St. Louis Metro ARES weekly voice net
Net Control Procedures
(revision 10, 2018-01-14)
As an ARES Net Control Operator, your duties are -
- Act as Net Control Operator for the St. Louis Metro ARES net when you are scheduled to do so.
- Step in and act as Net Control Operator if the regularly scheduled NCO fails to bring up the net.
A standard script will be provided for you to read. You have some leeway in following it, but you should read the first paragraph exactly as it is written. The script will also tell you when to call for check-ins and so forth.
Five minutes before the start of the net, put the repeater into "net mode", disconnecting any IRLP/Echolink connections, and activate the ARES tone alert system. (The repeater codes can be found in the * Net Controllers * section of this Web site.) You may use any of the three tone alert signals available, as the tone alert boxes will react to all of them. The tone alert boxes will sound their sirens for six seconds, and will then turn on their speakers for a short period of time. Make the following announcement:
"This is <your call sign>. I have activated the St. Louis Metro ARES tone alert system in anticipation of the weekly net, which starts in <##> minutes."
Early in the script it will tell you to establish a backup Net Control Operator. The backup NCO will take over if your station fails or if, for some reason, you are unable to continue. Look at the Net Control Operator duty roster to see who is scheduled to run the net the following week. Call this operator first and ask him or her if he/she can act as the backup operator tonight. If he/she cannot, or does not respond, go to the next operator on the roster. If you exhaust the entire roster without finding a backup, you may solicit one from anyone else listening to the net.
Make announcements as requested by the Emergency Coordinator or the Net Manager. If you have not been given any, mention those found on the team's Web site (www.stlares.org). These would include things like upcoming meetings, exercises, classes and such. It is alright to make announcements requested by other parties (such as club meetings) if the EC approves them.
During the net, if anyone indicates that they have formal numbered traffic (NTS-type traffic), note this and try to find someone to pass this traffic at the conclusion of the net. Failing that, you can either handle the message yourself or recommend that the person with the traffic try again on the St. Louis Metro ARES Practice Traffic Net.
When indicated in the script, call for check-ins. Initially, just write down the call signs that you hear. Make a notation if the operator indicates "short time". When it appears that there will be no more check-ins, Go to the top of the list that you have made and call back each operator who did not indicate "short time" (don't forget your backup NCO, he/she should be at the top of your list). Ask for the following information:
- The operator's name
- The operator's location (nearest city will do)
- Does the operator have any formal traffic to pass?
- Does the operator wish to make any announcements?
- Ask the "Question of the Day", if there is one
After all announcements have been made, all check-ins taken, and all business concluded, thank all participants and the trustee of the repeater, then close the net.
After closing the net, go to the www.stlares.org Web site, and click on the left-side menu Team Section -> * Net Controllers *. Click on "Log a weekly voice net report", and then "Enter the log for a weekly voice net". A pre-formated report form will appear. Just fill it out.
- Please be sure to enter the call signs correctly. Do not substitute "O" for "0", for example, as this can cause a "new participant" flag. It is okay to enter the call signs in either upper or lower case, but do not add suffixes (such as "/m" for mobile).
- The date at the top of the form is automatically today's date, so if you wait until the following day to fill in the report form, be sure to change the date back to when the net took place.
- Note the announcements you and anyone else made in the "Comments" section at the bottom of the form. Also, be sure to note any formal traffic that was listed and accepted during the net, even if the sender and receiver went to a different frequency to pass the message.
When you hit the "Submit" button your report will automatically be stored at the Web site. A copy will also be emailed to all of the Net Control Operators and the Emergency Coordinator. If you want to look at your report, click on the "Display the log for a weekly voice net" button. If you find that you've made a mistake, you can correct it by clicking on the "Edit the log for a weekly voice net" button.
If you have to switch repeaters in the middle of a net..
- Attempt to find someone to stay on the original frequency, on the repeater's output frequency if necessary, to redirect newcomers to the new repeater. This person should not be your backup Net Control Operator. Your backup should move to the new repeater along with you.
- Note that the new repeater will probably require a CTCSS tone and that you do not have access to its control tones. You and the net participants should make sure that your transceivers have their CTCSS encode feature set.
- Once on the new repeater, read the special "Emergency repeater switch script". This will give the net participants a few moments to make the transition.
- Make sure that your backup Net Control Operator is on the frequency before you proceed.
- Re-contact everyone who had checked in while you were on the other repeater. Note those participants who do not respond.
- Resume your original script at the point where you left off.
- If someone says, "Hey, the other repeater is working now!" do not switch back. Remain on the new repeater. The net participants are already confused enough. Only move back to the original repeater if conditions on the new repeater are even more intolerable.
- At the conclusion of the net don't forget to put the original repeater back into "normal" mode, if it is responding.