June 2024 NTS Letter


Hamvention 2024

Treasure Hunt Update

Radiogram Portal Update

ARRL Numbered Radiograms

Field Day and NTS

From the Field

Spotlight – W2ZXN


Hamvention 2024

Your editor was privileged to attend Dayton Hamvention in May in Xenia, OH. Except for the rain on Friday morning, the weather was beautiful — warm and sunny. Because this was an ARRL National Convention, there were interesting and well-attended presentations by ARRL staff. A great emphasis was put on youth and attracting young people to the hobby. One thing was missing, however. I had hoped to find some gathering of NTS folks, but alas, I did not. I saw a few folks I knew, but the most surprising was to find a ham I hadn’t seen for nearly 40 years. Kitty Hevener, W8TDA, was living in the Boston area at the time until she left to work at ARRL. From there she moved to different locations, and we lost touch. One day at Hamvention I was walking past the HandiHam booth, looking for a friend who had been attending a different forum. I found him there, sitting next to Kitty, whom he did not know. I recognized her right away and we had a long chat, catching up with all those years. What are the chances amidst thousands of people? All in all, it was a great weekend. Thanks to the Dayton Amateur Radio Association for making it possible.


Treasure Hunt Update
Hello, treasure hunters! Twenty stations participated in the May NTS Treasure Hunt. The following stations successfully completed all three rounds:


05/14/24 20:29 W1LEM Lem

05/14/24 20:30 N1CVO Shawn

05/14/24 20:31 KC1TLF David

05/14/24 20:33 KY2D Jim

05/15/24 19:11 K1IG George

05/23/24 19:04 KC3MAL Stuart

05/24/24 23:23 KC2QVF Chris


The first-place finisher in this, the May Treasure Hunt, as well as in future Treasure Hunts, will be awarded a specially designed mug courtesy of the NTS 2.0 Planning Committee. The second- and third-place finishers will receive a certificate courtesy of the NTS 2.0 Treasure Hunt committee.


Regarding this month’s third-round question, Jon, N1ILZ, reports, “It appears that the third question (mine) proved more challenging than I expected. Just under half the respondents got it right the first time. Most got it right on the second try after the hint in my reply,







The question was “On NTS voice nets how should 1359 be voiced query.” The answer is, “Figures one tree fife niner.”


If you missed the official Treasure Hunt announcement in the December 2023 issue of The NTS Letter, here is a recap: This is a fun, on-air, multi-step competition in which you will respond to a “judge” with your answer to an initial clue or question via radiogram. The judge will reply via radiogram with the identity of the next judge, along with the next question or clue in the hunt.


We had quite a few responses to our survey, and we will be trying to address those issues. Thanks for the feedback. One common response was, “I never received a reply.” I would suggest you try using the “HXC” handling instruction. This will ask the station delivering your message to send you a message with the date and time they delivered your message to the addressee.


We will take the month of June off, but remember to send 10 radiograms during Field Day for a 100-point bonus. Also, you’ll get an additional 100-point bonus if you send a message to your Section Manager or the Section Emergency Coordinator.


Check out the July issue of The NTS Letter for the July Treasure Hunt!


If you have any comments or suggestions, please use the survey form or email Dan Rinaman, AC8NP at ac8np@ac8np.com. – 73, Dan Rinaman, AC8NP


Radiogram Portal Update
The Radiogram Portal is a project of the NTS 2.0 group with two main goals in mind. The first is to provide a platform to explain to the general public what Amateur Radio messaging is all about — to give a basic introduction to this part of our public service capability, and then to provide an easy way for someone who’s not a ham to submit a message for origination. The second is to try to inject more true third-party traffic into our traffic system. This project went live in December 2023 and now lists 49 registered “radiogrammers” who can take a message from the Portal, originate a radiogram, and enter it into the NTS. These radiogrammers come from around the country, including from:


Region 1 — 11 Region 2 — 5 Region 3 — 3 Region 4 — 7 Region 5 — 4 Region 6 — 1

Region 7 — 0 Region 8 — 4 Region 9 — 4 Region 10 — 6 Region 11 (Eastern Canada) — 1

Region 12 — 3


Portal use has been increasing as the word gets out. A total of 13 messages were handled in April, and a total of 28 have been handled in May as of Memorial Day.


Messages are listed for radiogrammers according to the Region in which it was originated. In other words, a message originated in Phoenix, Arizona for Syracuse, New York would be listed for radiogrammers in Region 12 to pick up, and not for those in Region 2. A question was raised as to why it would not be listed for Region 2 stations. The answer relates to the second goal above. By listing radiograms under the station of origin’s Region, it’s more likely that someone in that Region will put the radiograms into the NTS via RF. If they were listed under the recipient’s region, then the system would lean to shortcutting the NTS, and be more of an internet-based email system. If a message, however, is not picked up within a reasonable amount of time, it can be handled by any radiogrammer, but preferably from within a nearby Region. More information on this will be forthcoming in a future issue.


Another traffic handler was concerned about a “message [that] was being sent from a ham in [another state] after he had picked it up on the message portal. The city and state in the header of the message were not the city and state of the licensed ham sending the message! I found this confusing.” Remember the first goal mentioned previously is to introduce message handling to the public. It has been some time since we traffic handlers have seen actual third-party messages, so it is not surprising this could be confusing. It is important to remember the meaning of “third-party traffic.” While generally these messages are from non-hams, they could be from a licensed ham but one not familiar with radiogram format or how to enter a message into the network. The “station of origin,” as we know, is the licensed amateur who formats a message into a radiogram and injects it into the network. The “place of origin,” on the other hand, is the location of the “third party” whose message has consequently been formatted into a radiogram and should match the location of the signer of the message. If the “third party” is a ham, his/her call sign might be included, but is not necessary.


Yet another question was raised concerning the use of numbered radiogram texts. It was noted that one had to select one of the numbered texts from a drop-down menu. This was planned for use by those who don’t understand some of the restrictions of a radiogram. This list could potentially be expanded at a future time. However, any traffic handlers who are registered on the Portal website are given the option of creating a “free-form” message.


More information about the Radiogram Portal can be found on the NTS 2.0 website at https://nts2.arrl.org/radiogram-portal-quick-start/.


ARRL Numbered Radiograms
A reader asked a question concerning the use of numbered radiograms. As most traffic handlers know, these are standardized texts that allow for shortening a text of many words into one of few. The FSD-3 form on the ARRL website contains a list of numbered radiograms that have been used for many years. Form FSD-3 remains the same. However, in the past year the NTS 2.0 group has updated this list, keeping the same numbers and texts as the FSD-3 but adding additional ones mostly for welfare use. These numbers and texts match those on the RRI list so there should be no confusion. The question asked was, has the new list been implemented, or do we continue to use the FSD-3 form? We recommend using the new expanded list now, for formatting radiograms and for translation of radiogram texts for delivery to recipients. This list can be found at https://nts2.arrl.org/numbered-texts/.


Field Day and NTS
ARRL Field Day is coming up in just a few weeks. Traffic handlers can be active in several ways. If you can get to a Field Day site, help your club gain points by operating and making contacts. If you’re not into big pileups, you can help with a GOTA (Get On The Air) station. If you are unable to get out, you can operate from home and give others additional contact points. Speaking of points, of course you can boost your club’s score by helping to originate radiograms and getting them on the air. If you operate from home, you can monitor your local traffic nets and receive Field Day radiograms for relay or delivery. Field Day is a highly publicized event, and this activity raises an awareness on the part of the public that amateur radio is still very much active today. In addition to the above, and perhaps more important, you can have fun supporting and socializing with your fellow amateurs! See https://nts2.arrl.org/promo/ under “NTS at Field Day” for more suggestions.


From the Field
Linda, KF4MXF, Net Manager of the Missouri Traffic Net, reports there are approximately 22 dedicated hams who check into the Missouri Traffic Net, which covers the entire state. She reports, “I cover ALL MO (if a radiogram makes it to our traffic net, I see that it gets handled, one way or another. I no longer return radiograms, just because of bad phone number or other bad info).” Thanks, Linda, for all you do for NTS!


South Carolina Section Traffic Manager Dean, N4AJK, reports, “I am sorry if this is tooting my own horn, but in the February 2024 issue of QST…on page 92 in the Volunteer Monitoring Program Reports that a net operator for the Grand Strand Amateur Radio Club has run 2,000 nets. That is me, N4AJK.”


That is quite an accomplishment Dean. You have earned that “toot.” Thanks for all you do for NTS!


Kentucky Section Traffic Manager Steve, W4NHO, reports he was at Dayton Hamvention. While I received a message from another ham that Steve was looking for me, we were unable to meet up. Hopefully future conventions will allow for traffic handlers to meet one another face to face. It is always fun to be able to meet and share stories together.


I’m looking for more stories from you traffic handlers. Do you have any ham-related stories to share, especially those concerning message handling and net activities? Write to me at kw1u@arrl.net.


Spotlight – W2ZXN

This month I am spotlighting Andy Harmon-Kimball, W2ZXN, Assistant Section Traffic Manager for the Western New York Section. Andy is a recent addition to the NTS 2.0 teams and is the producer of training videos on the NTS2 website.


Andy first learned about ham radio by listening to an old analog scanner. While he would listen to people chit-chat here and there, what really drew his attention were the weather reports sent over the air and activity on a local traffic net. He received his amateur radio license in 2007 at the Rochester (NY) Hamfest, and was gifted a handheld radio. He says he “immediately immersed himself in traffic handling,” joining the ranks of his local traffic net and becoming a net control station. He later became interested in HF and upgraded to a General-class license, becoming active on a variety of traffic nets on 80 meters.


In addition to traffic handling, Andy has been active with his local ARES and RACES groups as well as secretary and repeater trustee for his local club.

When not on ham radio, he works for the Office of Emergency Management in Madison County, New York. His background includes working in emergency services as an Emergency Dispatcher and Radio Support Tech. In his spare time, he installs radios in various vehicles. Most important of all, however, he says he is a husband and a “cat-dad.”


We are grateful for all Andy has done and is doing for NTS. Check out his QRZ page, as well as the videos he has produced, which are at https://nts2.arrl.org/training/.



NTS Resources

The National Traffic System® (NTS) is a network of amateur radio operators who move information during disasters and other emergencies. General messages offering well wishes also move through the NTS to help test the system and to help amateur radio operators build traffic handling skills. While the NTS is primarily set up to serve the United States and Canada, it is possible to move traffic internationally through the NTS through various local, regional, area, and international network connections.


NTS 2.0

NTS Manual

NTS Methods and Practices Guidelines Table of Contents

Handling Instructions

Numbered Texts

Form Encoding Rules for Form



Sign Up to Receive The NTS Letter

The NTS Letter is published monthly and is free of charge to ARRL members. Subscribe: arrl.org/opt-in-out


Editor: Marcia Forde, KW1U, Section Traffic Manager — Eastern Massachusetts, Western Massachusetts, and Rhode Island


ARRL Director of Emergency Management: Josh Johnston, KE5MHV



Support NTS: Join ARRL

NTS is a program of ARRL The National Association for Amateur Radio®. No other organization works harder than ARRL to promote and protect amateur radio! ARRL members enjoy many benefits and services including digital magazines, e-newsletters, online learning (learn.arrl.org), and technical support. Membership also supports programs for radio clubs, on-air contests, Logbook of The World®, ARRL Field Day, and the all-volunteer ARRL Field Organization.



The NTS Letter is published every month (12 times each year). ARRL members may subscribe at no cost or unsubscribe by editing their Member Data Page at www.arrl.org/opt-in-out.


Copyright © 2024 American Radio Relay League, Incorporated. Use and distribution of this publication, or any portion thereof, is permitted for non-commercial or educational purposes, with attribution. All other purposes require written permission.


ARRL Black Diamond Logo