For some time, there has been a need for the revision of the Alabama Traffic Net Manual (ATNM) that governs our daily operation. The last documented revisions were February, 1982 and August, 1974.
Our elders tell us the Alabama Net began as early as 1955 using AM. In 1972, the net was called the Alabama Emergency Net (N) and later changed to the present day Alabama Traffic Net (M). The exact date as to when the net moved to its present frequency, 3965, is unknown but it is thought to be in the early 1970’s.
Net managers, net controls, net members and participants have come and gone over the years. However, the basics of the net: providing and training for traffic handling, providing communications during emergencies and a place for amateurs to meet and talk have remained the same.
The FCC recognizes the value of amateur radio, to the public, as a voluntary non commercial communications service particularly with respect to providing emergency communications. One of the reasons amateur radio exists today is because it qualifies as a public service. Just about all of the elders tell us the Alabama Net is the oldest or second oldest independent net in America. Alabama amateurs have established a reputation for outstanding public service which is of the greatest importance to our continued assignment of amateur frequencies. Our nets longevity is a credit to the men and women of the Amateur Radio Service.
We are deeply appreciative to the ATNM Manual Review Committee:
Gene McGlaughn, WB4GM
R. T. Johnson, WB4TVY
Ellis Dobbins, K4LI
Joe Minor , K4JOE
Rick Kimbrell, KC4RNF
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Section 1 Purpose
Section 2 General Operating Procedures
Section 3 Membership Requirements
Section 4 Net Manager
Section 5 Net Control Stations
Section 6 Traffic
Section 7 Emergency Operations
1.01 The Alabama Traffic Net "Mike" (referred to hereafter as the ATNM) is a state wide group of amateur radio operators dedicated to providing emergency communications. Membership from and liaison with other states are always welcome. The ATNM is a SSB net but CW stations will be acknowledged and welcomed.
1.02 The ATNM is dedicated to alleviating communication jams and to providing emergency communications where none exist as the result of a disaster. For the ATNM, an emergency is the culmination of all its preparatory efforts and will be but an intensive interlude of its daily operations.
1.03 The ATNM is an independent net with membership open to all stations who meet the specified requirements. Membership in any other organization is not a requirement. The ATNM is part of the Alabama Emergency Net System and The National Traffic System. It operates as a daily scheduled net at the time of day specified in the net preamble. An example of the current preamble is included at the end of this manual.
1.04 The rules and procedures of the ATNM are established to provide the best possible public service message communications and to provide a means of training its members in handling traffic for all occasions. The rules and procedures of the ATNM will be found generally acceptable and in good taste on a National Traffic Net.
1.05 Well trained operators in net procedures and traffic handling are essential. Mobile stations will in all probability be operating, with traffic, from the disaster area, while other stations may be operating with emergency power or damaged antennas. Situations such as these could possibly produce weak but important signals that must be listened for. When an operator does not know how to patiently listen for weak signals from a disaster area or that person does not understand how the net procedures are used, it is better to monitor the proceedings and to offer assistance when requested or invited by the Net Control Station.
1.06 The rules of the ATNM are precise as set forth in the sense of strict discipline. However, the enforcement of the rules is by voluntary mutual agreement. Discussion of the rules, procedures and the like, on the net, is appropriate but should be conducted at the direction of the Net Control. Discussion of net procedures is encouraged during regular net sessions and during off net time but not during emergency sessions.
The ATNM is a directed net. A directed net is under the command of the Net Control Station. Without first obtaining permission from the Net Control, no station may communicate with another station. There is no exception to this policy.
Member stations are encouraged to use the frequency when the net is not in a regular or an emergency session especially just prior to a scheduled net session for rag chewing, etc. All ATNM members agree to abide by the rules and procedures set forth herein and to abide by the FCC Rules and Regulations at all times.
2.01 When the net has been alerted, relative to a possible or impending communication emergency, all regularly scheduled operations are automatically deferred. The net will be considered active until such time as the Net Manager or the Net Control advises that the alert or emergency is over.
2.02 Before transmitting, organize what you have to say so that it will be brief, concise and not personal. If you wish to enter into communications with another net member, either list an informal and wait until the net is closed or, if extremely urgent, ask the Net Control for permission to temporarily leave the net. When doing so, be sure to remove your signal far enough away so as to insure that the net will have no difficulty in transmitting or receiving. Whenever possible, inform the Net Control of the frequency to which you intend to move.
2.03 In a net training session or during an actual emergency listen before transmitting. Do not transmit unless invited to do so by the Net Control or unless you have emergency or priority traffic. A single operator can cause a great amount of confusion, delay and interference, to the net, by using improper or ill advised transmitting practices. Know where the net frequency is on your equipment, be on the Net Controls frequency and the correct side band when you transmit.
2.04 Observe net schedules. Be ready to report in at roll call. Do not transmit on a net frequency during a scheduled net time whether you can hear the net or not. The net may be in session under skip conditions.
2.05 Be courteous and tactful in all situations. Do not command assistance or cooperation of stations but rather solicit and promote their help.
2.06 When reporting into the net, list all traffic with the Net Control and be sure they acknowledge your traffic and your call sign correctly.
2.07 Do not accept or start an incomplete or improper message. If you have any doubts on any part of a message, ask for a repeat or assistance. Be sure to have the complete message address. When originating a message or taking a message from the originating station, make every attempt to get the addressee's telephone number. During an emergency or a disaster, agencies such as the Red Cross may not have facilities to process incoming welfare messages. However, a local amateur might handle the message if the telephone number is included. ATNM members are strongly urged to deliver a radio gram, to its destination, within 48 hours, if possible.
2.08 All major controversial issues are decided by majority vote of the current membership. Other issues, as determined appropriate by the Net Manager, are decided by the Manager without discussion or vote being required. Full member stations desiring a change may do so by originating a formal message or a letter to the Net Manager. The message should be very exact and specific. Action will then be taken by the Net Manager to reject, deny, accept or affirm the proposal, or, if appropriate, to call for a vote of the members. Full members, in good standing, may be requested to cast one vote, yes or no, in certain matters from time to time, where a choice of action is set forth by the direction of the Net Manager on the net. Each member may decline to vote if they do not understand the issue involved. Votes by formal message are acceptable when addressed as directed by the Net Manager and will be considered as absentee votes when a member station cannot meet the scheduled net session for voting. All absentee votes must be received by the station designated to count votes by the close of the net session for voting on the particular issue. Member stations not checking into the voting session or not originating routine traffic, thereby casting their vote as prescribed, will expressly forego their right to vote on the particular issue set forth and, as such, agree to abide by the majority decision without complaint. A simple majority count of eligible votes is required to carry any issue. In case of a tie vote, the Net Manager may, at their discretion, cast one additional vote, at a later date except in the election of a Net Manager where the presiding Manager is a candidate for another term.
2.09 Net members agree to perform liaison with the Alabama Statewide CW net (ASN), Regional CW net (RN5), or other nets of the National Traffic System, to the extent of their capabilities whenever required to do so by the Net Manager or Net Control. Members are not required to participate in net liaison operations unless they are familiar with all the procedures used on those nets and they agree to do so. The purpose of the ASN liaison station is to handle traffic requiring NTS routing. The Net Control should ask for such traffic after a station has volunteered to be the ASN rep for that net session.
3.01 Membership in the ATNM is dependent upon station activity, a show of common courtesy and a demonstration of willingness to abide by the Net operating rules and procedures and the FCC Rules and Regulations Governing Amateur Radio.
3.02 Full membership requires participation of thirty (30) or more check ins within a consecutive three (3) month period and is acknowledged with a membership certificate from the Net Manager.
3.03 Associate membership is open to any station that can occasionally participate at a rate of three (3) or more check-ins within a consecutive three (3) month period. This level of participation is the minimum requirement to be maintained on the roll call in any case, for any station, whatsoever.
All member stations should read and understand Section 7 of this manual under the heading: Section 7—Emergency Operations.
The Net Manager will be elected from the current active Alabama membership by a simple majority vote of all members checking into an announced regular net session. The Manager is the elected administrative head of the Net and routinely makes administrative and policy decisions regarding its operation, as required.
4.01 It is the responsibility of and within the final authority of the Net Manager to insure smooth operation of the net, as far as possible, while providing a trained corps of net controls by rotating their assignments periodically. The Net Manager should monitor and check into every net session as far as possible without injury to themselves or their family. This is the only way to really know what is happening on or to the net. After being recognized and obtaining permission to communicate from the Net Control, the Net Manager has the prerogative of entering the net at any time to make adjustments to the nets operation as the situation may warrant.
4.02 The Net Manager appoints, on an assigned day of the week, and dismisses each Net Control at their discretion. The usual term of assignment for a Net Control is a quarter (three (3) months). However, two (2) or three (3) experienced net controls should be assigned, along with the inexperienced, so the new net controls may learn rapidly by listening and observing. The Net Manager is required to provide each Net Control with a current net roster. The Net Manager will determine when a station qualifies for membership or when member stations will be added to or removed from the roster. The judgment and decision of the Net Manager shall be final.
4.03 The Net Manager will issue and maintain a listing of Net Membership Certificates to those who qualify by participation and have observed both the ATNM and the FCC Rules and Regulations faithfully. Participation Certificates are issued only once per person per year.
4.04 After the initial three (3) month service, a Certificate is issued to each Net Control provided they have exerted efforts to observe high quality operating standards as a Net Control. A Certificate entitles that station to take over the ATNM as Net Control if required. The Net Manager maintains this list.
4.05 Items subject to mandatory vote of the membership include:
1. Change in net frequency.
2. Change in net meeting schedules for regular sessions.
3. Change in net name or purpose.
4. Change in concepts or parts of the ATNM Manual.
5. Election of a net manager.
6. Impeachment of a net manager.
7. Other issues as deemed appropriate by the net manager.
4.06 Reasons for dismissal of a Net Control need not be recorded in the ATNM records but may be, if desired. Notice to a Net Control who is dismissed will be provided by the Net Manager.
4.07 The Net Manager will customarily assume Net Control duties one day of the week for the term of their office but is not necessarily required to do so.
4.08 The Net Manager provides a monthly report to the Section Traffic Manager (STM), which includes:
1. Total number of net sessions.
2. Total number of check-ins.
3. Total number of formal messages handled.
4. Report of EMERGENCY SESSIONS AS REQUIRED.
4.09 A Net Manager may be impeached from office by a two thirds (2/3) vote of full members checking into an announced impeachment voting net session. The impeachment charge must be cosponsored by at least five (5) full Net members. An impeachment charge, duly cosponsored, may be filed with any regular Net Control who must verify the cosponsorship, must notifying the Net Manager of the impeachment proceedings and must conduct the vote session. Impeachment proceedings can only be conducted after the Net Manager has been advised of the situation, the issue and the specific voting date has been announced on every regular net session for one week (7 sessions) in advance of the vote. On the night of the impeachment session, every vote must be cast “on the air” so that everyone knows the results.
4.10 Net Manager vacancies, for any reason, will be filled by a majority vote of the membership. The regular term of office of the Net Manager is for one (1) year beginning on January 1 of each calendar year.
4.11 It is best to announce the Net Manager election proceedings, nightly, during the last week in October. The first day of November, Net Manager nominations should be called for and listed nightly on the net. Nominations should be taken for two (2) weeks. On November the 15th, nominations should be closed and the Net Manager elected. A departing Net Manager is obligated to insure the new Manager has complete ATNM records before the effective date of change.
A Net Control Station must be a net member, but does not have to be located in the State of Alabama.
The ATNM is a directed net. A directed net is under the absolute control of the Net Control Station and NO station, other than the Net Control, may communicate with another station without first obtaining the permission of the Net Control, without exception.
The Net Control must maintain tight control over the net. If they do, the entire net will follow this lead and respect them for it. A smooth operating net is designed to conclude the net business in the minimum time possible. A "directed net" has proven to be the best method to accomplish this.
The Net Control Station is responsible for establishing the net frequency and calling the ATNM into regular session within two (2) minutes of the scheduled time, by reading the net preamble. The net operation should proceed in the on the air manner specified and customary, unless there are compelling reasons for deviating from standard operating procedures. (See preamble for on the air procedure).
Seek the opportunity to serve as a Net Control. You may be the Net Control during a disaster. It is far better to make your mistakes, as we all do, on a practice session rather than during the real thing.
5.01 Net controls must identify at least once every ten (10) minutes, as per FCC Rules Section 97.119.
5.02 The authority of the Net Control extends only to the operation of the net on the air and is not concerned with the interior administration of the net.
5.03 In the event the scheduled Net Control fails to start at the designated time (within two (2) minutes), an alternate Net Control or the first station on the air will organize the net. Be cautious under this provision. The Net Control may be on but skipping over your location.
5.04 Within their scope, the authority of the Net Control Station is absolute, the decisions are final and their orders are strictly observed on an agreed to voluntary basis. As a Net Control, be courteous and tactful in all situations.
5.05 The Net Control should assign or designate stations, by their call signs, to receive traffic and to obtain their confirmation as soon as practicable after traffic is listed. Traffic should be passed according to the precedence of the message: EMERGENCY, PRIORITY, WELFARE or ROUTINE, in this order. Mobile stations with Emergency traffic should be taken first over fixed stations. This is the general rule. If possible, Emergency or priority traffic should be passed immediately after being listed. Out of state or weak signals may skip out as time passes. Consider this in determining the order in which to pass traffic. Others are waiting, so be brief and proceed with each dispatch in a business like manner towards concluding the nets regular session as quickly as practical. Because Section and Regional Nets have scheduled times of operation, out of state traffic should be passed first to allow those reps to meet their required schedules.
5.06 Ordinarily, the Net Control should not recognize a station simply saying, "Break", without giving their call sign. The transmission of an unidentified signal is prohibited by FCC Rules and Regulations and is therefore illegal.
5.07 Urgent informal traffic may be arranged for off frequency contact during roll call but not until all formal traffic has been passed. One of these stations may be needed on the net frequency. Formal traffic may be passed on the net except under circumstances where there is a compelling reason to do otherwise.
5.08 The Net Control Station may, and should, break into the net at any time when, in their opinion, it is necessary to aid in the functioning of the net and they may request any station to stand by in order to eliminate rag chewing, unauthorized transmissions or interference with the net.
5.09 Take time to listen for the weak stations or to ask the entire net to listen for a weak station or a relay as appropriate. Be slow to answer rather than hasty. However, don't delay the net needlessly. Remember, everyone is waiting and some will usually have to leave regular sessions early.
5.10 Each Net Control Station should have a copy of the FCC third party traffic rules and a list of countries with which the U.S. has third party traffic agreements. The Net Control should have a map of Alabama and know where the stations checking into the net are located so that emergency traffic may be routed, without delay, to its point of destination or to a point nearest its destination.
5.11 The Net Control is required to report the results of every Net session, especially Emergency sessions, to the Net Manager as soon as possible after the net or immediately after an Emergency session. Net reports should include, as a minimum, the following:
1. The Date of the Net.
2. Total number of check ins.
3. Total number of formal messages successfully handled.
4. Report of emergency session as required.
5. Signature of the Net Control Station.
5.12 It is the responsibility of each Net Control to honor their commitment to be present at the appointed session. When it appears that there is doubt, on the part of the Net Control, as to their ability to be present, they are obligated to notify the Net Manager of their predicament or to request another qualified Net Control to assume their responsibility, as far in advance as possible of the actual date, in order to insure smooth continuity of net operations.
5.13 An alternate net control will serve with the same authority as the scheduled net control.
Any message authorized by the FCC for amateur handling may be handled by the ATNM. International and ARRL precedence are recognized. Be familiar with the FCC third party traffic rules.
6.01 Traffic is classified to indicate the relative importance of the text and thereby to determine the order in which it is handled by the net. The handling order urgency is:
6.02 Definitions are as follows:
EMERGENCY --- Any message having life or death urgency to any person or group of persons, which is transmitted by amateur radio in the absence of regular commercial facilities. This includes official messages of welfare agencies in emergency situations requesting supplies, materials or instructions vital to the relief of stricken populace in emergency areas. Emergency messages are very rare during normal times. When in doubt, do not classify traffic as such.
PRIORITY --- Important messages having a specific time limit. Official messages not covered in the "Emergency" category. Press dispatches and other emergency related traffic not of the utmost urgency. Notification of death or injury in a disaster area, personal or official.
WELFARE --- Inquiries as to the health or welfare of someone in the disaster area are handled after the above are cleared and are designated WELFARE.
ROUTINE --- Most Amateur traffic, in normal times, will fall into this category and will bear this designation. In disaster situations, traffic labeled "Routine" should be handled last, or not at all, when circuits are busy with emergency, priority or welfare traffic.
INFORMAL --- All traffic not in a specified message format, when the desire is to have a telephone call made or to ask a specific station to engage in low priority casual conversation for any reason. Informal traffic is only used to request contact with another station.
6.03 CLARITY: When drafting messages avoid unusual words. They present a greater chance to be misunderstood, garbled or the meaning obscured. When they unavoidably occur, they may be repeated and even spelled phonetically. When repeating a word or a phrase for clarity, the operator should say, "I say again", to avoid having the word or the phrase appear twice in the text. This is particularly important when repeating numbers.
6.04 ACCURACY: Inaccuracies in traffic handling may usually be traced to
1. Speaking too fast.
2. Poor enunciation.
3. Failure of the sender to use proper message form.
4. Unnecessary remarks which cause confusion.
Messages should be sent, not read. Reading puts emphasis on certain syllables and words and deemphasis of others. You are not a broadcast announcer. Keep in mind that the receiving operator must put down what you transmit, completely and accurately.
6.05 ORIGINATING A MESSAGE: Any amateur can originate a message, either for himself or on behalf of another individual, whether such individual be a licensed amateur or not. However, it is the responsibility of the originating amateur to see that the message is in proper form before its first transmission, because under most circumstances it is improper for a relaying or delivering station to make changes. Each message originated and handled should contain the following component parts in the order given:
g. Timed filed *
* Optional with originator
Click here if you want a more printer friendly Radiogram form.
6.05.A Every message transmitted should bear a "number". For example, a message may begin with "Number Two Zero Seven, Routine." Keep a sheet with a consecutive list of numbers at your operating position. When a message is filed at your station for transmission, complete all parts of the preamble except the number, leaving this blank. When you send the message, assign a number to it from the number sheet, crossing out numbers on the sheet as they are used and making a notation, after the number, of the station to whom the message was sent and the date. Such a system is convenient for quick reference purposes. Most traffic handlers start with number ONE (1) at the beginning of each year.
6.05.B Every message has a "precedence" in amateur procedure. This will normally be "R" (Routine). It is a separate part of the preamble and is transmitted as such, not as part of the number. Other precedence are Emergency (never abbreviated), Priority and Welfare.
6.05.C ARRL Handling Instructions. The ARRL has developed a series of handling instructions for formal traffic. The definitions are repeated here to insure familiarity for all ATNM stations.
Handling Instructions (HX) are a seldom used but a useful tool in handling messages. They are for the purpose of conveying any special instructions to handling and to delivering operators. When used, The pro sign is inserted in the message preamble between the precedence and the station of origin. Its use is optional with the originating station, but once inserted is mandatory with all relaying stations. The following definitions apply:
HXA --- (Followed by a number.) Collect land line delivery authorized by addressee within __ miles. (If no number, authorization is unlimited.)
HXB --- (Followed by a number.) Cancel message if not delivered within __ hours of filing time; service origination station.
HXC --- Report the date and time of delivery to the originating station.
HXD --- Report to the originating station the identity of the station to which the message was relayed, plus the date and time, or if delivered, report the date, the time and the method of delivery.
HXE --- Delivering station get reply from addressee, originate message back.
HXF --- (Followed by number.) Hold delivery until …(date).
Example: NR. 43 R HXF 15 W4RQS CK 12 … (etc.)
HXG--- Delivery by mail or land line toll call not required. If toll or other expense is involved, cancel message and service originating station.
If more than one HX pro sign is used, they can be combined if no numbers are to be inserted, otherwise the HX should be repeated:
NR. 43 R HXAC W4RQS … (etc.)
NR. 43 R HXA50 HXC W4RQS … (etc.)
On phone, use standard approved phonetics for the letter(s) following the HX, to insure accuracy.
6.05.D The "station of origin" is the call of the station from which the message was first sent by amateur radio and is included so that handling stations will be able to communicate with the originator if something interferes with the prompt handling or the delivery of the message.
6.05.E The "check" is the number of words and numerals in the text of the message. Normally, the maximum number of words in a single radio gram is twenty five (25). Handling stations should agree on the check before the message is considered handled.
6.05.F The "place of origin" is the name of the place (city or town) from which the message was started, not necessarily the location of the station of origin. If a message is sent to your station by mail or otherwise not filed in person, the preamble should show the place the message originally came from. Any message received at an amateur station by any means other than amateur radio is an origination when put on an amateur circuit by that station.
6.05.G The "time filed" is the time at which the message is received at the station from which it is to be sent and is optional.
6.05.H "Date"; the month and the day of the month that the message was filed at the originating station. The year is not necessary. If the filing time is GMT, be sure the date agrees.
6.05.I The "address" is the name, street and number, city and state of the party to whom the message is being sent. The telephone number, if known, should be part of the address. A complete address should always be given to insure delivery. When accepting messages for origination, this point should be stressed.
6.05.J The "text" consists of the words in the body of the message. The maximum text count should be twenty five (25). A single message with more than twenty five (25) should be divided into two (2) or more messages. No abbreviations should be substituted for the words in the text of the message. The text follows the address and is set off from the signature.
Counting Words in A Message. The amateur message "check" is the count of the number of words in the text only. It is essentially an "as sent" count. While it is assumed that the rules of grammar and spelling will be followed, the check count is determined principally by the spacing used by the transmitting operator in sending the text. Since the first operator to transmit the message is the originating station, who enters the check in the preamble, this check should carry through to the destination.
The relaying operator has no authority to change the check unless it is definitely determined that the check, as it was received, is incorrect. If the check is found to be in error, then the receiving station should confirm with the transmitting operator before making the change. When such a change is made, the original check should remain in the preamble. Example: Original check of 10 corrected to 9. The check is a means for insuring accuracy and completeness. It also indicates, to the receiving operator, how many words the message will contain.
All numbers, ciphers, mixed groups, and punctuation each count as one in the check.
The principle of counting words can be illustrated by a few of the following examples:
John J. Doe 3 words
New York City 3 words
NYC 1 word
4CX1000A 1 word
56 1 word
Fifty Six 2 words
6.06 Responsibility. Amateurs who originate messages for transmission or who receive messages for relay or for delivery are accepting the responsibility of clearing the message from their station, on its way to its destination, in the shortest possible time. No amateur is required to accept or to handle a message. However, once you have accepted a message, it is your responsibility to see that it is relayed onward or delivered. It is strictly unethical in amateur practice to "dead end" any message. Any amateur who does so may destroy a reputation, for responsibility, that other amateurs have worked for decades to establish.
6.07 Service Message. Whenever a message is received which has an insufficient address for delivery and no information can be obtained from the telephone book or the city directory, a service message should be written and sent to the station of origin asking for a better address or advising that the message cannot be delivered at all. Service messages should not be sent to the station from where you received the message. Service messages are also used to make any other inquires concerning the status of a particular message the servicing station is holding. When sending a "service" message, it is customary to indicate its nature by using the word "service" preceding the number in the preamble. Service messages should receive the same precedence as the message they are servicing.
6.08 Delivering or Relaying the Message. Delivery is the object of all message handling. That is the culmination of all efforts in traffic handling. A message should be delivered as soon as it is within non toll telephone range. In practice we must use our judgment about such things, depending on the urgency, and the time of night, etc. Talk clearly, explain who you are, give your call sign and indicate that you have a message or a greeting that was handled by amateur radio. Offer to handle a reply, as appropriate.
6.09 The accepted rule is that traffic must be relayed or delivered within 48 hours after receipt, if possible. The general public is conditioned to instant communications and no one will be impressed with messages, even free ones, which are slower than the mail and, in some cases, slower than walking!
6.10 MARS (Military Affiliate Radio System) traffic may be handled by amateurs provided specific changes are made in refiling. MARS formatted traffic is unauthorized on the amateur radio bands. All MARS members are expected to be familiar with conversion requirements for transmission by U.S. Amateurs.
THE NET MANAGER AND ALL NET CONTROL STATIONS
SHOULD UNDERSTAND THIS SECTION THOROUGHLY
The same general net operating rules and procedures are to be followed during an emergency operation. A good net operator is a good emergency operator. If one can handle ordinary traffic efficiently, then they can handle emergency traffic just as efficiently. In emergency work, the trained operator is not faced with the problem of HOW to do it, but rather with the problem of WHAT to do.
The international distress call, "MAYDAY", should it be heard, is sufficient reason to stop ALL net operations including the passage of emergency traffic, to ask the entire net to remain silent and to copy the distress message. It is extremely important that all stations remain absolutely silent and copy this traffic because it may be transmitted blind and the capability to repeat the "MAYDAY" message may be limited.
7.01 Communication Emergencies. The occurrence of a disaster does not, in itself, constitute a communications emergency. Regardless of how severe a disaster may be, if normal or adequate facilities exist there is no communication emergency. Quite often we fail to distinguish between communication emergencies and the disaster itself and we are overly enthusiastic to create our own communications emergency. Remember that amateur services will probably be called upon only as a last resort. Therefore, be sure that there is a need for the services of the ATNM before activating the net on an emergency basis.
7.02 Emergency Sessions. Any Net Control Station may call the ATNM into emergency session if they have sufficient reason or justification. In the absence of a regular net control, any member may assume duty as net control until such time as the scheduled net control or the Net Manager is available for duty. Be reasonably sure of the situation before you act. False alarms are not well received by members who defer other activities to participate in an ATNM false alarm. The American Red Cross, Civil Defense or Alabama law enforcement agency officials will ordinarily know the disaster situation and request assistance during an emergency if they are aware of the potential capability of the ATNM and if they need our services.
7.03 Every Net member is urged to have station facilities capable of emergency power source operation with their regular antenna. Under normal conditions a few watts with a good antenna are adequate for communications anywhere in the state. The Net Control will clear the net frequency from undue interference by requesting interfering stations to move or QRT. Remember, it is a serious violation of law to deliberately interfere with emergency communications and a clear frequency can be legitimately requested and can be expected in a true emergency. Direct contact with the disaster area will frequently be by portable, mobile or emergency powered stations with weak signals.
7.04 When an emergency arises unexpectedly, things may or can go wrong. Everyone, even respected officials, can get excited and will be prone to make hasty and not too well thought out decisions and recommendations, which can result in the all too familiar disorganized scramble of unprepared "do gooders" offering their obviously superior skills and equipment to the cause, which will only add to the confusion. Thus, the more the emergency procedure can be resolved or reduced to steps previously thought out during times of low or no pressure, the better off we will be at the crucial time. The Net Manager is the "boss" of net operations. Yet, when a net control is in charge of an emergency session, they will serve as an assistant to the Net Manager. Everyone else should follow orders and assist as requested. Otherwise, there is no point in having net officials trained for emergency operations.
7.05 Monitor the ATNM Frequency. It is the ideal way of being available to assist when an emergency arises or when you hear a possible call from a distressed station at any time. Keep transmissions short and pause a few seconds every now and then to listen for weak stations (especially mobiles) trying to call in with traffic. Mobile stations with Emergency traffic have the very highest priority of all communications, deserve prompt handling and a clear frequency.
7.06 Avoid Spreading Rumors. During an emergency, ALL addressed transmissions should be officially authenticated as to their source. They should be repeated word for word, if at all, and only when specifically authorized.
7.07 FCC Emergency Declarations. Section 97.401 of the Amateur Rules and Regulations sets down procedures for emergency declarations. The FCC may designate an emergency area and frequency segments or bands to be used exclusively for communications concerning the emergency condition. Amateur stations designated (by the FCC) may be called upon to assist in spreading the word and in assisting to monitor and advise non complying stations. Such stations may operate within the emergency segments or bands, but preferably should operate on frequencies just adjacent to these segments or bands, in order to avoid any possibility of QRM to the emergency operation.
In advising other stations of the emergency, they will refer to Section 97.401, the date of the FCC's announcement, the area affected, and the bands or band segments designated for exclusive emergency operation. Beyond giving full information, they should not discuss the declaration.
These special conditions will apply until the FCC officially terminates the emergency declaration.
Only the ATNM Net Manager (or the appointed alternate Net Manager), going through proper ARRL Section channels, can request the FCC Engineer in Charge, of the district concerned, to declare a state of emergency.