Visual LEVEL1.1
Lesson 6: Basic Communication Skills
Visual LEVEL1.2
 Exercise
Visual LEVEL1.3
Exercise Results
 What did I ask everyone to do?
 What did you do?
 What caused confusion?
Visual LEVEL1.4
Get Message to Intended Recipient
Cooperation of Others
Minimum of Fuss
Operating Skills
Communication Method
Adequate Resources
Skills of Receiving Party
Visual LEVEL1.5
Why Are Emergency Communication Techniques Different?
 Life and death communications are not part of our daily
 Most of what we say and do each day does not have the
potential to severely impact the lives and property of
hundreds or thousands of people
 In an emergency, any given message can have huge and
often unintended consequences
 An unclear message, or one that is modified, delayed, misdelivered, or never delivered at all can have disastrous
Visual LEVEL1.6
Source: “Listening: The Forgotten Skill”, Madelyn Burley-Allen
Visual LEVEL1.7
Why Is Listening Efficiency Low?
Hearing what you want to hear
Mental Tangents
Don’t Want to Be There
Don’t Like the Speaker
Don’t Understand the Topic
Forming a Response
Too Interested in Physical Characteristics
Visual LEVEL1.8
Listening..The Forgotten Skill
 Listening is not the same as “hearing”
 You
can have excellent hearing but still have
weak listening skills
 Listening is a learned skill
 What does ineffective listening cause?
Visual LEVEL1.9
Ineffective Listening
Confused Instructions
Loss of Important Information
Visual LEVEL1.10
Acknowledge the Talker
Taking In
Improve Communication
Invite Communication to Continue
Carry Idea Forward
Visual LEVEL1.11
Listening Exercise from NCS Class
 An exercise to increase listening awareness..
 For
five minutes, list all the sounds you hear
 Do this 2-3 times a day in different
environments to sharpen your listening
• Perhaps even add a radio or scanner and try to
follow the traffic as well
• Listen to weak signals on Shortwave/HF/AM
Broadcast Band
Visual LEVEL1.12
Microphone Techniques
 Using your microphone correctly can make a big difference
in intelligibility
 Hold the mic close to your cheek, and just off to the side of
your mouth
 Talk across, rather than into, the microphone
Reduce breath noises and "popping" sounds that can
mask your speech
 "Voice operated transmission" (VOX) is not recommended
for emergency communication
Visual LEVEL1.13
 Normal, clear, calm voice
 Shouting = over-modulation and distortion
Will not increase volume at the
receiving end
 Normal pace
Rushing = slurred and unintelligible
 Pronounce words carefully
Making sure to enunciate each syllable
and sound
Visual LEVEL1.14
Repeater Use
 Leave a little extra time between pressing the
push-to-talk switch and speaking
 A variety of delays can occur within a system,
including CTCSS decode time, and transmitter
rise time
 Leaving extra time is also necessary on any
system of linked repeaters
 Allow time for all the links to begin transmitting
Visual LEVEL1.15
After Transmission
Pause a little longer than usual between transmissions
any time there is a possibility that other stations may
have emergency traffic to pass from time to time.
A count of "one, one thousand" is usually sufficient.
Visual LEVEL1.16
Brevity & Clarity
 Only the information necessary to get the
message across clearly and accurately
 Extraneous information
 Distract
the recipient
 Misinterpretation
 Confusion
Visual LEVEL1.17
Brevity & Clarity
 If you are the message's author and can leave a word out
without changing the meaning of a message, leave it out
 If the description of an item will not add to the
understanding of the subject of the message, leave it out
 Avoid using contractions within your messages
Words like "don't" and "isn't" are easily confused.
 If someone else has drafted the message, work with the
author to make it more concise
Visual LEVEL1.18
Brevity & Clarity
 Listen to a scanner
Police/fire radio dispatchers
 Air traffic controllers
 Transmissions sound crisp and professional
 Do not editorialize, or engage in chitchat
An emergency net is no place for
• "Hi Larry, long time no hear,"
• "Hey, you know that rig you were telling me about last
• Or any other non-essential conversation.
Visual LEVEL1.19
Brevity & Clarity
 Say exactly what you mean
Using non-specific language can lead to
misunderstandings and confusion
 Communicate one complete subject at a time
 If you are sending a list of additional food supplies needed,
keep it separate from a message asking for more sand
 Chances are that the two requests will have to be
forwarded to different locations, and if combined one
request will be lost
Visual LEVEL1.20
Plain Language
“Plain Language: Common terms and definitions
that can be understood by individuals from all
responder disciplines. The intent of plain
language is to ensure the clear and accurate
communication of information during an incident.”
• FY07 NIMS Compliance Metrics – Terms of Reference
Visual LEVEL1.21
Plain Language
 Not everyone involved in an emergency
communication situation will understand amateur
slang and technical jargon
 Exception
 Standard
"pro-words" (often called "pro-signs")
used in Amateur traffic nets, such as "clear,"
"say again all after" and so on
All messages and communications during an emergency
should be in plain language
Visual LEVEL1.22
Common Terminology
 Is an ICS wide fundamental
 Necessary for operations, planning, and standard
operating procedures (SOPs)
 A common dialect for describing the “who, when,
why, where, what, and how” of operations
Visual LEVEL1.23
Plain Language
 Not all Plain Language has the same meaning
 For
• The California Highway Patrol requests
“Backup” when they need another officer in an
emergency. They request “Assistance” when
they want a cover unit.
• The Los Angeles County Sheriff uses the same
two words, but uses them in the exact opposite
Visual LEVEL1.24
Be Careful
 Avoid words or phrases that carry strong
 Most emergency situations are
emotionally charged already, and you
do not need to add to the problem.
• "horrific damage and people torn to
• "significant physical damage and
serious personal injuries"
Visual LEVEL1.25
 Certain words in a message may not be
immediately understood
 The best way to be sure it is understood
correctly is to spell it… but…
 Spell the word using letters, it might still be
 Use phonetics anytime a word has an unusual or
difficult spelling, or may be easily misunderstood
Visual LEVEL1.26
 Standard practice is to first say the word, say "I spell," then
spell the word phonetically
 Lets the receiving station know you are about to spell
the word he just heard
 Phonetic alphabets
Most hams and some public safety agencies use the
ITU Phonetic Alphabet
 Others use military alphabets or the APCO alphabet
 Make up your own phonetics has no place in
emergency communication
Visual LEVEL1.27
ITU Phonetic Alphabet
A - alfa (AL-fa)
B - bravo (BRAH-voh)
C - charlie (CHAR-lee)
D - delta (DELL-tah)
E - echo (ECK-oh)
F - foxtrot (FOKS-trot)
G - golf (GOLF)
H - hotel (HOH-tell)
I - india (IN-dee-ah)
J - juliet (JU-lee-ett)
K - kilo (KEY-loh)
L - lima (LEE-mah)
M - mike (MIKE)
N - november (no-VEM-ber)
O - oscar (OSS-cah)
P - papa (PAH-PAH)
Q - quebec (kay-BECK)
R - romeo (ROW-me-oh)
S - sierra (SEE-air-rah)
T - tango (TANG-go)
U - uniform (YOU-ni-form)
V - victor (VIK-tor)
W - whiskey (WISS-key)
X - x-ray (ECKS-ray)
Y - yankee (YANG-key)
Z - zulu (ZOO-loo)
Visual LEVEL1.28
 Numbers are somewhat
easier to understand
 Most can be made clearer
by simply "overenunciating“
One: "Wun"
Two: "TOOO"
Three: "THUH-ree"
Four: "FOH-wer"
Five: "FY-ive"
Six: "Sicks"
Seven: "SEV-vin"
Eight: "Ate"
Nine: "NINE-er
Zero: "ZEE-row"
Visual LEVEL1.29
APCO Phonetic Alphabet
A - adam
B - boy
C - charlie
D - delta (DELL-tah)
E - echo (ECK-oh)
F - foxtrot (FOKS-trot)
G - golf (GOLF)
H - hotel (HOH-tell)
I - india (IN-dee-ah)
J - juliet (JU-lee-ett)
K - kilo (KEY-loh)
L - lima (LEE-mah)
M - mike (MIKE)
Visual LEVEL1.30
N - november (no-VEM-ber)
O - oscar (OSS-cah)
P - papa (PAH-PAH)
Q - quebec (kay-BECK)
R - romeo (ROW-me-oh)
S - sierra (SEE-air-rah)
T - tango (TANG-go)
U - uniform (YOU-ni-form)
V - victor (VIK-tor)
W - whiskey (WISS-key)
X - x-ray (ECKS-ray)
Y - yankee (YANG-key)
Z - zulu (ZOO-loo)
 Procedural terms with specific meanings
Save time
 Everyone understands precisely what is being said
 Some pro-words are used in general communication,
others while sending and receiving formal messages
Visual LEVEL1.31
Meaning and function
End of contact. In CW, SK is sent before final identification
Used to let any station know to respond
Go ahead
Used to let a specific station know to respond
Leaving the air, will not be listening
Stand by
A temporary interruption of the contact
Indicates that a transmission has been received correctly and in full
* Two letters are sent as one character in CW
Visual LEVEL1.32
Source: ARES Field Resources Manual
Tactical Call Signs
 The tactical call sign allows you to contact a station without
knowing the FCC call sign of the operator
 Identify the station's location or its purpose during an
event, regardless of who is operating the station
 Have a meaning that matches the way in which the
served agency identifies the location or function
 Should be used for all emergency nets and public service
events if there are more than just a few participants
 Net Control Station (NCS) may assign the tactical call
sign as each location is "opened"
Visual LEVEL1.33
Tactical Call Signs
 Emergency communications use tactical call
signs exclusively to call other stations
 You don’t contact another station on an
emergency net by using their amateur call sign
 If you have a reason to call them on the net,
they have either a DESIGNATOR (if a mobile
station) or a LOCATION (if a fixed station) and
Visual LEVEL1.34
Example Tactical Call Signs
State EOC
Canyon Shelter
Visual LEVEL1.35
Firebase 1
Rest 1
Example Tactical Call Signs
Road Rally Operations on-site at:
 “MOUNTAIN TOP”. This is the TACTICAL call sign for the over event Net Control
 “SERVICE” TACTICAL call sign for vehicle maintenance area during rallies.
 “CHAIRMAN” TACTICAL call sign for event leader from the rally organization.
 “START” TACTICAL call sign for the initial ‘start point’ for a specific stage in a rally.
 “MID-POINT” TACTICAL call sign for the midway point for a specific rally stage.
 “SPECTATOR” TACTICAL call sign for a specific spectator point during a rally stage.
 “FINISH” TACTICAL call sign for the end or ‘finish’ point for a specific rally stage.
 “SAFETY” TACTICAL call sign for designated Rally Safety Official/Coordinator.
 “ADVANCE” TACTICAL call sign for ‘Advance” vehicle on a specific rally stage.
 “PACE” TACTICAL call sign for any ‘pace’ vehicle(s) used on a specific rally stage.
 “SWEEP” TACTICAL call sign for ‘sweep’ vehicle(s) used on a specific stage.
 “TIMERS” TACTICAL cal sign for ‘stage timers’ on a specific rally stage.
 Other locations and tactical call signs may be used at specific rally events that will be
established by the event chairman or their designated representative.
Visual LEVEL1.36
Calling with Tactical Call Signs
“Net, Aid 3”
or just “Aid 3”
“Aid 3 Emergency Traffic”
“Aid 3 Priority Traffic”
Visual LEVEL1.37
Net Control
Calling with Tactical Call Signs
Aid 3, Firebase 5
Aid 3, Priority Traffic
for Firebase 5
Firebase 5, call Aid 3
for priority traffic
Net Control
Visual LEVEL1.38
Calling with Tactical Call Signs
 Calling a station:
“Team 2, this is SAR Base”
“RTC Command, this is SAG 21”
The correct response is to identify with YOUR call sign, followed by the prowords
“go ahead”:
 “Team 2, go ahead”
 “SAG 21, go ahead”
To end a contact, use the term “out” - not “clear”
Here’s how it sounds:
 “SAR Base out, WB7OML”
 “RTC Command out, WB7OML”
 “Operations out, WB7OML”
What if you need to call a specific person at a location?
 “Redmond EOC, this is RTC Command with contact for Deputy Smith”
What if you have a written message to deliver?
 “Redmond EOC, this is RTC Command with traffic”
 (Contrary to what some teach, you don’t identify the recipient of a written
message in the call - it will be in the message itself, and there’s no reason to
duplicate the information!)
Visual LEVEL1.39
Calling with Tactical Call Signs
 Your call sign is WB7OML and you have status of Medic 1 to which you
are assigned
 Net Control from Medic 1 with status
 Your call sign is WB7OML you are assigned to Rest 2 and you need to
talk directly with KE7DXW assigned to Rest 3 on the same net
 Net Control from Rest 2 with traffic for Rest 3
 Your call sign is WB7OML, spotter id KING145 and you have weather
 Net Control from KING145 with weather
 Field unit assigned to SAG1 has traffic for net control
Net Control from SAG1 with traffic
Visual LEVEL1.40
Calling with Tactical Call Signs
 Field unit assigned to SAG2 has a message for Medic1 and
requests permission to pass the traffic.
 SAG2: Net Control from SAG2 with traffic for Medic1.
 NCS: Medic1, can you copy SAG2?
 Medic1: Affirmative
 NCS: SAG2, you may go direct with Medic1
 SAG2: Medic1 from SAG2
 (If Medic1 responds, message is passed and SAG2 clears. If
Medic1 cannot copy, SAG2 may ask Net Control to relay
Visual LEVEL1.41
What about FCC Call Signs?
 FCC requires that you identify at ten-minute
intervals during a conversation and at the
end of your last transmission
 Give your FCC call sign as you complete
each exchange
• Tells the NCS that you consider the
exchange complete (and saves time and
extra words)
• Fulfills all FCC identification requirements
Visual LEVEL1.42
Completing a Call
"Aid 3, <your call sign>."
Net Control
“Aid 3, do you have
further traffic?”
“Aid 3 out, <your call sign>"
Visual LEVEL1.43
A Review of Habits to Avoid
 Thinking aloud on the air: "Ahhh, let me see. Hmm. Well,
you know, if..."
 PTT is not Push to Think
On-air arguments or criticism
Rambling commentaries
Shouting into your microphone
"Cute" phonetics
Identifying every time you key or un-key the mic
Using "10" codes, Q-signals on phone, or anything other
than "plain language"
Speaking without planning your message in advance
Talking just to pass the time
Visual LEVEL1.44
Exercise – Tactical Call Signs
 Break off into groups of 6
 Assign a NCS from your group
 NCS assigns a tactical call sign to each student in their
 Practice a roll call to get a SITREP from each station using
tactical call signs and FCC call signs
 SITREP for all stations is “no damage at this location –
this is an exercise”
Visual LEVEL1.45
 Do you practice with tactical call signs on your
training nets?
 Example – do a roll call and assign tactical call to
each station responding. Use tactical call for
remainder of the net.
Visual LEVEL1.46
Lesson 6 Activities
1. Using what you have learned, edit the following exchange
to make it clear and concise.
"KA1XYZ at Ramapo Base, this is Bob, K2ABC at Weston
EOC calling."
"K2ABC, this is KA1XYZ. Hi, Bob. This is Ramapo Base,
Harry at the mic. Go ahead. K2ABC from KA1XYZ."
"KA1XYZ, this is K2ABC returning. Hi, Harry. I have a
message for you. By the way, remember to call me
later about the get-together the club is having next
month. Are you ready to copy the message?"
KA1XYZ, this is K2ABC, over to you Harry."
Visual LEVEL1.47
Lesson 6 Activities
2. Based upon what you have read in this lesson,
list five errors to avoid when communicating
during an emergency.
Visual LEVEL1.48
Lesson 6 Questions
1. In emergency communication, which one of the following
is NOT true?
A. Listening is only about 10% of communication.
B. Any message can have huge and unintended
C. A message that is never delivered can yield
disastrous results.
D. Listening also means avoiding unnecessary
Visual LEVEL1.49
Lesson 6 Questions
2. Which of the following procedures is best for using a
A. Hold the microphone just off the tip of your nose.
B. Talk across, rather than into, your microphone.
C. Shout into the microphone to insure that you are
heard at the receiving end.
D. Whenever possible, use voice operated transmission
Visual LEVEL1.50
Lesson 6 Questions
3. In emergency communications, which of the following is
A. Never use "10 codes" on Amateur Radio.
B. Use "Q signals" on served-agency radio systems.
C. Under NO circumstances use "Q" signals on a CW
D. Use technical jargon when you feel that it is
Visual LEVEL1.51
Lesson 6 Questions
4. Which of the following is always true of a tactical net?
Personal call signs are never used.
B. Personal call signs are always preferred over tactical
call signs (such as "Aid 3").
C. Personal call signs are required at ten-minute
intervals during a conversation or at the end of your
last transmission.
D. Personal call signs are required at ten-minute
intervals during a conversation and at the end of your
last transmission.
Visual LEVEL1.52
Lesson 6 Questions
5. Which of the following is the most efficient way
to end an exchange on a tactical net?
A. Say "Over".
B. Say "Roger".
C. Give your FCC call sign.
D. Ask Net Control if there are any further
messages for you.
Visual LEVEL1.53
Lesson 6 Reference Links
 Reference links:
 The
Public Service Communications Manual:
ARES Field Resources Manual:
Visual LEVEL1.54
Lesson 7 - Introduction to Emergency Nets
Visual LEVEL1.55
 Net: A group of stations who gather on one frequency, with a common
purpose. The net provides a structure and organization to allow an orderly
flow of messages.
 Net Control Station (NCS): The station in charge of the net and directing
the flow of messages and general communications.
 Formal Messages: Written messages that are sent in a standardized
 Informal or Tactical Messages: Brief verbal or informal written messages,
intended for direct and immediate delivery.
 Traffic: A term referring to messages sent over Amateur Radio, usually
formal, written messages. More generally, any messages or activity on a
particular frequency.
Visual LEVEL1.56
 Pass: to send messages from one station to another.
 Third Party Traffic: Messages transmitted on behalf of a
person or organization other than a licensed Amateur
Radio operator. This term also applies to when a person
other than a licensed operator is allowed to use the
 Liaison Station: A station responsible for passing
messages between different nets.
Visual LEVEL1.57
What is a Net?
 “Network”
Something resembling an openwork fabric or structure in
form or concept, especially:
• A complex, interconnected group or system
• An extended group of people with similar interests or concerns
who interact and remain in informal contact for mutual
assistance or support
 A net of amateur radio service operators is one of the most
effective methods of providing primary or supplementary
communications support for a variety of public service or
emergency activities or events
 A Declared Net is a net started with a statement of purpose
Visual LEVEL1.58
What is an Emergency Net?
 An "emergency" net is a group of stations who
provide communication to one or more served
agencies, or to the general public, in a
communications emergency.
 An emergency net may be formal or informal,
depending on the number of participants and
volume of messages.
Visual LEVEL1.59
Net Formats
 Directed (formal) Nets
 Open (informal) Nets
“Net control station"
(NCS) organizes and
controls all activity
One station wishing to
call or send a message to
another in the net must
first receive permission
from the NCS
Directed nets are the best
format when there are a
large number of member
Visual LEVEL1.60
NCS is optional
When a NCS is used at
all, he usually exerts
minimal control over the
Stations may call each
other directly
Open nets are most often
used when there are only
a few stations and little
Net Formats
 Directed Net
 Open Net
NCS declares the net
 NCS controls the
 Normal use of the
frequency stops
 Specific net topic,
conditions, and/or
instructions for checkin is given
Visual LEVEL1.61
Net is declared, not
much happening
 Generally normal
repeater use
• NCS may be there but
not in tight control of
the frequency
Net Formats
 Informal nets
 Formal Nets
Interest Group Nets
 Swap Nets
 Training Nets
Traffic Nets
 Emergency Nets
• Started after a request for
service has been submitted
by a served agency through
an appointed, local amateur
radio Emergency
Visual LEVEL1.62
ICS Command Net
 Usually only one Command Net is used during an incident
by the command and general staff
The positions down to Division/Group Supervisors will
likely need 2 radios, one on the Command Channel and
one for Tactical use.
 Scanning may be a solution, but it is highly
recommended to avoid it if possible.
It may be patched via a gateway when personnel are on
disparate radio systems
Cache radios or radios can be programmed for command
and general staff use
This frequency/talkgroup is also used as a link between
the incident and the Dispatch Center
Visual LEVEL1.63
ICS Tactical Nets
 There may be several Tactical Nets at the
Division (geographic)/Group (function) Level
 May use mobile communications units at the
incident to patch Tactical Nets
 Other Nets include:
 Ground-to-air
 Staging
 Logistics Net
Visual LEVEL1.64
Available/Assigned Nets
 Available Nets (ICS Form 217A)
 Shared
Channels Reference
 TIC Plan
 Frequency/Talkgroup agency listing
 Local/Region Communications Plan
 Assigning Nets
 Coordinate with the Local COMC
(Communications Coordinator)
Visual LEVEL1.65
ICS Form 217A:
Communications Resource Availability Worksheet
Visual LEVEL1.66
Types of Emergency Nets
 Traffic net
 Tactical nets
Handles formal written
messages in a specified
(i.e. ARRL) format.
National Traffic System
ARES or RACES traffic
nets may be directed or
open depending on their
Visual LEVEL1.67
Real-time coordination of
activities related to the
Messages are usually
brief, and frequently
Usually has a NCS, but
may be directed or open
The NCS may have other
duties or responsibilities
as well
Types of Emergency Nets
 “Resource" or “Logistics" net
 Information net
Acquire resources and
volunteers and handle
Usually a directed net
Accept check-ins from
arriving volunteers, then
directed to contact an
appropriate station or to
proceed to a specific
Locate needed resources,
such as equipment, food,
water and other supplies for
emcomm volunteers
Visual LEVEL1.68
Open net used to collect or
share information on a
developing situation
Official bulletins from the
served agency
• May be sent by the NCS
• An agency liaison station
• Official Bulletin Station
Example is a SKYWARN
weather net activated during
a severe storm watch
Checking Into an Emergency Net
 You will need to "check in" to a net:
 When
you first join the net.
 When you have messages, questions, or
information to send.
 Directed net
 Listen
for the NCS to ask for "check-ins"
 Listen to any specific instructions
• "check-ins with emergency traffic only"
Visual LEVEL1.69
Checking Into an Emergency Net
 At the appropriate time, give only your call sign.
If you have a message to pass, you can add, "with traffic."
If it is an emergency message, say "with emergency traffic."
• The same is true for stations with priority traffic.
Wait for a response before offering more information.
 Checking into a directed net when the NCS has not asked for
check-ins is usually considered a bad practice.
 If a long period passes with no request, you might wait for a
pause in the net activity and briefly call the NCS like this:
• "Net control, WB7OML, with traffic."
Visual LEVEL1.70
Checking Into an Emergency Net
 Open net
Call the net control station with your call sign
• If you have a message to pass, you can add, "with traffic."
• If it is an emergency message, say "with emergency
If there appears to be no NCS, call anyone on the net to
find out if anyone is "in charge" and make contact with
If you are already part of the net and have a message
to send, simply wait for the frequency to be clear before
calling another station
Visual LEVEL1.71
Checking Into an Emergency Net
 If you are not part of the organization operating the net, do
not just check in and offer to assist.
 Listen for a while
Be sure you have something specific to offer before
checking in
• Ability to deliver a message close to your location when
none of the regular net members can
• If they really do seem to need help that you feel you can
provide, you might check in briefly to ask if they have a
"resource" net in operation, then switch to that frequency
• If not, make a brief offer of assistance to the NCS
Visual LEVEL1.72
Checking Into an Emergency Net
 If you are not part of the organization operating the net
Do not be too surprised if you receive a cool reception
to your offer of help
 Emcomm managers prefer to deal with people with known
training and capabilities, and with whom they have worked
 May assign you as an apprentice, logger, or as a
 If you are given such an opportunity, take it!
Visual LEVEL1.73
Passing Messages
 WB7OML with traffic…
WB7OML list your traffic
• Destination and priority
NCS will direct you to pass each message to the
appropriate station in the net, either on the net
frequency, or another frequency to avoid tieing up the
Sign with your tactical call sign and your FCC call
Visual LEVEL1.74
Passing Messages
 NCS: "WB7OML, list your traffic.“
 You: "WB7OML, two priority for Seattle EOC, one welfare for the
Section net.“
 NCS: "Seattle EOC, call WB7OML for your traffic.“
 Seattle EOC: "WB7OML, Seattle EOC, go ahead.“
 You: "Number 25, Priority...“
 (After you have sent your messages to the Seattle EOC, the
NCS will next direct the section net liaison station to call you for
their message.)
Visual LEVEL1.75
"Breaking" the Net
 Net is in progress
 You
have emergency traffic to send
 “Break" into the net
 Wait for a pause between transmissions and
simply say
 "Break, WB7OML"
 NCS will say, "Go ahead WB7OML"
 You respond, "WB7OML with emergency
Visual LEVEL1.76
Checking Out of an Emergency Net
 Always let the NCS know when you are leaving the net,
even if it is only for a few minutes
 Reasons for checking out of (leaving) a net
The location of your station is closing
 You need a break and there is no relief operator
 You have turned the location over to another operator
 Remember to sign with your FCC call sign
Visual LEVEL1.77
Special Situations for Checking Out
1. If you are asked by someone in authority, such as a law
enforcement officer, to move your station, then move
immediately and without argument. Notify the NCS of the
situation at the first appropriate opportunity.
2. If you are requested by someone in authority to turn off your
radio, or to refrain from transmitting, do so immediately and
without question. Do not notify Net Control until you have
permission to transmit again, and can do so safely. There is
usually a good reason for such a request. It may be an issue of
security, or it may be a potential hazard, such as an explosive
devise that could be triggered by RF energy.
Visual LEVEL1.78
Levels of Nets
 Network systems are often "layered" for greater
operating efficiency
 Local messages travel between destinations
directly on local nets
 When a message has to go to a distant city, it
is passed to a regional net, and if it is really
distant, to a long distance net
 National Traffic System (NTS)
Visual LEVEL1.79
Levels of Nets
Section Net
County Net
Local FM Net
County “A”
Visual LEVEL1.80
County “B”
National Traffic System
 Created by the ARRL and authored by George Hart,
W1NJM in 1949
 Handle medium and long distance traffic
 In an emergency, the National Traffic System can be used
to provide a link from the area impacted by the emergency
to the outside world
 Hierarchical (layered) set of nets
Local nets
Section Nets
Region Nets
Area Nets
Transcontinental Corps
Visual LEVEL1.81
Non-Voice Nets
 Emergency nets may also use other modes of communication
besides voice
Traffic nets have used CW since the beginning of Amateur
• High speed CW nets can actually handle more messages per
hour than most voice nets
Packet communication on VHF and UHF
• Accuracy and a record of the message
HF digital modes on long distance circuits
Visual LEVEL1.82
WinLink 2000
 Blends radio and Internet transmission paths to
permit rapid and seamless email message
transfer to stations anywhere on Earth
VHF Radio
VHF Radio
The Internet
Visual LEVEL1.83
FNpsk & FNpack
 FNpsk is a windows program designed to allow
easy handling of ARRL format messages via
 FNpack program provides for message handling
and net management of amateur radio
emergency communications applications via
packet networks
Visual LEVEL1.84
Lesson 7 Student Activities
1. Describe the best use of the following nets:
Open nets
Emergency nets
Tactical nets
Resource nets
Traffic nets
Visual LEVEL1.85
Lesson 7 Questions
1. Which of the following best describes a net?
A group of stations who purposely frequent
the airwaves.
A group of stations who gather on one
frequency with a purpose.
A group of stations who occasionally meet on
various frequencies.
A group of stations who propose to meet at a
particular time.
Visual LEVEL1.86
Lesson 7 Questions
2. What is a major difference between an "open
net" and a "directed net"?
A. The presence or absence of full control by a
Net Control Station.
B. The presence or absence of formal traffic.
C. The type of radio traffic on the net.
D. The approval or sanction of net operations by
the FCC.
Visual LEVEL1.87
Lesson 7 Questions
3. Which of the following is true of a "tactical net"?
The net is used to acquire volunteers and to
handle assignments.
The net is used for the coordination of
activities associated with future emergencies.
The net may be directed or open, but will
usually have a Net Control Station.
The net handles only formal traffic.
Visual LEVEL1.88
Lesson 7 Questions
4. When should you check in to an emergency net?
When you want to comment on something
that someone else has said.
When you are tired of listening.
When you first join the net and when you
have messages, questions or relevant
When you first join the net and when you
would like to send greetings to one of the
participating stations.
Visual LEVEL1.89
Lesson 7 Questions
5. What is the most frequent cause of errors on
voice nets?
A. Speaking too softly.
B. Speaking too rapidly.
C. Failure to write down the message before
sending it.
D. Failure to copy the message exactly as it was
Visual LEVEL1.90
Lesson 7 Reference Links
 To learn about NTS in your area, contact your Section Manager
(SM), or Section Traffic Manager (STM). To locate your Section
Manager (SM), see the ARRL Section Manager List at:
For a list of ARES and NTS nets in your area, see The ARRL
Net Directory:
Winlink 2000 -
FNpack - - a Windows® packet radio terminal
program designed for emcomm.
FNpsk - - similar to FNpack, but for PSK-31
Visual LEVEL1.91
Visual LEVEL1.92
Lessons 8 – Basic Message Handling I &
Lesson 9 – Basic Message Handling II
Visual LEVEL1.93
The Big Question
In Emcomm or Public Service Communications, are
most messages Formal or Informal or Tactical ?
Visual LEVEL1.94
Types of Traffic
 Formal message traffic
Fault-intolerant information (for example, lists of names of authorized
 Requires authentication or signoff of originator or recipient
 Passes through several 'hands' between originator and destination
 Requires a formal paper trail to verify receipt and reply
 Informal message traffic
Does not require formal authentication of the originator or recipient
Logged by sending and receiving stations but does not require the use of
message forms or structured handling procedures
 Tactical message traffic
Goes directly from originator to recipient through only two radio operators
(sender and receiver)
 Does not require a paper trail or record of communication
 Does not require formal authentication of originator or recipient
 Must be delivered in a timely or instantaneous manner.
Visual LEVEL1.95
Formal Traffic
 Pros:
 Cons:
Equivalent to a telegram or email
Written in a specific format, i.e.
Two or more people will handle
them before reaching the recipient
Stations working formal message
traffic operate like a telegram
office or service desk, accepting
messages in written form from a
number of clients and transmitting
them via voice, packet or other
modes either directly to a
destination or through a formal
traffic network (like the NTS
Formal message handling
guarantees high accuracy and
validation of receipt, and is very
good in situations where direct
communications is unavailable
Visual LEVEL1.96
Formal message handling tends
to be slower than informal and
tactical messaging
Most clients will find the
formalized procedures of
authentication and submission
very intimidating and userunfriendly, making the use of
amateur resources unattractive
even in times of need.
Informal Traffic
 Familiar to operators who have worked
on public service events or participated
in routine radio nets
Most common type of messaging used
in emergency situations
 Typically, operators will be imbedded
in an EOC or at the 'office' of a facility
and will work alongside emergency
management personnel to provide
whatever communications are required
Verbal or written but not in a specific
 Best used for
Non-critical and simple messages
Messages that require immediate
Those are delivered directly from the
author to the recipient
 Does not require extensive operator
experience, intimidating authentication
and submission procedures for clients,
or much overhead
Visual LEVEL1.97
Tactical Message Traffic
 Equivalent of a telephone conversation
or tactical radio communication (such
as fire and police tactical
Tactical messaging is used between
stations that are attached to single
client or persons (such as an aid
Tactical communications involves an
operator repeating a client's
information or instructions over the
radio channel, or in some cases
allowing the client to speak directly
over the radio
The originator and recipient may
actually present during the QSO,
allowing for rapid 'back and forth'
communications that may be essential
in some situations
 Example:
Visual LEVEL1.98
A radio operator who is shadowing a
critical resource person during an
emergency is likely to use tactical or
informal messaging, rather than formal
Informal Messages
 Informal or tactical messages are not written out in ARRL
format, or not written at all
 This does not mean that accuracy is any less important
If someone gives you a short message to relay to
someone else, you should repeat it as closely to the
original as possible
 Messages that will be relayed more than once should
always be sent in ARRL format to prevent multiple
Visual LEVEL1.99
Informal Verbal Messages
 Some emergency messages are best sent informally in the
interest of saving precious seconds
 If you need an ambulance for a severely bleeding victim,
you do not have time to compose and send a formal
 The resulting delay could cause the patient's death
Visual LEVEL1.100
Formal vs. Informal
 Formal messages are not needed for most:
 “Real-Time”
Tactical Communications
 Direct conversations between third parties
 Life-safety matters when timing is critical
 Most routine task assignments
 Most routine task completions
 Most routine resource coordination
 Record routine exchanges as line-items in your
Communication Log (such as ICS 309)
Visual LEVEL1.101
Formal vs. Tactical Traffic
 Sending formal traffic takes time
Sound Shake example  NCS tried to send
everything as formal traffic, and only a small
fraction of the messages were sent, most late
Not all messages need to be sent as formal traffic!!
 NTS was designed to deliver messages across the
country in 24 hours
• E.g. Disaster Welfare Inquires (DWI's) from the
American Red Cross
 Many emcomm messages need delivery in
Visual LEVEL1.102
Message Authoring -- Them Or Us?
 One of the oldest arguments in emcomm is the
question of whether or not emcomm personnel
should author (create) agency-related official
 If your job is strictly communication, and the
message is not about the communication function
you are providing, the best answer is "no"
 No direct authority and usually lack necessary
Visual LEVEL1.103
Message Authoring -- Them Or Us?
 You should always work with a message's author
to create text that is short, to the point, and uses
the minimum number of words necessary
 If the author tells you to "just take care of the
wording for me," it is still a good idea to get their
final approval and signature before sending the
Visual LEVEL1.104
Message Security & Privacy
 Information transmitted over Amateur Radio can
never be totally secure
 FCC rules strictly prohibit us from using any
code designed to obscure a message's actual
 Messages sent via Amateur Radio should be
treated as privileged information, and revealed
only to those directly involved with sending,
handling, or receiving the message
Visual LEVEL1.105
Message Security & Privacy
 In general, any message with personally identifiable
information about clients of the served agency should be
avoided -- this is a good policy to follow with any agency if
you are in doubt
 Messages relating to the death of any specific person
should never be sent via Amateur Radio
 Sensitive messages should be sent using telephone,
landline fax, courier, or a secure served-agency radio or
data circuit.
Visual LEVEL1.106
Message Security & Privacy
 There are ways to reduce the likelihood of casual listeners
picking up your transmissions
 Use a digital mode: packet, PSK31, fax, RTTY,
AMTOR, digital phone, etc.
 Pick an uncommon frequency -- stay off regular packet
nodes or simplex channels.
 Do not discuss frequencies or modes to be used openly
on voice channels.
 Avoid publishing certain ARES or RACES net
frequencies on web sites or in any public document.
Visual LEVEL1.107
 EmComm personnel must NOT discuss disaster
information when media is nearby
 Names are not used in messages except to identify the
agency contacts
 Refer media requests to the agency’s Public Information
Visual LEVEL1.108
 Health Insurance Portability & Accountability Act of 1996
 Privacy + Security = Confidentiality
 PHI Protected Health Information
Relates to the past, present, or future health of the individual,
payments, and identifies or can be used to identify the individual
 “de-identified” data does not fall under HIPPA rules
 PHI can be:
 Paper copies
 Patient Files
 Telephone calls, email, voicemail
 Verbal communications
 FAX transmissions
 Internet/intranet transmissions
 Cameras/voice recorders on cell phones/PDAs
 Radio Communications
Visual LEVEL1.109
 Names
 Addresses including Zip
All Dates
Telephone & Fax
E-mail Addresses
Social Security Numbers
Medical Record Numbers
 Health Plan Numbers
 License Numbers
 Vehicle Identification
Account Numbers
Biometric Identifiers
Full Face Photos
Any Other Unique
Identifying Number,
Characteristic or Code
Visual LEVEL1.110
Incidental Disclosure
 Incidental Disclosure: generally refers to a sharing of PHI
that occurs related to an allowable disclosure of PHI
 An “incidental disclosure” is allowed if steps are taken to
limit them  try to prevent them
For example, visitors may hear a patient’s name as it’s
called out in a waiting room or overhear a clinical
discussion as they are walking down a hallway on the
Visual LEVEL1.111
How Does HIPAA Impact You?
 Role-based Access
 Overheard conversations
 Overseen patient treatment
 Overseen medical records
 Inappropriate requests to transmit PHI over the
 If your agency insists, have an official sign the
log book indicating they demanded it!
Failure to Comply Can Result in Civil &
Federal Criminal Penalties
Visual LEVEL1.112
Message Handling Rules
 Do not speculate on anything relating to an
 Pass formal messages exactly as written or
 Apparently misspelled words or confusing text
must be sent exactly as received
 Only the original author may make changes
Should you return a message to the author before first
sending it if it seems incorrect or confusing?
Visual LEVEL1.113
Message Handling Rules
 Non-Standard Format Messages
 Passed
exactly as received
 It is critical that you include the signature and
title of the sender in every message
Visual LEVEL1.114
Message Handling Rules
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
 Phone a fellow amateur to take custody if you can not handle it properly
 Mailing, personal delivery, telephoning neighbors of the addressee, etc.,
are alternative methods to direct telephone delivery
 Ask fellow amateurs for help if you have difficulties.
Visual LEVEL1.115
Message Handling Rules
 Accept only messages in which content and
purpose comply with the FCC regulations in
force regarding third party traffic,
• Prohibition of "business" traffic
• Encryption
• Other rules regarding prohibited
Visual LEVEL1.116
Formal Message Handling
Visual LEVEL1.117
Formal Written Message Formats
Visual LEVEL1.118
Disaster Welfare Message
Visual LEVEL1.119
ARRL Radiogram Form
Preamble: Message number, precedence, HX
(optional handling code), station of origin, check
(text word count), place of origin, time filed
(optional), and date.
Addressee: Name, call sign (if a ham),
full street address, city, 2-letter state
abbreviation, zip code (very important) &
telephone (be sure to include area code).
This Radio Message was received at:
Station identification and location.
Text: 25 words maximum, 5 per line;
Use the word “xray” for a period (.) and “query”
for a question mark (?). Last word
is salutation (i.e., “73”, “Love”, etc.)
Signature: (Write-in above REC’D block) Name
& call sign of person who wrote the message –
include full phone number if not a Ham or if new
to NTS.
REC’D & SENT: Record the names and call sign of
the person you rec’d the message from and/or
sent/forwarded the message to, along with the date &
time (PST/PDT or Z).
Visual LEVEL1.120
Components of a Standard ARRL Radiogram
 Preamble
 Text
Message number
Originating station
Message precedence
Origination date &
 Address
Recipient name
 Street address or PO
 City, state, and zip
Limited to 25 words or less when
possible (new form = 50 words)
Written in lines of five words (ten for
Punctuation should be used only
when the meaning of the message
would not be clear without them
 Signature
Single name
 Name and call sign
 Full name and a title
 Occasionally a return address and
phone number
Visual LEVEL1.121
Block #1 - Message Number
 No standard way of numbering messages
 Number assigned by the station that first puts the message into ARRL
 Common practice is to use a numeric sequence starting with the
number "1" at the beginning of the emergency operation
• Consecutive (1, 2, 3..., starting over at the new year or monthly)
• Order by month & number (507 = 7th you originated in May;
11244 = 244th message you originated in November
 One common problem is keeping track of messages from multiple field
station locations
 Each field location assigns a number starting with “1”
 Preface the message number with the tactical call sign or abbreviation
of the field site
• Example: Group Health Central initiates their first message
• Message number is “GHC1” read as “GOLF HOTEL CHARLIE 1”
Visual LEVEL1.122
Block #2 - Precedence
The Precedence of the Message determines what order the messages will be handled
Four precedence are used in ascending order of priority:
 Routine “R”
• All traffic that does not meet the requirements for a higher precedence
• Not used during emergencies
• 99.99% of all messages have this precedence. These messages will be handled last.
 Welfare “W”
• Inquiry as to the health and welfare of an individual in a disaster area
• Message from a disaster victim to friends or family
• Handled before ROUTINE traffic
 Priority “P”
• Important messages with a time limit
• Any official or emergency-related messages not covered by the EMERGENCY precedence
• A notification of death or injury in a disaster area
• Usually only associated with official traffic to, from, or related to a disaster area
• Life or death urgency  handle first and immediately
• Due to the lack of privacy on radio, EMERGENCY messages should only be sent via
Amateur Radio when regular communication facilities are unavailable
Visual LEVEL1.123
Block #3 - Handling Instructions
 HXA -- (Followed by number.)
"Collect" telephone delivery
authorized by addressee within
(X) miles. If no number is sent,
authorization is unlimited.
 HXB -- (Followed by number.)
Cancel message if not delivered
within (X) hours of filing time;
service (notify) originating
 HXC -- Report date and "time of
delivery" (TOD) to originating
 HXD -- Report to originating
station the identity of the station
who delivered the message,
plus date, time and method of
delivery. Also, each station to
report identity of station to which
relayed, plus date and time.
 HXE -- Delivering station to get
and send reply from addressee.
 HXF -- (Followed by date in
numbers.) Hold delivery until
(specify date).
 HXG -- Delivery by mail or
telephone - toll call not required.
If toll or other expense involved,
cancel message, and send
service message to originating
Visual LEVEL1.124
Block #4 - Station of Origin
 FCC call sign of the first station that put the
message into NTS format
 Not the message's original author
 You are the radio operator for a Red Cross
shelter. The fire station down the street sends a
runner with a message to be passed and you
format and send the message.
 You are the "Station of Origin," and fire station
is the "Place of Origin"
Visual LEVEL1.125
Block #5 - The Check
 Number of words in the text section only
 Preamble,
address and signature are not
 Count the words in the message and compare the
word count to the "check" number in the preamble
 If the two numbers do not agree, the message
should be re-read by the sending station to
verify that all words were copied correctly
Visual LEVEL1.126
Counting Words
 The first operator to transmit the radiogram enters the check in
the preamble; this check should carry through to destination
 The relaying operator has no authority to change the check
unless it is determined that the check is incorrect
 If an error is found, the original check should remain in the
• Example: an original check of 10 corrected to 9 would be sent
 Numbers count as one, regardless of length
 Punctuation is counted in the check
Hyphenated word counts as 1 (e.g. “out-going”)
Visual LEVEL1.127
How Many Words?
 New York City
 527B
 Fifty six
 H O Townsend
 W1YL/4
 Thanks Xray
 800MHz
 146.90 MHz
Visual LEVEL1.128
Example Word Counts
 New York City
 527B
 Fifty six
 H O Townsend
 W1YL/4
 Thanks Xray
 800MHz
 146.90 MHz
3 words
1 word
1 word
2 words
3 words
1 word
2 words
1 word
2 words
Visual LEVEL1.129
Special Case
 Telephone Numbers
ARRL-recommended procedure for counting the
telephone number in the text is to separate the number
into groups, with the area code counting as one word,
the three-digit exchange one word, and the last four
digits one word.
• 860 594 0301counts as three words
• 594 0301 as two words
Separating the phone number into groups minimizes
Visual LEVEL1.130
Block #6 - Place of Origin
 Name of the community, building, or agency
where the originator of the message is located
Visual LEVEL1.131
Block #7 - Time Filed
 Optional field, unless handling instruction "Bravo" (HXB) is
 Unless the message is time sensitive, this field may be left
blank for routine messages
 Completing the time field is generally recommended for
Welfare, Priority, and Emergency messages
 During emergencies, it is better to use local time and
indicators such as PST or EDT to eliminate confusion by
served agency personnel
 Military designation “T” (TANGO) indicates local time
Visual LEVEL1.132
Block #8 - Date
 Date the message was first placed into the traffic
 Use the same date as the time zone indicated
in Block 7
Visual LEVEL1.133
Header Example
NH 1200 EST JAN 4
Visual LEVEL1.134
The “TO” Field
 This is the address of the individual to whom the traffic is supposed to
be delivered. It goes under the word "TO" on the form.
 Name Full name (including Jr., Sr., or callsign if there is one)
Street address or P.O. Box (complete as possible)
• DON'T send numbers as 12345
• DO say "figures 12345".
City, State, Zip
• DON'T say "Zip Code 12345“
• DO say "Zip figures 12345".
Phone number
• This is important because most traffic is ultimately delivered via local
phone calls
• DON'T say "phone number 290-456-7890“
• DO say "phone figures 290 456 7890".
DON'T say "Text to follow" after address
• DO say "Break" after address before giving the "text".
Visual LEVEL1.135
The Text Field
 Keep it all brief and to-the-point
 25 words or less (if possible)
New form has 50 words
 May contain ARRL Numbered Radiograms (i.e. "ARL One")
 More on punctuation later
 DON'T say "End of message" after text
 DO say "Break" after giving the text of the traffic.
Visual LEVEL1.136
 This can be a single name, a name and callsign, or a
name and title
 Just enough information to enable the receiver to
identify the sender
 The Originating amateur should provide enough
information that a reply can be sent
 DON'T say "Signature or Signed "John“
DO say "John".
 (NOTE: ARRL Form, FSD-244, RADIOGRAM there is no
mention of this fourth part of the form! [It's there ... just in
invisible ink] Put it anywhere you want.)
Visual LEVEL1.137
ARRL Numbered Radiograms
 Standardized list of often-used phrases
 Each
phrase on the list is assigned a number
 Preceded by the letters "ARL”
 Group One = emergency relief
 26
phrases numbered consecutively from
 ARL SIX = will contact you as soon as possible
Visual LEVEL1.138
ARRL Numbered Radiograms
 Group Two
 21
routine messages
 including number "FORTY SIX" and from
"FIFTY" through "SIXTY NINE"
 “ARL" is placed in the "check" block
Visual LEVEL1.139
ARRL Numbered Radiograms
 ARRL Numbered Radiograms replace common phrases in message
body text (i.e., Happy Birthday, Greetings by amateur radio, etc.)
 DON'T say "ARL figure 61“
 DO say "ARL sixty one“
 Use of ARRL Numbered Radiograms reduce total message word count
– faster and more consistent transmission of text
 Translated before delivery of message to addressee
 ARRL Number Radiograms are always spelled-out in words
 Message word count (check) is written as “ARL#” (i.e., ARL4 or ARL15)
to alert operators that message includes at least one ARL numbered
Visual LEVEL1.140
ARL Examples
 ARL FORTY SIX = Greetings on your birthday and best
wishes for many more to come.
 ARL FIFTY = Greetings by amateur radio.
 ARL FIFTY ONE = Greetings by amateur radio. This
message is sent as a free public service by ham radio
operators at _______. Am having a wonderful time.
 ARL SIXTY SEVEN = Your message number _____
undeliverable because of ______. Please advise.
Visual LEVEL1.141
ARRL Numbered Radiograms
414 555 1234
Visual LEVEL1.142
Service Messages
 A "service message" is one that lets the originating station
know the status of a message they have sent.
 A service message may be requested by a handling
instruction (HX), or may be sent by any operator who has a
problem delivering an important message.
 During emergencies, service messages should only be
sent for Priority and Emergency messages.
Visual LEVEL1.143
Sending a Message with Voice
Visual LEVEL1.144
 Need 4 volunteers ….
Visual LEVEL1.145
 Degree to which verbal information is:
 Misinterpreted
 Distorted
 Filtered
Visual LEVEL1.146
 The original message:
 The
shelter manager says she needs fifty cots
and blankets at Hartley Hill School by tonight.
 After being passed through several people:
 He
says they need a bunch more cots and
blankets at that school on the hill.
Visual LEVEL1.147
Requesting Message Traffic via NCS
 Net Control owns the frequency!
 Fire Center informs NCS that he/she has a message for Shelter 1.
Fire Center: Net Control, I have message traffic for Shelter 1.
NCS: Fire Center, please call Shelter 1 with your traffic.
Fire Center: Shelter 1.
Shelter 1: Shelter 1.
Fire Center: I have a message for you. Are you ready to copy
Shelter 1: Read to copy.
Fire Center passes the traffic to Shelter 1.
 Alternately, NCS may ask Fire Center to go off frequency to pass
the message to Shelter 1.
Visual LEVEL1.148
Passing the Message
 Pass the preamble information
It is bad form to say the heading titles:
• DON'T say "Check 25, Station of Origin WB7OML"
• DO say "25, WB7OML“
• DON'T say "12/4" for date. DO say "December 4“
– You do not have to use the year. If the person taking your message doesn't
know what year it is, perhaps you should find someone else?
After doing so, sending station should say, How copy? This gives the receiving
station an opportunity to ask for any fills or info that was missed.
 When receiving station has confirmed receipt of heading, he/she will then say “Go with
 Sending station then passes the message.
Pass message in groups of 5 words.
Say BREAK and un-key after each 5 word group to allow for fills
 Sending station then passes the signature
 When finished, sending station says “End of message” (indicates no more to follow)
If the receiving station has copied 100% of the message, he/she will simply
acknowledge receipt “I roger your message. (Give FCC call sign)”
Visual LEVEL1.149
Returning to NCS
 After the message has been passed and acknowledged,
the station passing the message will return control to NCS.
 Fire Center: NCS, Fire Center.
 NCS: Fire Center.
 Fire Center: Message has been passed. (Give FCC call
 NCS: Roger. (Give FCC call sign)
 Alternately
Fire Center: Net Control, Fire Center. Message has
been passed. (Give FCC call sign)
 NCS: Roger. (Give FCC call sign)
Visual LEVEL1.150
Sending a Message with Voice
 Read the message at a pace that will allow the receiving station to write
it down
 Once you are done, if the receiving station has missed any portion of
the message, they will say:
 "say again all after____,"
 "say all before," or
 "say again all between____ and ____."
 Say "break" and then unkey between sections of the message so that a
station can ask for missing words to be repeated before going on
 Break after each group of 5 words
 These repeated words are also known as "fills“
 DON'T say "End of message" after text
DO say "Break" after giving the text of the traffic
Remember someone is trying to write it down at other end!
Visual LEVEL1.151
Sending a Message with Voice
 Numbers in groups are spoken individually
"three two one five"
• not "thirty-two fifteen"
"three thousand two hundred and five"
Visual LEVEL1.152
What NOT to Say
 Do not add unnecessary words
 Do not leave out words
 Do not correct grammar
 Since the parts of the header are always sent in the same
order, there is no need to identify each of them.
 The only exception is the word "number" at the
beginning of the header
Make sure you read the message as written!!!
Visual LEVEL1.153
Message Quality
 Formal “Record” messages always should be CLEAR and
 Written so that their meaning cannot be misinterpreted or
read in more than one way.
 Write out the message in full, using plain text only.
 If a telephone number is given in the message TEXT, it is
sent as three groups: Area Code, Exchange and 4-digit
Visual LEVEL1.154
Sending and Receiving Text
 Pause briefly after each line of five words
 Say “BREAK” after text and before sending
SIGNATURE in case a fill is needed
 To request a “fill” say: “Say Again…
 Word
before (or all before) …
 Word after (or all after) …
 Word (or all) between... and…
Visual LEVEL1.155
Pro-Words and Pro-Signs
 Say again…
Visual LEVEL1.156
Pro-Words and Pro-Signs
Visual LEVEL1.157
 DO NOT automatically spell familiar words or acronyms
like “EOC” or “RACES” unless operating conditions are
poor enough that it is needed
 Necessary for proper names (there is no “common
spelling” on emergency nets):
 To clarify homonyms, words which sound alike, but have
different meanings, such as :
 “To, I spell TANGO OSCAR”
Visual LEVEL1.158
Message Complete
 If the traffic just sent is the only message or last
message you have to send, then say:
 “END, no more, Over”
 If you have one or more messages to send, you
 “Break, More to Follow, Over”
Visual LEVEL1.159
 Use “I Spell” when WORDS are used as PUNCTUATION
 “PERIOD” Ends a sentence.
Use “Xray” to indicate a period
 NOT spelled out when sending unless conditions are
weak readable and require “fills”
 “DOT, I spell DELTA OSCAR TANGO” for a single period
within a text group (email address)
 Don’t use to end a sentence, use PERIOD!
Visual LEVEL1.160
 “DECIMAL, I spell ...” used in figure groups only,
 Such
as radio frequencies sent in a message
 “One Four Six Decimal Nine Zero” for “146.90”
for a hyphen
Visual LEVEL1.161
 Don’t use except for PERIOD or QUESTION MARK
Period = “XRAY”
Question Mark – “QUERY”
 But Email and Web Addresses Require “.” “/” “@” “#” “\” “:”
“DOT, I spell DELTA OSCAR TANGO” for a single period
within a text group (email address)
NOVEMBER” for symbol “@”
for symbol “#”
“SLASH” for symbol “/”
“BLACKSLASH” for symbol “\”
“COLON” for symbol “:”
Visual LEVEL1.162
 How would you say the following examples?
Visual LEVEL1.163
Example – Email
DOT, I spell DELTA OSCAR TANGO.. initials MIKE
What would you do if this is too long for a
single transmission for the repeater?
Visual LEVEL1.164
Example –Internet
 Internet
Visual LEVEL1.165
Cheat Sheet…
“figure FOUR"
“figures FOUR SIX"
TEL, In address (or sig)
410 555 1234 “figures FOUR ONE ZERO.. FIFE FIFE FIFE.. ONE TWO
TREE FOUR", introduced once.
TELEPHONE FIGURES (when no zip code figures in address)
410 555 1234 "telephone figures FOUR ONE ZERO.. FIFE FIFE FIFE.. ONE
TEL, in text or elsewhere, (each group treated as any other figure group).
410 555 1234 “figures FOUR ONE ZERO.. figures FIFE FIFE FIFE.. figures
ONE TWO TREE FOUR”, all 3 groups introduced.
INITIAL(S) (Letter Group)
John A Smith “JOHN.. initial ALPHA.. “
“initial INDIA.. AM...”
“initial X-RAY”
"initials PAPA MIKE",
"mixed group BRAVO SIX"
"mixed group ROMEO SLASH NINER"
"mixed group INDIA SLASH OSCAR"
"mixed group figure TWO CHARLIE"
"mixed group figure TWO SLASH CHARLIE"
"mixed group figures ONE FOUR SIX ROMEO SIX SEVEN"
ARL, IN CHECK (ARL voiced as non-introduced letters, as in letter-spelling)
ARL 20
"A R L.. TWO ZERO” (No introduction in PBL.)
ARL, IN TEXT (ARL voiced as non-introduced letters, as in letter-spelling)
YANKEE" (Numbered radiogram groups spelled phonetically.)
Visual LEVEL1.166
Radiogram Example
"Number two zero seven Priority HX Echo Whiskey One
Foxtrot November
One Zero Lebanon NH one two zero zero EST January
Mark Doe
Red Cross Disaster Office
Figures one two three Main Street
Rutland VT figures zero five seven zero one
Figures eight zero two five five five one two one two
Need more cots and sanitation kits at all five shelters
Joan Smith Shelter Manager
End No more"
Visual LEVEL1.167
Radiogram BAD Example
"Number two zero seven Priority handling instructions,
HX Echo station of origin W1FN
check one zero place of origin, Lebanon NH time one two
zero zero EST date, January 4
Going to Mark Doe Red Cross Disaster Office
Address figures one two three Main Street Rutland VT
ZIP figures zero five seven zero one
Telephone Figures eight zero two five five five one two one
Visual LEVEL1.168
Full Message Example
Sending station: Net control, I have traffic to pass to Receiving Station
Net Control: Proceed with traffic
Sending station: Receiving station, I have a message for you, are you ready to copy?
Receiving station: Ready to copy
Sending station: Message follows
Sending station: Number 1 Exercise Routine WB7OML 13 Seattle 0900PST 28 Oct 2006 <BREAK>
Sending station: To: Farris Oaks Position: Roads Dept
Sending station: Subject: Barricades Date: 10/28/2006 Time: 1422PST
Sending station: How copy?
Receiving station: I copy.
Sending station: Requesting barricades to Red Cinder <BREAK>
Sending station: Road and Interstate 22 to <BREAK>
Sending station: block off road. <BREAK>
Sending station: Received From: John Hoveland Position: YCSO LT 28 Oct 2006 0845T<END>
Receiving station: Please spell last name of person message is received from
Sending station - Say the name & spell it phonetically: Hoveland hotel oscar victor echo lima alpha
November delta Over...
Receiving station: Copy your message
Sending station: Net control my traffic has been passed (Give your call sign)
Visual LEVEL1.169
Another Example
HOTEL.. .. figures TWO TREE.. OAK I spell O.A.K.. DRIVE.. ..
FIFE.. break” (/.../) (interruption pause)
“initial.INDIA.. WILL.. ARRIVE.. .. TOMORROW.. AT.. .. mixed group figure
SIX PAPA MIKE.. initial X-RAY.. CAN.. YOU.. .. PICK.. ME.. UP.. .. AT..
THE.. AIRPORT.. .. QUERY.. figures SEVEN TREE.. break.. BILL I spell
BRAVO INDIA LIMA LIMA.. end.. no.more”
Copy this message to a Message Form…
Visual LEVEL1.170
Previous Example..
Sample message for example:
215 555 2345
Visual LEVEL1.171
Copying & Logging
Visual LEVEL1.172
Copying Hints
 When copying the text of a message by hand,
receiving stations should write five words on each
line, (or ten words per line if using a keyboard)
 There can be requirements for formats that are
unique to an individual agency or type of
 Work with each served agency before the
emergency to see which format will best fulfill
their needs
Visual LEVEL1.173
Logging and Record Keeping
 Accurate record of formal messages handled
and various aspects of your station's
operation can be very useful
 Required by law in some cases
 Some agencies, your log becomes a legal
document and may be needed at some
later time should an investigation occur
 Include enough detail to be meaningful later
on, especially the date and an accurate time
Visual LEVEL1.174
What to Log
 All incoming and outgoing messages
Name of the sender,
Station that passed the message to you,
Station to whom the message was sent,
Message number, and the times in and out.
 Keep the written copy of each message in numerical order
for future reference
 Log which operators are on duty for any given period, and
record any significant events at your station
Visual LEVEL1.175
Log Formats
 At a station with little traffic, all information can be
included in one chronological log
 If a large number of messages are being handled
and you have a second person to handle logging,
separate logs can make it faster and easier to
locate information if it is needed later
 One log for incoming messages
 One for outgoing messages
 A third for station activities
Visual LEVEL1.176
ICS 309 Communications Log
Visual LEVEL1.177
Who Should Log
If activity is low, the net control operator can handle
 In busy nets, a second person can keep the log as the
net's "secretary" and act as a "second set of ears" for
the NCS
 If an "alternate NCS" station has been appointed, they
should keep a duplicate log
 Each individual operator should keep their own log
Visual LEVEL1.178
Writing Techniques For Message Copying & Logging
 Your logs should be clear and legible to be of any use
 Print in neat block letters on lined paper or a pre-printed
log form
 A firm writing surface with support for your forearm will
reduce fatigue and improve legibility
 Keep both pens and pencils on hand since each works
better under different conditions
 Some operators prefer special "diver's" pens that will
write on wet surfaces at any angle.
Visual LEVEL1.179
Writing Techniques For Message Copying & Logging
 Logs that will become legal documents should always be
written in permanent ink
 Logs should be kept in notebooks to prevent pages from
becoming lost
 In fast-moving situations, it can be difficult or impossible to
keep a log of any kind
 If a message, exchange, or event should be logged, try
to do it as soon as possible afterwards, or ask the NCS
to add it as a notation in his log
Visual LEVEL1.180
 WebEOC® is software
designed to bring realtime crisis information
management to the
Washington State
Operations Center
(EOC) as well as to
other local, state and
federal EOCs
Visual LEVEL1.181
WebEOC Features
Visual LEVEL1.182
The Other Emcomm Messaging Dilemma
IS 213 Forms
Visual LEVEL1.183
ICS 213 Message Handling
 Why ICS213?
NTS Radiogram form is NOT USED by any state or
federal agency
• They use ICS or HICS procedures and formats
Originate all outgoing messages on ICS 213
Some incoming messages (Salvation Army & Red
Cross) use NTS
Do NOT reformat incoming messages
• Handle all incoming traffic as received
Note HICS 213 is ICS 213 for hospitals
Visual LEVEL1.184
ICS 213
 Triplicate form
Inter-office memo
 Copies for
 Sender
 Return to sender
Visual LEVEL1.185
Why ICS 213?
 Operational messages are routed directly, by the
 ICS Form 213 is widely used by FEMA, SHARES,
DHS, CAP, Coast Guard, Hospitals, etc. etc.
 New HICS procedure
 Use is straight-forward, a common sense sending
protocol, similar to an email message
Visual LEVEL1.186
ICS 213
 ICS 213 was never intended to be used as a RADIOGRAM
substitute, because the folks that created the 213 had no
reason to consider that kind of a specialized need
 ICS is ICS, and they will never likely approve the use of a
RADIOGRAM as a substitute for the ICS 213
 ICS-213 is an office memo
It was not designed for, nor was it ever intended to be,
a format for record message radio traffic, that often
must pass through multiple relay stations; and often
must (of necessity) change mode(s) along the route
 Incident traffic rarely gets relayed from station to station
to station, since the vast majority of incidents are of a
local nature
Visual LEVEL1.187
ARES and ICS 213
 The ARRL has NOT recommended that ARES
use the FEMA/USFS ICS 213 form for its
 So, what do I do if I have to pass an ICS 213
 Packet
 Tactical Traffic on Voice Net
Visual LEVEL1.188
ICS 213
 Record Communications on behalf of served agency
officials must be written in ICS Form 213 format or on the
originating agency’s approved form
 But don’t fixate on the FORM!
 Be prepared to copy long messages
 Learn to copy messages without relying on a FORM!
ICS 213 may be a tactical rather then a formal message
Visual LEVEL1.189
ICS 213 Message Form
“To” line
“From” line
“Subject / Date / Time” line
“Message” field (ten 5-word lines)
“Signature” line
“Reply” field (ten 5-word lines)
“Reply Date/Time/Signature” line
Visual LEVEL1.190
ICS 213 Message Form
 Message Number
 No
provision on form for message number
 Date and time will serve as unique message
 Precedence
 No
precedence associated with messages
 Messages handled in order received unless
otherwise directed
Visual LEVEL1.191
So How Can We Pass IS 213 Traffic?
 Question #1  does this need to be passed as formal
The most important features of a formal message are:
 the date and time of the message,
 the originator or sender of the message,
 the intended recipient or addressee of the
 the message body or content.
 the signature of the person sending the message
Visual LEVEL1.192
Operation for sending Formal Traffic Using the ICS-213 Form
 Identify your traffic as being formal
For example: “I have formal ICS 213 traffic for Harborview Medical
 This alerts the receiving station to what type of traffic is being
passed and that although it is formal it is not a radiogram
The originating operator should read about 5 words at a time slowly, and
then pause to allow the receiver a chance to ask for fills or a repeat
If no fill is needed then the receiver should say “go ahead” or “copy”
The originating operator should spell out unusual names and words by
saying "I spell" followed by the spelling
Punctuations are important and when reading the message the
originating operator should say each punctuation, such as a period,
comma or question mark
The end of message is marked by the originating operator saying the
procedural phrase "End of message"
Visual LEVEL1.193
Example: On-the-air Radio Protocol for Form ICS-213
In this exchange, operator "O" is the originating station, and "R" is the receiving station.
O: Seattle EOC, prepare to copy an ICS-213 message
R: Ready to copy
O: To: John Smith, Position: King County EMA Coordinator (release PTT key and pause)
R: Copy
O: From: Harborview Medical Center (release PPT key and pause)
R: Copy
O: Subject: Severe Weather Coordination (release PPT key and pause)
R: Copy
O: Date: April 29 (release PPT key and pause)
R: Copy
O: Time 8:15 am (release PPT key and pause)
R: Copy
O: Message: John Smith County EMA be available for coordination of response
during severe weather Question Mark (release PPT key and pause)
R: Repeat after “response”
O: during severe weather Question Mark (release PPT key and pause)
R: Copy
O: Signed Jane Doe (release PTT key and pause)
R: Copy
O: End of Message
R: Message copied
Visual LEVEL1.194
Other Ideas
 Some groups have re-
designed the IS 213 form
for ARES use, or use a
Radiogram preamble
“rubber stamp”
Problem  this is not the
form your served agency
will use!
Need to convert back to
the form they are familiar
Translating an IS 213 form
costs time
Visual LEVEL1.195
The “Counter Person” Concept
 Receives messages from agency (e.g. ICS 213)
 Formulates a Radiogram
Who they want the message to go to...(as complete as
possible physical address.)
What they want to say...(text preferably in less than 25
words or groups)
Who is sending it...(signature + contact info.)
 The above items (that the "customer" needs to supply) are three
of the four parts of a RADIOGRAM
 Adding the "preamble" (msg number, precedence, HX, station of
origin, check, place of origin, time, date) is the responsibility of
the "counter person(s)" that are acting in the interfacing capacity
between the actual radio operator(s) and the public or "served
agency" that desires to have their traffic moved.
Visual LEVEL1.196
IS 213 and Packet
Visual LEVEL1.197
Message Flow Example
Visual LEVEL1.198
Ten Ways Radiograms Get Messed Up
1. Poor atmospheric propagation
2. Hearing or Vision ability of the Receiving
Operator is not adequate.
3. Desire of the Receiving Operator to “edit” the
message or to “correct errors”. Using one too
many Relay stations.
7. Receiving Operator has
inadequate penmanship or typing
ability. “I can’t read my own
writing”. Use of fonts which do
not have enough distinction
between letters. Example
8. Sending Operator Sends or
4. The ability of the human mind to transpose
Speaks too fast.
letters and words (example: 1467 1476)
5. Lack of use of the “copy” and “paste”
features of a computer.
6. Inadequate use of phonetic spelling of
words. Sending Operator assumes that the
Receiving Operator has excellent knowledge
of “common spelling”. Receiving Operator is
not familiar with the dialect (voice) or fist (cw)
of the Sending Operator. The message
contains words from a culture unfamiliar to
the Receiving Operator.
Visual LEVEL1.199
9. Receiving Operator is reluctant
to ask the Sending Operator to
Slow Down, or to ask for multiple
10. When “manual” modes (voice,
cw, RTTY, Delivery via
telephone) are used, a procedure
is not used by the Sending
person to verify that the
Receiving person has apparently
acquired the message correctly.
Lesson 8 Student Activity
1. Compose four complete ARRL formatted
messages, one example for each Precedence,
in written form. Use Handling Instructions and
include the time and date sent. To determine the
word count for the check, refer to this link:
Visual LEVEL1.200
Lesson 9 Activities
1. Create a formal ARRL style message using an ARL numbered
radiogram text. Be sure the word count is correct.
2. Assume that you are helping a served agency staffer condense a
lengthy message. Edit the following message text to reduce the
number of words to a minimum, without losing any clarity.
"We need 50 additional cots and blankets at the Roe School
shelter, and we also need more food since 20 new people
just arrived and we are told another 30 may be coming
soon. Please call me and tell me when these supplies will
Visual LEVEL1.201
Lesson 9 Activities
3. Go to the ARRL website and look up ARRL Numbered
 When you have located the list of Numbered Radiograms,
answer the questions that follow. Which of the Radiograms:
A. Indicates that a medical emergency exists?
B. Requests additional radio operators?
C. Offers congratulations on a new baby?
D. Offers greetings for a merry Christmas and happy New
E. Indicates safe arrival.
Visual LEVEL1.202
Lesson 8 Questions
1. The preamble to an ARRL Radiogram message
contains a block called "Precedence". Which of
the following represents the correct precedence
for an EMERGENCY message?
B. "U".
D. "E".
Visual LEVEL1.203
Lesson 8 Questions
2. The preamble to an ARRL Radiogram message contains
a block called "Handling Instructions." What is the
meaning of the handling instruction "HXE"?
A. Delivering station to get and send reply from
B. Report date and time of delivery to originating station.
C. Cancel message if not delivered within (X) hours of
filing time.
D. Collect telephone delivery authorized.
Visual LEVEL1.204
Lesson 8 Questions
3. ARRL Radiogram messages contains a block
called "Time Filed". Which of the following is true
of entries in that block?
A. This field is always completed.
B. Time entries are always Universal
Coordinated Time.
C. During emergencies "local time" is used.
D. During emergencies "local time" along with
the local date is used.
Visual LEVEL1.205
Lesson 8 Questions
4. ARRL Radiogram messages contains a block called "The
Check." Which of the following is true of entries in that
A. The check contains a count of the words in the entire
B. The check contains a count of the words in the
preamble and the text of the message.
C. The check contains a count of the words in the
preamble, address and text of the message.
D. The check contains a count of the words in the text of
the message.
Visual LEVEL1.206
Lesson 8 Questions
5. Which of the following statements is true of punctuation
within an ARRL Radiogram?
A. Punctuation is always helpful; it should be used
whenever possible.
B. Punctuation is rarely helpful; it should never be used.
C. Punctuation should be used only when it is essential
to the meaning of the message.
D. The comma and apostrophe are the most common
punctuation signs used in NTS messages.
Visual LEVEL1.207
Lesson 9 Questions
1. As part of an EMCOMM group handling
message traffic in an emergency, you are asked
to forward a message that contains
typographical errors. Which of the following is
your best course of action?
A. Delay sending the message.
B. Forward the message exactly as received.
C. Return the message to the originating station.
D. On your own, correct the error in the
message and forward it.
Visual LEVEL1.208
Lesson 9 Questions
2. As part of an EMCOMM net handling message
traffic in an emergency, you are asked to forward
a message in a non-standard format. Which of
the following is your best course of action?
A. Delay sending the message until you have
conferred with the originator.
B. Return the message to the originator.
C. On your own, rewrite the message in proper
format and forward it.
D. Forward the message exactly as received.
Visual LEVEL1.209
Lesson 9 Questions
3. You have been asked to send an ARRL
Radiogram dealing with birthday greetings.
Which of the following is the correct format for
the message?
A. "ARRL 46“
B. "ARL 46“
Visual LEVEL1.210
Lesson 9 Questions
4. When delivering an ARRL numbered radiogram,
which should be done?
A. Deliver the message exactly as received.
B. Deliver the message exactly as received but
add your own written explanation.
C. Decode the message into plain language
before delivery.
D. Deliver the message exactly as received but
add your own verbal explanation.
Visual LEVEL1.211
Lesson 9 Questions
5. During an emergency, service messages should
only be sent for which of the following categories
of message?
A. Emergency, Priority, Welfare and Routine
B. Emergency, Priority and Welfare
C. Priority and Welfare
D. Emergency and Priority
Visual LEVEL1.212
Lesson 8 References
 For a list of ARES and NTS nets in your area, see The
ARRL Net Directory at:
For a detailed discussion of the FCC Rules on
emergency and third party communications, please
see the ARRL FCC Rule Book, Chapter 5.
ARRL Precedences and Handling Instructions
ARES and NTS Forms -
FSD218 message handling information card (also known
as the "Pink Card"):
Visual LEVEL1.213
Lesson 9 References
 ARRL F&ES -- Appendix A -- Originating
 American Red Cross Disaster Welfare Inquirey
intake forms:
Visual LEVEL1.214
Lesson 10 - Net Operating Guidelines
Visual LEVEL1.215
The Net Manager
 Responsible for:
 Recruiting
and training NCS operators, liaison
stations, and other net members
 Sets up the net's schedule
 Makes sure qualified NCS operators are
 Arrange for relief operators and support
 May be responsible for more than one net
Visual LEVEL1.216
 "ringmaster" or "traffic cop"
 Decides what happens in the net, and when
 Decides when stations will check in, with or without traffic,
and whether messages will be passed on the net's
frequency or a different one
Needs to be aware of everything going on around him
and handle the needs of the net, its members, and
served agency as quickly and efficiently as possible
Visual LEVEL1.217
 NCS can be located anywhere, but should be in a
position to hear most, if not all, stations in the net
 At EOC or command post,
 Or keep them away from the noise and
 The NCS should not be responsible for the entire
emcomm operation
 EC or similar emcomm manager
Visual LEVEL1.218
Net Scripts
 Many groups open and close their nets with a
standard script
 Lets listeners know the purpose and format of
the net
 Ensures that the net will be run in a similar
format regardless of who is NCS
Visual LEVEL1.219
The Backup NCS
 Readily available if:
 An
equipment failure at the primary NCS
 The primary NCS operator needs to take a
 Two types:
 At
the same location as the primary NCS
 At a different location
• Maintains a duplicate log of everything
happening during the net
Visual LEVEL1.220
Acting as a "fill-in" NCS
 Basic dos and don'ts
Remember that although you are in control of the net,
you are not "God." Treat members with respect and
accept suggestions from other experienced members.
 If you are taking over an existing net, try to run it much
as the previous NCS did.
 Always follow a script if one is provided. Write your own
if necessary, but keep it short and to the point.
 Handle messages in order of precedence: Emergency
Priority Welfare.
Visual LEVEL1.221
Acting as a "fill-in" NCS
 More Basic dos and don'ts
Speak clearly and in a normal tone of voice. Use good
mic technique.
Make all instructions clear and concise, using as few
words as possible.
Keep notes as you go along. Do not let your log fall
Write down which operators are at which locations.
When one leaves or is replaced, update your notes.
Ask stations to pass messages off the main net
frequency whenever possible.
All the reading and study in the world
will not replace actual experience
Visual LEVEL1.222
Net Members
 Operators at various sites are responsible for messages
going to and from their location
 Listen to everything that happens on the net
 Maintain contact with the served agency
 Assist the served agency with the creation of messages,
put them into the appropriate format, and contact the NCS
when they are ready to be sent
 Ideally, two operators should be at each site
Visual LEVEL1.223
Bulletin Stations
 Relays ARRL bulletins or those authorized by the
served agency to all stations in the net
 May be transmitted on a preset schedule, such
as at the top and bottom of each hour.
 Must be located at the served agency
 Or
have a reliable communication link to them
Visual LEVEL1.224
Liaison Stations
 Pass messages between two different nets
 As
needed, or on a pre-set schedule
 Liaison station may monitor one net full time
 When
a message must be passed to another
net, they leave the net temporarily to pass it,
and then return
 The other net has a liaison station who does
exactly the same thing, but in reverse
Visual LEVEL1.225
Liaison Stations
 Single liaison station may need to handle
messages going both ways between two nets
 Use two radios to monitor both nets at the
same time
• Difficult if either or both nets are busy
 One radio is used
• Switch between the two nets on a regular
Visual LEVEL1.226
Relay Stations
 Passes messages between two stations in the net
that cannot hear each other
 Not a regular net position
 On an "as needed" basis
 If you can hear a station or stations that the NCS
cannot, it is OK to volunteer to act as a relay
Visual LEVEL1.227
 No operator should try to work excessively long
served agency is not
getting the best
possible service
efficiency and
effectiveness decline
Ensure that all net members get some rest on a regular basis
Visual LEVEL1.228
Shift Changes
 Monitor the net for at least fifteen minutes
 Review the logs with the present operator before
taking over
 Continuity in the net's operation
Visual LEVEL1.229
Non-Voice Modes
 Packet
FM packet, HF packet, and PACTOR
No real “packet net”
• Provide an automatic connection between two stations
• Transmit "traffic" using the bulletin board or mailbox
facility of the TNC
Automatically routed and stored without any action by
the receiving station's operator or a NCS
Visual LEVEL1.230
Non-Voice Modes
 Non-packet digital modes
 Not automatic
 May require a NCS operator to manage the net
Visual LEVEL1.231
Non-Voice Modes
 CW Procedures
Clean and accurate code sent at 10 words per minute is
better than sloppy code sent at 30 words per minute
ARRL Publication FSD-218
• Referred to as the "pink card"
• CW net procedures
• Description of the Amateur Message Form
• Message precedence
• Handling Instruction abbreviations
Visual LEVEL1.232
Interference Problems
 Adjacent or co-channel stations who may be
unaware of the emergency net
 Politely inform them of the net and ask for their
• Ask an HF net to move over a few kHz
 If the problem cannot be resolved
 Have
one or more alternative frequencies
Never discuss, acknowledge, or try to speak with
an intentionally interfering station
Visual LEVEL1.233
1. List the advantage and disadvantage of each of the
following modes for an emcomm operation:
A. Voice net
B. CW net
C. Packet
D. Non-Packet Digital
2. What are the major topics found in ARRL's FSD218?
Visual LEVEL1.234
Lesson 10 Questions
1. Which of the following best describes the
responsibilities of the NCS in an emcomm
A. The NCS is responsible for all aspects of the
emcomm operation.
B. The NCS is responsible for station check in.
C. The NCS is responsible for all aspects of the
net's operation.
D. The NCS is responsible for writing the net
Visual LEVEL1.235
Lesson 10 Questions
2. As an acting "fill in" NCS, which of the following
practices would you avoid?
A. Try to run an existing net much as the
previous NCS did.
B. Handle messages in order of precedence:
C. Keep notes as you go along: do not let your
log fall behind.
D. Ask stations to pass messages on the main
net frequency whenever possible.
Visual LEVEL1.236
Lesson 10 Questions
3. Which of the following is true of a liaison station?
The liaison station mainly relays bulletins
authorized by the served agency to all
stations on the net.
A liaison station passes messages only on a
pre-set schedule.
A liaison station handles only one-way traffic.
A liaison station passes messages between
two nets.
Visual LEVEL1.237
Lesson 10 Questions
4. Packet modes include which of the following
A. FM packet, HF packet and PACTOR.
B. HF packet, PACTOR and PSK31.
Visual LEVEL1.238
Lesson 10 Questions
5. You are the NCS of a net involved in an
emcomm operation and you notice that some
other station is intentionally interfering with your
net. Which of the following represents your best
course of action?
A. Shut down the net and go home.
B. Address the interfering station directly and
inform them of the error of their ways.
C. Move the net to an alternate frequency.
D. Contact the EOC and continue to operate.
Visual LEVEL1.239
L.A. Area Radio Jammer Convicted
 September 2006, L.A. resident Jack Gerritsen (ex-KG6IRO), now 70, convicted of
willful and malicious interference and transmitting without a license
 Repeat offender  15 prior misdemeanor convictions
 Conducted on-air tirades and outright jamming
 Performed willful and malicious interference to communications system
operated by the US Coast Guard Auxiliary during a 2004 search-and-rescue
 Interfered with American Red Cross radio transmissions in early 2005 while
the agency was preparing for disaster relief operations
 Caused cancellation of a US Army Reserve homeland security training
exercise in 2005 by interfering with US Army Military Affiliate Radio System
(MARS) communications
 Punishment
Amateur Radio license & call sign revoked
Radio equipment confiscated
Can not use any moniker for identification (e.g. call sign)
Prohibited from owning, possessing or using any radio equipment
Fined $15,225
Sentenced to seven years in federal prison
Extreme case and fortunately a rarity
Visual LEVEL1.240
Lesson 10 Reference links
 For information about ARRL Public Service
Communications, please see The ARRL Public
Service Communications Manual:
 ARRL Publication FSD-218:
Visual LEVEL1.241
Visual LEVEL1.242