The Waterway Net is a formal, controlled net with a highly structured format. This is necessary to cover all the net traffic within a one hour time frame. It may seem that the Net is unnecessarily picky with regard to regulations, however, the Waterway Net is well known and very "visible" so we must insist on proper operating procedure. The WRCC Net Guide thoroughly covers all Net procedures and format while these web pages can only summarize and cover the basics. For the definition of "formal net", check HERE.
Please look over the following general operating procedures and the Net Format and Definitions pages before checking into the Net for the first time. Of course, you are welcome to check in with any legal amateur traffic at any time, but we also recommend that you listen to the Net for a few days to get a feel for our procedures
LICENSING: One must hold at least a General Class amateur license to operate on the Waterway Net (7.268MHz LSB). If you travel to another country you must obtain a reciprocal amateur license from that country prior to transmitting in their territory or waters (see the International Operations page for reciprocal information). Also, please use the correct reciprocal call as required, such as X4XXX/C6A as an example for the Bahamas.
NET CONTROL: The Net Control Station (NCS) will direct all traffic on the net. There are also designated relay stations, generally "North" and "South", and the NCS will periodically ask the relays to take a traffic list. If you can contact the NCS, please do not use the relays - let them work the weak stations that really need a relay.
CHECKING IN: When the NCS or a relay asks for check-ins for traffic, position reports, or weather fills, please respond with your call sign suffix only using the standard phonetic alphabet (If you have a 2 by 1 call, e.g., ND7K, include the number, e.g., 7K.) Net control will put you on a list and call you in turn. When called, you should give your full call sign including the applicable reciprocal suffix in calling your traffic or making your request. Unless your message is very brief or of general interest, you should be prepared to move (QSY) to an "off-Net" frequency.
THIRD PARTY TRAFFIC: Third party traffic is defined as a message that is for, or on behalf of someone other than a licensed amateur. It includes a non-amateur speaking on the radio with a licensed amateur present. While it is allowed within the United States and some other countries, many countries including the Bahamas, Turks and Caicos and Bermuda do not allow third party messages. If you are in an area where third party traffic is not allowed, do not ask the Net to handle this illegal traffic. What we can do is tell you that they want to talk and pass a phone number.