The SATERN CW Net Mission
Amateur Radio remains the most survivable and
communications systems because it is decentralized and independent of
the complex distributed infrastructure required by many of our familiar
common carrier resources, such as cellular telephones and the Internet.
There exists within Amateur Radio a variety of
modes and networks, all of which offer specific advantages for specific
applications. For example, voice communications is ideal for
general coordination and limited exchange of record message traffic, but
it suffers from a variety of disadvantages as well, not the least of
which is the fact that its suffers from inaccuracy and a tendency on the
part of users to transmit unnecessary language.
Likewise, Digital methods are ideal for large volumes of data and
some digital modes facilitate the transfer of binary files.
However, the use of digital modes requires additional equipment of
greater complexity and places greater demands on available power
In other words,
there is more to go wrong.
CW Nets also have distinct advantages for some
applications, and the wise emergency communications specialist will want
to take advantage of these benefits:
CW nets have
greater capacity than voice nets for record message traffic.
The typical CW net, when properly conducted, will handle
three to four times more radiogram messages per hour than voice
CW nets offer
greater immunity to propagation anomalies and adjacent channel
This can be a
real advantage when one must communicate regardless of conditions.
CW is an ideal
mode for deployment to disaster areas.
A portable 10-watt HF CW transceiver offers approximately the
same level of reliability as a 100-watt HF SSB (voice) transceiver.
This allows for the use of renewable energy sources, such as
solar panels and batteries or much smaller and more portable
CW nets use very
stations can be dispatched to adjacent frequencies to clear message
traffic simultaneously, without consuming excessive amounts of
CW equipment is
Unlike digital modes,
one needn’t transport a computer, printer, and similar ancillary
equipment to communicate.
that is needed is a compact radio, wire antenna, key, and message
blanks, all of which can be carried in a small camera bag thanks to
practice, a skilled CW operator can clear messages as fast as the
typical user of digital methods, the later being limited by his
has been proven to be faster than “text messaging” via cellular
For more information on the advantages of
radiotelegraphy, please refer to “
Case for CW
” article elsewhere on this web page.
The goal of SATERN is to provide reliable,
accurate, and well managed messaging services to disaster response teams
not designed to replace voice or digital modes, but rather, it is
intended to offer a very valuable alternative in time of emergency.