NTS TRAINING”

Disaster response volunteers sometimes become so involved with helping others that they tend to forget to take care of themselves.

 

Being able to communicate effectively during these times is a necessary and vital part of handling large volumes of NTS traffic.

 

Rest, food and plenty of liquids are very important during disaster situations because of the amount of stress that is added to your lives.

 

IF YOU DO NOT, YOU RISK BECOMING PART OF THE PROBLEM.

Tom Harris, k5wth

 

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   NTS Training

                                                                IS THIS YOU?

 

During WW1, there were no communications like we have today. In order to relay a message, a runner was sent from company to company.

 

During an encounter one day, the C O called a runner and said:

“Tell the Commander to send us reinforcements, we are going to advance.”

 

So the message was relayed from the first trench to another until it reached the Commander, who was told by the last runner; “Sir, the CO of the First line said, send us refreshments we are going to a dance!”

ACCURACY is very important in traffic handling. A good operator acknowledges a message ONLY when positive they have got exactly what the sending operator sent.

Tom Harris, k5wth

 

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 “NTS Training”

TRANSCRIBE THE MESSAGE WITHOUT MODIFICATION:

No part of the message may be altered, even when it appears necessary, except for appending corrections to the check value.

Tom Harris, k5wth

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 “NTS Training”

 

A message is considered a “formal” radiogram when it is completed with a correctly formatted preamble, address, text and signature. Stations in the system are not obligated to handle incomplete or improperly formatted messages.

Tom Harris, k5wth

 

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 “NTS Training”

The four parts of the ARRL standard Radiogram are recorded information about how the message was originated, received, sent or delivered.                                                                                                 Experienced traffic handlers can write and handle messages on plain paper, five or ten to a page. Get to know the format well enough to be able to do likewise.

Tom Harris, k5wth

 

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”NTS Training”

 

Our mission is to communicate, not administrate, for the responsible officials. Our job is to pass their information and emergency requests back and forth with speed and accuracy.

Tom Harris, k5wth

 

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  “NTS Training”

 

Stations passing traffic individually and on nets should be familiar with message formatting and sending methods. The customary practices help the stations know what to expect of each other. Once contact is made the same basic sequence of exchanges is used by all stations when passing traffic, regardless of how they got together.

Tom Harris, k5wth

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  “NTS Training”

                                            IT’S YOUR BALL

 

Amateur radio operators handling traffic have an ethical obligation to consider every message a "ball in play" until it is relayed, delivered, or serviced. Each station handling a message represents the entire amateur community. The objective of traffic handlers is to be like a fax machine in the chain of message relaying. Whatever goes in should come out the other end with reliability, accuracy, and promptness.

Tom Harris, k5wth

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“NTS Training”

                                                              NOT SO FAST

SENDING AT THE PROPER SPEED FOR ACCURATE COPY IS THE HARDEST SKILL TO LEARN IN TRAFFIC HANDLING!

Clear sending, using introductory and operational words and expected transmission protocols properly, and using proper spacing between groups, are crucial for accuracy.

Tom Harris, k5wth

 

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  “NTS Training”

 

The obvious point is that qualified traffic handlers are needed in quantity during emergency and disaster events. Untrained, but concerned, operators will attempt to do their best, but will not have the calm confidence of knowing the system and how the National Traffic System works. Training is key. Every amateur in your local club or area should get at least a minimum of familiarity training in handling messages and where to find the nets that move them.

Tom Harris, k5wth

 

 

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   “NTS Training”

 

Try to accept only those messages you can forward or deliver in a timely fashion. Sometimes you may be asked to do otherwise as a liaison station or for “store and forward”.

If you accept a message, and are unable to pass it on promptly, try to find another station to accept it and keep it moving. There are many ways to

Tom Harris, k5wth

 

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  “NTS Training”

 

Delivering messages to members of the public is a very important part of the message handler's responsibility. It is customary to route messages to an amateur station within toll free calling distance of the addressee and the receiving station typically calls the addressee by telephone and delivers the message.

Tom Harris, k5wth

 

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  “NTS Training”

 

Experienced stations on the NTS net’s are always willing to answer questions or train newcomers in the various jobs. All stations are welcome and encouraged to learn and move up in the system.

Tom Harris, k5wth

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  “NTS Training”

                  

The standard ARRL Radiograms format is used to send written amateur radio messages throughout the National Traffic System and independent nets. These Radiograms have been standardized to provide a uniform means of originating, handling, and tracking messages.

Tom Harris, k5wth

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  “NTS Training”

 

During times of emergency and disaster communications is not a good time for this to happen. It is good to have a supply of fresh batteries for your HT.

Tom Harris, k5wth

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  “NTS Training”

 

Whatever goes in should come out the other end with reliability, accuracy, and promptness. The skills of both the transmitting and receiving stations in exchanging formal written messages involves speech perception and spelling problems unique to voice operating. The skills do require some practice. Unlike casual note taking, copy of the formal radiogram must produce the result of having every group transcribed exactly as it was written on the original message.

Tom Harris, k5wth

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  “NTS Traffic”

FOR Net Controllers:

DEALING WITH IMPROPER CONDUCT OR TECHNIQUES:

Ignore calls from those who interrupt transactions or violate SPECIFIC CALLS. If a station persists in interrupting, service it, even if out of order, and put the matter to rest.  The offender and other net stations will not appreciate a contest of wills on the net.

Throughout the years discipline on NTS nets has been taught by politely ignoring the undesired behavior and acknowledging the correct procedure.

Tom Harris, k5wth

 

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  “NTS Training”

 

Assume the receiving operator is copying with pencil and paper unless advised otherwise.

A useful trick to overcome the natural tendency to speak too rapidly is to say a group or phrase, pause, spell it to yourself as though you were writing it, and continue when you visualize that the receiving operator is also finished.

It always takes less time to send a message correctly the first time than it takes to negotiate repeats and fills of missing or uncertain parts. The importance of clearly spaced group sending can not be overemphasized.

Tom Harris, k5wth

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  “NTS Training”

 

DELIVERING MESSAGES:

Delivering messages to members of the public is a very important part of the message handler's responsibility. It is customary to route messages to an amateur station within toll free calling distance of the addressee and the receiving station typically calls the addressee by telephone and delivers the message.

Tom Harris, k5wth

 

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  “NTS Training”

 

LEGALITY, PROPRIETY:

Remember that amateur messages are communications which must comply with all FCC regulations in Part 97, as amended. Traffic may not directly or indirectly support the commercial purposes of any party, must not be encrypted and must meet all FCC and International Regulations regarding third party traffic.

 

Do not originate messages for a third party without their permission. Do not originate messages containing information about a third party without their permission. Respect privacy.

Tom Harris, k5wth

 

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  “NTS Training”

DISASTER COMMUNICATIONS TRAFFIC:

The properly trained and practiced traffic handlers and net operators are the backbone of disaster communications. Amateurs having these skills may come from the NTS, or from ARES/RACES groups, even if these groups operate on separate bands. The important point is that they share the same abilities so that they will all understand each other when joining together to help the public in times of emergency.

Tom Harris, k5wth

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  “NTS Training”

 

NTS net’s operate inside a very strict time line moving traffic most of the time from one net to another within just a matter of an hour each. There are 16 NTS net’s each day passing traffic all across the United States and over seas. Each net will handle from 5 to 50 pieces of traffic every session they operate.

Tom Harris, k5wth

 

  “NTS Training”

All operators should memorize the phonetic alphabet and number pronunciation, and be fluent in spelling groups of words using phonetics.
On voice we are faced with number different situations. We must say words to induce correct copy, and are forced to deal with language perceptions.

Tom Harris, k5wth

 

  “NTS Training”                                                                                                       

National Traffic System nets at local and section level are open to all amateurs in the coverage area of the net. At region and area level, participation is normally restricted to representatives of sections, and designated liaison stations. However, stations from outside the coverage area of the net concerned, or other not-regularly designated participants who report in with traffic will be cleared provided they can maintain the pace of the net as to procedure, speed and general net "savvy." Such stations reporting in without traffic will immediately be excused by the NCS unless they can supply outlets unavailable through normal NTS channels. Visitors to NTS nets should bear in mind that NTS nets operate on a time schedule and that no offense is intended in observance of the above check-in policy.

Tom Harris, k5wth

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 “NTS Training”

The future of the NTS is in the hands of those who understand the value of formal third party communication and the technology required to make it effective in today's environment.                                                   To assure opportunities for all amateurs to enjoy the rewards of public service traffic handling it is essential to pass along the knowledge developed over the years, and to introduce newcomers to this particular subset of Amateur Radio activity. Everyone can participate.

Tom Harris, k5wth

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    “NTS Training”

 

CW traffic handling has an advantage over voice in getting through interference and noise due to the narrower bandwidth requirement. CW provides automatic spelling of all word groups resulting in less overhead in transmitting. CW transmitting dispenses with the problems of speech perception, group introductions and phonetic spelling for clarity.

Tom Harris, k5wth

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  “NTS Training”

You will begin to feel the excitement and satisfaction of being able to join in on local, area and regional National Traffic System nets once you have overcome the challenge of learning the radiograms, procedures and protocols.

There are many reasons to participate in the NTS nets, first, its fun! Traffic handlers enjoy a special camaraderie in the ham world. Second, it's putting your station and yourself to public benefit. You're maintaining emergency communications preparedness ability in your neighborhood and section. Third, it's good public relations for amateur radio. Whenever you deliver a message to a third party, you're doing your part to keep the general public aware of Amateur Radio.

Tom Harris, k5wth

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  “NTS Training”

 

BE SURE OF EVERY GROUP RECEIVED:

Do not assume that you have copied a group correctly. If you miss part of a group avoid guessing about the missing part. Check each group to see that it fits the context and makes sense. If the sending speed is too fast, ask for reduced speed. If interference is present, ask for a shift in frequency if possible. Ask for a repeat or confirmation if you have any doubt. Only you know for sure that you have copied every group with certainty. Do not acknowledge the message until you are certain you have it copied it completely and accurately. Take the time!

 

Tom Harris, k5wth

 

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