In August we set another record, with 145 check-ins to the NZ Net. Here’s the monthly net report for those who were not QNI on 2 Sept when it was sent to all stations:
NR54 R ZL1NZ 37/34 AUCKLAND 0900Z 2SEP19
AUGUST QNI ZL1AJY 3 ZL1BWG 6 ZL1NZ 22 ZL1RD 13
ZL2GD 17 ZL2JU 1 ZL2LN 7 ZL2WT 11 ZL3NB 1
ZL3RX 8 ZL4CU 12 ZL4KX 10 ZL4LDY 17 VK3DRQ 17
TOTAL 145 QTC 11
and here’s a little graph of stations checking in (left hand scale) and total check-ins:
Station and operator news
Dave ZL4LDY is currently off air, due to a problem at the ZL2KS remote station, so ZL1NZ is filling in as Net Control on Thursdays and Fridays.
Will ZL1RED in Te Puke checked into the Net for the first time on Friday 6 September and we are glad to have him aboard. Will is running 80W to a Broadband Butterfly Terminated Dipole.
Conditions make it tough
After a record-breaking month in August, we have gone into a slump, with just four check-ins each evening during the first week of September.
This may be due to the atrocious conditions that have hit 80 metres. Signal strengths have dropped, noise is up and the QSB is aggressive.
I hope you won’t be discouraged by these conditions. With net members spread around the country we should always be able to hear someone – and this is great practice for QSP (relay) and QNG1 (sharing Net Control duties). So, the more stations that check into the Net, the better it works!
Traffic handling in such conditions isn’t impossible either. One night this week, ZL2GD took traffic from VK3DRQ (making use of the QSZ signal, which means “send each word twice”) and then relayed it to me. There can be a lot of satisfaction in doing this kind of operating, especially when you hear “QSL” through the static at the end!
Recordings of CW nets in the 1990s
A few recordings of US CW nets back in the heyday of formal message handling are at the bottom of this page.
But, as they say, nostalgia isn’t what it used to be. 🙂
Net tip: the “BN” fill
In the last newsletter I talked about how to acknowledge a message that you’ve received. This assumed that every word was clearly copied, and the total number of words matched the Check numbers. So, after a suitable pause to review the message and count up the words, you would acknowledge with “QSL.”
But what happens if you miss something and need a repeat? Or maybe you copied everything but a word just looks “wrong” (maybe the sending op made a mistake).
In formal traffic handling, it is very common to ask for part of a message to be repeated. We refer to repeats as “fills” and there are several types.
The most useful type of fill, in my opinion, is the “BN” or “Between” fill. One of the reasons I like it, is that you don’t have to know how many words you missed due to that big burst of QRM/QRN or whatever. You just need to give the sending operator the last word you copied clearly and then the first word you got when you resumed copying.
Using the example above (the monthly net report), after the receiving operator hears the end of message signal they might reply with:
BN 0900Z ZL1BWG
The sending operator then responds as follows. A BN fill always includes the last word copied correctly and the first word copied correctly so there is no ambiguity. Also, we don’t clutter things up by sending “R” or “K” or “BK”, etc. as these could be misunderstood as part of the message.
0900Z 2SEP19 = NZ NET = AUGUST QNI ZL1AJY 3 ZL1BWG
Let’s say the receiving operator still had trouble and didn’t copy the entire fill. They could then reply with something like:
BN NET ZL1AJY
and the sending op would send
NET = AUGUST QNI ZL1AJY
and so on until the fill has been copied. Then the receiving operator might ask for other fills, or send the Wait signal while they review the message and compare the word count with the Check.
More to come in the next NZ Net News.
If you have suggestions on how to make the NZ Net better, or things you’d like to see covered in these updates, please contact ZL1NZ. You might even like to write something for the newsletter.
Thanks for reading, and I hope to see you soon on the NZ Net!
Neil Sanderson ZL1NZ, Net Manager
New Zealand Net (NZ NET)
3535.0 kHz at 9pm NZT Mon-Fri