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Re: You too can be an NCS

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  • Robert Crifasi
    Vivian, Your question What is NCS? startled me at first. When I posted the message you responded to I was sure anyone on this forum would know. Then I
    Message 1 of 1 , Aug 8, 2006
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                  Your question "What is NCS?" startled me at first. When I posted the message you responded to I was sure anyone on this forum would know. Then I thought about it for a moment. Why would everybody know? It wasn't much more than a year ago I had little more than a clue what it meant. Since then I've taken the full series of ARRL ECC courses and several FEMA courses. This has caused me, in part, to forget that most of the world has not heard these terms and does not know what their importance may be to a radio operator in an emergency. Given that this is a new forum, welcoming new radio operators, as well as non-operators, your question is a very good one.

                  NCS very simply stands for Net (short for network) Control Station. When several radio operators gather on a frequency and begin a discussion, you will occasionally find two or more of them transmitting at the same time. This situation is usually called "doubling".  When this occurs the transmission usually is unintelligible and it is almost impossible to recognize who was transmitting. This being the case a great deal of confusion is generated. In attempting to reorganize the conversation and figure out who was saying what, more doubling may occur and escalate the problem. This is annoying in a casual conversation and absolutely unacceptable in an emergency situation. A method called rotation is often used in casual conversation, similar to passing a token. Each person takes a turn, and the order is adhered to for the length of the conversation. It is dynamic and as people sign in and sign out the order will change as stations are added and dropped. It is not always easy to remember the order especially when it is constantly changing. Though this method is an improvement to no order at all, an emergency situation calls for a greater degree of order and control. There is also a need to prioritize transmissions as the emergency intensifies. A model for anything more involved than polite conversation evolved, called a Controlled Net, and has become a standard practice. It can be used in varying degrees of rigidity depending on the purpose of the Net and importance of the information involved. In an emergency situation there is little excuse for breaking protocol in a Controlled Net. The basic concept requires any and all stations wishing to communicate on the frequency first request permission to do so. One station is responsible for granting permission to transmit, that station is the Net Control Station. The scenario works much the same as a classroom. Any student wishing to speak must raise their hand to be recognized. A station in a Controlled Net calls the NCS by his (or her) call sign announces their own and waits for a response from the NCS. The classroom teacher recognizes a student and grants permission to speak. The NCS will evaluate the situation based on priorities and recognize the station with the highest priority. If one station requests to speak directly to a station other than the NCS, the control station may ask that the exchange be made on another frequency. This decision will be based upon the importance of the information, whether or not the Net can afford to wait before continuing and whether there would be any benefit in having the rest of the stations involved in the net hearing it.

                  The NCS is responsible for maintaining order and control of the transmissions during the net, as well as recording any important information. This is not as clear cut as it may seem on the surface. Tensions may rise during an emergency. Personality conflicts must be dealt with and ended, and the business of exchanging potentially life saving information, focused on. The NCS must conduct themselves in a crisp respectful manor, while managing not to be too officious. There is a good deal if detail left out here, but I think it should give you the basic idea.  


      Thanks for asking.


      Bob Crifasi   KC2RFC



      --- In EC_EmComm@yahoogroups.com, "vicky jeffries" <vickylee2@...> wrote:
      > What is NCS?
      > I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.-- Philippians 4:13
      > http://www.youravon.com/vjamison<http://www.youravon.com/vjamison>
      > Independent Avon Representative
      > Vivian
      > ----- Original Message -----
      > From: Robert Crifasi<mailto:CrifasiRF@...
      > To: EC_EmComm@yahoogroups.com<mailto:EC_EmComm@yahoogroups.com
      > Sent: Wednesday, August 02, 2006 7:10 AM
      > Subject: [EC_EmComm] You too can be an NCS
      > Anyone interested in, training for, NCS roll for EC_EmComm please contact me ASAP. No experience required but welcome!
      > Bob Crifasi KC2RFC

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