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The Radiogram

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Radiogram Form

Radiograms are sent via a network of ham radio operators known as the National Traffic System, sponsored by the American Radio Relay League.


The National Traffic System is designed to meet two principle objectives:

1.  Rapid movement of traffic from origin to destination.
2.  Training amateur operators to handle written traffic and participate in directed nets.

NTS operates daily and consists of four different net levels:
AREA, REGION, SECTION, and LOCAL
The four levels operate in an orderly time sequence to make a definite flow pattern for traffic, from origin to destination.

Who can participate? - Any licensed radio amateur with an interest in  traffic handling

The ARRL Radiogram

The ARRL provides a standard form for all radiograms transmitted via the NTS.  This uniformity ensures that NTS operators can quickly and efficiently handle traffic.

Every radiogram message originated and handled should contain the following 4 main components:

1.  PREAMBLE

2.  ADDRESS


3.  TEXT





4.  SIGNATURE
The Preamble includes information used to prioritize and track the message and ensure its accuracy.

This includes the name, address, city, state, ZIP, and telephone number of the intended recipient, as complete as possible.  (Note that punctuation is not used in the Addresss section).

The message information, limited to 25 words or less if possible.  Normal punctuation characters are not used in the text.  A question mark is sent as QUERY, while DASH is sent for a hyphen.  The letter X is used as a period, (but never afetr the last group of the text), and counts as a word when figuring the Check.  The letter R is used in place of a decimal in mixed figure groups.  For example (146R52 for 146.52).

The name of the party for whom the message was originated.  This may include additional information such as Amateur Radio call sign, title, address, phone number, and so on.

Preamble


Preamble

A.      


B.    



C.        


D.       

E.        


F.      



G.         

H.       
 NUMBER - This indicates the serial number of the message. It is assigned by the Station of Origin and never changed. Numbering is necessary because hams may handle dozens of messages daily, and without a numbering system it would be difficult to identify any given message.
 
PRECEDENCE - Determines the order in which traffic is passed.  Assign each message a Precedence of R (Routine), W (Welfare), P (Priority) or EMERGENCY.

HX (Handling Instructions) -  Optional, used only if a specific need is present.  Handling instructions are detailed below.

STATION OF ORIGIN - The call sign of the station originating (creating) the message.


CHECK
- The number of words or word groups contained in the Body of the message.  (A word group is
defined as any group of 1 or more consecutive characters with no interrupting spaces).


PLACE OF ORIGIN
- The location (city and state) of the party for whom the message was created and
not necessarily the location of the Station of Origin.

TIME FILED - Optional, used only when the filing time has some importance relative to the Precedence, Handling Instructions or Message Body.

DATE - The date the message was filed.

Precedence

Precedence

EMERGENCY





PRIORITY




WELFARE




ROUTINE
Any message having life and death urgency to any person or group of persons, that is transmitted by Amateur Radio in the absence of regular commercial facilities.  This includes official messages of welfare
agencies during emergencies requesting supplies, materials or instructions vital to relief efforts for the stricken populance in emergency areas.  On CW and digital modes, this designation will always be spelled out.  When in doubt, do not use this designation.

Abbreviated as P on CW and digital modes.  This classification is for important messages having a specific time limit. Official messages not covered in the emergency category, press dispatches and emergency-related traffic not of the utmost urgency.

Abbreviated as W on CW and digital modes.  This classification refers to an inquiry about the health and welfare of an individual in the disaster area, or to an advisory from the disaster area that indicates “all is well.” Welfare traffic is handled only after all emergency and priority traffic is cleared.  The American Red Cross equivalent to an incoming Welfare message is DWI (Disaster Welfare Inquiry).

Abbreviated as R on CW and digital modes.  Most traffic in normal times will bear this designation.  In disaster situations, traffic labeled routine should be handled last or not at all, when circuits are busy with higher-precedence traffic.


Handling Instructions


HX

Handling Instructions (HX) convey special instructions to operators handling and delivering the message.  The instruction is inserted in the message Preamble between the Precedence and the Station of Origin. Its use is optional with the originating stations, but once inserted it is mandatory with all relaying stations.

PROSIGN

HXA


HXB


HXC

HXD


HXE

HXF

HXG
INSTRUCTION

(Followed by number). Collect landline delivery authorized by adressee within _______ miles.  (If no number,
authorization is unlimited).

(Followed by number). Cancel message if not delivered within ________ hours of filing time; service originating station. 

Report date and time of delivery.  (TOD) to originating station. 

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.

Delivering station get reply from addressee, originate message back.

(Followed by number).  Hold delivery until __________ (date).

Delivery by mail or landline toll call not required.  If toll or other expense involved, cancel message and service originating station.


Address


Address

The name, call sign (if going to a ham), street address or P.O. Box, city, state (abbreviated) and ZIP code of the person the message is being sent to. Clear, complete addresses are desirable. Include in the address of your message all matter that is necessary to enable operators to identify, contact, or locate the adressee.

Telephone Number:  Be sure to include the area code and double-check the number!!

Note - Digital and Packet NTS messages are routed via ZIP code.


Received At


Received by

This Radio Message was Received at: Your station identification. 


Message Body


Message Body

TEXT:   The message information, limited to 25 words or less, if possible. Normal punctuation characters are not used in the text. A question mark is sent as QUERY, while DASH is sent for a hyphen.  The letter X is used as a period (but never after the last group of the text), and counts as a word when figuring the CHECK.

The letter R is used in place of a decimal in mixed figure groups. Example: 146R52 instead of 146.52

SIGNATURE:  There is no “Signature” field.  Just write it in below the text; Name and call sign of author - include phone number if not a ham or if not known on an NTS net.
   

Received From
Received by
    Sent To
    sent to

      Call sign or individual from whom you received the message and date and time of receipt.  Time may be either your local time or UTC time.  Make sure the date agrees with the time. (Remember UTC time is ahead of EST and can cause the date to roll forward).




      Call sign you sent to or passed the message to, or to
      whom you delivered it, with date and time.  Also good to note delivery method for your own reference.  (i.e., via phone or left on voice mail). Always leave your call back number if message was left on voice mail!

      Numbered Radiograms

      Numbered radiograms are an efficient way to convey common messages.  The letters ARL are inserted in the preamble in the check and in the text before spelled-out numbers.  Note that some ARL texts include insertion of information.

      For a complete list of Numbered Radiograms, click here.


      How to Deliver a Radiogram

      • Via telephone or hand delivery is preferred.
      • Okay to leave on voicemail or answering  machine  if  you’re comfortable you have reached  the right  person.
      • A Radiogram postcard may be mailed if the receipient cannot be reached by phone.
      • Service originating station to inform if you cannot deliver the message, or if they requested confirmation.
      Local Traffic Nets
      LOCAL

      88 Net
      Seagull Net  

      MAINE SECTION

      Maine Public Service Net
      Maine Slow Speed Net
      Pine Tree Net
      Twelve County Net

      1st REGION

      Cycle 2
      Cycle 2
      Cycle 3
      Cycle 4

      EASTERN AREA NET (EAN)

      Cycle 2
      Cycle 2
      Cycle 2
      Cycle 3
      Cycle 4


      Sundays
      Mon - Sat



      Sundays
      Mon - Fri
      Daily
      Sundays



      Daily
      Daily
      Daily
      Daily



      Sat - Sun
      Sat - Sun
      Mon - Fri
      Daily
      Daily


      8 PM local
      5 PM local



      9 AM local
      6 PM local
      7 PM local
      9:30 AM



      1:45 PM
      3:30 PM
      7:30 PM
      9:30 PM



      1 PM local
      2:30 PM
      2:30 PM
      5:30 PM
      8:30 PM


      KQ1L System  (2 meters)
      3940 kHz



      3940 kHz
      3585 kHz
      3596 kHz
      KQ1L System (2 meters)



      3948 kHz
      3948 kHz
      3570 kHz
      3598 kHz



      7050 kHz
      7050 kHz
      7243 kHz
      3577, 7050 kHz
      3577, 1810 kHz



      Section Wide Emergency Net (Region 1)



      Emergency Traffic & Weather
      Traffic










      When operating phone, it is customary to use introductory words such as "figures" prior to sending numbers, "mixed figures" or "mixed group figure" before sending a combination of letters and numbers, and "initial" prior to sending a single letter, such as I or A.  This helps the receiving station to copy the message more clearly and with less error.

      In the example below, you'll learn how these are used in an actual message.  

      Example of a message sent by voice (From the ARRL Public Service Manual)

      Sample message for example:
      (Preamble) 26 R N3XYZ 17 BANGOR ME JUL 24
      (Address) JOHN R SMITH
      23 OAK DRIVE
      PHILADELPHIA PA 19034
      215 555 2345
      (Text) I WILL ARRIVE TOMORROW AT 6PM X CAN YOU PICK ME UP AT THE AIRPORT QUERY 73
      (Signature) BILL

      KEY: “.” = word pause, “.. ” = group pause, “.. .. ” = copy pause, (//) = release of PTT, (/.../)

      = required listening pause.

      Prowords, operational words and introductory words are shown lower case. Try sending the prowords and operational words in a slightly higher pitched voice, the introductory words in a slightly lower pitched voice, or vice versa. TX is the sender, RX the receiver, on a net frequency. (See STATION OPERATIONS for details on off frequency calls.)

      RX: “W3RX ready to copy”. (In severe conditions the RX station may ask the sender to repeat each group 2 or 3 times and/or use letters or phonetics to spell all groups).

      TX: “W3TX” (Optionally informs RX of quantity and if listening between groups.)
      “number.. TWO.SIX.. ROUTINE.. NOVEMBER THREE X-RAY YANKEE ZUZU.. ONE.SEVEN.. BANGOR.. MAINE.. JULY.. TWO.FOUR”.. .. “JOHN.. initial.ROMEO.. SMITH I spell SIERRA MIKE INDIA TANGO HOTEL.. .. figures TWO THREE.. OAK I spell O.A.K.. DRIVE.. .. PHILADELPHIA.. .. .. PENNSYLVANIA.. figures ONE NINER ZERO THREE FOUR.. .. figures TWO ONE
      FIVE.. FIVE FIVE FIVE.. TWO THREE FOUR FIVE.. break” (/.../) (interruption pause) “initial.INDIA.. WILL.. ARRIVE.. .. TOMORROW.. AT.. .. mixed group figure SIX PAPA MIKE.. initial X-RAY.. CAN.. YOU.. .. PICK.. ME.. UP.. .. AT.. THE.. AIRPORT.. .. QUERY.. figures SEVEN THREE.. break.. BILL I spell BRAVO INDIA LIMA LIMA.. end.. no.more”

      RX: “ROGER.. W3RX” (or “ROGER.. 73 W3RX”, etc.), or asks for fills, and acknowledges the
      message when done.

      TX: “W3TX” (or “THANKS 73 W3TX”, etc.); (The exchange is complete.)


      * PTT releases (//) are not shown in this example. On fast VOX or PTT operation, release or
      listen after every group or phrase. The expected interruption pause (/.../) is shown.

      Notes:


      On FM repeaters, due to audio delays and receive site delays, it may be impractical to break after
      groups without loss of audio. In this case, the PTT switch is released only at the customary expected fill breaks. When sending long messages or batches the receiving operator may be forced to say “go ahead” by saying “over” at the break point between messages, thus confirming continuing good copy. Keep the repeater transmission time limiter in mind also.


      Telegrams

      Additional Resources

      NTS Training & ARRL Radiogram Info

      An Instructor's Guide to Training Traffic Handlers

      ARRL National Traffic System

      National Traffic System Terms of Reference
      Telegram / Radiogram History

      Retrogram

      The Telegraph Office

      How to Write Telegrams Properly

      ARRL Net Directory – Excellent NTS reference with net  listings  by state ($5 from ARRL). Online version is  accessible  free at  the ARRL web site (www.arrl.org).

      Public Service Communication Manual – Detailed  reference   on  NTS message handling ($1 from ARRL ), also available  on  ARRL  web site.

      NTS Policies (Cycle Time Schedule) http://www.arrl.org/chapter-three-nts-policies

      ARES Field Resource Manual - Quick trainer and resource guide for the emergency communicator

      NTS Homepage - on ARRL website, provides all the information you’ll need to get started with traffic handling, including the Policy Manual, and updated net directory.


      Wireless Society of Southern Maine  P.O. Box 6833, Scarborough, ME 04074