Passing a message over the radio with brevity and accuracy, like any other skill, takes practice.
There are a number of different message formats, some a for a free text message and others are pre-formatted with specific fields for specific information.
In this section we will look at the different formats, how to format a message correctly and how to send and receive it.
NOTE: this section is still being built out with various pages, links to the message formats etc. so check back frequently.
National Traffic System Radiogram
The NTS radiogram is the most common format used in Amateur Radio. There are groups of hams all over the country who generate, send, receive and deliver messages every day. There are nets set up that are designed to pick up traffic locally, pass to a state or regional net and then across country and down to a local net for delivery.
Radiograms, like most messages, have a specific format, which is explained on this page.
ARL Numbered Radiograms
In addition to free-text formats the NTS has numbered radiograms. Short messages have been identified and assigned a number. This allows a message to be sent with less characters and with less errors. The format and list of messages are on this page.
Formatted messages, just as with the ARL numbered radiograms, allow a message to be sent in a prearranged format. This makes message handling faster and reduces errors. Most of the message formats used in civilian /preparedness are from the military manuals. A number of the common message formats are located on this page.
Once the correct message format is identified the information is sent as line numbers.
The above message would be sent as:
5 PICKUP TRUCKS
13N 52786 441135
In addition to the other pages on message formats, handling, proword lists etc. under this heading Patrons can download a pdf format of each of the pages for their communications binders here.