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
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 editor
of the newsletter was referred to as the Keeper of the Kennels.
The HBN and MW nets were complementary 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
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
(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. Thats 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
Kurt Meyers, W8IQ, who was then W8IBX, was
the manager of HBSN and also publisher/editor of the newsletter.