For several years a group of FCARC members have been holding an
informal slow speed CW practice net on the 80 meter band. We call
ourselves the Snail Net. Some of us never had to take a Morse Code
test to get our licenses, others had not used code for a while,
felt rusty, and wanted to rebuild the skill. When the net began
the usual speed was 5 words per minute or less; most members are
now comfortable going faster than that, but we are willing to slow
down if others want to join us.
On Sunday and Wednesday evenings, at about 7:55 p.m., you will hear an announcement on the Leyden 2 meter repeater from the person who will be
the Snails' net control station (NCS) that evening. The frequency to be used
will be announced (usually 3.530 MHz, but subject to change if there
would be interference). At 8 p.m. the NCS will call
the net up on that frequency. In random order, stations expected to
participate are queried "W1XXX QNI? KN", and then a general call is
made for anyone else who wishes to join: "SNAIL NET de [NCS call]
When the NCS has a list of participants (sometimes only one or two, sometimes
as many as six or more) each participant is invited to say something:
"W1XXX QRU? KN". After running through the list there will be another invitation for stations to join the net ("SNAIL NET de [NCS call] QNI? K") and
any newcomers will be given a chance to say something ("W1YYY QRU? KN").
Then there will be an opportunity for anyone who wants to say more ("QRU? K").
Finally net control will close the net with "QNF 73".
The net will continue for a variable time, depending upon how many participants
check in and how much they have to say. Typically it lasts 20 minutes to a half hour. The Net Control station continues listening to the KB1BSS 2 meter repeater during the net in case a station has difficulty or for some other reason wants to communicate by voice. After the CW net closes the NCS will ask for comments on the repeater; this is a chance for participants to discuss any problems they had on CW, as well as for anyone who was just listening or who had trouble being heard on CW to join in. This often leads to a more general conversation, and others listening to the repeater may join in.
As mentioned above, the Snail Net uses a few standard "Q" signals, as well
as a few of the standard abbreviations used by CW operators to speed up
conversations. Because CW is inherently slower than voice, and because this
net is by intention a slow speed net abbreviations are necessary. Also, a defined protocol is important to prevent confusion and unnecessary repetition.
We have defined and occasionally updated a Snail Net Protocol document which
on the website (click here).
All are welcome. If you are not within range of the FCARC KB1BSS 2 meter repeater you are still welcome. If you have problems or comments and can't
communicate via our repeater please send e-mail to N1AW at
ASW rev 2013-10-10