The Houston Local Traffic net is celebrating its first anniversary. The beginnings of the net started with radiogram training to a few hams on a local repeater in preparation for Field Day 2020. In that year, most clubs were forced to cancel their traditional field operations due to social distancing restrictions as a result of the Covid-19 Pandemic. This made it impossible for Technician Class hams or hams without their own stations to participate in Field Day. However, a closer look at the Field Day rules revealed that any class station participating in Field Day is eligible to earn bonus points for traffic handling. Furthermore, the repeater restriction for QSO credit does not apply to traffic handling. Thus, any ham could pass radiogram traffic on a repeater during Field Day and earn up to 200 bonus points. The training was a success and several hams who did not have their own stations were still able to participate in Field Day and earn the traffic handling bonus points. After Field Day was over, there was a continued interest among local hams in learning more about traffic handling and it was decided to hold a weekly training net. The traffic net was born. Originally called the Fort Bend County Traffic Net, the Houston Local Traffic Net has been in continuous operation since July 14, 2020 meeting every Monday evening. In its first year, the net has shown good growth in both numbers of check-ins and volume of traffic. There were over 850 total check-ins from more than 100 different stations and over 500 radiogram messages passed.
First Year Achievements:
- July 14, 2020: Inaugural Net with 7 check-ins.
- October 2020: Net moved to the 146.94 repeater to increase coverage and participation.
- November 2020: First special net session held to support ARES S.E.T Drill
- April 2021: Added second weekly net on Thursday evening due to increased traffic volumes.
- June 2021: Held special net session in support of Field Day traffic handling.
- July 2021: The 500th radiogram was passed on the net.
Bill Novak KA9IKK
Houston Local Traffic Net Manager