From ARRL de WD1CKS@VERT/WLARB to QST on Thu May 11 16:50:43 2023
On May 26, 2023, The Rooster Net will celebrate 24,000 daily sessions on 3.990 MHz.
Doug Frothingham, K2IZI (SK), founded the Rooster Net on September 10, 1957. The net has met at 6:00 AM Eastern time every day without any interruptions since, possibly making it the longest-running amateur radio net.
Besides its more-than- 65-year existence, the Rooster Net operates without any rules or a traditional club structure. It depends upon the goodness of the amateur radio operators that make up the group and traditions they have established over the years.
Roy Hook, W8REH, is the Chief Rooster, and he says the flock is unique. "Unlike most ham groups that focus on specific areas of interest, the Roosters (members) [are] interest[ed] in not only every individual [ham], but also everything ham radio," said Hook. The net opens every day of the week with a different net control team and a brief description of the net by the control operator, "open to all properly licensed amateurs; everyone wants to hear what you have to say," even if your work schedule or other circumstances don't allow you to stay and listen for the whole duration of the net.
Hook says there is one common question he answers frequently about the net: where does the net operate from? "I describe it as an area bounded by the Atlantic Ocean on the east and wherever 75-meter propagation permits at 6:00 AM," said Hook.
A typical morning check-in list has 50 to 60 Roosters from all over the globe, from Canada to Florida, west to Tennessee, Ohio, Michigan, and beyond. Occasionally, Roosters in Puerto Rico, South America, Arizona, and Montana have checked in. Roosters flock to many national ham radio events and attend an annual picnic of their own to meet their friends.
During a time when rapidly changing interests, technologies, and diversity in amateur radio seem to divide organizations, the Roosters welcome all interests and personalities in order to bring the community closer together. Even more diverse than their geography ist he backgrounds of the group. School teachers, aerospace engineers, telecommunication engineers, mechanical engineers and highway workers only begin to define more than 1,500 official Roosters. Hook says members like to say that celebrating traditions is the key to longevity.
The Rooster Net is certainly not for everyone, especially if some good-natured joking among friends bothers you, but on any day, you will likely hear an educational discussion on something from an infinite list of Rooster interests: DX, CW, repeaters, digital operating, contesting, astronomy, antique ham equipment, cooking, golf, antique and modern cars, remote station control, pro sports, fishing, gardening, railroading, airplanes, operating and building model railroads and airplanes, hunting, and military history and experiences.
To become an official Rooster, there is a "Crow-in Procedure" on-the-air initiation once you have checked in 20 times within 90 days between 6 and 7 AM. You have to convince a group of judges that you can follow instructions and really crow like a Rooster. Whether an official Rooster or not, everyone is always welcome to participate by visiting www.rooster-net.org. Hook notes, "I guarantee tomorrow at 6:00 AM the rooster will crow on 3.990 MHz."
If you missed the 24,000 celebration, don't worry. The 25,000 celebration will be on February 19, 2026.