The South Coast Amateur Radio Service (SouthCARS) Net is an ARRL recognized service net available every day of the year. Let’s take a look at the history of the net and the service it provides!
History and Background
The SouthCARS Net was founded in 1967 with the goal to assist amateur radio operators in contacting other stations and to provide weather and travel information. The net is not a formal traffic handling net, but they can and will pass emergency traffic when needed.
SouthCARS meets daily on 7.251MHz, running from 8AM until 1PM Eastern Time. Net control rotates every half hour or full hour.
The SouthCARS net also holds a “Traders Net” on Wednesday mornings, from 10AM – 11AM. The Traders Net allows amateur operators to list amateur ratio equipment for sale or trade. In keeping with FCC regulations, any items for sale must be directly related to the radio hobby. For those unable to check in, listings may also be emailed to SouthCARS to be read during the net.
Check-in Procedure for SouthCARS
When checking in, the net control station will ask for mobile stations first, to allow them the opportunity to check into the net without being covered in a pileup. After mobile stations have been checked in, the net will be open to all operators with a General class license or above. Stations will call with their suffix only to alleviate pileups and help net control pick up all of the stations. Net control will then list the suffixes they received and begin to call them individually to check in. When called by net control, the typical check-in format is: Callsign, name, location, weather conditions, and member number (if applicable).
The SouthCARS net is open to all amateur radio operators with a General class license or above. It is not required to be a member to check-in, however SouthCARS membership is free. For those that would like to become a SouthCARS member, there is information on the service’s official website. They do request that you check into the net at least once before requesting membership. Additionally, when checking in, the station can request information from net control for applying for membership. After applying, the membership coordinator will verify the station’s license information, and a member number will be assigned in several days.
According to their website, SouthCARS is always looking for net control stations or alternates. This can be a great experience for amateur radio operators that have not had the experience of being the net control station of a large net. Information on becoming a net control station can be found on their NCS page.