"...The National Traffic System plan is a means for systematizing amateur traffic handling facilities by making a structure available for an integrated traffic facility designed to achieve the utmost in two principal objectives: rapid movement of traffic from origin to destination, and training amateur operators to handle written traffic and participate in directed nets. These two objectives, which sometimes conflict with each other, are the underlying foundations of the National Traffic System.

NTS operates daily, even continuously with the advent of the advanced digital links of today.

The personnel consists of operators who participate for one or two periods a week, and some who are active daily. The National Traffic System is an organized effort to handle traffic in accordance with a plan which is easily understood, is basically sound, and which employs modern methods of network traffic handling in general acceptance today..." —ARRL Public Service Communications Manual


It is with great sadness that I relay to you that our Dave Spalding N1LUM suffered a heart attack and became a silent key on March 3, 2015.

Dave was an active participant on the two meter traffic nets, serving as net control and message relay station, as well as manager of Heavy Hitters Traffic Net (HHTN).  He was also active on VHF packet handling messages via that means as well.  Dave was 55 years old. It was a great shock, and he will be sorely missed.  May he rest in peace. Below is a link to his obituary.

73, Marcia KW1U, Section Traffic Manager



"QNI" is an independent newsletter published by James Wades WB8SIW, who has worked as a professional telegrapher, and who has had a wealth of experience in message handling and emergency communications.  He has dedicated many years to NTS.  In September 2012 he began the "QNI" newsletter at the request of a group of traffic handlers and has published it approximately quarterly ever since.  This newsletter is dedicated to promoting NTS and genuine emergency communications preparedness.  In addition to NTS he has included very informative articles on NTSD, the digital side of NTS as well as "radio email", a valuable tool for emergency communication.

I am including here a link to the Texas NTS Net Home Page http://www.k6jt.com/ which contains archives of all these newsletters.  When accessing this website just scroll down a short ways to find links to all the issues.  I encourage all readers to check out this very interesting and informative newsletter.  You may also find other articles of interest on this website which is maintained by W6JT the Central Area Staff Chair. If you wish to receive "QNI" as it is published, contact the editor James Wades at jameswades@gmail.com.

Happy New Year and happy reading.  See you on the nets.

Marcia KW1U

Good Food, Good Conversation: 2014 NTS Traffic Handlers Picnic

Marcia Forde, KW1U writes:

The rain held off, at least until 3 PM and the cloud cover kept the temperatures comfortable as a good group enjoyed good food and good conversation at the 2014 Traffic Handlers picnic at the Senior Center in Raynham MA Sunday August 3. The day was only dampened by the news that one of our most regular attendees was and will be greatly missed as we learned that Byron, K1YCQ became a Silent Key. A moment of silence was held in honor of Byron.

Those present included KW1U, N1OTC, N1TF, KB1WXC, W1HL, WA1LPM, N1LKJ, N1UMJ, N1IQI, N1WCO, K9HI, KA1OCF, KB1ZWZ plus a few harmonics. We were sorry to miss Dan, KC1AXR who arrived shortly after we had all left due to the arrival of raindrops. I want to especially thank Jim, N1LKJ for obtaining permission to use this fine facility, and Jack N1OTC who was again the master grill chef and did a superb job. Thanks also to all the others who brought all kinds of goodies. Jack was also the winner of the drawing for the new Amateur Radio Handbook, and Bob, N1SYC won the new Public Service Handbook, both donated by our Section Manager Phil, K9HI. Many thanks to Phil. Those of you who were unable to attend missed a good time. We hope to see you next year.

Photo (left-right): KW1U, N1SYC, N1LKJ, WA1LPM, N1TF, N1IQI, N1OTC, N1UMJ



It is with great sadness that I pass along the news that Byron Piette K1YCQ became a Silent Key this morning (August 3).  Byron had been quite ill for several weeks.  He was a very active traffic handler in addition to his work with ARES/RACES and the Hospital Nets and was a friend to all and a mentor to many.  He will be greatly missed.  May he rest in peace.  73 Byron  from KW1U and all your many friends.

Following are arrangements for wake and funeral:

Arrangements are:
Sullivan Waring Funeral Home
833 County St., Somerset, MA
Wednesday Aug. 6th, 4-7pm


Mass will be at St. Patricks Church, Thursday 10AM.


The MARI CW Net has now expanded to seven evenings a week, all on 3565 Khz at 7:00 PM.  The net has been gaining in participation and it is hoped this will allow those who work during the week to be able to check in on the weekends, in addition to providing additional outlets for traffic.  The net continues to run at slow speeds, but if anyone needs NCS to slow down, the appropriate "Q" signal is QRS.  Anyone wishing information or help with CW net operation can contact Marcia KW1U@arrl.net.  Also for help with CW skills, check out the CWOPS (http://www.cwops.org/cwacademy.html).  It's a lot of fun!

Methods and Practices Guidelines - MPG

Looking for information on message handling and net operation?  We are fortunate to have a very comprehensive resource document on the ARRL's website called "Methods and Practices Guidelines" or "MPG".

It was compiled with the help of very experienced traffic handlers and contains many examples of the best operating practices.  While it is lengthy and not designed as a training course, it is well indexed for finding what information you may be looking for.

Chapter 6 on digital messaging has been updated and contains information on "radio email", a valuable tool for emergency communications and one that can be used by NTS and ARES alike.

This updated chapter, along with the entire MPG, can be found on the ARRL website and can be reached using the link below.  I encourage all traffic handlers to reference and use this information as a guide.

For the MPG Table of Contents Click here


Hello folks,  These products used to be available and now are available once again.  Want to help others to hear about NTS?  The notice below is from Steve Ewald at ARRL HQ.   73 from Marcia KW1U


Hello, everyone.

The ARRL National Traffic System supply items are now ready and available via the ARRL Store at ARRL Headquarters.

You’ll find the items listed as a group in the “What’s New” section on the homepage of the ARRL Store,

http://www.arrl.org/shop/National-Traffic-System-NTS-Supplies, as well as listed individually in the “Pins, Patches, Supplies” category.

Here are the specific product order numbers for each item and the cost of each item.

NTS Pin -- ARRL Order No. 2606, $5

NTS Patch -- ARRL Order No. 3170, $3

NTS Sticker -- ARRL Order No. 3850, $2

NTS Mug -- ARRL Order No. 4445, $10



Steve Ewald, WV1X

Supervisor, Field Organization Team

ARRL, the national association for Amateur Radio™



NTS Traffic Handlers Picnic Photos

Shown here: Photos from the August 5, 2012 annual Traffic Handlers Picnic for EMA at the Raynham Senior Center picnic area in Raynham MA. Photos courtesy KW1U. (Click on thumbnails to enlarge.)


The East Mass traffic handlers picnic was enjoyed by all. Weather was great, food was great thanks to master grill chef Jack N1OTC. My thanks to all who attended and to those who contributed goodies for all present. For those who couldn't attend we missed you and hope to see you next year.
73, Marcia KW1U

N1UMJ with James and Jessica N1UMJ with James and Jessica



To those who are new to message handling, delivering messages is one of the more important aspects of traffic handling since it is an interface between amateur radio and the general public, educating people on the public service ham radio provides.  Messages to other hams also provide an opportunity to introduce message handling and traffic nets to those who may not be familiar with this aspect of our hobby.  It is also fun, meeting new people, sharing messages to them from family, friends and other hams around the country, and in the case of other hams, perhaps talking with them about their interests in the hobby as well as yours.  This is a skill however, one that improves and becomes more comfortable with practice. 

Begin by making sure you copied the message accurately, requesting fills as needed and making sure the  check in the preamble matches the number of words in the text.

When calling introduce yourself as a ham radio operator with a radiogram for (addee) from (name in signature) in (place of origin).  This helps them to know you are not a telemarketer.  You might explain that the message is sent as a free public service so they know you’re not going to ask for money.  If you have ascertained that you are speaking with the addee, go on to read the message.  If the addee is not home ask the person answering if they wish to copy the message or when would be a good time to call back.  If you get an answer machine leave your name and phone number and a brief explanation why you are calling and that you will call back.  Some will call you back.  If you don’t hear back try again another time.  If after three tries you still get no response, send a service message to the originator.  This will be covered later.

When delivering a message you will only read the text and signature.  Remember most people will not know about arl numbered radiograms, so make sure you are prepared to read the corresponding text for the specific arl number.  (See nts.ema.arrl.org for list of these texts)  Any use of the initial “x” corresponds to a period and the word “query” represents a question mark, so these are generally not read in the text.  Most folks are very appreciative of the messages we deliver.  However you may get someone on a bad day who will react accordingly.  Remember we are ambassadors for amateur radio and conduct yourself accordingly.

Notice any handling instructions (HX’s in the preamble).  If there is an HXC send originator a radiogram with date and time of delivery.  If there is an HXE, attempt to get a reply to send back to the sender.  An HXF followed by a number means hold message for delivery until  that date.  If a message is undeliverable send a service message back to originator explaining reason for non delivery.  If phone number is incorrect, disconnected or not in service, include number you called in the text of your service message since sometimes phone numbers you received may have been garbled along the way.

Sound complicated?  It really is not.  The important thing is to relax and have fun, and know that you are getting practice in performing a public service

Notes from the Section Traffic Manager

Greetings Eastern Mass traffic handlers, 

It is with great sadness that we have lost a fellow traffic handler and friend in Gil Follett W1GMF.  He will definitely be missed.  Gil’s passing has not only left us without that booming voice on the nets and a lot of traffic, but he was also sysop for the N1XTB BBS, our local digital outlet for traffic and helped maintain the NTS page on the ema.arrl.org website.  Phil N1XTB has agreed to keep the BBS operational for our use, and Loren N1IQI, who has helped keep us busy with his traffic, has also, along with K1YCQ and N1LUM, been monitoring the BBS for traffic to make sure it gets cleared.  Thanks to all you folks and others who take traffic from the BBS for delivery.  It is much appreciated.

Your STM is about to learn how to post information on the website, so you can look for the monthly report and any other traffic notes which I hope to put up there.  If anyone has any traffic related articles they would like to see posted there please let me know.

It is great to see all the new folks checking into both the two meter nets, taking traffic and taking on net control.  Just a reminder that not only does the 8:00 net meet daily on the Boston repeater, but Heavy Hitters meets regularly at 10 on the Minuteman linked repeaters Monday, Wednesday and Friday as well as Tuesday and Thursday when  NCS is available.  Dave N1LUM has been running most nets along with Scott N1SGB on Wednesdays.  This net has been growing, but I’m sure Dave would appreciate help with NCS duties. 

We have an Eastern Mass section net which currently meets Monday through Friday at 5:30 on 3918 Khz.  Participation on this net has not been very good.  Currently this is our only section net, and liaises with the region nets to get traffic beyond the section.  Is anyone on HF who could help out with this net?  Please see Jim N1LKJ or KW1U for more information.  If we had more participation we would like to return to seven days a week. 

Anyone interested in CW traffic handling?  We have had no CW section net for awhile now due to lack of participation.  There is an excellent CW training net and I would be happy to provide more information about that to anyone interested.  Not feeling good about your CW skills?  I would be glad to get on the air for some code practice.  I haven’t tried CW on two meters, but can set up some practice time on HF if anyone is interested.

Enough for now, but see you on the nets.  Thanks again to all for your participation.

73, Marcia KW1U, STM EMA Section

Syndicate content