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Title: ARRL ARECC Level 1

Welcome Back
Lesson 6 Basic Communication Skills
  • Exercise

Exercise Results
  • What did I ask everyone to do?
  • What did you do?
  • What caused confusion?

Get Message to Intended Recipient
Cooperation of Others
Minimum of Fuss
Operating Skills
Communication Method
Adequate Resources
Skills of Receiving Party
Why Are Emergency Communication Techniques
  • Life and death communications are not part of our
    daily experience
  • 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, mis-delivered, or never delivered at all
    can have disastrous results

Source Listening The Forgotten Skill, Madelyn
Why Is Listening Efficiency Low?
Hearing what you want to hear
Mental Tangents
Dont Want to Be There
Dont Like the Speaker
Dont Understand the Topic
Forming a Response
Too Interested in Physical Characteristics
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?

Ineffective Listening
Confused Instructions
Loss of Important Information
Acknowledge the Talker
Taking In Information
Improve Communication
Invite Communication to Continue
Carry Idea Forward
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 awareness
  • 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

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

  • Normal, clear, calm voice
  • Shouting over-modulation and distortion
  • Will not increase volume at the receiving end
  • Normal pace
  • Rushing slurred and unintelligible speech
  • Pronounce words carefully
  • Making sure to enunciate each syllable and sound

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
  • Leaving extra time is also necessary on any
    system of linked repeaters
  • Allow time for all the links to begin transmitting

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.
Brevity Clarity
  • Only the information necessary to get the message
    across clearly and accurately
  • Extraneous information
  • Distract the recipient
  • Misinterpretation
  • Confusion

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
  • If someone else has drafted the message, work
    with the author to make it more concise

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 month...."
  • Or any other non-essential conversation.

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 bags.
  • Chances are that the two requests will have to be
    forwarded to different locations, and if combined
    one request will be lost

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
  • FY07 NIMS Compliance Metrics Terms of Reference

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
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

Plain Language
  • Not all Plain Language has the same meaning
  • For example
  • The California Highway Patrol requests Backup
    when they need another officer in an emergency.
    They request Assistance when they want a cover
  • The Los Angeles County Sheriff uses the same two
    words, but uses them in the exact opposite

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
  • "horrific damage and people torn to bits"
  • "significant physical damage and serious personal

  • Certain words in a message may not be immediately
  • 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

  • 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
  • Make up your own phonetics has no place in
    emergency communication

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)

  • Numbers are somewhat easier to understand
  • Most can be made clearer by simply
  • 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"

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)
  • 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

Two letters are sent as one character in
CW                            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
  • 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
  • Net Control Station (NCS) may assign the tactical
    call sign as each location is "opened"

Tactical Call Signs
  • Emergency communications use tactical call signs
    exclusively to call other stations
  • You dont 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 a

Example Tactical Call Signs
Example Tactical Call Signs
  • Road Rally Operations on-site at
  • MOUNTAIN TOP. This is the TACTICAL call sign
    for the over event Net Control Station.
  • 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.

Calling with Tactical Call Signs
Calling with Tactical Call Signs
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
  • Heres 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
  • 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 dont identify
    the recipient of a written message in the call -
    it will be in the message itself, and theres no
    reason to duplicate the information!)

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 traffic
  • Net Control from KING145 with weather
  • Field unit assigned to SAG1 has traffic for net
  • Net Control from SAG1 with traffic

Calling with Tactical Call Signs
  • Field unit assigned to SAG2 has a message for
    Medic1 and requests permission to pass the
  • SAG2 Net Control from SAG2 with traffic for
  • 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 traffic.)

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
  • Tells the NCS that you consider the exchange
    complete (and saves time and extra words)
  • Fulfills all FCC identification requirements

Completing a Call
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

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 group
  • Practice a roll call to get a SITREP from each
    station using tactical call signs and FCC call
  • SITREP for all stations is no damage at this
    location this is an exercise

  • 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.

Lesson 6 Activities
  • 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, 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

Lesson 6 Activities
  • Based upon what you have read in this lesson,
    list five errors to avoid when communicating
    during an emergency.

Lesson 6 Questions
  • In emergency communication, which one of the
    following is NOT true?
  • Listening is only about 10 of communication.
  • Any message can have huge and unintended
  • A message that is never delivered can yield
    disastrous results.
  • Listening also means avoiding unnecessary

Lesson 6 Questions
  • Which of the following procedures is best for
    using a microphone?
  • Hold the microphone just off the tip of your
  • Talk across, rather than into, your microphone.
  • Shout into the microphone to insure that you are
    heard at the receiving end.
  • Whenever possible, use voice operated
    transmission (VOX).

Lesson 6 Questions
  • In emergency communications, which of the
    following is true?
  • Never use "10 codes" on Amateur Radio.
  • Use "Q signals" on served-agency radio systems.
  • Under NO circumstances use "Q" signals on a CW
  • Use technical jargon when you feel that it is

Lesson 6 Questions
  • Which of the following is always true of a
    tactical net?
  • Personal call signs are never used.
  • Personal call signs are always preferred over
    tactical call signs (such as "Aid 3").
  • Personal call signs are required at ten-minute
    intervals during a conversation or at the end of
    your last transmission.
  • Personal call signs are required at ten-minute
    intervals during a conversation and at the end of
    your last transmission.

Lesson 6 Questions
  • Which of the following is the most efficient way
    to end an exchange on a tactical net?
  • Say "Over".
  • Say "Roger".
  • Give your FCC call sign.
  • Ask Net Control if there are any further messages
    for you.

Lesson 6 Reference Links
  • Reference links
  • The Public Service Communications Manual
  • ARRL ARES Field Resources Manual

Lesson 7 - Introduction to Emergency Nets
  • 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 format.
  • 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.

  • Pass to send messages from one station to
  • 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 microphone.
  • Liaison Station A station responsible for
    passing messages between different nets.

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

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.

Net Formats
  • Directed (formal) 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 stations
  • Open (informal) Nets
  • NCS is optional
  • When a NCS is used at all, he usually exerts
    minimal control over the net
  • Stations may call each other directly
  • Open nets are most often used when there are only
    a few stations and little traffic

Net Formats
  • Directed Net
  • NCS declares the net active
  • NCS controls the frequency
  • Normal use of the frequency stops
  • Specific net topic, conditions, and/or
    instructions for check-in is given
  • Open Net
  • Net is declared, not much happening
  • Generally normal repeater use
  • NCS may be there but not in tight control of the

Net Formats
  • Informal nets
  • Interest Group Nets
  • Swap Nets
  • Training Nets
  • Formal 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

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

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

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)

ICS Form 217ACommunications Resource
Availability Worksheet
Types of Emergency Nets
  • Traffic net
  • Handles formal written messages in a specified
    (i.e. ARRL) format.
  • National Traffic System (NTS)
  • ARES or RACES traffic nets may be directed or
    open depending on their size
  • Tactical nets
  • Real-time coordination of activities related to
    the emergency
  • 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
  • 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 location.
  • Locate needed resources, such as equipment, food,
    water and other supplies for emcomm volunteers
  • Information net
  • 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 (OBS)
  • 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"

Checking Into an Emergency Net
  • At the appropriate time, give only your call
  • If you have a message to pass, you can add, "with
  • If it is an emergency message, say "with
    emergency traffic."
  • The same is true for stations with priority
  • Wait for a response before offering more
  • Checking into a directed net when the NCS has not
    asked for check-ins is usually considered a bad
  • 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."

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
  • If it is an emergency message, say "with
    emergency traffic."
  • If there appears to be no NCS, call anyone on the
    net to find out if anyone is "in charge" and make
    contact with them.
  • 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

Checking Into an Emergency Net
  • If you are not part of the organization operating
    the net, do not just check in and offer to
  • 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

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 before
  • May assign you as an apprentice, logger, or as a
  • If you are given such an opportunity, take it!

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 net
  • Sign with your tactical call sign and your FCC

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.)

"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
  • "Break, WB7OML"
  • NCS will say, "Go ahead WB7OML"
  • You respond, "WB7OML with emergency traffic"

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
  • Remember to sign with your FCC call sign

Special Situations for Checking Out
  • 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.
  • 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.

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)

Levels of Nets
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

Non-Voice Nets
  • Emergency nets may also use other modes of
    communication besides voice
  • Traffic nets have used CW since the beginning of
    Amateur Radio
  • 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
  • PSK31

WinLink 2000
  • Blends radio and Internet transmission paths to
    permit rapid and seamless email message transfer
    to stations anywhere on Earth

FNpsk FNpack
  • FNpsk is a windows program designed to allow easy
    handling of ARRL format messages via PSK31
  • FNpack program provides for message handling and
    net management of amateur radio emergency
    communications applications via packet networks

Lesson 7 Student Activities
  • Describe the best use of the following nets
  • Open nets
  • Emergency nets
  • Tactical nets
  • Resource nets
  • Traffic nets

Lesson 7 Questions
  • Which of the following best describes a net?
  • A group of stations who purposely frequent the
  • 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.

Lesson 7 Questions
  • What is a major difference between an "open net"
    and a "directed net"?
  • The presence or absence of full control by a Net
    Control Station.
  • The presence or absence of formal traffic.
  • The type of radio traffic on the net.
  • The approval or sanction of net operations by the

Lesson 7 Questions
  • Which of the following is true of a "tactical
  • 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.

Lesson 7 Questions
  • 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 information.
  • When you first join the net and when you would
    like to send greetings to one of the
    participating stations.

Lesson 7 Questions
  • What is the most frequent cause of errors on
    voice nets?
  • Speaking too softly.
  • Speaking too rapidly.
  • Failure to write down the message before sending
  • Failure to copy the message exactly as it was

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

10 Minute Break
Lessons 8 Basic Message Handling I Lesson 9
Basic Message Handling II
The Big Question
  • In Emcomm or Public Service Communications, are
    most messages Formal or Informal or Tactical ?

Types of Traffic
  • Formal message traffic
  • Fault-intolerant information (for example, lists
    of names of authorized personnel)
  • 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
  • Does not require a paper trail or record of
  • Does not require formal authentication of
    originator or recipient
  • Must be delivered in a timely or instantaneous

Formal Traffic
  • Pros
  • Equivalent to a telegram or email
  • Written in a specific format, i.e. ARRL
  • 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 network)
  • Formal message handling guarantees high accuracy
    and validation of receipt, and is very good in
    situations where direct sender-to-receiver
    communications is unavailable
  • Cons
  • 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 user-unfriendly, 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
  • Most common type of messaging used in emergency
  • Verbal or written but not in a specific format
  • Best used for
  • Non-critical and simple messages
  • Messages that require immediate action
  • 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
  • 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

Tactical Message Traffic
  • Equivalent of a telephone conversation or
    tactical radio communication (such as fire and
    police tactical communications)
  • Tactical messaging is used between stations that
    are attached to single client or persons (such as
    an aid coordinator)
  • 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
  • A radio operator who is shadowing a critical
    resource person during an emergency is likely to
    use tactical or informal messaging, rather than
    formal messaging

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
  • 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 modifications

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 message.
  • The resulting delay could cause the patient's

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)

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
  • 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 minutes

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

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 message

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

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
  • 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.

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

  • 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 agencys Public
    Information Officer

  • 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
  • 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

  • Health Plan Numbers
  • License Numbers
  • Vehicle Identification Numbers
  • Account Numbers
  • Biometric Identifiers
  • Full Face Photos
  • Any Other Unique Identifying Number,
    Characteristic or Code
  • Names
  • Addresses including Zip Codes
  • All Dates
  • Telephone Fax Numbers
  • E-mail Addresses
  • Social Security Numbers
  • Medical Record Numbers

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 patients name
    as its called out in a waiting room or overhear
    a clinical discussion as they are walking down a
    hallway on the unit

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
Message Handling Rules
  • Do not speculate on anything relating to an
  • Pass formal messages exactly as written or spoken
  • 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
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

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

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 communications

  • Formal Message Handling

Formal Written Message Formats
Disaster Welfare Message
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 atStation
    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 RECD block) Name
    call sign of person who wrote the message
    include full phone number if not a Ham or if new
    to NTS.
  • RECD SENT Record the names and call sign of
    the person you recd the message from and/or
    sent/forwarded the message to, along with the
    date time (PST/PDT or Z).

Components of a Standard ARRL Radiogram
  • Preamble
  • Message number
  • Originating station
  • Message precedence
  • Origination date time
  • Address
  • Recipient name
  • Street address or PO box
  • City, state, and zip code
  • Text
  • Limited to 25 words or less when possible (new
    form 50 words)
  • Written in lines of five words (ten for keyboard)
  • 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

Block 1 - Message Number
  • No standard way of numbering messages
  • Number assigned by the station that first puts
    the message into ARRL format
  • 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
  • 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

Block 2 - Precedence
  • The Precedence of the Message determines what
    order the messages will be handled
  • Four precedence are used in ascending order of
  • 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
  • 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
  • Usually only associated with official traffic to,
    from, or related to a disaster area
  • Life or death urgency ? handle first and
  • Due to the lack of privacy on radio, EMERGENCY
    messages should only be sent via Amateur Radio
    when regular communication facilities are

Block 3 - Handling Instructions
  • 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 station.
  • HXA -- (Followed by number.) "Collect" telephone
    delivery authorized by addressee within (X)
    miles. If no number is sent, authorization is
  • HXB -- (Followed by number.) Cancel message if
    not delivered within (X) hours of filing time
    service (notify) originating station.
  • HXC -- Report date and "time of delivery" (TOD)
    to originating station.

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"

Block 5 - The Check
  • Number of words in the text section only
  • Preamble, address and signature are not included
  • 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

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 preamble
  • Example an original check of 10 corrected to 9
    would be sent "10/9
  • Numbers count as one, regardless of length
  • Punctuation is counted in the check
  • Hyphenated word counts as 1 (e.g. out-going)

How Many Words?
  • New York City
  • 527B
  • NYC
  • Fifty six
  • H O Townsend
  • W1YL/4
  • Thanks Xray
  • 800MHz
  • 146.90 MHz

Example Word Counts
  • New York City 3 words
  • 527B 1 word
  • NYC 1 word
  • Fifty six 2 words
  • H O Townsend 3 words
  • W1YL/4 1 word
  • Thanks Xray 2 words
  • 800MHz 1 word
  • 146.90 MHz 2 words

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

Block 6 - Place of Origin
  • Name of the community, building, or agency where
    the originator of the message is located

Block 7 - Time Filed
  • Optional field, unless handling instruction
    "Bravo" (HXB) is used
  • Unless the message is time sensitive, this field
    may be left blank for routine messages
  • Completing the time field is generally
    recommended for Welfare
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