The pause we take after sending a radiogram preamble is the only introduction the address needs. We don’t say, “Going to,” we just say the first name of the addressee. If the first name is unusual or could be spelled in more than one way (e.g. Jon and John or Chris and Kris), we follow the name with the words, “I spell,” and then spell it phonetically. If there’s a middle initial, we say, “initial,” and then the initial phonetically. Then we say the last name. It is best practice to always spell the last name, even common last names, so we again say, “I spell” and the spell the name phonetically. If there is a call sign after the name, we say, “amateur call” and then the call sign phonetically. Here’s how “Chris B. Johnson W9XAB” should sound: “Chris, I spell, Charlie hotel, Romeo, India, Sierra, initial bravo, Johnson, I spell, Juliet, Oscar, hotel, November, Sierra, Oscar, November, amateur call whiskey nine x-ray alpha bravo.” Next week: Addresses.
(This is the ninth in a series of short traffic-handling columns I submitted to the Kosciusko County ARES newsletter.)
Radiogram preambles end with an optional time filed and mandatory date filed. We transmit both without introduction. We say all four digits of the time filed (if present), one digit at a time. If a letter is present to indicate the time zone, we say that letter phonetically. We transmit the date by saying the month name in full (even if it is abbreviated in the radiogram), then the day, one digit at a time. For example, we say “Indiana, zero nine one three Zulu, April one five.” After we say the last digit of the date, we pause and take a breath. That pause signals that the preamble is finished. We do not say “break” here. Next week: Addressing the addressee.
(This is the eighth in a series of short traffic-handling columns I submitted to the Kosciusko County ARES newsletter.)
After a radiogram’s check, we transmit the place of origin, without introduction. This is almost always a city or town name, followed by a state or province. Immediately after the check we say the city name, and then say “I spell,” and then spell the city name phonetically (spelling can be omitted only if the city is well known and understood). Then we say the state name in full, even if it appears in the message as a two-letter abbreviation. For example, we say, “one five, Claypool, I spell, Charlie, Lima, alpha, Yankee, papa, Oscar, Oscar, Lima, Indiana.” We don’t say, “Place of origin, Claypool, I-N.” Next week: Time and date.
(This is the seventh in a series of short traffic-handling columns I submitted to the Kosciusko County ARES newsletter.)
Every radiogram preamble has a “check.” The check is the number of word “groups” in the text of the message. We send the check one digit at a time, without introduction. For example, if the message text has 15 word groups, we say, “alpha bravo nine Zulu alpha, one five,” not “alpha bravo nine Zulu alpha, check one five,” and not “alpha bravo nine Zulu alpha, check fifteen.” Some messages contain ARRL numbered radiograms (an explanation of which is beyond the scope of this article). In that case, the letters “ARL” precede the check, like this: “A-R-L one five.” Note that this is one of those rare times when we do not use phonetics. Next week: Every message comes from somewhere.
(This is the sixth in a series of short traffic-handling columns I submitted to the Kosciusko County ARES newsletter.)
Every radiogram has a station of origin; the call sign of the ham who first transmitted it on the radio. That means if another ham gives you a message via telephone and you transmit it on the radio, the radiogram’s station of origin is your call sign, not his. We transmit the station of origin phonetically, without introduction. For example, “number one five, routine, alpha bravo nine zulu alpha,” not “number one five, routine, station of origin A-B-9-Z-A,” and not “number one five, routine, amateur call alpha bravo nine zulu alpha.” Next week: How to send a check.
(This is the fifth in a series of short traffic-handling columns I submitted to the Kosciusko County ARES newsletter.)
ARRL Form FSD-218 defines seven possible handling instructions, each represented by one of the letters, A through G. Not every message has a handing instruction. When present, we send it after the precedence. We introduce it with the phonetics “hotel x-ray” and then we give the letter phonetically. For example, we say, “routine, hotel x-ray charlie,” not “routine, charlie.” When a number is involved, we say it one digit at a time. For example, “number one two, routine, hotel x-ray alpha five zero,” not “number one two, routine, A fifty.” Next week: Station of origin.
(This is the fourth in a series of short traffic-handling columns I submitted to the Kosciusko County ARES newsletter.)
After we transmit a radiogram’s message number, the precedence is next. “Precedence” is the word we use to describe how urgent a message is. It also determines which messages get sent first. Possibilities include “routine,” “welfare,” “priority” and “emergency.” Definitions of each appear in ARRL Form FSD-3. Experienced traffic handlers know that the precedence always immediately follows the message number, so we don’t introduce it, we just say it. For example, we don’t say, “number one five, precedence routine.” We instead say, “number one five, routine.” Next week, we’ll cover handling instructions.
(This is the third in a series of short traffic-handling columns I submitted to the Kosciusko County ARES newsletter.)
A radiogram’s number is the first thing we send. If a receiving station has indicated, “ready to copy,” the next word out of our mouths should be “number.” Not “please copy,” not “message follows,” just “number.” It’s what experienced traffic handlers expect to hear.
Next, we say the number itself, one digit at a time. So, if the message number is 12, say “number one two,” not “number twelve.” If the number is 131, we say “number one three one,” not “number one thirty-one” and not “number one hundred and thirty-one.” Finally, we say “zero,” not “oh” in numbers like 101.
(This is the second in a series of short traffic-handling columns I submitted to the Kosciusko County ARES newsletter.)
They want you to send everything in just the right order and just the right way. Why? Adhering to standard message transmission procedures helps ensure message accuracy, because the receiving station always knows what to expect, when and how. That’s why the NTS has very specific directions about exactly what you should say when you transmit a radiogram. That includes things like when to say “break” (and when not to), how to transmit an acronym, etc.
This is the first of a series of short columns on traffic handling that I’ve submitted to the weekly Kosciusko County, Ind. ARES newsletter. Kosciusko County Emergency Coordinator AB9ZA invited me to provide the information and I figured I could kill two birds with one stone and post the same article here!