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Last week's article about bad operators and their terrible habits that disrupt nets brought some comments. This commentary from John, N1UMJ, pretty much tells the story:
I find lately that my biggest problem is the one who breaks in without listening. I run many nets: a monthly RACES net, a weekly ARES net, and several NTS nets throughout the week. I'm hearing more and more of this on 2 meters. After the net, someone tells me, "Oh yeah, I know him - he's on EchoLink all the time."
That puts my problems in high gear. I even had one who, when advised there was a net going on, said, "I know", and kept talking to his party. I was at a state RACES office that day, so I had to be professional and polite. The repeater trustee helped with that one because politeness wasn't working.
Usually though, if they want to talk to someone during a net, as the clueless op might want to do, I very nicely and tactfully explain that it would be appreciated if they'd stick around and ask questions after the net and the person they want will surely stick around if they ask in the closing comments. That almost always works.
The Mr. Know-it-all type is not so common. I haven't had many of them, but the couple we've had, I just let him be his own worst enemy to be honest, unless he's really annoying, in which case I secure him or as NCS just don't give him a chance when I can see it coming. Luckily, the Know-it-alls are not the nightly check-ins.
I don't have the low life or politics person on any nets on which I am the net control station, but I think I'd probably again, go with telling them to keep that for another time.
I don't have the nontechnical guy as you mention it, because I refuse to run a net on any repeater with EchoLink. Echolink does seem to cause a lot of problems, but on HF or 2 meters with more and more radios having complicated adjustments, I advise them of the problem and explain some people checked in to the net want to get out, but if they'll stick around for after the net I'll help them straighten the technical problem out.
I haven't really experienced the late person or the one who talks too much. If you're going to be late for a net though, I often find that if you listen for a few minutes before checking in, a little patience goes a long way and you can catch up without being a problem.
As I said, I run a lot of nets, and I've probably run in to just about every situation at one time or another.
My favorite was the time we had a dam almost let go in my city.
Picture this: The Emergency Operations Center (EOC) is active because the shelter is open. Someone comes on the repeater calling the EOC to ask how he can drive through the city without having traffic trouble, and no one's answering. We had the repeater on to talk from the EOC to the shelter, but we had other duties as well, especially if the shelter had us on the phone with private info or something.
Well, this guy starts yelling and screaming about what kind of EOC was it that wouldn't answer his questions and he was going to report them and stuff. The EOC wasn't using the repeater full time and thus didn't take over it to keep people off, but he was asked to refrain from use of the repeater in a phone call from the trustee for the rest of that event and he stayed off.
It's a shame there are people like that. It was just another time that it was very hard to be polite about it, but you really have to be. I was getting my two hours of sleep when that was going on, in my off shift and did get on and explain that a phone call was the best way to get his info and the repeater was not being used for requests like his because everyone was doing a million things and busy, but he's also the one that comes in to nets and tries to change topics and almost no one talks to him anymore because he hasn't changed in 18 years.
So, there are a few stories. It does happen, I see it more and more in recent years, but luckily it's not real bad yet and 9 times out of 10, there is a tactful way to handle it without causing any issues. When there isn't, I quit.
Thanks, John! And thanks to all of you long-suffering net controls out there who somehow manage to keep your cool. We really appreciate what you do.