Digital message handling

Discussion in 'NTS (National Traffic System)' started by Gilbert Skip Kauffman, Jul 14, 2014.

  1. Gilbert Skip Kauffman

    Gilbert Skip Kauffman Moderator Staff Member Bronze Member

    I have handled traffic using RTTY, Voice and digital modes(cw). The last few messages I handled had
    incorrect phone numbers and spellings.
    My question is, we are at a new digital age, why have the traffic handlers changed with the time ?????
    Bands are crowded, Solar issues have caused poor condition, so why not go digital ??

    If the guys want to yak on SSB, fine. Have a voice net for fun. Let's get with the times, upgrade to a
    computer and digital messaging systems.

    I hope some have a good reason to keep the CW and Voice traffic Nets, let's hear them........

    Please do not regard this as a disservice to the traffic handlers. They have provided a great deal of
    their personnel time and effort into running traffic. My hats off to them.
    The persistence for voice traffic handling is fine, put your efforts into Emergency Message handling
    ]for your local county. It's a new age, how about creating a digital traffic handling service...Teach
    others to handle traffic on VHF/UHF for local counties and HF for other locations.
    Years ago I used RTTY, before cell phones, for Military in Vietnam. Thousands of messages were handled daily. You could not handle that volume today by voice....

    de Skip
    W.T. Jones likes this.
  2. wedgar

    wedgar Administrator Staff Member Gold Member

    We need to encourage people looking for better ways of doing things, such as message handling. But I think we might want to try to keep all methods of traffic handling in play or practise. You never know when your trusty computer might die, leaving you only with SSB available to pass traffic. :eek:
  3. Gilbert Skip Kauffman

    Gilbert Skip Kauffman Moderator Staff Member Bronze Member

    Yes, I do agree that we should have traffic handlers using Voice.....These folks could be integrated into local Encomm groups as well as local
    traffic nets. However, we did handle transatlantic via 20 meter Packet and then Clover and Pactor. This was ported to FlexNet for the
    Lehigh Valley, Phila, and Eastern PA. The traffic sent over 2 meters was delivered via local traffic nets on VHF. It seems that some
    folks like the traffic nets others do ARES and then some local nets.... The question is how to combine all phases of traffic handling ?
    ARRL message forms and overhead must be learned, the ARES/ACS message forms are different and practice is needed to handle
    emergency traffic. I have never seen an ICS form used up here in Potter county. Maybe there would be a way to make all forms similar
    and easier to use for a wider group of message handlers.

    de Skip
    W.T. Jones and wedgar like this.
  4. wedgar

    wedgar Administrator Staff Member Gold Member

    Nets should have relay stations or liaisons to other nets to move traffic. It is important for people to learn multiple modes and to practice them. As you say, we need all types.
  5. W3JY

    W3JY Active Member

    An interesting note about the ICS-213, especially as it is often used as a foil for the Radiogram format:

    Did you know it is nothing more than an interoffice memo form, essentially designed in the 1900s for use with typewriters? It's main function - the interoffice memo - was to confirm the content of verbal discussions and meetings. It would be typed by a secretary and literally walked to a file with "carbon copies" or the "CC" of an email field, walked to the intended recipients who would place the copies into their filing system.

    Interoffice memos were the perfect answer to the 20th C. need to document meetings and phone calls. They were never, ever, not even once transmitted by radio. They were probably transmitted by facsimile.

    One of our senior NTS operators knows professionally the man who developed the communications annex of the NIMS. He added an old memo form because it was felt an example of something basic and simple might be useful. It was never intended to be definitive and it was particularly never intended or supposed to be prospectively required.

    Worse yet, the actual language of the NIMS makes clear it is not to be considered "official" and government workers are to develop their own, more appropriate forms!

    On the other hand, the Radiogram is also a 19th C. outgrowth that achieved a state of perfection for radio transmission, based on the telegram before it. It documents all necessary information for a message to be transmitted and a reply received via radio circuits. It also contains audit trail information such as the serial number and check fields.

    Development of the Radiogram did not stop with the computer age. No, quite the contrary.

    You and I and the rest of the world send billions of them every day without realizing it. You see, the Radiogram format was extended and renamed.

    That's right -- email.

    ICS-213 is a poor idea for anything but a typewritten memo to be delivered by hand.

    Amatuers that do not educate their agencies and customers about its purpose, its non-official and non-recommended nature, and about the favorability of the Radiogram, do their customers a disservice. Worse, they are not fulfilling their role as communication experts allowing laymen to dictate the details of message handling.
    wedgar likes this.
  6. wedgar

    wedgar Administrator Staff Member Gold Member

    Wow! Interesting history and excellent comment.

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