How do you handle message traffic on a net? It's not as difficult as it sounds, in fact you've probably already used the same basic skills when you've tried to work a difficult contact on the air!
First, lets examine a typical piece of written message traffic! The standard format of a National Traffic System Radiogram consists of four sections:
- The preamble (or header)
- The addressee (including name, mailing address, city/state/zip, and a telephone number
- The text
- The signature
The key to successfully servicing a messagewhich you are either relaying or taking responsibiliy for its final delivery depends on how carefully you copy the original message! You can find examples of a properly formatted NTS Radiogram at the ARRL's website. Pay particular attention to the handling instructions which are contained in the message preamble! Handling instructions are coded in a 3-letter code which begins with the letters HX and are placed immediately after the message number and precedence. Each of the six handling instructions directs you how to handle the message, especially if it becomes undeliverable for any reason! The handling instructions are detailed on the ARRL Website!
Get some experience by volunteering to deliver a message which is addressed to someone reasonably close to your location. Check into your local or state traffic net and be ready to volunteer! Veteran traffic handlers will always work with you to help you learn what you need to know to be a viable link in the traffic chain!