Taking a break

“Break” is a special word in traffic handling. Unless it appears in the text of a radiogram (e.g. “Having fun on spring break”), we say “break” at two and only two times during radiogram transmission (well, there is an exception for booked messages but that’s beyond the scope of this article). The first time we say “break” is at the end of the address block and before the text. At this point, we say “break” and then listen for a response from the receiving operator. That operator will either ask for clarification on some part of the preamble or address block, or, if he copied everything fine so far, he says nothing. So after we say, “break,” we listen for a second or two and if all we hear is silence or static, we assume it’s OK to send the text. You will sometimes hear operators say “break for text,” but that’s redundant and improper procedure. All you need is “break,” and a pause. Next week, the meat of the message.

(This is the 13th in a series of short traffic-handling columns I submitted to the Kosciusko County ARES newsletter.)