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[Articles Home]  [Add Article]  

Radiogram QSO

Seth Honeycutt (KD8RBP) on August 10, 2012
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I wanted to share a thought I had about a possible way to increase the amount of radiogram traffic sent on traffic nets and the NTS with something I called “Radiogram QSO”. Basically, it would involve a Radiogram QSO website where amateurs could go and register to voluntarily be placed on a CQ listing or directory on the site indicating to other amateurs that they would like to receive a contact or QSO by radiogram. Other amateurs registered on the site could look through the CQ list and pick another amateur to send a radiogram to and make a Radiogram QSO. In the text of the radiogram you could maybe say something about yourself or your area like, “HELLO FROM THE BIRTHPLACE OF THOMAS EDISON” if you were from Milan, Ohio. You could also maybe ask a short question or query about where the receiving amateur lives at the end of the text. When the receiving amateur gets the radiogram they could respond with another radiogram back. After a Radiogram QSO or contact is made they can both log into the Radiogram QSO website and log their contact.

You could even make it your own personal goal to work all 50 states by Radiogram QSO or even something more local like working all 88 counties in Ohio. You could also possibly even have contests to see how many contacts by radiogram can be made. The contest periods would probably have to be relatively long like two weeks or even one month. Anyone handling a relay on the NTS of a Radiogram QSO contact could also be given points by logging the relay on the website. There could also maybe be a method of marking a radiogram as a QSO contact by putting "QSO" in either the text itself or maybe in the op note section after the address so the receiving station would know it is a response to calling CQ and then log the contact on the Radiogram QSO website.

On the Radiogram QSO website you would be able to log in anytime and put your CQ listing on hold if you would be on vacation for a while or just need to take a break from receiving Radiogram QSOs. In the CQ listing you could sort the list by state (or maybe by county within a state) to look for other amateurs making a Radiogram CQ. The site could also show the total number of Radiogram QSO contacts you have made as well as maybe the number of contacts by radiogram within the last month or 30 days. This would allow you to pick someone calling CQ that has not had many contacts recently or is new to the list. You could also maybe voluntarily provide your birthday to have it listed to see how many radiograms people can send to you wishing you a happy birthday or for a special club event.

One benefit of a system like this is that you would have a CQ listing of amateurs who are voluntarily asking for contacts to be made by radiogram. I know that many of the automated or bot radiograms are sent to amateurs that do not know the sender and maybe do not wish to receive a radiogram. These radiograms would only be sent to those asking for a contact by radiogram by calling CQ. I could see more people checking into traffic nets to send out Radiogram QSOs and also checking in to see if they received any Radiogram QSOs back. All the while they would be gaining traffic handling experience and possibly becoming more involved in traffic handling in other ways. I also know that contesting or just making contacts can also be a motiving factor for some individuals. It could also be another new and interesting method to make contacts for amateurs to get involved with, especially for someone with a technician license or someone who doesn’t have HF equipment or who only has an HT radio to be able to make contacts by radiogram relay around the country.

I would also eventually like to see the possibility of having registrations on the CQ listing be available internationally where you could make a Radiogram QSO to another county. I know most other countries probably do not have a traffic system like the NTS here, but maybe this would encourage an improved international traffic network to be formed, connecting to the NTS, so people could make Radiogram QSOs to another country (possibly one that they rarely have enough propagation to make a direct contact without a relay). The contacts would be amateur to amateur so you wouldn’t have to worry as much about international third-party traffic rules with QSO radiogram contacts. I think international traffic would be a good place for using digital relays with some of the sound card modes like PSK 31 (using the CW format for sending radiograms) or maybe using Fldigi and its radiogram form if it’s available to them.

As far as the NTS is concerned, a Radiogram QSO would be just like any other radiogram. It mainly would involve setting up a website to register a list of amateurs giving Radiogram CQs and for logging radiogram contacts. I’m not sure if this is something the ARRL would be able to do or if a site like QRZ could add a feature onto their site. I would probably like it to have its own domain name so it is not a feature hidden on another site that no one knows about. I also found a site “NTS Talk” http://ntstalk.wikidot.com that I will post this on as well if you would want to discuss this further.

Seth, KD8RBP

Member Comments:
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Radiogram QSO  
by NA4IT on August 10, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
Just make 100% for sure that the radiogram recipient is not a silent key! Not cool when a ham calls a phone number and asks for the silent key and all the sudden his widow bursts out in tears... or worse! And yes, it has happened more times than you can imagine with this "renew your license" traffic.
 
RE: Radiogram QSO  
by KB4QAA on August 10, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
Can you make a phone call to any location and guarantee the person you wish to speak with has not just died and is lying on the floor?

Of course not. Demanding the same of radiograms is equally absurd. Grieving families will cry and grieve whatever the trigger.
 
RE: Radiogram QSO  
by WX7G on August 10, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
I think this is a wonderful idea! As the ARRL runs the NTS perhaps you can contact them with your idea.
 
Radiogram QSO  
by W2CSH on August 10, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
This is a great idea. I have always wanted to receive a radiogram. Our weekly traffic net has maybe one piece of traffic a month. Of course the nimrods here on eham will find some excuse to frown on the idea. You did explain that listing your call on the database would be voluntary. I don't see the likelyhood of any silent keyes coming back from the dead to list their calls on the data base so that argument is moot. Keep taking the idea along. I think it would be fun and give us folks on the traffic nets something to do. Good Luck.
 
RE: Radiogram QSO  
by K3AN on August 10, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
I'd like a uniformed Western Union employee (who rode to my house on a bicycle) deliver a telegram to my front door.
 
Radiogram QSO  
by W3WN on August 10, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
Interesting concept. Has potential.

You may have some FCC rules difficulties with the international 3rd party traffic, depending on the other country(s) involved. So that part of the idea needs some polish.

 
Radiogram QSO  
by KF4HR on August 10, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
Visions of the SNL Candy Gram skit come to mind...

Key the JAWS music!
 
RE: Radiogram QSO  
by WX7G on August 10, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
It's interesting to see the "glass is half empty" and the "glass is half full" folk's responses.
 
RE: Radiogram QSO  
by W1RKW on August 10, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
"It's interesting to see the "glass is half empty" and the "glass is half full" folk's responses. "

use a glass that is half the size and problem disappears.
 
Radiogram QSO  
by K8QV on August 10, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
Why not bring back the Pony Express? It also qualifies as an antiquated, clumsy, useless relic.
 
RE: Radiogram QSO  
by NT9M on August 10, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
Dang. Now you've got me racking my brain trying to remember the name of that series of books I read in elementary school about the pony express.
 
RE: Radiogram QSO  
by KC0CWU on August 10, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
You have never tried to get "next day" in north Dakota, traffic net is the bomb! !! Try 5 days!!" For"priority or any avenue for speed "
73 kc0cwu
 
RE: Radiogram QSO  
by W0DLR on August 10, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
Please count me out.

The ARRL traffic system is about as useful as a pitcher pump in the front yard.

 
RE: Radiogram QSO  
by W0BAV on August 10, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
Count me in. I can't think of anything more useless than DXing "5NN" all day. Yet, there seems to limit to the money hams will spend for the privilege. Keeping a CW radiogram service active might have benefits far down the line we can't foresee.
 
Radiogram QSO  
by STRAIGHTKEY on August 10, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
We should also dig up dead hams and hook servos up to their skeletons to have them send the code for the radiograms. That would be cool.
 
Radiogram QSO  
by WB6DGN on August 10, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
Great idea. Hope it comes to fruition.
Tom
 
Radiogram QSO  
by KG3Z on August 11, 2012 Mail this to a friend!

 
Radiogram QSO  
by KG3Z on August 11, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
A good idea, Seth. Maybe to expand into CW as well to help develop and maintain that very perishable skill. Certainly beats '59 in xx' all day. As the Pony Express (which was far from clumsy and useless)in it's day increased the volume of mail across the west, this could very well increase the band usage and stave off those interested in taking our bands due to lack of use. Considering the proposal as an antiquated, clumsy, useless relic may be a bit short-sighted. It might also be FUN...
 
RE: Radiogram QSO  
by W4VR on August 11, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
But, WHY???
 
Radiogram QSO  
by AE5QB on August 11, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
But Why? The same reason we do everything else in ham radio - for the fun, the learning, and something to do. Gee Wiz! If you don't want to participate, don't, but go rain on your own parade.

I think it is a great idea for many of the reasons already stated. Shortly after I got my ticket for the second time, I received two radiograms welcoming me back into ham radio. They weren't from ARRL asking me to join, but rather just from a couple of guys that wanted to reach out. I thought it was classy and I was thrilled to get them.

Not that I have a vote, but I vote heck yeah. With a little organization this could become very popular.

I know zero about passing formal traffic and this might be a motivating factor in learning to do so.

73,

Tom/AE5QB
 
RE: Radiogram QSO  
by LA9XSA on August 11, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
Great idea about asking for radiograms; that would work splendidly even without awards. As for potential awards, perhaps there could be one award for handling radiograms and one award for originating and getting them - a bit like SOTA has one award for going to mountain summits and another for working them from home.

W3WN > "You may have some FCC rules difficulties with the international 3rd party traffic, depending on the other country(s) involved. So that part of the idea needs some polish."

The FCC allows third party traffic to any country if the third party is a an amateur that would be allowed to operate the US station, like those covered by CEPT T/R 61-01, IARP, etc.
§97.115 (a) (2) ends with "This prohibition does not apply to a
message for any third party who is eligible to be a control operator of the station."

In other words, if the addressee of the message could legally operate your station, you can send the third party message to the foreign country even if it's not on the FCC's third party country list. (Messages to non-amateurs are only allowed to countries on that list.)

Of course, the FCC points out that you have to abide by the other country's rules as well.

In Norway's case, we have no particular limits on third party traffic, and all our amateur licensees are covered by CEPT class 1 and thus allowed to operate any class of US amateur station.

A mature version of the CQ radiogram site should contain an automatic check that the traffic is allowed. In case the addressee is an amateur, it would check CEPT T/R 61-01, IARP, bilateral agreements, etc. In case the addressee is a non-amateur, it would check the third party list.
 
RE: Radiogram QSO  
by WB6DGN on August 11, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
The ARRL traffic system is about as useful as a pitcher pump in the front yard.

W0DLR, do you participate in your local NTS nets? If not, then you have gained this knowledge how? It is a telling testimonial to the usefulness of the traffic system that many local ARES groups are encouraging their members to learn traffic handling and to practice passing traffic on their own nets as well as for the NTS. Apparently THEY think its worthwhile.
Tom
 
RE: Radiogram QSO  
by LA9XSA on August 11, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
On second thought, one wouldn't need to check CEPT, IARP etc. for ham-to-ham radiograms unless a message was passing through the US between two foreign countries, or the orginator is a foreign ham living in the US.

Let's look at some cases:

US ham station relaying written message from foreign third party to US addressee:
Allowed under §97.115 (a) (1).

US general ham station relaying written message from US extra class ham to foreign third party:
Allowed under §97.115 (a) (2) last sentence, because the originator is a US ham with privileges at least as high as the relaying station.

US general ham station relaying written message from US technician class ham to foreign third party:
If the message is passed using HF frequencies not available to a technician, it would not be allowed by the last exception §97.115 (a) (2), since it requires that the originator would be allowed to operate the transmitting station. However, the message would be allowed if the recipient country is on the FCC third-party list.

US general ham station relaying written message from US technician class ham to US ham:
Allowed under §97.115 (a) (1) - license classes don't enter into it.

US general ham station relaying written message from Norwegian ham to Canadian ham:
Allowed under §97.115 (a) (2) last sentence, because under CEPT T/R 61-01 all Norwegian amateurs have extra privileges. Neither Norway or Canada have special third party restrictions.

Did I understand correctly?
 
RE: Radiogram QSO  
by WB6DGN on August 11, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
"The ARRL traffic system is about as useful as a pitcher pump in the front yard."

Actually, I kinda wish I had one of those old pumps in my yard. Besides being a rather costly antique, it might come in handy when that cheap-a** plastic plumbing in my basement falls apart.
Tom
 
Radiogram QSO  
by KD8RBP on August 11, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
Since submitting this article about a month ago, I decided to go ahead and create a website that does what this article describes. The website is called Radiogram CQ and can be found at http://www.radiogramcq.com if you would like to look at it or sign up. Other features of the site are currently under development, but the CQ lists are functional at a basic level.

Seth, KD8RBP
 
Radiogram QSO  
by WB0HZL on August 12, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
Very interesting idea, I was reminded of my traffic handling days with flooding here in the Philippines - I inquired to see if the Hams here had done anything with Health and Welfare Traffic. I find it interesting that many Hams check into Traffic Nets but have never handled any traffic, seems the holidays and disasters are the only time the NTS really gets used anymore - too many cell phones, one of the comments I got here from some of my Ham friends when I asked about traffic handling.

Having said all to that - I think we need some way to generate traffic so newer Hams can get some experience before the need arises. As for awards, the ARRL has several different recognitions for Traffic Handling.

73 from the Philippines.
 
Radiogram QSO  
by WB0HZL on August 12, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
Very interesting idea, I was reminded of my traffic handling days with flooding here in the Philippines - I inquired to see if the Hams here had done anything with Health and Welfare Traffic. I find it interesting that many Hams check into Traffic Nets but have never handled any traffic, seems the holidays and disasters are the only time the NTS really gets used anymore - too many cell phones, one of the comments I got here from some of my Ham friends when I asked about traffic handling.

Having said all to that - I think we need some way to generate traffic so newer Hams can get some experience before the need arises. As for awards, the ARRL has several different recognitions for Traffic Handling.

73 from the Philippines.
 
Radiogram QSO  
by WB0HZL on August 12, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
Very interesting idea, I was reminded of my traffic handling days with flooding here in the Philippines - I inquired to see if the Hams here had done anything with Health and Welfare Traffic. I find it interesting that many Hams check into Traffic Nets but have never handled any traffic, seems the holidays and disasters are the only time the NTS really gets used anymore - too many cell phones, one of the comments I got here from some of my Ham friends when I asked about traffic handling.

Having said all to that - I think we need some way to generate traffic so newer Hams can get some experience before the need arises. As for awards, the ARRL has several different recognitions for Traffic Handling.

73 from the Philippines.
 
Radiogram QSO  
by KK4AH on August 12, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
To all those who think the NTS is worthless and not very useful just wait till there is a National Disaster then all of a sudden it becomes very important to those who have no other way of getting information in or out. I think Seth's Radiogram QSO concept just might encourage more hams to get involved with a very important part of amateur radio (Traffic Handling). It has some great promise. Go Seth don't listen to the nay sayers 73 KK4AH Mike
 
RE: Radiogram QSO  
by WB6DGN on August 13, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
"I find it interesting that many Hams check into Traffic Nets but have never handled any traffic, seems the holidays and disasters are the only time the NTS really gets used anymore..."

WB0HZL, In Northeast Ohio we have a very active traffic net training group on one of the local 2 meter repeaters. They practice passing traffic three evenings a week and have published training guides on their website for newcomers and for more experienced traffic handlers to become net control operators. You may be interested in looking over their website here; http://tricountytraffic.net/. Their interactive radiogram form can be completed as the traffic is received and then printed to forward to the recipient (sort of an endless supply of radiogram forms). I recommend this site to anyone who is interested in learning more about traffic handling and, if you're within range of the repeater, listen in (and, if you wish, check in) to the nets. You will receive a warm welcome.
Tom
 
Radiogram QSO  
by KI4TON on August 13, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
This would generate "traffic" but it would be static, as far as anyone outside contesting is concerned.

If you want to generate traffic try generating actual traffic. Via homeless shelters, etc.

The NTS is in place for disaster assistance. Don't clog it up with stuff so you can get another award.

Amateur radio is SUPPOSED to be about more than contesting.
 
RE: Radiogram QSO  
by KG3Z on August 13, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
I agree that this should not degenerate into a contest simply for the contest. The stated purpose is to learn and become proficient, not rack up numbers for the sake of numbers. Learning takes place in a relaxed environment. Once the basics are learned, then yes increase the pace or volume to enhance profieiency. Don't forget the fun-meter.
 
Radiogram QSO/TCTTN  
by KG3Z on August 13, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
Tom,
Thanks for the Tri-Cities link. In all of about 2 minutes I printed the training material. Thanks again

Tom
 
RE: Radiogram QSO  
by W3WN on August 13, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
KI4TON said:
This would generate "traffic" but it would be static, as far as anyone outside contesting is concerned.

If you want to generate traffic try generating actual traffic. Via homeless shelters, etc.

The NTS is in place for disaster assistance. Don't clog it up with stuff so you can get another award.

Amateur radio is SUPPOSED to be about more than contesting.
-----------------
I see that YOU never got an ARL FIFTY ARL FORTY SIX ARL SEVEN BK 161 AL & MAE radiogram, back in the day.
 
RE: Radiogram QSO  
by KB6QXM on August 13, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
Contests, Contests and more contests.

We have the ARRL to thank for much of this. There is much more to ham radio than contests.

If some leadership with the ARRL happened and they put out a guideline that during this specific contest, you can operate in this certain area of the band, then contests and contesters would be tolerable.

But no.....another contest and the band gets saturated with these contesters and I might add some very rude contesters, then it spoils the rest of the spectrum for hams that may want to have a rag chew.

Now another idea for spreading the "contest cancer"

 
RE: Radiogram QSO  
by W8LV on August 14, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
Let us not forget, ye olde pitcher pumpe WORKS when the power fails.... and the NTS proved to be pretty handy when hurricane Katrina hit.

Count me in!
 
Radiogram QSO  
by W6SDW on August 19, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
Sounds like a reasonable pursuit to me. Remember Gentlemen, the ONLY reason your government licenses/allows you to operate in this country is because the Amateur Radio Service is considered a "service" - a backup, alternative communications means that local, state, federal government can call upon as required. Contesting, paper chasing (for some) is their primary reason to operate. For me, I prefer to build, experiment, operate via many facets allowed to Amateurs. Fortunately, a small, dedicated group spends time performing the "service" - enough so that the rest of us are able to continue with our pursuits. Always looking to try another facet. Seth, run with it…
 
RE: Radiogram QSO  
by W8QZ on September 14, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
In reply to the OP - as a traffic-type guy - I think the idea is a great one. Hadn't heard of it until stumbling across it here on eHam, though.
The idea is good because (as has been pointed out):

a - the recipient would be willing to receive the message (mostly, but not always the case currently)

b - the message contents would (at least should) be all unique - so us traffic-types can't cheat and say "it's an N1IQI check 25" (or whatever) and assume the guy delivering has the text cheat sheet already.

[Only down side - we'll have to post phone numbers on the internet (not sure how well that'll go) - since the final leg of delivery is normally via phone.]
 
Radiogram QSO  
by KI4YZI on September 14, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
Good idea. I increase NTS traffic in my area from time to time by sending birthday greetings and other congratulatory Radiograms to friends and relatives. Even though I usually call them with my well-wishes, they're always thrilled when contacted by a stranger who's delivering my message.
 
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