The National Traffic System & Radiograms


The purpose of this page is to provide some links to detailed information on how to compose and send Radiograms through the National Traffic System. NTS includes systems for relaying Radiograms via voice, CW and digital means.

NTS Affiliate Local Nets & Resources in Maine

Sea Gull Net: This is a section wide traffic voice net on 3940.0 kHz at 1700 local time. The net operates Monday though Saturday.

Maine Slow Speed Net: This is a CW traffic net on 3585.0 khz at 1800 local time. The net operates Monday through Saturday.

Pine Tree Net: This is a CW traffic net on 3596.0 kHz at 1900 local time. The net operates daily.

Maine Public Service Net: This voice net meets Sunday mornings on 3940.0 kHz at 0900 local time.

Maine Emergency Communications Net: This net meets on 3940.0 kHz at 1700 local time on Sundays. ARES ECs, DECs and others are invited to participate.

12-County Net: This is a VHF traffic net on the KQ1L linked repeater system. This net meets Sundays at 0930 local time.

Ellsworth Amateur Wireless Association: VHF net on 147.030+ (100), Wednesdays at 1900 local time. Emergency traffic is handled.

Aroostook Emergency Net: VHF repeater net on 146.73 - , Tuesdays at 2000 local time. Emergency traffic and weather.

KB1TCE is an Eastern Area Digital Relay Station (DRS) in the NTS-Digital system. Relay stations are the interface to the NTSD network. Radiogram traffic is welcome for relaying into NTSD.

Useful Information & Links

David Streubel's What is the National Traffic System? is a great place to start. This two page overview of NTS and NTS-Digital explains how the system works and provides some very useful links for further information. David WB2FTX is the Eastern Area Digital Coordinator for NTS-Digital.

The ARRL's NTS Index Page has links to all of the ARRL's pages on NTS. This is also wherey you can download message forms. The ARRL Store has convenient paper pads of forms as well as Radiogram postcards. Pricing is very reasonable.

This Radiogram Tutorial was prepared for a class that was held at the Knox County EMA Office on August 22, 2015. It covers the parts of the radiogram, and voicing with some basic information on using Flmsg and the NTSD User Parser to send radiograms directly to an NTSD Mail Box Operation (MBO) station using the Winlink system. Appendices include frequently used prowords as well as a listing of ARL Numbers and the phonetic alphabet.

The ARRL's "National Traffic System Methods and Practices Guidelines" is the working reference manual on Traffic Net and Message Handling Procedures in the NTS. Chapter 1 covers the details of message formatting.

Airmail is a client program that is used by the Digital Relay Stations for moving Radiogram traffic into and out of the NTSD network. It's much like a regular email client except that it's configured for NTSD addressing and interfacing with Pactor HF modems. For information on how NTSD Radiograms are formatted for transmission by Digital Relay Stations using the Airmail client program, see Airmail Addressing.

Using the Flmsg Radiogram Form

Flmsg is a message composition program. It is usually used in concert with the Fldigi digital mode modem program and is part of the overall NBEMS (Narrow Band Emergency Messaging System) software suite. Specifically, Flmsg is used to compose messages in standard formats such as ICS forms. More information on NBEMS may be found on this site's home page.

Flmsg has a Radiogram form. This is normally used to compose, transmit and receive Radiograms using the NBEMS system. However, it also makes for a convenient, general purpose tool for learning how to compose Radiograms. Flmsg may be downloaded from W1HKJ's Download Site.

In Flmsg, helps are displayed when you mouse over a field. This is really useful when you have to decide the appropriate handling instruction to use (HX_) or if you are inserting ARL codes. Some examples follow.

Here is a completed Radiogram in Flmsg format.

Clicking on "hx" brings up a help if you are not sure which HX code is appropriate. Here is the popup for HXC:

If I click File - View - Plain Text and my computer is configured to open the file in WordPad, I will see the Radiogram displayed in the proper format for either reading by voice or for sending with CW:

Finally, there are a few dozen shorthand codes called ARL codes. Clicking the ARL button will bring up a list of the codes and you may select one. This one is a happy birthday greeting. Needless to say, the operator that delivers the message will have a list of codes so he can deliver a coherent message to the recipient.

That's the basics. Now, practice using the system so that it will come naturally to you in the event of an emergency where you are called upon to send formal Radiogram traffic.

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This page was created on 20 October 2014 and is maintained by KB1TCE.

Send comments or questions to shansenATbelljarDOTnet