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National Traffic System. History & Operation Jim Shultz W5OMG Former Manager DFW Early Metroplex Traffic Net. Introduction. We will be discussing history, logistics and how message traffic is handled

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National traffic system l.jpg

National Traffic System




Jim Shultz W5OMG

Former Manager

DFW Early Metroplex Traffic Net

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  • We will be discussing history, logistics and how message traffic is handled

  • Thanks to KB5YAM, Former N Texas Section Manager & K5NHJ, Former DFW Metroplex Late Traffic Net Manager for the basis of this presentation

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Message Firsts

  • First telegraph message:

  • “What hath God wrought.”

  • First telephone message:

  • “Watson, come here. I want you.”

  • First radio message:

  • “Look, ma, no wires!”

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Public Service Communications

  • Always done it

  • Spontaneous

  • Individual basis

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Need for organization

  • Results were chaotic

  • Organized trunk lines and net systems

  • Later came ARES and NTS

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Part 97 – “Basis and Purpose”

  • “Recognition and enhancement of the value of the amateur service to the public as a voluntary non-commercial communications service, particularly with respect to providing emergency communications.”

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  • Between 1914 & 1917 Range increased dramatically

  • By the end of 1917 over 600 Amateurs had been designated ORS

  • Prestige amongst The Brethren came not from the number of messages handled, but from the accuracy & reliability

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What is Traffic Handling?

  • The means of getting a message from sender to recipient in the shortest amount of time as sent

  • Most needed in times of disaster or other emergency

  • We may all be needed at one time or another to “get the message through”.

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Principles of NTS Operation

  • Keep the QRM level down

  • Monitor established disaster frequencies

  • Avoid spreading rumors

  • Authenticate all messages

  • Strive for efficiency

  • Select the band and mode to suit the need

  • Use all communications channels wisely

  • Don’t “broadcast”

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NTS Net Levels

  • Local Nets

  • Section Nets

  • Region Nets

  • Area Nets

  • Trans-Continental Corps

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DFW Nets

  • Metroplex Early Net - 1830 local time - 146.88 MHz repeater (DARC)

  • Metroplex Late Net - 2230 local time - 145.19 MHz repeater - 110.9 PL tone (Billy McDonald)

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HF Nets

  • Daytime Texas Traffic Net 7285

  • 7290 Traffic Net – Morning (M-Sa)

  • 7290 Traffic Net – Afternoon (M-F)

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HF Nets

  • Texas CW Net 3643

  • Texas Traffic Net 3873

  • Panhandle Emergency and Traffic Handling Net 3933

  • Region Five Cycle Four 3650,7052

  • Texas Slow CW Net 3719

  • Central Gulf Coast Hurricane Net 3935

  • Southwest Traffic Net 3935

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Digital Stations

  • HF Digital NTS Operations

  • APLink system

  • NTS Digital Stations

  • VHF Packet Radio Bulletin Boards

  • Major PBBS can be a “net”

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Message Form

  • Preamble

  • Body

  • Signature

  • Status Line

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  • Number

  • Precedence

  • Handling Instructions (optional)

  • Station of Origin

  • Check

  • Place of Origin

  • Time (optional)

  • Date

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  • Name

  • Call (if any)

  • Address

  • City, State & Zip

  • Phone Number (necessary, if at all possible)

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Message Body

  • ARL Numbered Radiograms

  • Number spelled out

  • Phone number counts as three words

  • “Love” and “Yours truly” are part of message body

  • Web site (url) counts as one word

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  • Name of person sending the message (not necessarily the operator)

  • Any other description of the sender

    Callsign, FISTS, OOTC, EOC Mgr., Hospital Administrator

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Status Line

  • Who did you get it from and when?

  • Who did you give it to and when?

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Delivering the traffic

  • Attitude-You are representing all HAM radio operators

  • Make the call

  • Identifying yourself

    • Non-HAMs

    • HAMs

  • The Message

    • Radiogram vs. Telegram

      • Hardly ever bad news

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Other formats

  • Whatever your boss specifies

    • City/county/state/federal

    • Support

      • Medical format for personnel and supplies

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  • What’s coming to the DFW VHF nets

    • Radio to radio

      • This is normally what we do in an emergency unless you are a liaison

        • EOC’s

        • Hospitals & Hospital Council

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Net Operations

  • Local Nets

    • Usually more informal, because they’re normally not under time constraints due to volume of traffic

  • HF Nets

    • Usually more formal and structured, do have higher volumes of traffic

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Public Service Honor Roll

  • Checking into a traffic net (with or without traffic)

  • Acting as a Net Control or Alternate Net Control Station

  • Acting as a Liaison to another Public Service Net

  • Delivering Messages to a third party

  • Originating Messages from a third party

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Public Service Honor Roll, 2

  • Serving as a Field Appointee from ARRL

  • Providing communications during a public service event, such as a bicycle ride, walk-a-thon, marathon, etc.

  • Providing a digital station for purposes of traffic handling via packet

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  • Speed (with efficiency)

  • Accuracy

  • The real fun is in delivering traffic to the public!

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Additional Information

  • ARRL

  • Public Service Communications Manual

  • Net Directory

  • Operating Manual


  • Listen and/or check in to a net

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Thank you!

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