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Amateur radio operating procedures

Amateur Radio operators must use call signs and special operating procedures whenever they get on the air.

Introduction

Checking the frequency

Before calling first check to see if the frequency is in use.

Is the frequency in use? This is VK3FOWL.

Calling CQ

To call any stations listening on the frequency. Call CQ – it is short for Seek You - and identify yourself.

CQ CQ CQ this is VK3FOWL

Calling a Station or Replying to a Call

Simply use their call sign first followed by your own. Remember: They always go first – It’s only polite.

VK3YSP this is VK3FOWL

What to talk about and what not to talk about

  • Always be polite: Say good morning or good afternoon.
  • Always mention the other operator’s name as it makes it more personal.
  • Don’t mention any private details like your full name and address or touchy subjects.
  • Remember there are always short-wave listeners and other operators listening to you.
  • The first thing you should do is to give your first name and approximate location, like the name of your suburb, but not the name of your school.
  • You can provide a signal report, a weather report, the band conditions, the type of radios and antennas you are using, what you are doing today, who you have contacted recently etc.
  • If you can’t think of anything to say, just ask questions about the same things.
  • Always try to finish with a question as it keeps the conversation going.

Net operation

When three or more stations are sharing the same frequency it is called operating in a “net”. When operating in a net, each station takes it in turn to speak to the others. You have to remember your place in the net and when you have finished pass it on to the next station in line. You need to keep the net going even if you have nothing to say:

VK3YSP, this is VK3FOWL. All received Joe. Nothing more here. You’re next Amanda. VK3FQSO, this is VK3FOWL. Over.

Signing off

When you have finished your contact don’t forget to say thanks.

VK3YSP this is VK3FOWL. 73 Joe and thanks for the QSO.

Preparation

You will need:

  1. A table and chairs
  2. Pens and paper
  3. A microphone (not connected to a radio)

Activity

  1. Everyone makes up their own call sign
  2. As net controller, you invite stations to call into your net, clockwise around the table. When they have finished calling in, read out the order of the stations, then pass to the first station in line.
  3. Each student answers the call, makes some comments, asks questions and passes the microphone to the next in line.

Girl using transceiver writing in log book  Girl using transceiver operating microphone PTT switch

Homework
  1. Make up a call sign for each member of your family or group.
  2. Practice calling each other.
  3. Play a game like "Simon Says". Only one person can talk at a time. Don't respond to anyone unless they call you using the proper procedure.