Nets (revised 31 Aug 2019)
What is a “Net”?
Usually, a net is a means of communicating with others by radio that is managed by one or more people. The manager, or Net Control Station, will let you know when it’s your turn to talk, either by calling you directly using your call sign, or generically, such as “Net 1 Stations”, “Group 14 Stations”, etc.
There are nets scheduled somewhere practically every day of the year and in Illinois Wing we conduct four nets every day Monday through Friday. These serve three main purposes:
- They allow you to test your radio equipment to make sure it’s working properly
- They give you an opportunity to practice using the radio so you become more proficient
- They allow information (called messages or “Traffic”) to be passed among stations
The last item is the most important: the primary purpose of having radios is to communicate information. If you hear a message and you have the ability to pass that message along to the intended destination, it’s your responsibility to do so.
A list of all nets conducted across the country may be found on the NHQ Communications Web Site. While you are welcome and encouraged to check into any routine traffic net, the ones for your wing and region are the ones you should focus on since they are most likely to convey information of use to you.
Illinois Wing nets are conducted Monday through Friday with a few exceptions. Nets may be conducted concurrently or consecutively on multiple channels – use the one that works best for you.
In early 2013, the National Traffic Net started passing a weekly message called an Intercom Message. While primarily a method of encouraging practice of formal message handling, these messages also convey useful information.
These messages should be documented on a CAPF 105 (CAP Radio Message Form) and stored locally so that you can reference them as needed. Intercom messages are numbered starting with one.
Note the “To” and “Info” lines in these messages – that tells you who the information is intended for and therefore who you should pass the message to when you receive it.
Intercom messages are originated on the HF nets, and expected to be relayed to other communicators who have not yet received them yet. This can be done on HF or VHF, and can be part of a formal net or as a communication from one station to another.
Note: Intercom messages are to be passed ONLY by radio. E-mail is not acceptable as it defeats the training objective.