NZ Net: Guide for newcomers

The New Zealand Net opens with a fairly long call by the Net Control Station (NCS), such as:

VVV VVV VVV CQ CQ CQ NZ NET NZ NET DE ZL1NZ ZL1NZ ZL1NZ QND QNZ QNI PSE K

This long call enables net stations to carefully zero-beat NCS.

It’s helpful if net stations use the most common Q Signals. But don’t wait to learn them all, jump in and NCS will spell things out if needed.

In the example above:

QND = The net is directed (under control of the NCS)
QNZ = Please zero-beat my frequency
QNI = Please check in now

To check in, send your callsign once. Tail-ending (calling right after another station) is OK.

NCS will acknowledge your check-in (in order) by sending your callsign, your signal report, and either “QRU” (I have no traffic for you) or “QTC” (I have traffic for you).

You respond with a signal report for NCS and either QRU or QTC. For example, if you have one message for ZL4YY, you could send:

GE 599 QTC1 ZL4YY

NCS will then ask you to wait, using the prosign <AS>. It’s a good idea to be familiar with CW abbreviations and CW prosigns but NCS will spell out if needed.

(You are asked to wait, even if you have no traffic, in case another station checks in with traffic for you, or you are needed as a relay.)

NCS will keep calling for checkins until no more responses.

If conditions are poor, NCS may ask one or more stations on frequency to make a call as temporary net control:

ZL4LDY PSE QNG1 (“Please make ONE call as net control”)

ZL4LDY then calls CQ. If they hear a check-in, they acknowledge the station and get their QRU or QTC and then call again, until they have made one call with no response. They check whether NCS has heard the check-in(s) and relay to NCS if necessary. If no check-ins were heard, they send “NIL” and NCS resumes control.

If you are sitting on the side and hear a check-in that no one else hears, please send QSP (“I can relay”) and NCS will ask you to GA (“Go ahead”) and pick up the check-in.

Once it is clear there are no more check-ins, NCS will send a list of all stations in the net (in the order they checked in), for example:

QNS ZL2XX ZL1XYZ ZL3NN ZL4YY QNN ZL1NZ

NCS will then excuse any stations not needed for traffic, but please feel free to stay and listen:

ZL1XYZ ZL3NN QRU QNX TKS 73 (DIT DIT)

ZL1XYZ replies: 73 (DIT DIT)

ZL3NN replies: 73 (DIT DIT)

NCS then links up the remaining stations to exchange traffic. If ZL2XX has traffic for ZL4YY, NCS would send:

ZL2XX QNK ZL4YY (“Send your traffic to ZL4YY on this frequency”)

ZL2XX would then call ZL4YY:

ZL4YY DE ZL2XX QTC1 HW?

ZL4YY replies with a signal report and “QRV” (I am ready to copy) or asks NCS to arrange a relay if needed.

Traffic gets exchanged. (Learn about message formats and traffic handling procedures)

When all traffic has been successfully received (receiving stations send “QSL”), NCS closes the net:

NW QRU TKS ALL STATIONS QNF 73 ES GN <AR> DE ZL1NZ <VA>


The info above is a very quick introduction to the New Zealand Net. If you haven’t participated in a CW net, it might sound complicated, but don’t worry, just listen to a few sessions and you’ll get the hang of it pretty quickly.

Here’s what an actual net sounds like:

Ready to give it a go?

Just check into the NZ Net with traffic to send or, if you’d like to practise receiving a message, send “QTC?” when you check in and NCS will send you a message.