Messaging "Quick & Dirty"

For those of you who are considering membership in the WARTS Net you will need to send the Net Secretary a "Formal  Message" via a radiogram to make this request. If you have never done this (or it's been sometime since you have done this) the procedure may be a bit daunting. Formal message traffic is as easy as 1-2-3-4, Preamble, Addressee, Text, and Signature.

Below is a sample message that you can use to help format your own message to the Net Secretary. If you need more or would like more information on traffic handling, Click Here.

American Radio Relay League


Msg. #
Handling Instructions
* G
Station of Origin
Place of Origin
Lynnwood, WA
Time Filed*
(Local or Zulu)
Date Filed
Today's Date


Full Name: KEN RAU, K7YR
Street Address: 2200 SUMMIT BLVD
City: MANSON State/Province: WA Zip/Postal Code: 98831
Phone Number:

509 682 2211

BT (Break)

(Body of the message:)

THE MESSAGE X (see Punctuation) IT SHOULD

BT (Break)
        Jane Smith
(Name of person sending the message.)
(Include the address and phone number if reply requested.)









this message was handled free of charge by a licensed amateur radio operator, whose address is shown in the box at right above. as such messages are handled solely for the pleasure of operating and no compensation can be accepted by a "ham" operator.  a return message may be filed with the "ham" delivering this message to you. further information on amateur radio may be obtained  from a.r.r.l. headquarters , 225 main street, newington, ct 06111   The American Radio Relay League, INC. is the national membership society of licensed radio amateurs and the publisher of QST magazine. one of its functions is promotion of public service communications among amateur operators. to that end the league has organized the national traffic system  for daily nation-wide message handling



Instructions for preamble:
MSG #: The number the originating station issues to the message. This number is NEVER changed by any station handling the message.
PRECEDENCE: Emergency (always spelled out) - Any message that has life and death urgency to any person or groups of persons.
(P)riority - Important messages having a specific time limit.
(W)elfare - A message that is an inquiry into the well-being of an individual in a disaster area.
(R)outine - Normal traffic during normal times.
*HX: = Handling Instructions.
(Optional for Routine messages.)
HXA - (Followed by number) Collect landline delivery authorized by addressee within ____ miles. (If no number, authorization is unlimited.)
HXB - (Followed by number) Cancel message if not delivered within ____ hours of filing time; service originating station.
HXC - Report date and time of  delivery (TOD) to originating station.
HXD - Report to originating station the identity of station from which received, plus date and time. Report identity of station to which relayed, plus date and time, or if delivered, report date, time and method of delivery.
HXE - Delivering station get reply. from addressee, originate message back.
HXF - (Followed by number) Hold delivery until _____. (date)
HXG - Delivery by mail or landline toll call not required. If toll or other expense involved, cancel message and service originating station.
STATION OF ORIGIN: The station originating the formal traffic (Call Sign).
**CHECK: The number of words, punctuation, mixed groups or numbers in the body of the message; between Break and Break. (In an effort to minimize the amount of words in the text you can use ARRL Numbered Radiograms. If ARRL Numbered Radiograms are used in the text add ARL to the check.)
PLACE OF ORIGIN: The location of the party originating the traffic. Need not be the same as the station of origin.
*TIME FILED Zulu or local time message was filed. (Not necessary in Routine messages) If using Zulu time you MUST  use the Zulu date also.
DATE FILED: Date the message was put into the NTS for transmittal to a relay or delivering station. (Always needed)

All of this information is available on the ARRL FSD-218.

CW Procedures:
    The pro-sign AA separates the parts of the address. BT separates the address from the text and the text from the signature. AR marks the end of the message: this is followed by B if there is another message to follow, by N if this is the last or only message. It is customary to copy the preamble, parts of the address, text and signature on separate lines.

Phone Procedures:
    Use pro-words instead of pro-signs, but it is not necessary to name each part of the message as you send it. For example a message sent on phone would be as follows: "Number one routine HX Golf W7ARC eight Silverdale Washington one eight three zero Zulu March seventeen Donald Smith Figures one six four zero East Sixth Avenue, Bremerton, Washington niner eight three one one Telephone figures three six zero three one three five eight six seven Break ARL FIFTY ARL FORTY SIX HOPE TO SEE YOU SOON (X-ray) LOVE BREAK Mom and Dad End of Message - Over." If more than one message is to be sent to the same receiving station the words "More to follow" would replace "Over" until the last message is sent. 

It is important to speak clearly and distinctly over phone. It is also important to spell phonetically words that sound alike or may have several forms of spelling; i.e. to, too, two, etc. It is also important to spell words whose meaning may not be clear. Use the pro-words, "I SPELL" before each of these instances. For example - "you're". Say the word "you're." Say "I spell," and proceed with "YANKEE OSCAR UNIFORM APOSTROPHE ROMEO ECHO." Then say the word again, "you're". This will avoid confusion with your, you're or yore in the message.


In an effort to keep things as simple as possible the NTS has adopted the following standards for punctuation in a formal radiogram:
Period = X-Ray
Question Mark = Query

As these are the most common punctuations and could be easily misconstrued as something else ALL periods in a message are expressed as an "X" (spoken "X-ray") and all question marks are spoken as the word "query" at the end of the sentence. Other punctuation is permitted but in an effort to keep the check to a minimum they are discouraged.

To shorten messages that are longer than 25 words you may want to use one or more of the ARRL Numbered Radiogram Messages. These can be found on the FSD-3 and every ham should have a copy of this document in their station for reference when delivering a message that contains and ARRL Numbered message.