The BUTLER COUNTY DIGITAL NET is dedicated to learning and developing digital operating skills and practicing digital traffic handling. Digital communications can become important in an emergency due to a natural disaster or power outage.
To support this mission, we focus on three fundamentals: Directed Net protocols, Computer skills, and Digital traffic-handling with NBEMS software. NBEMS stands for Narrow Band Emergency Messaging Software and is the more common method of transferring files, emails, FEMA ICS forms, and ARRL Radiograms. Experience using the digital modes and messaging protocols is imperative for communicating with EOC’s and other emergency responders.
I’m not suggesting that digital modes will totally replace voice, rather it’s a good alternative when voice communications is not possible, when operating with limited power, or when accuracy in information passing is critical.
The Butler County Digital Net connects amateur operators with common interests in training, information-sharing, and mutual-aid. Barb (KD0WAU) and Wayne (KD0WAT) Schlueter started this net in 2019. This net is inspired and modeled by the ORCA Digital Net. This past year has been one of learning the software and practicing passing messages on the air. Visitors are always welcome to join in and work with us.
We currently operate on frequency 146.400 simplex and use a computer program FLDIGI to interpret our signals. Sometime in the next couple of months the net will be moved to the Flint Hills Amateur Radio Club repeater at147.150 Mghz. This will give the net greater reach across Butler county and into Sedgwick county. The net is conducted every Monday evening at 7:30 p.m.
Fldigi (short for Fast light digital) is a free and open-source program which allows an ordinary computer’s sound card to be used as a simple two-way data modem. Fldigi is popularly used among emergency communicators, FEMA, and other disaster teams. One advantage of using this software is it’s possible for amateur radio operators to communicate worldwide while using only a few watts of RF power.
You can download fldigi at SourceForge for free. There are versions to run on Windows, Linux, and Mac. You’ll need to download fldigi, flmsg, and flamp at a minimum.