoods volunteered to be net coordinator when the previous guy (a standup local policeman) got too busy to do it.

So, I did it my way.

I added a ragchew segment.  At first, I had only 1 checkin for the ragchew segment, but over the months it has slowly grown, to where I typically have a core group of about 5 people that regularly join the ragchew segment.

In the amateur radio news segment of our net, I talked about an ARRL story about how Michigan had passed a law that overrode homeowners' association covenants that prevent amateur radio operators from installing antennas outside their homes.  A federal law exists (PRB-1), but it does not override homeowners' association covenants.   There has been action to get the feds to do just that, but it never sent anywhere.

Those petty tyrants have taken contract law and used it to form their own little fifedoms.  I know from personal experience. Don't get me started; I despise homeowners' associations (and they hate hams), and don't ever again plan to be part of one.

Anyway, back to our net last night. In the ragchew segement, we talked about several things:

  • The NASA/JPL New Horizons probe that will soon take pictures of Pluto and its moons;
  • home-made and kit-build audio filters for cutting noise on HF;
  • the positioning and size of home-built shelves in our "shacks" (what hams call our radio rooms) for placing equipment;
  • our local Echolink node,which allowed a local ham traveling in TN tonight to listen in on our net last night remotely via the Internet;
  • one of our club members told that he is preparing to put up a 3-element 6-meter beam on a 35' tower at his house, and what he hopes to accomplish with it.  

We also organized a meetup at a local restaurant before our ham club meeting tonight.

A very friendly group.

I'd love to hear in the comments what your local amateur radio group does on its nets.

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