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Net Control Eric Lipanovich KI6AOC, WQDX652. Acknowledgments  Based on Presentation by David Chamberlin, N6DWC  Revised by Jerry Haag, K6GAC  Significant.

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Presentation on theme: "Net Control Eric Lipanovich KI6AOC, WQDX652. Acknowledgments  Based on Presentation by David Chamberlin, N6DWC  Revised by Jerry Haag, K6GAC  Significant."— Presentation transcript:

1 Net Control Eric Lipanovich KI6AOC, WQDX652

2 Acknowledgments  Based on Presentation by David Chamberlin, N6DWC  Revised by Jerry Haag, K6GAC  Significant contributions from The Net Control Training Manual By R. Bruce Winchell, N8UT

3 Overview  Purpose of nets  Types of nets  Principles of Disaster Communication  Net Control Operator  Net Control Basics  Net Control Operations  Radio Operations  Tracking Resources  Summary

4 Purpose of Nets “The purpose of any net is to provide a means for orderly communication within a group of stations. In a directed net, a Net Control Station (NCS) [run by a net Control Operator (NCO)] organizes and controls all activity. Directed nets are the best format when there are a large number of member stations.” NCS Training Manual, compiled by Ann-Marie Ruder, K8AMR

5 Amateur Radio Nets  Open (any station can join)  Closed (only specific stations can join)  Uncontrolled / Undirected (first come, first served)  Directed (managed by NCS / NCO)

6 Principles of Disaster Comms  Efficiency Reduce messages to the most simple form that still conveys the necessary informationReduce messages to the most simple form that still conveys the necessary information Use procedures and techniques to reduce the number of communicationsUse procedures and techniques to reduce the number of communications  Accuracy Avoid rumors and conjectureAvoid rumors and conjecture Pass as written (if there are questions, handle them BEFORE keying mic)Pass as written (if there are questions, handle them BEFORE keying mic)  Be aware. “Others” are listening!

7 Principles of Disaster Comms  Do not transmit personal or confidential information  Be aware of stress levels in yourself and those you work with Make sure to “breathe” and relaxMake sure to “breathe” and relax Try to be patient and understanding with other operators who are likely very stressed.Try to be patient and understanding with other operators who are likely very stressed.  Use plain English (no Q-codes, 10-codes or other jargon)

8 Principles of Disaster Comms  Leave gaps between transmissions - especially important with linked repeaters and cross-band repeat  Also allows time for emergency traffic to break in  Key up, pause (breathe), then speak. Again, very important for linked repeaters and cross-band repeat

9 The Net Control Operator  The most essential part of any emergency net is the character and skill of the net control operator  The NCO coordinates all net activity and shapes the efficiency (or inefficiency) of the net operation

10 The Net Control Operator  Role may be assigned in advance for a planned event  Often the first station on the air for spontaneous incident  May be handed off from one station to another  Often works well to have a “scribe” assisting the NCO

11 Net Control Operator  Is in charge of the net  Maintains calm at all times  Must have a commanding signal  Activates and assigns resources  Keeps track of resources  Assigns tactical calls  Keeps a good log

12 Net Control Operator  Has a clear speaking voice  Controls his/her tone of voice; authoritative without being overbearing  Has good command of the English language  Can handle physical and mental stress for long periods (but knows to take breaks)

13 Net Control Operator  Can listen and respond in a noisy/chaotic environment  Decisiveness and the maturity to make good judgment calls.  Good sense of humor

14 Net Control Operator  Has good hearing  Writes legibly  Enforces net discipline  Uses tactical calls  Uses plain English (no “10 codes” or “Q codes”)  Uses (and reinforces use of) standard phonetics

15 Net Control Operator  Performs welfare checks  Thinks before keying  Avoids using “Uhhh”  Is as concise as possible  Knows how to operate the radio  Frequently identifies name and reason for the net (use a script)  Transmits only facts, not conjecture  Takes frequent breaks

16 Net Control Basics Starting a net  Do NOT start until you are ready!  Never let yourself get “behind”  Get familiar with the radio  Prepare your work-space. Be NEAT!!!  Keep regularly-accessed information easily visible/handy  Set up your radio, headset, etc.  Prepare your log sheet

17 Net Control Basics Starting a net, items you should have available:  Pen, pencil, paper  Radio log  Message forms  Visible clock  Maps (Thomas Guide)  Index cards (3” x 5”)  Water/liquids for drinking

18 Net Control Basics Starting a net – If there isn’t a prepared script for the event/net, take the time to write one out: introduction; regular update; closing:  Type of net (tactical/resource, open/closed)  Expected hours of operation  Event  Thank owners of repeater

19 Example Script This is operating as Net Control for the American Diabetes Association's Tour de Cure bike event. Emergency traffic may break in at any time. We will be operating on this frequency until approximately 1800 today. This is a directed net. We would like to thank the County of San Mateo Sheriff's Office of Emergency Services for their permission to use their repeater for today's Tour de Cure.

20 Net Control Basics Starting a net  Take a deep breath! Relax.  Check that the frequency is clear and useable  Key up, breathe, read the introduction script

21 Net Control Basics Taking checkins  Depends on situation, possibilities are: – By callsign suffix. If number of stations may be large, split into at least 3 groups (A-I, J-P, Q-Z). – Roll-call – e.g., call each station – By “precedence” – e.g., “all stations reporting major damage”, “all stations reporting minor damage”, etc.

22 Net Control Basics Taking checkins Copy as much as possible, even if you don’t get it allCopy as much as possible, even if you don’t get it all When asking for repeats, try to avoid additional doubles. E.g., “The station ending in Zulu please repeat”When asking for repeats, try to avoid additional doubles. E.g., “The station ending in Zulu please repeat”

23 Net Control Basics Using repeaters Repeaters may be linkedRepeaters may be linked Stations may be using cross-band repeatStations may be using cross-band repeat There are internal delays in repeaters. Always pause after keying up.There are internal delays in repeaters. Always pause after keying up. Make sure to allow sufficient time for all repeaters to drop squelchMake sure to allow sufficient time for all repeaters to drop squelch

24 Net Control Basics Logging Log as much as you can!Log as much as you can! When working with a scribe, still log as much as possible. Redundancy can fill gaps without wasting airtime.When working with a scribe, still log as much as possible. Redundancy can fill gaps without wasting airtime. Log every incoming and outgoing transmission, at least callsigns/tacticalsLog every incoming and outgoing transmission, at least callsigns/tacticals Take the time to write legibly! Legibility is more important than speedTake the time to write legibly! Legibility is more important than speed

25 Presenter's Notes On the following page: Left-hand side:  E = emergency  P = Priority  Blank = Routine “-” or “+” after Source/Destination:  “-” = acknowledged call to station  “+” = message transaction complete

26 Presenter's Notes On the following page: Far right-hand side (“-”, “+”, or blank):  blank = no response needed  “-” = response needed (either from NCS if incoming message, or from station if outgoing question/request)  “+” = response completed

27 Presenter's Notes Far right-hand “-”, “+”, or blank, cont. So in the first line, NCO is still waiting for a reply from organizers regarding the 2 cases of bananas for RS1. Line two is blank on right-hand side because before the message from SAG1 was received, the Priority call from Motor2 came in. So NCO said “SAG1 please stand by, Motor2 please go ahead with your Priority message.” Line 3 has “P” in left-hand indicating Priority. It has a plus after Motor2 indicating the message transaction is complete. And it was first marked with a “-” in the far-right while NCO was awaiting for the Comm Boss to tell decide which SAG to dispatch. Once NCO received the reply of which SAG to dispatch, the “-” was changed to a “+” indicating NCO has received their answer. Last line has a “+” after SAG3 indicating NCO has called SAG3, dispatched them, and completed the transaction. If no emergency or priority calls come in, NCO will return to the incomplete transaction on line 2 (indicated by the “-”)

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29 Net Control Basics Running the net Announce the purpose of the net regularly (usually every 30min). Use the script!Announce the purpose of the net regularly (usually every 30min). Use the script! Provide information to field stations regularly (warnings, advisories, any information provided by Public Information Officer, etc)Provide information to field stations regularly (warnings, advisories, any information provided by Public Information Officer, etc) Make sure all stations are ID’ing regularlyMake sure all stations are ID’ing regularly If resources are in the field, do regular health & welfare checks – “We will now do a roll call. When called, respond with your callsign or tactical if you are OK.” (usually every 30min)If resources are in the field, do regular health & welfare checks – “We will now do a roll call. When called, respond with your callsign or tactical if you are OK.” (usually every 30min)

30 Presenter's Notes Before presenting the slides on Going Direct, Handling Untrained Participants, and The Irate/Upset Participant, it is strongly recommended that the presenter read the NET CONTROL TRAINING MANUAL, by R. Bruce Winchell, N8UT (an internet search should return numerous places from which this manual can be downloaded)

31 Net Control Operations “Going Direct” Requests to 'Go Direct' can save valuable air time, or can seriously disrupt the efficiency of the net Requests to 'Go Direct' can save valuable air time, or can seriously disrupt the efficiency of the net Quick response is “Make your call” Quick response is “Make your call”

32 Net Control Operations Handling untrained participants Remember that everyone else on the net is listening! Remember that everyone else on the net is listening! Don't be condescending or sarcastic Don't be condescending or sarcastic Gently teach them proper net etiquette Gently teach them proper net etiquette

33 Net Control Operations The Irate / Upset Participant Again, remember that everyone is listening! Again, remember that everyone is listening! Slow up. Don't respond instantly. Take a deep breath Slow up. Don't respond instantly. Take a deep breath Do a quick personality review of the upset party Do a quick personality review of the upset party

34 Net Control Operations The Irate / Upset Participant Do these Three Steps All in One Statement Acknowledge the problem. Give in to the "Problem". Whether they are right or wrong! Acknowledge the problem. Give in to the "Problem". Whether they are right or wrong! Empathize with them! Empathize with them! Ask them for a quick and simple suggestion for a solution. Ask them for a quick and simple suggestion for a solution.

35 Net Control Operations The Irate / Upset Participant Listen INTENTLY! Listen INTENTLY! Reasonable solution; use it. Not reasonable; make counter- suggestion Reasonable solution; use it. Not reasonable; make counter- suggestion If problem can't be resolved quickly & reasonably, replace the individual If problem can't be resolved quickly & reasonably, replace the individual

36 Presenter's Notes One the following slide: If working outside, I place a heavy (6 mil) clear-plastic sheet over the table, taped at the two table ends and at the back of the table. The front edge is even with the front (operator) side of the table. Things which need to be available, but not written on, (e.g., scripts, frequencies, maps, etc), may be slid under the plastic. 3” x 5” index cards have many uses. A couple:  Write the tactical call of each station at the top of a card (one card per tactical call), then write the call-sign(s) of that person or persons staffing that position. When it comes time to do a heath&welfare check, simply go through the cards. Any station that doesn't respond right-away gets put either at the back of the stack or in a separate pile. A minute or two later, those cards are gone through again and those stations that didn't respond the first time are tried again.  Passing notes between NCO and other NCS staff (Comm Boss, etc). Most questions (other than formal message traffic, which will be on it's own form) can fit on a 3x5 card.

37 Presenter's Notes On the following slide: Enforce good practices from the start – an example of why. At the start of a net, you only have 1 station calling in at a time. So you don't bother requesting that the station give it's message priority when they call in (if there is only one station calling in, you're going to take that call no matter what the priority is). By the time the net gets busy (½ dozen stations calling in at once), you've already 'trained' the stations to not give their priority. So now you waste valuable time going back to each station after it has called in and asking for its message priority. Two ways to track mobile resource in the field:  White-board technique – list the resources in one column, and their last reported position in another column  (The technique I prefer) – use a map (perhaps placed under that clear-plastic sheet on the table), take small post-its (1/2” x 2”) with the tactical name of the resource and place them on the map. If, for example, you are tracking SAGs and you get a 'rider down' call, it is very easy to determine which SAG(s) are near that location if you have them placed on a map.

38 Net Control Operations Miscellaneous  Heavy, clear-plastic sheet over table  3” x 5” cards (passing notes, health & welfare)  Enforce good practices from start  Maps, layouts, etc. w/sticky notes  There is no situation, no matter how bad, that cannot be made worse by panicking

39 Radio Operations  Take time to familiarize yourself with the radio before starting the net  Know how to set frequency, offset, tone, power level  Know how to listen on repeater input  Know how to lock/unlock  Know how to use headsets and remote PTT  Program all expected frequencies into memory  Program “simplex mode on repeater output” for all repeaters

40 Tracking Resources  You are responsible for the field stations  Always try to be aware of the safety of the stations (including yourself!) In stressful situations, people often overlook safety and/or get a “hero” mentalityIn stressful situations, people often overlook safety and/or get a “hero” mentality  Perform health & welfare roll-calls regularly

41 Summary  Stay calm!  Stay in control  Never let yourself get behind  Practice, practice, practice!!!


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