The National Traffic System (NTS) is a structure that allows for rapid movement of traffic from origin to destination and training amateur operators to handle written traffic and participate in directed nets.
The national traffic system works from the local to national and back to local levels. As an example, let’s say that I want to send a message to my friend Cale with the FoTime Podcast. My message would start with my local area net. From there, an operator would in turn check in to the NTX Section net and pass the traffic. An operator in the NTX section net would then check in on the Fifth Region net and pass the message onto someone else. They would take the message and check into the Central Area net and pass the message again. At this point the message would be passed from the Central Area net to the Eastern Area net via the designated TCC, or Transcontinental Corps, operators. From there the Eastern Area operator to pass it down to the Fourth Region net, then someone else would pass it to the South Carolina Section net and finally someone would pass it to a local net in his area and finally to him. This whole process could take a day or it could, and probably would take at least two. If Cale were to send a message back to me, it might only take one day because of the time difference.
Now that we have an idea about how it works, let’s talk about the format of a message a little bit.
This is what the radiogram itself looks like. The fields on this form are pretty self-explanatory. However, if you would like to know more about what each section is, and what goes in each box, check out this post.
The National Traffic System is used mainly during major events, like natural or man-made disasters but it is also used other times as well. However, there has been a downward trend on the use of it. It has been noticed that there are times when there is only one or two messages passed during a net that use to have a lot more. In the National Traffic System controller community it has been suggested that areas have some kind of outdoor event or booth or something to help gather National Traffic System messages to be sent.
During a disaster, National Traffic System nets are flooded with traffic, the majority of which and Health and Welfare traffic. People trying to find out if their loved ones in the affected areas are OK, because they can not make contact with them by other means or the other way around, those in the affected areas trying to get a message out to let their loved ones know that they are OK.
While I have never personally sent or received a message through the National Traffic System system, I have heard first hand how this system works. A friend of the family had a family member that worked in the World Trade Center during 9/11/01. They were unable to make contact with them as the phone system and internet were down for obvious reasons. It was mentioned to my father one evening so he suggested that we use the National Traffic System to try to get a message to them. Long story short, we sent a message through the National Traffic System and about a week later, we got a response back that they were OK.
Much like everything else with amateur radio, when all else fails, Amateur Radio will prevail! It is one of the many things that I LOVE about the hobby. Have you ever sent a message through the National Traffic System before? Please leave a comment below and tell us about an experience you have had with sending or receiving messages through the National Traffic System.
Seeing that there is a call for more messages to be sent through the National Traffic System to help in training of the system, I am issuing this challenge to each of you. Send me an Radiogram. Tell me what you think of my podcast and/or blog and please include ETH013 in the message. Remember you only have 25 words for the entire message, so make them count. My information is correct on QRZ/ULS.
Amateur Radio Club Spotlight
Emergency Amateur Radio Club(EARC)
Club Meetings are on the third Tuesday of each month, except June and December at 7pm at the Fleet Reserve Association Branch 46, 891 Valkenburgh Street Honolulu, HI
- 146.880 – Diamond Head
- 146.800 – Maunakapu
- 146.660 – PL 103.5 – Olomana
- 146.640 – PL 103.5 – Laie
- 444.500 + Diamond Head
- 444.100 + pl 151.4 Maunakapu
- 449.150 + PL 103.5
- Emergency Amateur Radio Club Monday-Saturday, except Major Holidays and 3rd Tuesday of each month…1930W…444.500+ …Linked to 146.880-
- Swap and Shop Every Tuesday…2000W…444.500+…Linked to 146.880-
- Health Comm First Business Day of the Month…1145W…444.775+, 443.775+, 442.925+, 442.775+, all with PL 123.0, make sure you use high power
- FLdigi Tech Net 4th Tuesday…2000W…State RACES UHF…444.325+ & 444.350+, all with PL 103.5
- FLdigi Tech Net 4th Thursday…2000W…State RACES UHF…444.325+ & 444.350+, all with PL 103.5
- Emergency Amateur Radio Club Monday-Saturday, except Major Holidays and 3rd Tuesday of each month…1930W…146.880- …Linked to 444.500+
- Swap and Shop Every Tuesday…2000W…146.880-…Linked to 444.500+
- LDS Group Net Wednesday and Thursday nights at 2100 local on 146.620- PL 103.5
- Health Comm FLdigi Net First Business Day of the Month…1215W…147.220+
- Kauai Amateur Radio Club Every Monday…2000W…146.920-…Linked to 147.160+
- Maui Emergency and Hawaii State RACES Every Monday…1900W…147.060+…147.020+ on Maui…147.040+ on Kauai
- FLdigi Tech Net 4th Tuesday…2000W…State RACES 2M…147.020+,147.040+,147.060+,all PL 103.5, 146.760- & 146.980-, PL 88.5
- FLdigi Tech Net 4th Thursday…2000W…State RACES 2M…147.020+,147.040+,147.060+,all PL 103.5, 146.760- & 146.980-, PL 88.5
- Hawaii State HealthComm Net First Sat of month…0900W…7.088…and 3.888 and 5.377 Alternate
- California / Hawaii Daily…0700W…14.340
- California / Hawaii Daily…1600W…14.305
- Aloha Net Daily…0900W…7.088…7.080…3.888 Alternate
- Hawaii Afternoon Net Daily…1600W…7.088…3.888 Alternate
- Swap and Shop Every Wednesday…1700W…7.088 LSB…40 meters
- FLdigi 2nd Tuesday…2000W…7.090 USB…40 meters
- Technician and General classes taught several times a year. Currently a technician class started on yesterday, Monday Apr 11, 2016.
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Until next time…
73 de Curtis, K5CLM