System Protocol

The NCTC is an OPEN linked repeater system spreading across North Texas (and beyond).  Please keep the points below in mind when using the network. Your cooperation will make the exchange of traffic more efficient, protect the system’s assets and ensure the system is operated in a thoughtful and courteous manner.

It’s very important to key down and wait a second or two before actually speaking into the mic. This allows the entire system to engage and permits all traffic to be heard from one end of the system to the other. It’s also just as important to allow for pauses in responses while in a QSO to allow timeout timers across the network to reset and allow other stations on the system to break-in if necessary. Please refrain from tailgating or quick keying, especially in a formal net environment.

When in a QSO try to keep each transmissions relatively brief (if possible) and please use common courtesy in the duration of your QSO.  If you are engaged in a lengthy QSO (more than a 10 minutes for example) ask if anyone would like to join your QSO or if anyone else needs to use the system.  If several hams are engaged in a QSO, please make sure everyone has the opportunity to participate.  Other hams may want/need to use the system and more importantly the system needs to take a breather from time to time.

If you strike up an extended QSO with another local ham on the network, a nearby 2m repeater or a simplex channel off the network would be a more “system friendly” alternative to consider.

The NCTC system was created several years ago for recreational use, but it is a vital artery for the radio desk at the National Weather Service in Fort Worth to take spotter reports during severe weather events. NWS Forth Worth (WX5FWD) traffic takes priority over ALL routine/recreational traffic on the network. When severe weather is anticipated in the North Texas region, all users should be vigilant and keep the system free for severe weather traffic to and from WX5FWD. The system is equipped with a warning message to alert users to stand by while Skywarn activities are in progress.

The system has a weekly net every Thursday evening at 8:30 pm.  Check-ins are strongly encouraged from all over the system to stress-test the network and ensure the every repeater is working properly. This is a great time to practice operating skills and get to know others on the system, announcements, for sale items, etc. Net manager is Mack Avery KJ5MA and he coordinates the net control duties.

After the conclusion of the weekly net, refrain from using the system for 30 minutes to give the system a break. A hiatus is required for everything to cool down, especially in the warmer months. Obviously an emergency or a very, very brief QSO is permissible, but any normal (or extended) QSO is strongly discouraged.

Routine status updates on the system and other pertinent content are posted on this web page (NCTC.INFO), the “NCTC Radio” Facebook page and discussed on the weekly net on Thursday evening.

In depth discussion of the architecture of the network and site information is somewhat guarded information and probably should be discussed face to face or on the phone – – not over the radio.

The NCTC system is an OPEN system. All properly licensed hams are welcome to use NCTC system provided they bring pleasant and constructive content to the table.  Any user that violates Part 97 Amateur Rules, repeatedly demonstrates bad operating practices and disregard for these guidelines, inflammatory remarks, etc. will be asked to leave the system. There is no tolerance for this.

In addition to RF, the NCTC system blends many digital platform to connect the network.  Allstar, Wires, and Echolink are a few examples. As the system grows and embraces these platforms, it’s imperative to regulate access into the system. We simply can’t have unobstructed access into the system especially if a weather event is in progress, for example. This runs the risk of having users unwillingly (or otherwise) hamper Skywarn activities. The NCTC SysOp for these digital platforms is David Eaton KB5EDB.

We embrace experimentation, however please do not connect to any of the NCTC infrastructure without coordinating with one of the NCTC Admins. For example, please do not set up a personal cross-band repeater or some kind of remote base to one of the NCTC sites. These can and will introduce noise, nuisance ID’s and add latency to the network; they becomes a great struggle to identify and correct.

This network is managed by a loosely organized group of like-minded hams that have a common goal of providing a high quality, wide area, friendly and informative radio system. This is all done without any kind of annual dues.  Financial or asset contributions are encouraged and welcomed at any time. At any given time a breakdown in a system component can occur.  Other times a targeted improvement needs to be completed.   Whatever the case may be, we band together, pass the hat and utilize our collective talents to MAKE IT HAPPEN. Please contact David Stephens KB5WB regarding donations.

In conclusion:   Have fun.  Be courteous to the network and others on the network.

Thanks N5REL