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This is a sequential number assigned by the station originating the message (the station that first places the message into the system). This number does not change, even if re-transmitted by other stations.
This determines the priority of the message:
Any message having life and death urgency, this includes official messages of welfare agencies during emergencies requesting supplies, materials or instructions vital to the relief of people in the affected area. When in doubt, do not use. On CW and digital modes this is always spelled out.
Important messages having a specific time limit. Official messages not covered in the emergency category. Press dispatches and other emergency-related traffic not of the utmost urgency. Notification of death or injury in the affected area. Abbreviated P on cw.
A message that is a) an inquiry as to the health and welfare of an individual in the affected area, or b) a reply from the affected area that indicates all is well. Abbreviated as W on cw.
Nearly all traffic at normal times will be routine. In an emergency routine traffic is handled after all other traffic, if at all if circuits as busy with emergency, priority and welfare traffic. Abbreviated as R on CW.
Reserved for messages that require an immediate action. These messages are usually short. Handling is as fast as possible with an objective time of 10 minutes or less. In the NTS radiograms this would be EMERGENCY.
FLASH is not used on ARRL/NTS messages but can be used on other message traffic.
During drills and exercises the word “EXERCISE” is inserted after the precedence; i.e., WELFARE EXERCISE.
HX – Handling Instructions
This is an optional field used at the discretion of the originating station, they are usually not used during a disaster. They are standard and there are seven of them:
Collect landline delivery authorized if within # miles
Cancel message if not delivered within # hours of filing time, service originating station
Report time and date of delivery 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
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
STATION OF ORIGIN
The station that first originates the message into the NTS system.
The number of words in the body of the message. This does not include the address or the senders signature.
PLACE OF ORIGIN
The city and state.
Although not required in normal traffic some of the handling instructions indicate to cancel if not delivered within a certain time – in this instance the time of origin is important. In a disaster the time of origin is important.
Time is in 24-hour format and usually specified in UTZ, i.e., 1200Z
If the message is only being sent locally then local time can be used, i.e., 1300L
The date is usually expressed in the typical American format of MMMDD
MMM is the first 3 letters of the month (i.e., January = JAN)
DD is the 2 digit day of the month
Note that the date time group in NTS Radiograms is different to the military format DTG.
- Full name
- Phone number
and possibly email of the intended recipient.
The message should contain no more than 25 words.
Letter and number groups count as a single word.
“X” (xray) is used as a period. It is not used at the end of the text.
This should be the name, and possibly title, of the sender of the message.
You should check your local net for a traffic net. You should take every opportunity tp practice copying traffic as it is sent so you understand the format and can write the message down with 100% accuracy. Once you can do this you should practice sending, again developing a speed and rhythm so that others can copy without asking for fills.
In a disaster or tactical situation accuracy is extremely important and the ability to copy a message without transmitting, asking for fills, is just as important.
Once you master NTS Radiograms you should be able to send other formats without difficulty.