Keys, Bugs & Trunks

The W4PL Memorial Traffic Nets




Hit and Bounce Net
founded 1930 by Ben White W4PL
Hit and Bounce Slow Net (1973)


An excerpt From the Historical Sampler
published September 1998, by Jim Ranney, W4KFR
Compiled and edited by Mike Fusco, KA5NNG and
Charlotte “Sis” Berry, WD8DIN
Telegraph Keys, Bugs And Trunk Lines
The Hit and Bounce net is said to be the oldest traffic net extant still operating under the same name. Its origins go back to 1930, when it was started by Ben White (W4PL) as an offshoot of the Hit & Bounce Trunk Lines.
In a biographical profile of Ben White, written by Ev Battey (W4IA), it was explained that the name Hit & Bounce was an indication of Bens traffic concepts — hit and bounce, in and right out.

Ben explained the purpose of the HBN in a short article which appeared in 1956 (partial quote): This net was dedicated to the idea that there were enough traffic men and gals who would call in for a morning, if they could call, send, and move on; also, that there were shut-ins, retired hams, housewives, who would like to operate in the mornings when QRM was light and conditions generally better. It has, over the years, panned out. This is the oldest net with a record of continuous existence under the same name.

The Traffic Hounds Morning Watch net was founded by Ev Battey (W4IA) in January, 1956, with the stated purpose: …to provide a rallying point for those looking for a morning traffic outlet and for those who like to handle traffic without QRM.

The first newsletter of the Morning Watch net appeared in February 1956, and from that very first issue exhibited the canine motif. In addition to the mascot (later to be named Rouser) ARFing in the upper corner of the page, the masthead referred to the two net control stations (W4IA and W4PL) as watchdogs, gave the Rallying Cry as ARF, and the Watch Call of CQ TFC. Participating stations (QNIs) were listed in separate Kennels with frequent check-ins in Kennel #1, less frequent check-ins in Kennel #2, etc.. The net manager, W4IA, who was also the editor of the newsletter was referred to as the Keeper of the Kennels.

The HBN and MW nets were complimentary of, rather than competitive with, each other, and a number of stations were active on both, providing liaison between them.

Upon the death of Ben White in January 1963, it was suggested by Jack Zuzula, K2GWN, that the HBN and MW groups consider some way to perpetuate Bens memory. Accordingly, W4IA conducted a survey of 58 members of the two groups, suggesting that the two nets be formed into a kind of alliance or confederation, and be designated The W4PL Memorial Traffic Nets. It was also suggested that the two nets share a common newsletter, to be given a new name -either The Traffic Hound or The Traffic Call.

The March 1963 newsletter, appearing for the first time under the new name of Traffic Call, announced approval by the polled members of the proposed alliance. The following description of the new arrangement was given by W4IA:
The Memorial Nets represent an alliance between the HBN and MW, not a consolidation. Each net will retain complete autonomy and will continue with its own name, manager, procedures, schedules, etc.. Our bulletin, however, becomes the bulletin of the Memorial Nets rather than of MW alone. News of both MW and HBN will be included. Accordingly, the bulletin name has been changed to Traffic Call as Watchwords was deemed to be too closely aligned with the Morning Watch.

From the available information, it appears that the HBN and MW nets never actually merged into a single net. Instead, they continued their allied existence, each under its own manager until 1969, when MW ceased. HBN continued on, and the canine motif that originated with the MW has become an integral part of the HBN.

The HBSN had its first session on January 8, 1973. There were only six check-ins and no traffic. By the end of 1973 however, the slow net showed 1428 check-ins to 192 sessions and had handled 855 messages.

(From Traffic Call, February 1988): The Hit and Bounce Net operated daily on 7140 KHz. Suddenly one day, HBN found itself in the Novice band. The former 7150-7200 segment had been shifted to its present 7100-7150 KHz position. The HBN participants decided to stick it out on 7140 KHz, but after several weeks of battling the Novice QRM, a decision was made to head downward to 7070 KHz.

While it was a sensible decision to move HBN to clearer territory, several folks thought we were missing an opportunity by not doing something in the Novice band. It was felt that a Hit and Bounce Slow Net could provide wider coverage than any existing Novice band traffic slow net, provide a morning traffic opportunity in the Novice band, and encourage and groom potential members for HBN. That’s how it happened that the first session of HBSN was held on January 8, 1973.

The first HBSN newsletter was named HBSN Report and was dated Winter 1973 although it was evidently published around March 1973 since it contained net statistics for January and February of 1973. That first newsletter gave the purposes of the (then) new net: Foster and encourage interest in CW traffic handling, provide a reliable morning outlet for traffic at slow/medium speed, provide a morning training opportunity in CW traffic handling, and introduce newcomers to the Hit & Bounce nets.

Kurt Meyers, W8IQ, who was then W8IBX, was the manager of HBSN and also publisher/editor of the newsletter.

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A journey back in time… History Sampler

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1943 Lightning Bug
Property of WØOOW

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