Hillcrest Net Training, 20 March, 2016
NTS Traffic Handling
The National Traffic System is not so much an organized system of stations to rapidly carry messages across the country, but a set of principles used by national, regional, and local nets so any of them can carry messages to and from other nets by speaking the same language.
These nets use 2m voice, and many HF modes: voice, morse code, and many digital modes. Some stations even run store and forward packet networks which run very much like a radio email network. 2m nets are typically considered an end-point net, but in the event of a nuclear strike, the ionosphere will be so messed up that HF comms will all go silent, and only 2m relays will carry traffic across the country.
Stations of the NTS operate by these procedures:
- Stations reporting in indicate the destination(s) for which they can take traffic, followed by the number of traffic items theyneed to send, if any.
- Time-consuming pleasantries and other superfluous matters are not to be a part of the procedure while the net is in session.
- Net stations follow the direction of the NCS without question or comment if such directions are understood.
- Explanations of any kind are not transmitted unless they are absolutely essential to the net's conduct.
- Stations in the net do not leave the net without being excused and do not ask to be excused unless absolutely necessary.
- Stations in the net observe an order of priority:
Emergency traffic: life and death traffic, you can break in to handle this traffic. The net will deal with this first during an emergency.
- Priority traffic: responding to the call of the net control station, where there are needs which must be reported, but not involving the possible loss of life.
- Welfare traffic: the longer term needs, typically handled the day after the emergency
- Routine traffic: typically dealing the with operation of the net
- One of the main standards the NTS is the Radiogram. This is a paper form with the following information:
- Your own serial number of the message (Message No.)
- The time you received the information (Time)
- The destination (To)
- Who gave you the information (From)
- The priority of the information (emergency, priority, welfare, routine)
- The text of the message. Write legibly.
- The time the message was delivered (Time Sent)
- Keep in mind, this could also be information coming from the net control station intended for your leaders.
For our purposes, we don’t use the radiogram form. We use notebooks in an emergency, and we should use them during the two drills we do each year. One page per message is typical. While a stitch-bound Moleskine notebook might be attractive, a spiral-bound 3x5 notebook is the only thing I’ve seen a ham carry.
Our job is to pass traffic accurately. Our goal is perfect fidelity in the message. That’s why notebooks are so important.
- Feel free to ask for clarification if you are not certain you have it right.
- If you want, read back the information so the sender can double-check the accuracy. All aircraft communication is done using these readbacks.
- Try to operate in a noise-free and distraction-free room. Write down the message from your leader, then step into the next room to transmit it.
- Don’t get involved with other things happening in the bishop’s office…use other volunteers for that. Feel free to tell the bishop that he needs to use other volunteers to help with counting and tallying information. If you like, say that you are too distracted following all the radio traffic to do other tasks—and it won’t be a lie; you will be too distracted following the radio traffic to do other tasks.
End of training. Questions?