Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Handiham World for 28 January 2009

Welcome to Handiham World!

Pat with boom headset micWhat is the best way to run a training net? As many of you know, we will be having a special net on the regular handiham EchoLink frequency once a month, and it will be devoted to teaching net participants how to be good net control stations and for those who do not want to be net control stations, how to be good net participants. The very first session of this net will be on the first Wednesday evening of the month at 7 PM Minnesota time. So you will need to look for us on the 145.450 MHz N0BVE repeater system, node 89680. You can connect the very same way that you always do for the daily EchoLink net. The first session will occur on Wednesday, February 4.

But let's get back to that original question: exactly what is the best way to run a training net? Jerry, N0VOE, asked me that question because he is very likely going to be the first one actually stepping up to the plate as the net control station for this new net. It's a reasonable question.

Just cover a single major topic while paying attention to good net practices otherwise.

Let's say the topic is on how to open a net. Since you are going to follow good net procedures anyway, you open the net with a short preamble and then call for participants who might have emergency traffic, then any traffic, etc., etc. You have now given good example. Take the stations checking in, then when you feel you have a quorum, go ahead and open the discussion topic. Feel free to discuss why a preamble is useful, why you should call for emergency traffic first rather than later, and so on. After the topic has been discussed for awhile, invite a net member to try it for himself or herself, right on the spot.

Do not cover more than the single major topic. This will help you maintain the focus of the net so that participants don't go wandering all around, figuratively speaking. If you feel like some playacting, pretend you are checking in while someone else does the opening. We can have a net discussion board by email afterwards, so people can say what worked and what didn't.

It need not be very long. I would say this is an absolute maximum 30 minute net. That way, we do not ask participants to commit to a long, drawn-out session that will take up an entire evening. We are likely to get more people returning to the net to learn a little bit more about proper net operation if we are prepared and stick to one simple topic.

In other news, I've heard from a couple of Window-eyes users who have had excellent success navigating the new Worldradio online publication. One reported to me that many of the ads are accessible, which can be very useful for anyone interested in the latest ham radio technology... and aren't we all?! As I expected, the Worldradio online publication is being well received by handiham members everywhere, including those who use computer screen reading software. Our hats are off to CQ Publications for making this online resource disability-friendly.

For Handiham World, I'm...

Patrick Tice