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pressing on tirelessly
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Funny, sort of off the topic but still radio related: While sitting in the rally car listening to the net, we saw a Subie of some sort come flying across the finish with the brakes glowing bright red. The radio operator almost had a fit trying to get someone to go tell the driver that his brakes were on fire. We wanted to break into the net to tell him that was normal but held off so as not to interrupt.
Funny, sort of off the topic, and non-radio-related commentary: I've come into a finish with my brakes glowing red and had some guy run up with a fire extinguisher all set to insta-freeze my rotors. Nearly blew out my codriver's eardrums yelling "NO NO NO NO!" into the intercom.
 

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The biggest thing to remember when working Radio at a Rally is to Listen and Shut Up. If your assignment is a Radio Operator then your job is to listen to the Net and answer their questions when they ask. If they can't raise you, the stage has to stop. Net Control doesn't need to know every little thing that happens on your stage. If the problem can be taken care of in the woods, take care of it and don't bother Net Control.
The biggest frustration I've had at Rallys is to have the information that Net Control needs, but not be able to get into the Net because too many other people were talking about stuff that was not important at that time.
The Nets I've seen that work the best use a Tactical to call in, and Call Sign when your done. The Tactical lets everybody know where you are, Stage 2 Start, which helps everybody know what's going on. You don't get to talk until Net Control acknowledges you, they may have other things going on that you can't hear, another radio, phone, lunch who knows. When they acknowledge you, you transmit your information or question. This may involve a few back and forth communications. When you are all done with what you needed to say you give your Call Sign. Net gives their Call Sign. This lets Net Control and everybody else know that you are done talking and someone else can now talk. It always good to wait a couple of seconds to see if someone else has a transmission that is more important than yours. Of course if you are too polite you will never get in.
Think about what you are going to say before you say it, ask yourself how important is it that Net Control get this information, and proceed accordingly.
Remember, Net Control is usually no where near the Rally, they make all the decisions but you are their eyes and ears. They need good information, so they can make good decisions.

Rally On!
Kevin D
 

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Mostly TSD Weenie
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Discussion Starter #23
Think about what you are going to say before you say it, ask yourself how important is it that Net Control get this information, and proceed accordingly.
Remember, Net Control is usually no where near the Rally, they make all the decisions but you are their eyes and ears. They need good information, so they can make good decisions.

Rally On!
Kevin D
All good information. That last part is very dependent on the type of net being used. Some stages are single repeater with stage comms going through net. Typically a long stage in hilly terrain. In that case, every off becomes something that needs to be reported, but if the stage can be worked simplex, then only the comms related to entry of car 0, going hot and stage complete are necessary.
 

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Spectator Wrangler
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As a short response to this great thread, closing your transmission with the call does things. It lets the NCS station know that you are through passing information as well as satisfying the FCC ID reg. I have worked events where one signed into the net at the beginning and used tactical only until signing out of the net many hours later. I was never comfortable with that procedure. That was many years ago and that event now works the same as all the rest I work. It's one consequence of adding "rally" hams to the net as opposed to our early reliance on local hams only. As many hams now travel to other events, it's very useful to standardize comm procedures.
 

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R6 L6 R6< 800
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All good stuff. I smile about the radio people who have no problem breaking traffic laws but go apoplectic at a missing station id. Just call me crazy, but how often is the small stuff sweated, while the major things go onto the back burner.
 

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You don't get to talk until Net Control acknowledges you, they may have other things going on that you can't hear, another radio, phone, lunch who knows. When they acknowledge you, you transmit your information or question.
Rally On!
Kevin D
Started reading through this and I thought I'd give a bump to an old thread to add something and point out something good.

The point Kevin brings up is great. Please note that I haven't worked a rally before or (sadly) attended one with my ham yet. However the ~200+ hours in a plane that I have logged proves this is a good practice. Flying into a controlled airport say ~25 miles out, approach may be extremely busy. Typically the conversation goes:

me: "Joe Foss approach November five-four Bravo with you on one-two-five point eight-zero"
appr: "five-four bravo go ahead"
me: "November five-two-five-four bravo is cessna Skywagon twenty-four to the north at flight level three-five with Juliet inbound to land" (juliet being the weather information I have)

Approach will then have me squak and a bunch of other stuff. Granted we do this a lot because some center stations may transmit or receive on multiple freqs. In addition sometimes you simply can not reach a center station due to proximity. It's no good if you're blabbing on the wrong freq or they can't hear you. Again, there's multiple reasons why we do this but its a good way to establish communication.

Also, any acknowledgement is ended with your n-number.

appr: "five-four bravo squak one-two-eight-three"
me: "one-two-eigth-three for five-four bravo"

Which sounds a lot like what everyone is already doing.

keep up the good practices and I'll see you guys at a rally sometime hopefully!
 

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I have worked events where one signed into the net at the beginning and used tactical only until signing out of the net many hours later. I was never comfortable with that procedure.

Same. I've worked net control at events that tended in that direction. I always encourage people to ID once every 10 minutes or at the end of an exchange, because I find it keeps the locals happier. It's easy to forget that we can seem like interlopers on "their" turf when we suddenly show up en masse with our tactical callsigns and weird jargon. Following the rules, however arbitrary they can seem, helps make us seem like good neighbors.

(And yeah, I realize I'm replying to a 5 year old post, but it's a good topic.)

PS: Pet peeve: If someone has a stuck mic, it does no good to key up and say "we have a stuck mic on the frequency." The one person who can do something about it can't hear you because they're stuck in "transmit" instead of "receive." ;)
 

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Spectator Wrangler
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Same. I've worked net control at events that tended in that direction. I always encourage people to ID once every 10 minutes or at the end of an exchange, because I find it keeps the locals happier. It's easy to forget that we can seem like interlopers on "their" turf when we suddenly show up en masse with our tactical callsigns and weird jargon. Following the rules, however arbitrary they can seem, helps make us seem like good neighbors.

It's not part of this thread keeping the locals happy is very important. Several years ago,after Sno*Drift, local users filed a complaint with the FCC regarding lack of IDs ( tactical calls) and use of codes (rally jargon). The organizers scrambled to answer the complaint and clarify our use. They did so successfully. We had had the enthusiastic support of the repeater trustee before and after the complaint. We suspected that some old-time ham was kept from his use of the repeater and filed the complaint. It was the perfect repeater, smack dab in the center of the event. We no longer use that one and use one much farther east with much poorer coverage.

PS: Pet peeve: If someone has a stuck mic, it does no good to key up and say "we have a stuck mic on the frequency." The one person who can do something about it can't hear you because they're stuck in "transmit" instead of "receive." ;)


Mine too. I work races in the summer and the same thing happens there. At least there, most people with radios are in sight and one can either look to see who's transmit light is on or figure out who's voice or conversation is being overheard.
 
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