New Zealand Net News Nr 4, 18 May 2019

This is a fortnightly newsletter about the New Zealand Net.
If you would like to subscribe, please contact ZL1NZ.

Net milestones

This week we set a new record for the number of check-ins to a net session, with seven stations QNI yesterday. And, just as great, I counted five QSOs, one after another, on 3535 following the net. It’s been a long time since I heard so much CW that wasn’t merely “5NN TU”.

Also this week, ZL2GD did his “first” stint as Net Control Station when I was out for the evening. I say “first” because Grant did such a good job I hope he’ll become a regular NCS. He received traffic from VK3DRQ and relayed it to me the following evening, along with his own traffic. Thanks Grant.

I’m still looking for more NCS volunteers, so let me know if you’d like to give it a go.

It’s nice to hear ZL2WT checking in again this past week after his trip to Brazil – even if David reminds us that the weather is always nice in Hawke’s Bay – while the rest of us are shivering.

Website gets new look

Just to prove that CW ops are not entirely behind the times, I have finally rebuilt the radio1nz.com website, which includes the NZ Net pages. The site is now “mobile-friendly”, so should be much easier to use on a small screen. The redesign means it also adapts much better to large screens too.

The NZ Net webpages are at radio1nz.com/nz-net and if you find anything broken on those pages, please let me know.

Net tip: The fascinating world of signal reports

When checking into the net, it’s customary to exchange signal reports with the Net Control Station. But feel free to also give a signal report to other stations you’ve heard check in before you. If there are quite a few of them, you could put them in a list, and even abbreviate the callsigns if you like, e.g.

RST NZ 589 LDY 599 WT 579, etc.

Which brings us to a question I was asked recently when someone heard an unfamiliar type of signal report during the net. So I thought I’d run through the four (yes, four!) types of signal report you might encounter on NZ Net or elsewhere.

  1. RST. We tend to use this one most, because it’s familiar to all hams (it’s been around since the 1930s). But RST has some limitations, which I’ll come to in a moment.
  2. QRK/QSA. This one is favoured by the old-time commercial operators. QRK is Readability and QSA is Signal Strength, and both are on a scale of 1 to 5. So a perfect signal is “QRK5 QSA5”.
    Try this one the next time you work K6KPH and you’ll probably get the same sort of report in return. It is also the preferred method for the annual Maritime Radio Day event.
  3. A shorter form of QRK is just Q#. Readability is, after all, the most important part of the report, so sometimes we save time by just sending Q1 (if unreadable) up to Q5 (perfect copy).
  4. RSN is an attempt by some VK amateurs to try and address the shortcomings of RST. The “N” stands for Noise. Because virtually all transmitters now have perfect Tone, the T is seldom useful – but we do have very high levels of Noise these days.
    As an example, if we send a report of RST 369, the other guy has no way of knowing why his readability is mediocre. Is it QRM? QRN? QSB? Perhaps even QSD?
    By sending a report such as “RSN 368,” he will understand that, although his strength is a respectable S6, the Noise is stronger at S8, so he’s losing the battle.
    RSN reports haven’t caught on yet, but you may hear them occasionally. What do you think of them?

I suggest using the method that seems most useful (and most likely to be understood) in the circumstances. And please let us know if you have heard or used other methods!

Full definitions of signal reporting systems

Coming events

Sangster Shield is this weekend of course. GL to you if you’re participating. I hope you have QRN1 and QRK5.

Straight Key Night is fast approaching. It’s on Sunday 9 June. Details are at maritimeradio.org/skn

Suggestions?

If you have suggestions on how to make the 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!