Author Topic: radiogram for survival comms  (Read 4565 times)

Offline recurve1

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radiogram for survival comms
« on: February 10, 2009, 07:24:29 PM »
I've been wondering if anyone/everyone is aware of the NTS traffic system that can be used to
send messages to anywhere in the US for FREE and does not require the telephone system?
You do NOT need to be a ham to use it, but you need to find a ham to put your message into
the system.  Most messages are able to make the trip in 24hrs. 
It seems like a useful tool to put in your survival tool kit.


Offline Dan

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Re: radiogram for survival comms
« Reply #1 on: February 10, 2009, 09:54:39 PM »
I have received two such messages since getting my tech license a short time ago and I have yet to touch a radio so it would seem to be a common means of communication.

Offline DeltaEchoVictor

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Re: radiogram for survival comms
« Reply #2 on: February 11, 2009, 01:09:47 PM »
Links?

Offline recurve1

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Re: radiogram for survival comms
« Reply #3 on: February 11, 2009, 01:26:43 PM »
The wikipedia version gives a nice nickel tour of radiograms:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_Traffic_System

As you might expect the ARRL has info on it:
http://www.arrl.org/FandES/field/nts-mpg/

Another basic description of what it is:
http://www.weca.org/nts.html

Offline Tactical Badger

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Re: radiogram for survival comms
« Reply #4 on: February 19, 2009, 02:19:20 PM »
I've listened in on my local Traffic Net a couple of times.  I'm not sure what it takes to get involved with the system if you are a HAM, but it was a lot of "code" they were throwing around.

Yeah, it's yet another way to communicate.  It's always good to have options.

Thanks for posting this.

Offline firetoad

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Re: radiogram for survival comms
« Reply #5 on: February 19, 2009, 02:26:08 PM »
I didn't think you could transmit using "code" as a ham?

Offline Tactical Badger

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Re: radiogram for survival comms
« Reply #6 on: February 19, 2009, 02:36:08 PM »
Me either.  But they were.  I could barely understand what they were talking about.  The actual messages weren't in any sort of code.  Everything else was though.

Offline Radjoman

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Re: radiogram for survival comms
« Reply #7 on: February 19, 2009, 08:23:18 PM »
NTS Traffic is a neat system to listen to.

The NTS traffic system is able to move messages from point A to point B through the efforts of hams who practice the required skills. 99% of the activity you may hear on the bands is these people practicing. They encourage anyone to send birthday wishes, or any other kind of message in order to generate traffic, so they can get practice, and expose areas of the country that have a lack of operators.  Also the final point of the message chain may be a local ham in your area donating their dollars to make a landline phone call, possibly long distance, to the final addresee of the message.

I think the best thing for a ham/survivalist to do would be to get involved in a SSB voice net meeting on a daily 80 meter frequency (3.8 mhz)  and/or a weekend/saturday 40 meter net (7mhz) . On an  80 meter net you would be able to hear other hams maybe 200 miles from your location, and on a 40 meter net you might hear people 400 miles away. This all depends on you antenna and the electrical noise you have to put up with, and as always the sunspots.  But you'll get lots of good practice on how your radios work and the time of day that each band available to you works best.  80m for night/close in comms,  40m for evening/regional comms,  20m for daytime/long distance comms.

Of course you need to be a General class to be legal, and thats why the General license is so important. Generals can talk to others on the lowbands with a simple radio running 50 watts. A Tech class ham would have to depend on a string of complicated repeaters or the internet to get the signal out beyond their immediate city, and all these technologies are prone to fail in a disasters. My HF radio and a battery and antenna are in an old briefcase ready to go anywhere and I can talk across the country after 15 minutes of setup!     

Food for thought

Offline bonnie

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Re: radiogram for survival comms
« Reply #8 on: February 22, 2009, 01:57:48 AM »
Me either.  But they were.  I could barely understand what they were talking about.  The actual messages weren't in any sort of code.  Everything else was though.

There is a specific format for the header in an NTS message via amateur radio.  It includes things like message number, priority, originating station, originating location, word count, etc.  so it can be traced back to it's origin.  Each station passing a message should keep track of who they receive the message from and who they send it to.  The word count gives you a double-check that you received the message accurately.  So the "code" is actually the standardized header format.  If you find a good NTS training net and want to send a message, they will walk you through setting up the header.  Some areas have training nets on 2 meters so techs can get on them.  Then there are people on that net who will take the messages to the HF NTS nets to pass them on.

Offline firetoad

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Re: radiogram for survival comms
« Reply #9 on: February 22, 2009, 07:47:56 AM »
Thanks for all of the info everyone!  This is something that I was completely unaware of!