ARES Digital Training

Discussion in 'NTS (National Traffic System)' started by W.T. Jones, Sep 11, 2014.

  1. W.T. Jones

    W.T. Jones Moderator Staff Member Silver Member Golden GPS Recipient AtlDiv EPA Leader AtlDiv ARES Member

    I am cross posting this here because it involves both NTS Training and ARES Training....

    The Luzerne County ARES Training Net has been running since the first week in August. The takeoff was rather laborious and there were serious concerns about running out of runway before it got airborne. But tonight was a banner night. Everything came together for the first time.

    The first half of the net was message handling conducted by WA3CKA, a long time traffic man, and we are now on message 5 of our 73 training messages. Joe, WA3CKA, and I have spent a long time on the telephone discussing how we should be doing this. We started sending the messages and after the 3rd one a plaintive voice asked "what are these fields that you are sending before the message?" OK, cart before the horse syndrome. Tonight Joe took the time to explain the ARRL radiogram format and what each field was all about. Joe studiously avoided some of the esoteric things like the handling instruction codes and the ARL numbers since we want these folks to become adept at passing a message in any format on voice. If they go on to be traffic handlers then we have exceeded our goal.

    The discussion was rather lively about the fields and why they were there and how to use them properly.

    The interesting point is that there were questions and comments about the topic. It was not just one sided. That to me was a great thing. Shows that there is some interest in this again. 12 check-ins may not be all the Hams in the Wyoming Valley but it was more than I ever expected.

    After the explanations were finished we passed two pieces of traffic on voice. I did one of them and stumbled through it which gave the net some thing to talk about and comment on. Hey, no one is totally useless. They can always serve as a bad example. That was me tonight.

    When that was finished I let the people who did not have digital capability head to the TV and the rest of us worked on passing messages using Fldigi and Flmsg. One fellow had some problems but it was training so I had the time to talk him through the changes in his configuration of Windows to get things to work.

    After that all the remaining stations took traffic from me and sent their own messages and wanted to do more than there was time for. It was actually fun. I heard from a local Ham who was monitoring after the training net was finished that he was monitoring and thought it sounded like fun. I told him to join next week. He said he would because none of the people on the net were "judgemental" about the abilities of the other net members. That is an important part of this net. You can't do anything wrong. You can only learn how to do it better.

    One of the messages I sent was one from N2NOV that I copied on the Wednesday Night NBEMS net. It brought back some good and not so good memories. The good memories were from when we used to pass RTTY pictures on 6 meters back in the 70's and 80's. The not so good memories were from that fateful day in 2001 when the world became a nightmare for some, a grey cloudy world for others, and the last day for others.

    I have attached it in text format for your viewing pleasure.

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