Survey Results: Ham Radio Nets
January 02, 2023
A few weeks ago I shared a survey on social media that focused on ham radio nets. This survey was an attempt to understand how people seek out information about nets and how they discover new ones. This post will reveal some of the highlights from the 35 responses that were collected from that survey.
First of all, thanks to everyone that participated! I'm a product manager by day, so this type of qualitative research is one of my favorite aspects of the job. The insights are always enlightening. So without further delay, let's dig in.
Survey Question 1
The first question intended to uncover how people are learning about new nets. The most repeated answers included
- Spinning the dial and simply listening to the radio
- Word of mouth from other hams at social gatherings (club meetings)
- Using NetLogger
- The Internet: Newsletters, websites, Google Search, email groups, social media, online club calendar, forums
This question revealed three notable insights.
First, there's not one definitive source for discovering new nets. The methods and sources vary wildly and no single method stood out from the rest.
Second, a surprising insight was the use of NetLogger. I had never used NetLogger so I download the app which quickly revealed itself as a legitimate net discovery tool. The "Select Net" button turns out to be a live listing of active nets using NetLogger and there are plenty to choose from. Sadly, the website hides this very helpful feature. (Aside from the name, the website tells nothing of what the app does.)
Third, a lot of discovery is happening in the Internet space, but again, there's no one source that people gravitate to.
Survey Question 2
The second question focused on the Internet and ultimately sought to reveal websites dedicated to net cataloging and discovery. Common responses included
- Duck Duck Go
- The ARRL net directory
- Additionally, several mentions of information being out of date from search engine results
Similar insights arose from this question as with the previous question, the most notable being the lack of a dedicated source for hams to discover nets. The ARRL Net Directory was listed twice, but clearly this tool isn't a priority for the ARRL based on the poor experience and limited data set.
Survey Question 3
The third question attempted to uncover why people are searching for nets. The responses varied from boredom to looking for more info after hearing about a net on the air. No notable insights were surfaced from this question.
Survey Question 4
The fourth and final question simply asked what type of nets people are interested in and this garnered the most varied response yet. Name the net type, and someone was looking for it:
- HF nets
- Wires-X nets
- ARES nets
- Emcom nets
- Casual nets
- Nets on repeaters
- Traffic nets
- Club nets
- Rag chew nets
- Fun nets
- Educational nets
There are a lot of nets out there!
To summarize, the big takeaway from the survey is the lack of a centralized, definitive source for cataloging and discovering amateur radio nets. There's no Repeater Book of ham radio nets. No single source to see which DMR or 20m SSB nets are happening Thursday night at 9:00 when I get off work. No way to look up a city and find out what nets are taking place on the local repeaters. It should be easier to find a net and connect with other hams.
Does anyone else see an opportunity lurking?