The Emergency Amateur Radio Club net has become one of my favorite on-air hangouts, ever since a couple of days since I got my call sign. For a while, I’ve wondered what it would be like to actually do the net as net control.
When the student is ready, the teacher appears. And that teacher was none other than KH6DAD. Rich was wonderful about easing me and the other NCS trainees into the job. From just shadowing the NCSs, writing down callsigns as they would, to finally having a chance to read the preamble and closing under an NCS’s supervision.
But then came the big step…doing the net solo. Rich was kind enough to give me a call on the landline about 45 minutes prior for a pre-flight briefing. Still, there I was on Tuesday, at 7:20, sitting next to my radio, and wondering, what in the world am I getting myself into? I had a few concerns in my mind…like, what if I have a visitor with lots of QRM in the background, who checks in non-phonetically, and I can’t copy the callsign? I’m pretty sure I knew what to do, but listening to someone doing the net is a lot different from actually taking the driver’s seat. It felt like being at the starting line of my first marathon all over again.
Fortunately, a pre-net QSO with Edward, NH6WI, eased my nerves somewhat. And at 7:30 straight down, I keyed the mike and spoke:
Aloha! This is Whiskey Hotel Seven Golf Golf, calling the Emergency Amateur Radio Club Net. My name is Keith, and I will be your net control station for this evening…
I need not have worried. After that, it was a blur. Everything just flowed. It was like an out-of-body experience…almost as if my body, hands, and mouth were doing the net on autopilot, drawing on seven months’ worth of audio memory, and my brain was just watching, as if it were just another nightly net.
In general the reviews for my debut were good. The most common comment I heard as I was going down the list was that it was like I had done this for years. Well, obviously not for years, as I’ve only had my ticket for less than a year. But I do admit, it did feel familiar.
And it was a pretty good crowd for a Tuesday night. 16 check-ins for a 25 minute net.
Pretty soon I’ll find a place in the NCS rotation, and then my real learning will begin…a ham radio Padawan taking a big step on the journey to being a Jedi master… 🙂