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There are various types of traffic that may be
passed on the ECARS net.
The primary objective of the East
Coast Amateur Radio Service (ECARS) is to provide effective Amateur Radio
communications for both mobile and fixed stations, with priority given to
mobile stations. 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.
ECARS holds no claim to any particular frequency. However,
the NCS will maintain operations as close as practical to 7.255 MHz
utilizing Lower Side Band (LSB) .
ECARS Net Operations consists of one or more of the following:
check-in to the ECARS net by radio amateurs to include identifying
information, signal reports, and brief exchanges of interest to the operator
announcements by the Net Control Station
handling, and associated communications to that
, when appropriate
purpose communications approved by the ECARS Board of Directors, such as
communications associated with operation of a ‘Swap and Shop’ function for
the advertising of amateur radio equipment available for sale or swap, or
conduct of periodic roll calls of ECARS members.
PRIORITIES AND TRAFFIC:
majority of ECARS communications is routine and associated with the sociable
furtherance of amateur radio communications.
1. Formal message traffic of the type
handled by the ARRL National Traffic System
2. Urgent assistance
needed by a call in
3. Convenience and coordination
Type 1 traffic is very rare and not typically handled by ECARS. The exception
would be if an NTS station brings Morale and Welfare, Priority, or Emergency
traffic to ECARS with a request for
delivery, or there is a significant emergency in the ECARS operating
area and ECARS leadership has decided that ECARS should handle this type of
traffic for some period of time. In the event that the ECARS NCS gets
a request to handle routine Type 1 traffic, or Type 1 traffic not from the
NTS, the NCS should recommend that the caller input his traffic via the
National Traffic System and point him to the ARRL list of traffic handling
Type 2 traffic is rare but generally involves an event that has created some
urgency for action on the part of someone checking in to the net.
Examples might include someone whose vehicle has broken down , or someone
who has taken to feeling poorly, on the highway or in a remote location.
The proliferation of cell phones has made this less probable than 20 years
ago, but it can still happen. Net Control Operators should handle such
traffic in the most reasonable manner possible. Specific action might
involve notifying state police, or family and may be performed by the NCS
directly, or passed off to someone to perform. In the latter case, the
NCS station should follow up with the tasked station and make sure the
requested action was performed. The NCS should report back to the
traffic passing station when the action has been completed.
Type 3 Convenience and Coordination traffic is the most common type of traffic that ECARS
will handle. Examples include requests to pass a message to someone (e.g. W1XYZ)
if he calls in, or a request to meet a check in from Rhode Island, or
Delaware, and to move off frequency for a quick WAS QSO. The Net
Control Station should get a window of time that the request is valid for.
If the NCS is not able to satisfy the request during his shift, and the
window of time has not expired, he should pass the request to his relief.
In some cases, it may be appropriate for the NCS to blend the request into
his routine such as putting a request for Rhode Island stations to call in
into his development of a check in list, so that they can be linked to a
station needing their state for Worked All States.
On occasions when it is impractical for stations to establish contact on another
frequency, or when requested in order to coordinate establishing another
frequency on which subsequent communications will occur, 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
Net announcements are informational bulletins of general
interest to the ECARS community. These bulletins may consist of general
ECARS administrative information or information
on hazardous road conditions, weather information or other matters deemed by
the NCS to be of interest to the ECARS community. All bulletins and
announcements relating to OFFICIAL ECARS business or policies must be
approved by the Board of Directors, or Net Manager. When possible, Net
Announcements should be transmitted at the top of the hour.
traffic to be coordinated on the net frequency may concern natural
disasters, public disasters, life and death emergencies, roadway or traffic
information or any other information or assistance of a serious nature.
See type 2 traffic above.
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.
See further “Net Alert” procedures below.
STATIONS (NCS) OPERATIONS:
All NCS are appointed by the Net Manager
and must be an ECARS member in good standing and who is familiar with Net
operations. NCS schedules will be coordinated through the Net Manager. A
weekly schedule will be posted by the Net Manager and kept current to
changing circumstances. 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. The success of ECARS resides
with these individuals. An atmosphere exemplifying the highest standards of
Amateur Radio operations must be maintained at all times. 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 arguing, personal views, or monologues.
When opening the Net, the NCS must exercise courtesy to other amateur
radio stations The NCS starting net operations, or restarting following a
period of interrupted net operations, 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
In instances where an interpretation of policy is
required, consult the Net Manager.
If appropriate, the Net Manager may consult with the Officers and
Board of Directors.
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, the NCS may request a participating
station to contact the interfering station and resolve the situation. If it
is believed that the QRM is intentional, the NCS shall act in accordance
with the ECARS Deliberate Interference Protocol posted on the ECARS website.
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, or Directors, may remove an
NCS for any reason. Final determination whether a station will continue to
act as an NCS is at the discretion of the Board of Directors or the Net
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, the NCS shall instruct the delivering station to
report back to the NCS as to the message’s ultimate disposition. Message
delivery confirmation shall be reported to the originating station if
requested. The NCS shall use any means at his disposal to contact affected
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.
The NCS must
maintain a record of all pertinent details of the declared emergency, and
forward them to the Net Manager.
conduct of his shift, an NCS should:
the net as the East Coast Amateur Radio Service (ECARS) on or near the
frequency of 7.255 MHz.
himself by call sign, name, location and ECARS number.
3. State that
he will be Net Control and that ECARS is a directed net and works from a
list. Restate this information periodically.
4. At the top of the
hour ask for any stations that have a schedule to keep. Then make the
regular announcements. For NCS
shifts that do not start on the hour, the NCS may make regular announcements
at the start of his shift in lieu of at the top of the hour.
Ask if anyone has anything for the good of the Net or for Amateur Radio.
6. Develop a check-in list.
Call for Check-ins by call sign. If the net is particularly busy the NCS may
wish to break the check-ins down by call areas. Keep the check-in list to a
Periodically develop a check in list for mobile stations only.
Recognize stations in the Check-in list in the order in which they were
identified, except that mobile stations shall be moved to the top of the
Check-in list and recognized first.
recognizing each station in the check-in list, each station should respond
when called with their call sign, name, location and service offered or
desired. The NCS should enter the information into his log. Assist the
station checking-in with any traffic or contact he might have.
10. If a
station is heard to be calling, but cannot be identified by the NCS, ask for
relays. Have any station
invoking the RELAY Procedural Call make the contact and pass the information
to the NCS.
Routine exchanges with each check-in may involve signal and audio
reports, weather exchanges, current activities, and like information but
should be kept reasonably brief.
The NCS should manage check-in durations based upon the check-in activity
level. During periods of low
activity the net may be operated in a more relaxed, informal manner with
more time allowed for communications with each check-in.
However, lengthy discussions and
debugging of technical problems should be done off the net frequency.
General rag chewing is never appropriate.
STATIONS (Stations Checking In):
It is not required that a station be a member of ECARS to
participate in the net.
Keep all transmissions reasonably brief.
When a "NET
ALERT" is announced, no further transmissions shall 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
When initiating a contact during the net it is standard
procedure to find a clear frequency and move off the net.
When using any of the following procedural
signals follow it with your call sign, and wait to be recognized by the NCS
1. BREAK or BREAK BREAK: Highest priority, life and death or health and
welfare situation. Also urgent traffic related to property damage or another
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.
3. INFORMATION or INFO: Is used to notify the NCS that the caller
has information pertinent to the business at hand.
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.
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.
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.
note that the words "CHECK-IN" are not used. Check in with your callsign
only, when the NCS has requests check-ins.
ALL PROCEDURAL SIGNS MUST
BE FOLLOWED WITH YOUR CALL SIGN TO BE RECOGNIZED
1. When the NCS calls for check-ins
announce your call sign once.
2. LISTEN: the NCS will acknowledge
stations heard and ask for additional check-ins. Repeat your call sign only
if you were not heard previously.
3. 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
4. When called, sign-in with your call sign, NAME,
location, ECARS number, traffic you may have or service you have to offer to
ECARS discourages the use of the slang terms “Handle” or “Personal”
on the net. Do NOT use them.
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.
Manual revised February 25, 2006 by Joe WY3T
revised June 2016