National Traffic System (NTS)
Training (Part 1 of 5)
This is the first of a series of briefings on traffic handling. The
source for this material is from N0WPA (now K0RM) and can be found
on the Colorado ECom web page.
The purpose of using a standard or a specified format in any field
of endeavor is so that everyone knows what to expect. The amateur
radio message form, or radiogram, is a 'standard' used for passing
message traffic via the National Traffic System. If amateurs are
practiced using a standard on a regular basis, use during emergency
situations would be very natural. While the published standard may
not be perfect for all applications, it serves as a baseline which
can be readily adapted for use with a specific served agency.
The amateur message form is broken into 4 parts:
- The preamble; often referred to as "the header".
This consists of administrative data such as the message number,
originating station, precedence and date/time of origination. The
combination of the message number and the originating station serves
as a unique message identifier which can be traced if necessary.
- The address. This includes name, street address
or P.O. box, city state, and zip of the individual to whom the message
is intended to be delivered. The address should also include telephone
number since the majority of amateur radio messages are ultimately
delivered via local phone call in the destination area.
- The text; the text of the message. The text should
be brief and to the point; limited if possible to 25 words or less.
Care should be taken to avoid contractions - as the apostrophe is
generally not used in CW; the contraction for I WILL could cause undue
stress to the receiver!
- The signature. This can be a single name, a name
and call sign; Mom and dad, a name and a title, -- whatever is needed
to ensure the recipient can identify the sender. The amateur
originating a message should have enough information so that a reply
message can be returned to the originator.