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BID : 2405_EI2GYB
Subj: INTRODUCTION TO PACKET RADIO - PART 12
Sent: 181202/1020Z 2405@EI2GYB.DGL.IRL.EURO BPQ6.0.16
INTRODUCTION TO PACKET RADIO - PART 12 - by Larry Kenney, WB9LOZ
The National Traffic System, known as NTS, is the ARRL sponsored Amateur
Radio message handling network. Packet radio is now playing a very
important part in the network, so let's take a look at the system and
give you some tips on handling NTS traffic by packet.
Handling third party traffic is the oldest tradition in amateur radio.
Nationwide, the National Traffic System has hundreds of local and section
nets meeting daily in order to facilitate the delivery and origination of
such messages. More and more of this traffic is being originated, relayed,
and delivered on packet. If you enjoy traffic handling, you can easily get
involved in NTS via packet. If you're on packet but know nothing about
NTS, this part of the series will get you off to a good start. At the end
you'll also find some references for further information on NTS.
Local packet BBSs have to be checked daily for traffic that needs to be
delivered or relayed. When you check into your local BBS, enter the LT
command, meaning "List Traffic". The BBS will display a list of all NTS
traffic awaiting delivery. It'll look similar to this example:
MSG# STAT SIZE TO FROM @BBS DATE/TIME SUBJECT
37893 TN 486 60625 KB6ZYZ NTSIL 1227/0712 CHICAGO, IL 312-267
37802 TF 320 06234 WB6DOB NTSCT 1227/0655 NEW HAVEN, CT
37854 TF 588 93432 KA4YEA 1227/0625 CRESTON, CA 93432
37839 TN 412 94114 KA8UHL 1227/0311 SAN FRANCISCO 415-821
37781 TF 298 94015 W1KPL 1226/2356 DALY CITY, CA 415-992
You might see traffic that is being relayed by your local BBS to some other
part of the country as well as traffic for your local area. The "Subject"
or "Title" column of the listing will show the destination of the traffic.
If you see a message that is within your local area, help out and deliver
RECEIVING A MESSAGE: To take a message off of the Bulletin Board for
telephone delivery, or for relay to a local NTS net, enter R followed by
the message number. Using the list above, R 37839 would send you the
message from KA8UHL for San Francisco. You'll find the message in a special
NTS RADIOGRAM format, with a preamble, address, telephone number, text and
signature, ready for delivery. After the message has been saved to your
printer or disk, the message should be erased from the BBS. Use the K
command, as you do for killing your own messages. To kill message 37839,
for example, you'd enter: K 37839. This prevents the message from being
delivered again by someone else.
DELIVERING OR RELAYING A MESSAGE: Once you have received the NTS Radiogram,
it should, of course, be handled expeditiously. If it's for your immediate
area, you should deliver the message by telephone. If you took the message
for delivery to the local traffic net, you should make an effort to see
that it gets relayed as quickly as possible. If you're unable to deliver
the message, due to an incorrect phone number, no answer after several tries,
or some other problem, send a return message to the originator advising him
of the non-delivery, and why.
SENDING MESSAGES: Any amateur can originate a message on behalf of another
individual, whether the person is a licensed amateur or not. It is the
responsibility of the originating amateur, however, to see that the message
is in proper form before it's transmitted. A special format is used for
NTS traffic so that the messages are compatible across the entire network.
Each message should contain the following components in the order given:
number, precedence, handling instructions (optional), the station of
origin, check, place of origin, time filed, date, address, telephone
number, text and signature. The destination of all NTS traffic must be to
a point in the US, its possessions, or Canada.
When the message is ready to be entered into your local BBS, you must use
the ST command, which means "Send Traffic", followed by the zip code of the
destination city, then @ NTS followed by the two letter state abbreviation.
The form used is ST ZIPCODE @ NTSxx. A message being sent to Boston, MA
02109 would be entered as follows: ST 02109 @ NTSMA and a message for
Iowa City, IA 52245 would be entered as ST 52245 @ NTSIA. The message
SUBJECT or TITLE should contain the destination city and state and the
telephone area code and exchange, if available. See the examples in the
listing above. Only one NTS message should be included in each packet
message (no "book" messages). The actual radiogram should be included
entirely within the TEXT of the packet message, including all of the
components listed above. End the message with the usual Control-Z or /ex.
IN TIME OF EMERGENCY: The National Traffic System functions on a daily
basis as a public service for both your fellow hams and the general public.
It serves another function as well. The NTS provides a well oiled and
trained national system of experienced traffic handlers able to handle
large volumes of third party traffic accurately and efficiently during
disasters. Your participation now will help prepare you for that time
of emergency. Following the Loma Prieta Earthquake in October of 1989,
over 7000 NTS messages were handled by packet BBSs in the San Francisco
Bay Area. We needed and used all of the help we could get.
REFERENCE MATERIAL: The ARRL booklet "An Introduction to Operating an
Amateur Radio Station" offers detailed information on handling and
preparing NTS Radiograms. There are also many files with detailed
information on NTS available for downloading from your local BBS. They
give a complete rundown on how to prepare and send an NTS message on
packet, how to deliver NTS messages, etc. Check your local BBS files
section for them if you want to get involved. Your help will certainly
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