Foundations of Amateur Radio How to start your own net ... In the past I've talked about a weekly net I run, called F-troop. It's intended to be a place where new and returning amateurs find their feet, have a chat, test their gear, meet new friends, ask questions and sometimes get answers. If you want to come and join in, you're welcome to and I'd love to meet you. This net came about because I was new to the hobby and didn't find anyone running any on-air activity for people like me. I asked around and with some encouragement I decided to start an activity. Just like that. My point is that you can do the same. You can keep looking for that elusive group of people who share your interest, or you can get on-air and start a conversation. There's no forms to complete, there's no rules about how it has to happen, no expectations about how you run your net, just have at it. F-troop today looks nothing like it did on day one. On the first day I was on a simplex frequency and nobody could hear me. The next week I moved to a different day and to a local repeater at a different time. After doing that for a little while, we changed day and repeater again, because we kept running into other activities. I'm mentioning this because what you start today may look nothing like what it turns into tomorrow. Your idea might fail, or it might succeed beyond your wildest dreams. You may find new friends or find a different activity that sparks your interest. You could inspire another amateur to join the community, or encourage someone to get on air and make some noise. All around me there are nets, not in name, but in action. There's a group of people who get together during the week at 6am or so for about half an hour to chat on the way to work. There's a group who are learning Morse, another testing FreeDV, another chatting during the morning breakfast, another in the afternoon. There's a net for the emergency communications team, one for the local repeater group and there's a locally hosted net that attracts interest from all corners of the globe. I'm sure that there are others. I know from personal experience that you'll get callers who might not have much to say, but your presence gives them a reason to turn their radio on and participate, to get out of their house and talk to the world. They might not say much, but your being there might be a comfort. While F-troop is semi-organised, with a website, an advertised time and location, a dedicated host and regular callers, your net doesn't need to be any of those things. It can start as a regular chat that can grow, or it can fade away if there is no interest. Your hobby, your rules. One thing I can tell you is that hosting a net is very rewarding. I've seen amateurs start with very little to say, very unsure of themselves, grow into their license, expand their horizons, become skilled and find a new community to make their own. You don't need permission to start a net, you just need to decide to. I'm Onno VK6FLAB To listen to the podcast, visit the website: http://podcasts.itmaze.com.au/foundations/ and scroll to the bottom for the latest episode. You can also use your podcast tool of choice and search for my callsign, VK6FLAB, or you can read the book, look for my callsign on your local Amazon store, or visit my author page: http://amazon.com/author/owh If you'd like to participate in discussion about the podcast or about amateur radio, you can visit the Facebook group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/foundations.itmaze Feel free to get in touch directly via email: firstname.lastname@example.org, or follow on twitter: @VK6FLAB (http://twitter.com/vk6flab/) If you'd like to join the weekly net for new and returning amateurs, check out the details at http://ftroop.vk6.net, the net runs every week on Saturday, from 00:00 to 01:00 UTC on Echolink, IRLP, AllStar Link and 2m FM via various repeaters.