The ARRL NTS system provides a standard form for all radiograms
transmitted via the NTS. This uniformity ensures that NTS operators
can quickly and efficiently handle traffic.
This form provides the same fields as an ARRL Radiogram form
would, but is not in any way associated, approved, or affiliated with
the NTS, ARRL, or any other agency. If you are interested in becoming
an NTS operator or being involved with their efforts, you should
contact a local NTS operator and work with them. This form is for
those in ARES which need to use the NTS to send H&W traffic
during an event, when they may not have a stack of the official ARRL
The information you need to supply for the form is as follows:
- NUMBER - Every radiogram should have a number. Keep a sheet with a consecutive list of numbers, beginning at 1, by your radio. When a radiogram is written, complete all parts of the preamble except the number. When you send the radiogram, assign a number to it from the number sheet, crossing out numbers on the sheet as they are used and making a notation, after the number, of the station to whom the radiogram was sent and the date. Most traffic handlers start with number 1at the beginning of each year.
- PRECEDENCE- Every radiogram has a precedence, and it is normally "Routine" (R). It is a separate part of the preamble and is transmitted as such, not as part of the number. Other precedences are "Priority" (P), "Emergency" --never abbreviated, and "Welfare" (W). Other precedences are as follows:
- R - Routine
- W - Welfare, for incoming our outgoing health and welfare traffic.
- P - Priority, for messages having a specific time limit, official messages not in the emergency category, press dispatches and emergency traffic not of the utmost in urgency, and notice of death or injury in a disaster area
- EMERGENCY - (always spelled out) - indicates a message having life-or-death urgency to any person or group of persons which is transmitted by Amateur Radio in the absence of regular commercial facilities.
- Handling Instructions. Optional cues to handle a message in a specific way. Most messages do not contain handling instructions. They are as follows:
- HXA number - Collect landline delivery authorized by addressee within number miles. If no number, authorization is unlimited.
- HXB number - Cancel message if not delivered within number hours of filing time; service originating station.
- HXC - Report day and time of delivery to originating station.
- HXD - Report to originating station the identity of station from which received, plus date, time, and method of delivery.
- HXE - Delivering station get reply from addressee, originate message back.
- HXF number - Hold delivery until number
- HXG - Delivery by mail or landline toll call not required.
If toll or other expense involved, cancel message and service
The HX prosign will be inserted in the message preamble before
the station of origin, i.e.:
NR 207 R HXA50 W1AW 12...
If more than one HX prosign is used, they may be combined if
no numbers are to be inserted; otherwise the HX should be
repeated. On phone, be sure to use phonetics for the letter or
letters following the HX prosign, to ensure accuracy.
- Station of Origin - Is the call sign of the radio station from which the radiogram was first sent by Amateur Radio, and is included so that handling stations will be able to communicate with the originator if something interferes with the prompt handling or delivery of the message.
- Check - Is the number of words and numerals in the text of the radiogram. Handling stations should agree on the check before the message is considered handled. Note that the "ARL" you may see placed in this field is not an ARRL message abbreviation!
- Place of Origin - Is the name of the town from which the radiogram started, not necessarily the location of the radio station of origin. The preamble of a radiogram written in Dayton, Ohio might read as follows: NR 457 R W1INF 21 DAYTON OHIO 2057Z JUNE 11. If a message is sent to your station by mail or not written in person, the preamble should show the place the radiogram came from. If the radiogram came to Dayton by mail from Auburn, Maine, the preamble would read: NR 457 R W1INF 21AUBURN MAINE 2057Z JUNE 11
- Filing Time - Is the time the radiogram is received at the station that it sent. Standard practice is to use Universal Coordinated Time (UTC). This part of the preamble is optional with the originating station.
- Date - The month and the day (not the year) that the radiogram was filed at the originating station.
- Address - Is the complete name, street and number, city and state to whom the radiogram is going--stress this when accepting a radiogram. The phone number should be part of the address. In transmitting the message by CW, the signal AA is used to separate parts of the address, and the address is followed by BT or "break" before the text is started. Addresses with the words east, west, etc, should be spelled out in full. Don't use suffixes "th," "nd"etc (example: 19 W 19th St should be 19 West 19 St.
- Message - Consists of words in the radiogram. No abbreviations should be used. The text follows the address and is set off from the signature by another BT.
- Signature - Is usually the name of the person originating the message. The signature follows the BT or "break" at the end of the text. The abbreviation "sig" is not transmitted. After the signature, say "end" or transmit AR. If more is to follow, say "more." On CW, use the prosign B. If there's no more, say "no more." On CW use the prosign "N."
- Sent - The call sign of the transmitting station, logged for bookkeeping. This is not sent with the message.
- Received - The call sign of the receiving station at the message's point of entry into the NTS net. This is not sent with the message.