Practice Opportunities

by | Jun 13, 2018

An amateur radio net, or simply ham net, is an “on-the-air” gathering of amateur radio operators. Most nets convene on a regular schedule and specific frequency and are organized for a particular purpose, such as relaying messages, discussing a common topic of interest, communicating in severe weather, coping with emergencies, or simply gathering for conversation. (Wikipedia) This type of net is not to be confused with Portland NET, the Neighborhood Emergency Team program!

There are several Portland NET amateur radio radio nets that convene each week.  Below, we describe these.  We also include a few more nets that are not Portland NET radio gatherings but provide useful information and skills practice for beginners and operators interested in emergency communication.  Remember, you do not have to be a licensed amateur radio operator to listen in on these nets.  Some hints on how to do so appear on the Listen In! page of this web site.

Even if you don’t feel ready to talk yet, at least listen in so that you can get comfortable with the way amateur radio operators communicate. Participating in on a net can be intimidating, but these are welcoming and forgiving groups. Rest assured, not much time has passed since the participants were in your situation.  This is one of the best ways to learn to use your radio so that you’ll be effective in an emergency situation.

NET Chat Net

A great place to get started is on the “practice” net just for new NET amateur radio operators.  The practice net is a place where new hams have a chance to meet, try out their radios, and talk with each other about topics of their choosing. The practice net will begin at 7:00 PM every Sunday evening, just an hour before the regularly scheduled NET net.

  • WHEN: Sundays at 7:00pm on the K7NE 443.300 MHz repeater (Council Crest). This repeater has a positive 5 MHz offset and a tone of 100.0 Hz

NET Net: The Neighborhood Emergency Communication Training Net

The Neighborhood Emergency Communications Training Net (NETnet) is a ham radio on-air gathering that discusses issues of interest to Portland NET members. The format emphasizes a presentation of topics of interest to new NET hams, such as selecting radios and accessories, battery and solar energy technology, and about two dozen other subjects.  The primary audience is those with little or no experience on the air, but they often get check-ins from experienced hams and folks not associated with emergency communication.  This net has been on the air almost every week since April 2014, and roughly 40 amateur radio operators are checking in to this net each week.  The NETnet has its own PortlandPrepares.org page, which you may access here, or just search for “NET net”!

  • WHEN: Sundays at 8:10pm on the K7RPT 147.040 MHz repeater (Sylvan Hills). That repeater has a positive 600kHz offset and a tone of 100.0 Hz

NET Simplex Net

Rather than a forum for discussion, this net provides practice in spinning up a simplex net for the Portland NET to use in the event of a disaster.  This net has met on the second day of each month (January 2, February 2, etc.) since May 2016.  This net has a particular protocol, which can learn about from its own PortlandPrepares.org page.  Alternatively, just search for “Simplex net” here on the web site!  New amateur radio operators may find this net challenging, but the best way to learn the ropes is to participate.  Remember to be patient, talk to others about your experiences, and be prepared to learn.

  • WHEN:  At 8:00 PM on the second day of each month, a Net Control somewhere in the City of Portland will begin the net on 147.58 MHz simplex (Oregon designation MC-8 or NET-TAC1).   Net Control will assign to operators across the city (Volunteer Stations) frequencies in the 2 meter and 70 cm amateur radio bands.  If you are late to the party, there will be a station listening on MC-8 that will be able to give you the frequency for your Region.  The Portland Emergency Coordination Center W7ECC typically participates in this net.  Learn more on the PortlandPrepares.org NET Simplex Net page.

NTTN

The Northwest Oregon Traffic and Training NET (NTTN) teaches formal written radio traffic (messaging) protocol and handles traffic to and from stations around the world.  It is a member of the National Traffic System, hosted by the American Radio Relay League (ARRL).  A primary job of any NET amateur radio operator in the event of an emergency will be message passing.  Knowing the very efficient formal written radio traffic prowords and practices will make you a valuable member of any net.

MC-ARES Net

The Multnomah County Amateur Radio Emergency Service (MC-ARES) is a field organization of the American Radio Relay League (ARRL). Members provide trained and experienced operators to served agencies, such as the Multnomah County Emergency Operations Center, Oregon Food Bank, Red Cross, universities, hospitals, and – significantly – the Portland Emergency Coordination Center.  They are also active in community service. They also have monthly in-person meetings, as well as a weekly on-air net.

  • WHEN: Wednesdays at 7pm PT on the 146.84 MHz repeater (Oregon designation MC-1), negative 600 kHz offset, no tone, except for the second Wednesday of each month, when they operate simplex on 146.48 MHz (Oregon designation MC-4)

PARC Net

The Portland Amateur Radio Club (PARC) is a great resource for AROs in the Portland area. They have monthly in-person meetings, as well as a weekly on-air net.

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