Morris County NJ
Volunteer Activities and Opportunities
NTS Packet Information
by David Struebel, WB2FTX
Quick Index for this Page
At the PBBS prompt, issue
the command "ST xxxxx @NTSyy" where xxxxx is
replaced with the 5 digit zip code for the
destination and the yy is replaced with the
2 letter abbreviation for the state or
province (e.g. NTSNJ, NYSNY, NTSTX etc.)
|When the PBBS
responds with the "Title/Subject" prompt enter:|
"QTC AAAA BBB-BBB" , where "AAAA" is replaced with the destination city/town (e.g. CHAT) and "BBB-BBB" is replaced with the destination telephone area code plus the three digit exchange (e.g. 973-635).
|When the PBBS asks you to send the message, type in the NTS message in standard radiogram format. For example:|
NR 945 R WB2FTX 5 BUTLER NJ OCT 22
110 MAIN STREET
BLOOMFIELD NJ 07003
THIS IS A TEST MESSAGE
You can enter either 5 or 10 words to a line. The BT and AR are used in the same fashion as on Morse Code and Phone.
|At the end of the message, enter either a Control-Z key combination or "/ex" to tell the PBBS that you have finished entering the message. The PBBS will then start to relay the message according to the xxxxx@NTSyy address.|
State-wide System: I've designed a state-wide network for the delivery of NTS Packet messages which is based on zip codes. The state has been divided into 2 major areas, each handled by a different public NTS PBBS acting as a "hub".
For northern NJ zip codes, the NTS packet hub is my WB2FTX-4 station in Butler. For southern Jersey, the hub is KC2QVT-4 in Burlington County. These hubs pass messages to one another based on the zip codes each hub covers.
A hub does one of three things with messages for its coverage area. Messages with zip codes near the hub are held on the hub for pick up and delivery by NTS operators who live close to the hub (see procedures below).
|Messages destined for zip codes in Morris County stay at the WB2FTX-4 hub for pickup.|
The WB2FTX-4 mailbox is
not available directly. It is only available
via the FlexNet background network. That
means you need to access a FlexNet node to
be able to get to WB2FTX-4 to pick up NTS
1. Connect to a
Flexnet packet node near you, e.g.
WA2SNA on 145.01 MHz or WB2SNN (Sayreville)
on 145.51. (List
of Flexnet and Neighboring non-Flexnet
(in COMMAND mode), then after connecting,
(In this example, since WB2SNN can't hear WB2FTX-4 directly, it used WA2SNA to relay to WB2FTX-4. The relay step is invisible to you. For more information about FlexNet in the northeast USA go to http://www.eastnetpacket.net/ )
|After you connect to
WB2FTX-4 and receive its welcoming messages (and sign in request if
this is your first visit), send the List Traffic command: LT|
WB2FTX-4 will send you a list of all pending NTS traffic.
Look at the status codes for each message on the list. They will be either TF, T$, TN, or TY.
|T$ means that the message is waiting to be forwarded to another PBBS.|
|TN means that the message is waiting to be taken by anyone for delivery.|
|TY means that someone has read the message but did not kill it.|
|You can read a TN or
TY message with the command "R ######", where ###### is
replaced by the message number assigned by the
|If you can accept a
TN or TY message to deliver locally or to relay to a local voice
net, first copy or print out the message and then use the "KT
######" command to "kill" (delete) the message. If you don't "kill"
it, the message will stay on the list as a TY message and someone
else will eventually pick it up and deliver it ... again. As
you can see, it's very important to kill all messages you accept as
soon as you accept them. Likewise, note that if you accept a TY
message for delivery, you run the risk that someone else has already
read and delivered it, but just forgot to kill it from the list.
Still, it's better for you to try to deliver the message again
rather than have the message never delivered at
|When you're done,
sign off WB2FTX-4 with the B (BYE)
|Then sign off the Flexnet node with the Q (QUIT) command.|
The table below shows the expected format of a typical packet Radiogram:
|Preamble||NR 351 R HXC K3RXK 21 WALKER MD FEB 21|
|Addressee||AL BAROLET KJ3E|
|Address||108 ELLIOTT CT|
|City State ZIP||CALIFORNIA MD 20619|
|Telephone||301 862 3201|
|Text in lines of five or ten words||CAN YOU ATTEND THE JUNE|
MEETING OF THE FREDERICK AMATEUR
RADIO CLUB QUERY YOUR TRAFFIC
HANDLING EXPERIENCES ARE INTERESTING X
PREAMBLE: This info is for recording and tracking traffic. It includes a message number generated by the ham station where the message originated; a precedence which indicates how important the message is; the callsign of the station where the message originated; a "check" which is the number of words in the text; the place of origin; and a date. It can also include special handling instructions and the time filed, although most messages don't have these.
Message Number: The ham originating the message assigns his/her next available message number with a "NR " prefix( some operators start over with a 1 at the start of a new month or year ). This NTS message number must remain with the Radiogram from origination to delivery. Note that this number is different from any system numbers which packet bulletin boards may assign to messages as they are received.
Precedence: This is where the original ham tells everybody down the line just how important the message is. Choices include Routine, Welfare, Priority and Emergency. If a message is fiction -- for example, a test or drill message -- the precedence will be Test Routine, Test Welfare, Test Priority or Test Emergency. Don't create improper precedences, such as Priority Welfare or Emergency Routine. They will be meaningless to other hams.
Handling Instruction Codes (optional) - All start with an "HX":
|HXB - (Followed by
a number.) Cancel message if not delivered within|
(the number) hours of filing time; service originating station.
|HXC - Report date and time of delivery (TOD) to originating station.|
|HXD - Report to
originating station the identity of station from|
which received, plus date and time. Report identity of station to
which relayed, plus date and time, or if delivered report date, time
and method of delivery.
|HXE - Delivering
station get reply from addressee, originate
|HXF - (Followed by a number.) Hold delivery until (the number).|
|HXG - Delivery by
mail or landline toll call not required. If toll|
or other expense involved, cancel message and service originating
Station of Origin: This is the ham callsign of the originator.
Check: The number of words in the text including the "X" and "QUERY" and any groups of characters or numbers. Do not include address or signature.
Place of Origin, Time (optional), and Date: Written by the originating station and passed through "as is" by all stations handling the traffic.
ADDRESS: Enter the most complete name and address available for the recipient. Include ZIP code. Include callsign if addressed to a ham. Include telephone number with area code, since most messages are finally delivered by local phone call.
PROSIGNS: Are used to help the copying operator understand where one major section of the message has ended and another will begin.
|"AR" is digital/Morse code shorthand for "END OF MESSAGE", and goes at the very end of your message to indicate there is nothing more.|
TEXT: Limit to 25-30 words. [This is not as important when you know the message will go its entire path via packet, but you can't be sure. ] Use the letter "X" for a period. Use the word "QUERY" for a question mark.
Note that the ARRL has also prepared several conveniently-prewritten standard texts. Save time by using these ARRL "numbered" radiograms where suitable. These lists are available from many sources including the back of most log books and various ARRL publications.
SIGNATURE: Name which best communicates identity of party for whom the amateur radio originating station is sending the message. Include callsign if from a ham.
That's it in a nutshell!
Section Traffic Manager for Northern New Jersey