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Chapter Five: NTS Standard Net Procedures

Chapter Five: NTS Standard Net Procedures

The following procedures are recommended as NTS standards. Deviations from these procedures are made at the discretion of the net manager in cognizance of either necessity or desirability arising out of extraordinary circumstances, but always as a temporary expedient until standard procedure can be resumed.

The following procedures apply to all NTS nets:

  1. The net control station (NCS) transmits a net callup promptly at the pre-established net meeting time.
  2. Stations reporting in indicate their function or the destination(s) for which they can take traffic, followed by the list of traffic on their hook, if any.
  3. Time-consuming pleasantries and other superfluous matters are not to be a part of the procedure while the net is in session.
  4. Net stations follow the direction of the NCS without question or comment if such directions are understood.
  5. Explanations of any kind are not transmitted unless they are absolutely essential to the net's conduct.
  6. Stations reporting into a net are held for 15 minutes, after which they are excused if there is no further traffic for them at that time. Stations in the net do not leave the net without being excused and do not ask to be excused unless absolutely necessary.
  7. All nets follow the general precepts of net operation outlined in the ARRL Operating Manual.


5.1 Section Nets


The random call-up method should be used in most cases. The clearing of traffic should commence as soon as stations reporting in the net have traffic for each other, rather than waiting until all stations have reported in. The use of side frequencies (QNY) should be used extensively. The QNA procedure (stations answering in prearranged order) should only be used in times of traffic overload, or for acknowledging the region net representatives at the beginning of the net.

The following additional procedures are used in Section Nets:

  1. Stations reporting in to the net with traffic, list the destination city first, then the number of messages for that city. Example-- "W2RQ DE AA2Z QTC Paterson 1 AR" Traffic destined outside the section is designated "through" (or "thru") followed by the number of "thru" messages. "Thru" traffic can also be listed for the appropriate region net.
  2. The region net representative is selected beforehand by the section Net Manager, but nevertheless indicates his purpose in reporting in.
  3. Stations do not list their traffic until first recognized by the NCS.
  4. If a particular city for which there is traffic is not represented on the net, the NCS may inquire who will handle such traffic, direct that it be sent to the station who can take it to a local net or bulletin board for delivery, who is nearest to the destination or that it be mailed. In any case, there should be a minimum of discussion.


5.2 Region Nets


  1. Stations reporting in indicate the section they came from if they are officially reporting for the purpose of handling traffic to or from that section. If their function is limited to sending or receiving, they should so indicate; otherwise the NCS will assume the station will do both.
  2. Traffic for destinations within the region is reported by section. If the destination is outside the region, the traffic should be designated "thru" or for the area net. For example, "DE W9QLW QIN QTC WIS 3 ILL 2 CAN 2 AR" tells the NCS that W9QLW represents the Indiana section (QIN), and has traffic.
  3. The area net liaison station (designated beforehand by the region net manager) receives all traffic designated for the area net.
  4. Stations reporting in who are not authorized section representatives or liaisons simply indicate the traffic they have to send. If they do not have any traffic, they are immediately excused by the NCS, unless they can provide an outlet not available on the net through regular NTS channels.
  5. In the event that a particular section is not represented in the region net, the NCS will use special liaison methods or any alternatives that are available for clearing traffic to that section.


5.3 Area Nets


  1. Stations reporting in indicate traffic by region if it is destined for a region within that area or by area if it is destined to a point outside that area. All stations reporting in with assigned receive functions indicate for which region in the area or for which other area they are authorized to receive traffic.
  2. The TCC representative designated to take traffic for another area so indicates in his QNI (check-in). For example, "DE W2MTA PAN QRU AR" tells the NCS that W2MTA has been assigned to take any traffic destined to the Pacific area and that he himself has no traffic.


5.4 Send and Receive Stations


Many NTS nets have adopted the procedure of sending more than one representative to the next-higher NTS echelon -- one to take the traffic up and report it in, another to receive traffic from the upper echelon and bring it back. More than one transmit or receive liaison may be provided if the traffic load is heavy and the personnel available is sufficient. It is perfectly permissible, and has many advantages in overload conditions -- to the NCS and the net --  for traffic both going and coming to be divided among two or more liaison stations.

Representatives who do not indicate which function they are performing will be assumed to be ready to perform both transmit and receive functions, at the discretion of the NCS. To indicate which you are performing, on CW send RX or TX after your QNI; on phone, say "receive only" or "transmit only," or "both."


5.5 Miscellaneous Procedures


  1. When "QNY procedure" (dispatching stations to clear traffic on an adjacent or different frequency) is used, the station designated to receive traffic should call first, after zeroing on a spot near the QNY point comparatively free of QRM. When a two-way exchange is to be made on the net frequency, the station named first by the NCS is to call first.
  2. In QNY procedure, (which should be used whenever traffic is heavy, if possible), the frequency designated by the NCS is not intended to be exact. NTS stations using this procedure will be careful not to disrupt other traffic nets or ongoing QSOs by carelessly plopping down and starting to call on the frequency. If QRM is heavy on the spot designated by the NCS, it is expected stations will attempt to find a spot nearby on which to clear their traffic rather than returning to net frequency without having cleared it.
  3. It is not the policy for NTS nets to insist on a clear channel. Other stations operating on the frequency of an NTS net have a perfect right to be there. Net control stations should not request such stations to move. If the net frequency is occupied at net starting time, the NCS should call the net on a nearby clear frequency.


5.6 Section and Local NTS Traffic Nodes


On a daily basis, under the direction of Net (Node) Managers appointed by the STM, "Net" members, including Official Relay Stations specializing in packet traffic handling, ensure that NTS traffic is forwarded properly, or remove traffic from the boards and either deliver it or bring it to Section- and Local-level NTS nets for handling.

5.7 HF Digital Relay Stations


On a daily basis, under the direction of the Area Digital Coordinators, Digital Relay Station operators ensure that traffic is forwarded properly, or is removed from the nodes and either delivered or relayed to the appropriate Area, Region, Section- and Local-level NTS nets for handling.


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