TYPICAL RADIO OPERATING PROCEDURES DURING GOBA

Radio networks on GOBA are typically very busy with emergency, priority, and time-sensitive traffic related to the health and welfare of GOBA riders.  Each day a net control station will operate a directed net.  The net control operator will determine the operating procedures to be followed during the directed net. 

Formal net operation will usually begin between 6:30 and 7:00 AM.  Depending on the number of riders remaining on the course, formal net operations will usually end between 4:00 and 5:00 PM.  A GOBA staff member, especially one of the Communications staff members, will be monitoring the net frequency before and after the directed net.  There may actually be two to three directed nets in operation on a given day due to repeater coverage over certain terrain and the distant being covered.  See the frequency list page or the frequency cards that are passed out during the meetings for sag drivers and amateur radio operators first night in camp.  The net control station (NCS) is often able to monitor traffic on the other nets and can pass traffic between the nets.

Net Procedures

with your traffic.
Contacting the net:  Normally during a directed net, all communications on the designated GOBA frequency should be directed to "Net Control", usually by transmitting: "Net Control, this is [your call sign]", or simply by transmitting your call sign.  After another station has cleared, wait for the "squelch tail" of the repeater to drop before begining your contact.  This will allow time for stations having "Medical" or "Priority" traffic to contact the net first.  Non-essential traffic or chit-chat should be kept to a minimum, bearing in mind that someone may be trying to contact the net with emergency traffic.  Bike mobiles may have difficulty reaching the net from certain locations.
Be Patient:  Unless the net control operator indicates otherwise you should usually not transmit further until Net Control has acknowledged your call and indicated that you may proceed with your radio traffic on the net.  The NCS may be busy on another net frequency or making an urgent phone call.
If your traffic is not related to a Medical Situation or some other matter of Priority to GOBA operations generally, Net Control may ask that you "Standby"
We use tactical call signs for net control and for our squads. When clearing a tactical call station don't forget to also clear with your legal FCC call sign as well as required by FCC rules. Also remember that under FCC rules there is to be no profanity or transmission of music over the air. If you have a radio on in your vehicle, make sure you turn the volume down before transmitting.

Important Procedural Words to Listen For

Medical:  In a Medical Emergency: Transmit your call and indicate that you are reporting a situation requiring medical attention; e.g., "K8ZDA Medical" Net Control will acknowledge your transmission and give it priority over all other traffic .
Priority:  If your traffic does not involve a medical emergency, but does requires immediate attention to ensure the health and safety of GOBA riders, you might indicate that you have "priority" traffic -- e.g., "N8TTF Priority"
Information:  GOBA Officials and other hams who have information that might help resolve a question under discussion on the net might contact net control indicating that they have "information".
Repair:  Although of obvious importance to the rider to get back on the road, locating a repair vehicle is not usually a priority for the net.  This procedural word may be used when the net is not busy to broadcast a location to one of the repair vehicles working up the course.  Information to relay to the NCS would include rider number(s), type of bike, and approximate mile mark or address on the course/nearest intersecting road.  The NCS operators are advised to not tie up the net trying to locate a repair vehicle.  Generally, riders needing repair should be told to find a shady spot, wait for one of the repair vehicles to come by and give a "thumbs down" gesture to gain assistance or give the same gesture to a sag vehicle to gain transport to the next snack or lunch stop where a repair vehicle can be found more easily.  See the Bicycle Repair  page for more information.
Sag:  Used to identify riders needing transport to the next snack/lunch stop or into camp.  The same information as under the repair section above should be given to the NCS for relay to the Sag Coordinator.  Large bikes such as tandems or quads or those with trailers may have to wait longer for a suitable sag vehicle to transport.  See the Sag Vehicle page.
Additional details about handling typical requests for assistance made to amateur radio operators, such as requests for Rider Density Reports, and Problems with the Route Itself, is available on other pages.
Information on amateur radio nationally may be found at the ARRL homepage and in Ohio may be found at the Ohio Section/Intercity ARC homepage.

Original content by Jeff Ferriell, K8ZDA.
Revised by Jeff Slattery, N8SUZ.