East Coast Amateur Radio Service ----------------------------------------------------------------------


Net Operations Manual
East Coast Amateur Radio Service


INTRODUCTION:

The primary objective of ECARS is to provide effective Amateur Radio communications for both mobile and fixed stations, with priority given to mobiles. ECARS operates daily when band conditions permit and volunteer NCS (Net Control Stations) are available. This manual was developed in the spirit and intent of satisfying the goals set forth in Paragraph 1 of the Preamble to the ECARS Bylaws.

SERVICE FREQUENCY AND MODE:

ECARS holds no claim to any particular frequency. However, the NCS will maintain operations as close as practical to 7.255 MHz utilizing LSB-SSB.

PRIORITIES AND TRAFFIC:

Traffic may consist of National Traffic Service messages, listings of stations looking to make contact with other stations and Net announcements.

Priority traffic to be coordinated on the net frequency may concern natural disasters, life and death emergencies, roadway or traffic information or any other information or assistance of a serious nature. On occasions when it is impractical for stations to establish contact on another frequency, permission may be granted by the NCS to pass other brief messages or net announcements of a non-emergency nature on the net frequency. The determination that a situation falls within any of these categories resides with the NCS in charge.

Net announcements are informational bulletins of general interest to the ECARS community. These bulletins may consist of information on hazardous road conditions, weather information or anything imperative to the ECARS community. All bulletins and announcements relating to OFFICIAL ECARS business or policies must be approved by the Board of Directors, ECARS Officers, or Net Manager. When possible Net Announcements should be transmitted at the top of the hour.

During an emergency situation, the NCS on duty has the authority to declare a "Net Alert." During a "Net Alert" all stations shall refrain from transmitting unless specifically called by the NCS. When the emergency situation has concluded, as determined by the NCS on duty, he shall announce that the "Net Alert" is ended and the Net will resume normal operations. The ability to cope with emergency situations can be acquired only with serious intent and constant involvement.

NET CONTROL STATIONS (NCS):

All NCS are appointed by the Net Manager and must be a member in good standing of ECARS who is familiar with Net operations. NCS schedules will be coordinated thru the Net Manager. A weekly schedule will be posted by the Net Manager. If a NCS cannot keep his time slot he should promptly notify the Net Manager. The NCS operator should be aware of the goals of the organization. He should be familiar with accepted principals of net operations and the content of this manual. It is clear the success of ECARS resides with these individuals. An atmosphere exemplifying the highest standards of Amateur Radio operations must be maintained at all times. Under no circumstances should rag-chewing or arguing be permitted. Also while acting as a NCS a posture of neutrality must be taken. The position of the NCS is to serve those checking into the service. At no time should the net be used as a platform for personal views and monologues.

When opening the Net, the NCS must exercise courtesy to other amateur radio stations It is the responsibility of the NCS to make sure the frequency is clear by calling "QRZ" and listening carefully for any response. If there is activity, the NCS should move the net up or down to a clear frequency until the activity has subsided and operation can be resumed on the normal net frequency.

In instances where an interpretation of policy is required, consult the Net Manager, Area Coordinator, or another ECARS official.

It is important when QRM occurs for participating stations to refrain from addressing remarks to the interfering station. If it is felt the QRM is not intentional, NCS may request a participating station to contact the interfering station and resolve the situation. Continue to run the net and ask for assistance from other stations on frequency if needed. Do not shut down the net and give any satisfaction to the interfering party.

The Net Manager, Area Coordinator, or Directors may remove an NCS for any reason. Blatant misuse of the ECARS Net, inappropriate conduct or failure to follow the policies and procedures outlined in this Operators Manual will not be tolerated by the ECARS administration. Final determination wether a station will continue to act as an NCS is at the discretion of the Board of Directors or the Net Manager.

NET ALERT:

When a "NET ALERT" is declared, the NCS on duty is in complete control for the duration of the emergency. The NCS must obtain as much pertinent information as possible concerning the emergency and insure that all information is immediately forwarded to the proper individuals and authorities. If a message is to be delivered by a net-participating station, Instruct the delivering station to report back to the NCS as to it's disposition. Then relay this information to the originating station if necessary. Use any means at your disposal to contact affected parties.

The NCS on duty must maintain the Net Alert as long as necessary. In the event a NCS must leave the air for any reason during a Net Alert, it is the responsibility of the departing NCS to assure the incoming NCS is both competent and fully aware of the details pertaining to the declared emergency. When the situation is resolved, the NCS will declare the Net Alert has ended and the net will return to regular operation. NCS must maintain a record of all pertinent details of the declared emergency, and forward them to the Net Manager.

NCS PROCEEDURES:

1. Identify the net as ECARS the East Coast Amateur Radio Service on or near the frequency of 7.255 MHz. Identify your self by call sign, give your name, location and ECARS number. State that you will be Net Control and ECARS is a directed net and we work from a list. Restate this information frequently.

2. At the top of the hour ask for any stations that have a schedule to keep. Then make the regular announcements.

3. Ask if anyone has anything for the good of the Net or for Amateur Radio.

4. Call for Check-ins by callsign. If the net is particularly busy you may wish to break the check-ins down by call areas. When asking for check-ins ask for call signs, if the station checking in only offers his suffix or a partial call it is their responsability to Identify by the end of ten minutes, not the NCS. Keep your list to a manageable number.

5. Call for Mobile Units separately, they have priority.

6. When doing a general call up move any mobile units you hear to the top of the list.

7. Announce the callsigns you have listed, list six to eight stations or until there is no response. At this time ask for relays for stations not heard by NCS. Have anyone hearing them make the contact and pass their information on to NCS.

8. If a station tries to check in at an inappropriate time the NCS should mention that the net is not taking check-ins at this time and will be glad to get to him at the next call up. Do not repeat the offending stations callsign.

9.When you have completed your list of check-ins, state that you wish each station to respond when called with their callsign, name, location and service offered or desired. Enter the information into your log. Assist the station checking-in with any traffic or contact he might have.

10.Recognize any Procedural Signals promptly. Do not permit any station to delay the net unnecessarily.

11. During periods of low activity the net may be operated in a more relaxed, informal manner. Transmissions should still be kept brief, with pauses to allow all stations to be heard. Signal and audio report requests as well as equipment and antenna information can be offered to the net, if done quickly when the net is in session. Lengthy discussions and debugging of technical problems should be done off the net frequency.

PARTICIPATING STATIONS:

It is not required that a station be a member of ECARS to participate in the net. We do promote membership and offer a variety of services and information. Stations responding to a request for check-ins should give their callsign once and await recognition by the NCS. When acknowledged and called individually the station should respond with it's callsign, operator name, and location, followed by the nature of any business for the net.

Keep all transmissions brief. When a "NET ALERT" is announced, it is imperitive that no further transmissions be made by any station unless specifically called upon by the NCS in charge. Under the direction of the NCS every effort should be made to resolve the emergency without any delay.

When initiating a contact during the net it is standard procedure to find a clear frequency and move off the net. Call QRZ and make sure it is clear.

PROCEDURAL SIGNALS:

It is important when making an initial transmission to use your callsign. When using any of the following proceedural signals follow it with your callsign, and wait to be recognized by the NCS. Please note that the words "CHECK-IN" are not used. Check in with your callsign only, when the NCS has requested check-ins.

THESE ARE THE OFFICIALLY RECOGNIZED ECARS PROCEEDURAL SIGNALS:

1. BREAK or BREAK BREAK Highest priority, life and death or health and welfare situation. Also urgent traffic related to property damage or another emergency.

2. CONTACT Used to notify the NCS that the caller wishes to CONTACT a station known to be on frequency that has checked in earlier. If a station uses CONTACT improperly the NCS should remind him politely of the proper proceedure for using CONTACT.

3. INFORMATION or INFO Is used to notify the NCS that the caller has information pertinent to the business at hand.

4. QUERY Indicates to the NCS that the caller has an inquiry pertinent to the business at hand.

5. RECHECK Indicates to the NCS that the caller has returned from being off frequency.

6. RELAY Advises the NCS that the caller copies a station apparently not heard by the NCS that could possibly be in a desperate situation. Net Control should acknowledge the RELAYING station by call sign and ask him to make the contact and pass the information and any request from the unheard station to the NCS. At this time the RELAYING station should stand by and await further instruction from the NCS.

Use discretion when offering a RELAY. Do not offer multiple relays unless the NCS requests relays at the end of his list of call ups. Remember the location of a station is a contributing factor as to what he will hear and it differs from any other station.

7. CHECK OUT Used only if you have traffic listed with the net and can no longer remain on frequency.

ALL PROCEEDURAL SIGNS MUST BE FOLLOWED WITH YOUR CALLSIGN TO BE RECOGNIZED
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PREFERRED ORDER OF CHECK-INS:

1. Mobile stations. Priority is given to mobile stations. They may check in under any classification. The NCS should alternate between mobile and general call ups. If there are hazardous road conditions and bad weather, these types of travel advisories should be passed on periodically or on request from mobile units.

2. Stations with traffic.

3. Stations able to handle listed traffic.

4. Stations without traffic.

CHECK-IN PROCEEDURES:

1. Carefuly tune your transmitter using a dummy load to the Net frequency. Make sure your equipment is functioning properly to the best of your ability.

2. When the NCS calls for check-ins announce your call sign only once.

3. LISTEN NCS will acknowledge stations heard and ask for additional

check-ins. Repeat your call sign only if you were not heard previously.

4. The NCS will announce the end of check-ins and will proceed to call individual stations. Be prepared to transmit and offer your station information and state your business when called on.

5. When called, sign-in with your call sign, NAME, location, ECARS number, traffic you may have or service you have to offer to the Net.

ECARS DISCOURAGES THE USE OF THE SLANG TERMS "HANDLE" OR "PERSONAL" ON THE NET. DO NOT USE THEM

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CHECK-OUT PROCEEDURES:

1. It is not necessary to check out unless you have listed traffic.

2. If you have traffic listed call "Check-Out" followed by your call sign. When the NCS acknowledges you, request that the traffic be cancelled and sign out.

Net Operations Manual revised Febuary 25, 2006 by Joe WY3T


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