Cook County ARES Net--27 May 2009

Brief Training Component

This is adapted from the announcement by Section Emergency Coordinator Brad Pioveson W9FX.

Fifth Sunday ARES ECOM Exercise--May 31st.

This year, May is one of the months that has 5 Sundays. We are not going to have an ARES HF net on Sunday, 31 May.

In lieu of an HF net, here's an ECOM (OK - EMCOMM, ECOM - whatever works for you!) exercise for our local ARES groups.

Field Day is just around the corner. While Field Day is technically not a contest, there are points awarded for succesfully engaging in certain activities. One of those activities is originating and sending, relaying, or receiving message traffic in NTS format via RF. All Field Day operations are eligible for up to 200 BONUS POINTS for originating and handling message traffic on Field Day.

For this Fifth Sunday Exercise, each leader of a local EmComm group should challenge your members to each originate and pass a single message to their EC, Assistent EC, or another member of the group's leadership. The content of the message is entirely up to you. You could, for instance, ask them to transmit the serial number of their rig (good practice at handling mixed groups - letters/numbers). You might also ask them to list the name and location -city/state - of the first school they ever atttended. The content isn't important - learning how to format the messages properly and how to transmit (and, receive!) message traffic by voice is a very important skill.

At the end of the exercise, each EC, AEC, or other leader should generate a message addressed to your DEC in NTS format. In your message, indicate:

  1. How many participants were in your exercise net; and
  2. How many messages were passed (either sent or relayed) during your net.

Transmit your message to your DEC via amateur radio means - NTS, direct HF, VHF, UHF, or microwave.

You may have to do some advance training to get folks familiar with the format and procedures.

When Field Day comes, your crew's message handling skills should still be fresh - the extra bonus points for message handling should be easily in their grasp... more importantly, your members will have learned a new, necessary skill in the process.

Cook County hams who are not associated with a local EmComm group, or whose EmComm group is not conducting this exercise, may still participate by:

  1. creating a message with some appropriate content (see the ideas above);
  2. formatting it properly according to NTS standards; and
  3. delivering it to Neil Ormos N9NL by radio, or by telephone, or even by e-mail.

Introductory material on message handling is available at these web pages:


The reference manual on NTS message handling is the "National Traffic System Methods and Practices Guidelines" and is available on the ARRL's web site here: