Last night I did a couple of hours as NCS for an active weather net on .88. First one for me. Why me? Because I was here and sort of willing. KK4YPK was at work. I waited. No one else was available and tornadoes were a really serious possibility.
I kept hoping someone else would volunteer! Thanks to NZ2O, who headed off to the NWS!
Here’s what I learned.
1. There’s a lot to keep up with. Too much, really, or at least for a first-timer. And, that was on a net that had multiple storms in different areas, but with no major casualties and not too much damage. A back-up/alternate NCS would be tremendously helpful. For example, I had trouble keeping up with which warnings were active, even though I was on NWS chat. If I had someone just keeping up with that, it would have freed me up to track other things.
2. Once we had a tornado warning, I should have done less updating to keep the repeater clear for emergency traffic. Didn’t seem like too much at the time, but in retrospect, it was too much.
3. I did pass on one amateur radio report to the NWS. Fortunately, I passed it accurately. The report was “quarter-sized hail” and, happily, that’s what I passed on. But, in retrospect, I could easily have misheard it as “quarter-inch hail.” So, the lesson, repeat it back to the person reporting it and otherwise double- or triple-check for accuracy.
4. I really haven’t had time yet to really get trained to do this. I hear from time-to-time some concerns expressed about nets being run by poorly-trained net control operators, like me. Not to be snarky, but just to be honest: Where are all the trained people?
Maybe the training convinces people they don’t want to do it! Just kidding. Sort of.