AmRRON operators are on the air almost any time of day!

Statement of Purpose:
Introduce and explain the AmRRON Persistent Presence Net concept and give guidance
for participating stations for training and real-world applications of its use.

During real-world emergencies in the past, AmRRON has had volunteer stations take
to the airwaves, standing by continuously to receive emergency traffic. In the past
couple of years on a normal, day-to-day basis, our operators have increasingly kept
their stations on the air.
They engage in testing, practicing, and mentoring other operators over the airwaves.
This also provides an excellent opportunity for beaconing throughout the day or
night to keep track of band conditions and determine path quality between stations.

While maintaining continuous coverage on the bands (what we’ve come to call
‘Persistent Presence Nets’) we have received several real-world reports involving
extreme weather, power outages, wildfires, and other developments. This is because
the operators who have been participating know that if they tune in to one of the
AmRRON digital mode HF frequencies, there will be someone there, somewhere, on one
or more of the bands. Usually there are several operators on each of the bands,
especially during the day.

This (until now) ‘unofficial’ Persistent Presence Net has become a valuable training
environment and has been invaluable for team building as well.

While the Scheduled S.O.I. Nets are considered ‘controlled’ nets (meaning they are
run by Net Control Station operators), the Persistent Presence Net is not controlled.
Operators may make contact and pass traffic as the situation requires and band
conditions permit.

The ‘Persistent Presence’ Digital Net was implemented for:
A.Real-world emergency situations; Operators who have sufficient backup power and
the time to continue monitoring between the Scheduled S.O.I. Net cycles.
B.Maintaining a lifeline for those who need to pass priority or emergency
traffic when there is not a scheduled net taking place.
C.Allowing for stations to assess band conditions and determine propagation paths to
other stations, through beaconing (or sounding/heartbeating) and signal reports.
D.Creating an opportunity for stations to directly pass point-to-point traffic,
relieving the scheduled S.O.I. nets of congestion. The following schedule has been
developed as guidance reflecting our experience as it relates to best band
performance at various times of the day and night. Band conditions can and do
deviate greatly.

General Guidance:
Here are the most commonly-used modes by AmRRON operators.
Many stations run multiple modes simultaneously.

In order of the most commonly used:

JS8Call: Used for sending propagation beacons, determining path quality with other
stations, and understanding band conditions. Great for sending short messages to
individuals or groups (such as @amrron). Designed as a weak signal mode, works
very well when using low power, or poor band conditions. Stations can leave
messages, such as Abbreviated Status Reports which may be queried and received by
other stations.
See white paper on JS8Call Operations for AmRRON, which addresses settings and
procedures used most commonly by AmRRON operators.

FLDIGI: Standard program, using contestia 4/250 mode, for general messaging and
receiving reports and files with the use of FLMSG and FLAMP.
FLDIGI is the cornerstone of AmRRON digital operations and is the program all
operators should have. All AmRRON digital nets use FLDIGI, and with the companion
FLMSG and FLAMP programs, is used for sending error-free reports, files, net
check-ins, sending images, etc.

gARIM: The ARIM program with graphic interface uses the ARDOP mode and is excellent
for sharing files. May also be used for storing files in folders which can be
retrieved by other stations, even if you are away from your station. Has peer-to-peer
chat feature and ARQ mode, which connects your station with another station for
increased privacy (not secure or encrypted).

FSQ4.5: This is used for text file sharing, sending images, chatting, and beaconing
(‘sounding’) allowing the operator to determine what other stations are on the air,
and the signal strength of each station. There are several queries available which
allow the operator to get basic information about the status of other stations, and
it allows for direct messaging with text window notifications of a message received,
in case you were away from your station when the message came in.
A stand alone program for (windows only) exists, named FSQcall. For Linux and Raspberry
Pi users, a second instance of FLDIGI is usually opened up and FSQ4.5 is selected from
the OpMode menu.
Generally, JS8call has grown to the point that it posesses many of the same features as
FSQ, and is preferred. Still, most of us run FSQ in multimode because it is an
excellent backup to JS8call when there is congestion on the frequency.

IMPORTANT TIP: Be sure to remove all beacons/sounders/heartbeats prior to the
beginning of scheduled nets. If you are going to leave your station monitoring,
unattended, do not leave your station beacons on when there are nets scheduled to
take place. This is extremely disruptive. We’ve all been ‘that guy’.
Don’t be ‘that guy.’

TIP: If you are operating multiple modes simultaneously, be sure to refer to the
AmRRON Digital Mode Waterfall white paper.

Do not think of this as a hard, fixed time schedule. The Persistent Presence Net
is extremely flexible. You will likely find operators on 40m and 80m at any time
of the day and many nights.
Band conditions change widely, often several times in a day, and depend on the time
of the year (solar cycle), and the time of the day. A band may be long all afternoon
and then go short, or dead, where it seemed to be magical at the same time of the
day yesterday. Be flexible!

Below is listing of ‘generally’ what we have experienced as the the most favorable
times of the day for each of these bands.
Various factors will affect each band. Sunset/sunrise, peak sun position, etc. are
going to be different depending on your location, even within the same time zone.

Local Time Band/Freq.
Early evening through Early Morning 80M 3.588
Mid-morning through late afternoon 40M 7.110

18:00-22:00 ZULU Time 20M 14.110

If you missed traffic that was passed around on the scheduled nets, or if you missed
the transmission time for the weekly AIB (AmRRON Intelligence Brief), you’ll likely
be able to find another station who can pass the traffic along to you at just about
any time of the day, somewhere on the bands.

Scheduled nets are still critically important, and we really need maximum participation
in the regularly-scheduled practice nets and during training exercises. Still, the
Persistent Presence Net has its place and will continue to play a vital role into the
future. See you on the air!

Download the PDF version of this white paper HERE