SATERN Net “Never’s”

Never forget the Amateur Creed. All SATERN nets are very mindful of each point in the Creed and adhere to it as a general rule.

Never attempt to transmit without having the receiver volume at listening level and tuned to the frequency you are transmitting on. It is not only bad operating practice to do soεyou cannot know whether or not you are transmitting over an active QSO.

Never tune up on the net frequency. Move off the net frequency at least 3 Khz to avoid interference to the active net. Almost all antennas and amps will still be tuned well enough once you return to the net frequency. This is especially true if you have an automatic tuner.

Never try to “out transmit” another ham when attempting to check in. Propagation conditions vary widely across the country and the world. You may be heard well on one day and not so much on another day (or in some cases the next hour). If the net control station does not hear you, please be patient. Often there is an alternate station that will assist net control that may hear you better.

Communications,by definition, is a two way process. Successful communications involves a sender of information and one or more receivers of that information. If either of these parties do not do their part in the communications process, their efforts will have been futile.

Never use the net to check out your radio if you do not intend to be a part of the net operations.

Never try to help the NCS out with relays or advice unless NCS asks for help even if you think you can.

NEVER attempt to dress down someone over the air or make disparaging comments to or about another amateur. It is not only unbecoming and unnecessary, it is discourteous to others on the net. Remember, there may be sensitive young ears listening to the net who do not need to hear your comments.

Never attempt to break into a net just to check in or to make a comment. There is only ONE occasion when a station should be allowed, or attempt to, break into a net - that occasion arises when the station breaking into the net has an emergency. The use of the words MAYDAY, BREAK or, BREAK BREAK have no place in normal directed net operations. When the words MAYDAY, or BREAK, BREAK BREAK are used, it is an Internationally recognized phase to designate an emergency and all net operations are suspended to handle the emergency.



SATERN Net “Always”

The SATERN Net Control Station has several duties. They include:

Directed Net

All SATERN Nets are directed nets. The Net Control Station (NCS) will determine who wil use the frequency at any given time. Listen to and follow all instructions from the Net Control.

In emergency communications, proper net procedures will expedite the orderly operation and flow of traffic.

When SATERN is involved in an actual emergency, the most help you can give is to be silent. That is, Learn–to–Listen. Either check into the net and stand by, or just monitor the net frequency and be ready to help if you are needed.

Check–In Procedure

DO NOT break into the net unless:

  1. You are directed to do so by Net Control
  2. You have one or more messages to deliver to the net
  3. You have an Emergency. (See the "Emergencies" procedure given below)

Wait till the Net Control (or designated relay station) asks for check–ins and do not call in the blind. If you blindly call in, you will likely be interfering with ongoing check–ins or traffic, which you may not hear, but which others are trying to copy. Remember, the net may be handling emergency traffic.

Listen more than you transmit. A simple principal, but one that is good for all amateurs checking in to follow.

The Net Control will then pick up all the stations heard, one at a time. Please be patient. Give your call–sign (when ask), slowly and phonetically. When your call–sign is acknowledged, give your first name, city and state and whether you have traffic for the net. When Net Control asks for check–ins, often several stations will respond at the same time. Please do not jump in and shout “relay”, just because you hear some of the check–in. Simply wait till the Net Control is done picking up all of the stations the net control hears, then say “relay” once. Unnecessary interference must be avoided.

Your station may not be heard by Net Control. Be courteous, wait a while to give the other stations a chance to be recognized by Net Control before you attempt to be check in again. It is much easier to be heard when there are fewer stations trying to check in. You may have to wait till the Net Control asks another strong station for relays or to call for check-ins.

You should always have a pencil and paper (or computer) handy to write down messages or instructions.

Procedure for Emergencies:

It is permissible to break into the Net if you have an emergency by using the word “Emergency” or “Mayday”. This must be done ONLY when there is an imminent danger to life and/or safety.


Check-Out Procedure

If you have to leave the net for any reason, you should inform Net Control, if at all possible. This can save time in not having to call or search for stations that have dropped off. When the frequency is clear, simply give your call-sign once and then wait to be acknowledged. When acknowledged, give your name, callsign, location, and the time of your departure.


If you hear a station that Net Control apparently does not hear, please wait till the frequency is clear & just say “relay”, once. DO NOT attempt to pick up that check–in until directed to do so by Net Control. Net Control may periodically ask for a relay for a weak station. If you hear that weak station well enough to copy, just give your callsign once. Do Not immediately try to pick up that station, because you will likely be doubling with several other relay stations, which results in nothing but interference and wasted time–a real problem in an emergency. The Net Control will select the strongest station to provide the relay, by temporally turning over the net operation to that designated relay station. After the relay station has picked up the weak station, the relay station should return the operation back to the Net Control.


Never acknowledge interference, whether it is someone tuning up, or malicious interference. It generally does no good, it further interferes with net operations, and often satisfies the intent of malicious interference, making it more likely they will continue. There are a couple exceptions, such as when another station has an emergency or a legitimate concern about SATERN’s net operations, but it is the responsibility of the Net Control to take charge and evaluate the situation.

"Contact" Procedures

Transmissions between stations are to be kept to a minimum and only under the Net Control Station’s direction (see comments on Directed Net above). If you want to contact another station, wait until the frequency is clear, and only say “Contact”. When the Net Control Station askes for the Contact, respond with your callsign and a brief request. Wait for the Net Control Station to give you permission to contact the other station. You may be asked to move off frequency, so it’s best to be prepared with an available clear frequency to use.

Comment Session

When you are solicited for your comments, be brief and to the point. There are multiple stations that will want to comment as well and often the net is time limited.

Be aware that a comment session may be suspended at any time such as when the Net is engaged in an emergency or a simulated emergency (e.g. a communications exercise). It is important to remember that the primary ministry mission of any SATERN Net is to handle emergency, priority and health and welfare messages during a disaster or other incident. Although the comment session is certainly an important ministry for SATERN, it is secondary to the primary ministry mission of message handling.

Record Keeping

In emergency operations, all stations should be able to act as a Net Control or Assistant Net Control Station. Operators should always have a pencil and paper (or computer) handy to write down call signs, messages, or instructions. They should have this material available before the net starts so as to not waste time when asked to copy call signs or messages or to take control of the Net. It is a good practice for all Net participants to write down the call signs they hear during the Net. This not only helps them learn who often checks in, but it can be vital if the Net Control Station suddenly goes off the air and another Net participant is required to take over the Net Control Station duties. Net Relay Stations are required to maintain their own list of check–ins because the Net Control Station may not have been able to copy some of the calls the Net Relay Station received.

SATERN operators should be familiar with the proper use of the ARRL radiogram and the FEMA ICS-213.

  1. ARRL Radiogram Form:
  2. ARRL Radiogram Instructions:
  3. FEMA ICS-213 Form:

Net Operators should keep an accurate record of all stations they assist as a Net Control, Assistant Net Control or Net Relay Station as well as any messages they handle. They should be prepared to send a copy or record of that information to the Net Control Station later for legal, statistical and historical purposes.

VOX Operation

Be very cautious about using VOX (Voice Operated Transmit). A cough or sneeze can wipe out part of a message. PTT (Push–to–Talk) works better for net operation, whereas a VOX often produces unwanted interference.


International SATERN SSB and Digital Nets

SATERN Net Activation Protocols:

  1. The International SATERN SSB Net protocols for increasing the level of activation are as follows:
    1. Within 12 to 24 hours of a forecasted landfall for a Major hurricane within the Net’s coverage area:
      1. The Caribbean
      2. Central America
      3. Northern part of South America
      4. The coastal United States. - especially the East or Gulf Coasts.
    2. That activation will be based upon one or more of the following factors:
      1. Current or expected conditions in the forecasted impact area.
      2. Current or expected scope of damage in the fore-casted impact area.
      3. At the request of one or more partners.
      4. At the request of official or amateur radio sources in the forecasted impact area.
      5. At the request of The Salvation Army.
  2. The International SATERN Digital Net may or may not be activated at the same time. However, when it is activated, it will follow the same protocols and guidelines as the International SATERN SSB Net.
  3. Territorial, Divisional and Local SATERN Nets will be activated whenever circumstances require that activation.
  4. Activation may include monitoring partner Nets (e.g. Hurricane Watch Net on 14.325 USB and / or 7.268 LSB) to:
    1. Provide a resource to that Net for handling Outbound Health & Welfare traffic.
    2. Be a liaison between SATERN and the other Net(s).
    3. Serve in lieu of an activation of the SATERN Net(s), depending upon the situation.

Notification(s) of Activation:

  1. Notification(s) of Activation will be published through:
    2. The National EDS website
    3. Announcements made on as many SATERN and / or other Nets as is practical.
    4. SATERN Google Group(s)
    5. Email to:
      1. Salvation Army leadership
      2. SATERN Newsletter list, when appropriate.
      3. Our domestic and international partners when appropriate.
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