Last updated October 9, 2000

What is the National Traffic System (NTS)?

(Complements of Andrew, N2FTR)

  • The National Traffic System consists of ARRL affiliated and independent amateur radio networks ('nets') which pass non-commercial messages on behalf of third parties as a public service. A variety of communications modes are used. CW and other digital modes are most often used for "long-haul", e.g. interstate traffic. Regional traffic is handled using both CW and SSB while local, e.g. city or county, nets most often use FM repeaters.

    The NTS has been in operation since 1949, established by the ARRL in response to membership demand. It carries on a proud tradition of message relaying, established by Hiram Percy Maxim when he founded the ARRL for the purpose of handling message traffic in 1914. The NTS is the tightest, and solidest organization within the ARRL framework.
  • The goals of the NTS are to provide two things:
    1. Timely and reliable movement of record message traffic from origin to destination as a free public service to the amateur community and the general public.
    2. Training of amateur operators in handling of written traffic and participating in directed nets.
  • Training of amateur operators in the processing of third party messages in directed nets continues the existence of a reserve of well trained radio communications personnel. The NTS also supplies communications during states of emergency on behalf of ARES and RACES, especially for medium and long range record messages.
  • Why Should I Participate?
    Many reasons...first, it's fun! Traffickers enjoy a special comaraderie in the ham world. Secondly, it's putting your station and yourself to public benefit. You're maintaining emergency communications preparedness ability in your neighborhood and section. Thirdly, it's good public relations for amateur radio. When ever you deliver a message to a third party, you're doing your part in keeping the non-ham world aware of Amateur Radio. Also, no matter what your particular operating interest is (Phone, 2 meter FM, RTTY, packet, CW, etc.), there is an NTS net that you can join! Finally, a lot of little reasons can come to mind...you're adding to your pleasure of operating, learning new techniques through on-the-air classes, publications, NETs, etc., you can receive awards and recognition from the amateur service, and so on. There's a lot of different reasons! (And don't forget the fame and fortune available to you when you see your call in QST's Section News or Public Service Honor Roll each month, if you qualify!)
  • What are the Requirements for Participation?
    The National Traffic System operates daily, with over 500 nets regularly operating. Sometime each day will be a net operating at a time and mode that can suit your individual schedule. A list of these NETs within the ENY section are listed below. If you can spend a regular period of time each week, then the NTS can provide you with an opportunity to serve. ARRL membership, with optional appointment as an 'Official Relay Station' (ORS) is encouraged, but not a requirement to participate as a traffic handler in the NTS. You're eligible to join an NTS net if you possess a valid amateur radio license allowing the operating priviledges in the band and mode of the net.
  • How are the nets organized?
    Nets are organized to serve local, regional(e.g. state) and interstate needs. The Transcontinental Corps (TCC) is a dedicated group of radio amateurs who handle long haul traffic between regions. Regional nets (1RN, 2RN, etc.) pass traffic between regional areas, usually comprising several states. NYS (E),(M) and (L) (Early, Morning and Late) pass CW traffic and NYP and NYPON pass SSB traffic into and within New York State. CDN (Capitol District Net), SDN (Southern District Net) and HVN (Hudson Valley Net) are examples of local region FM repeater nets. Go here for information on regional nets or here NTS traffic flows.
  • Station and net reports are forwarded monthly to the Section Traffic Manager (Pete, N2YJZ) and Section Manager (Rob, K2RL). Active stations are eligible for the Public Service Honor Roll and the most active of these receive Brass Pounders League awards. All traffic handlers are recognized in the monthly ENY QST column.
  • The following are the nets which report traffic information to ENY each month:

AESN (Albany Emerg Serv Net)
Net Manager: N2RAD
147.12 MHz+
7:30 PM every Tuesday

CDN (Capital District Net)
Net Manager: Bob WB2ZCM
146.94 MHz+
6:30 PM daily

SDN (Southern District Net)
Net Manager: Darlana N2DB
147.06 MHz+
9:30 PM daily

ESS (Empire Slow Speed Net)
Net Manager: Peter W2WSS
3590 KHz
6:00 PM daily (7:00PM EDT)

HVN (Hudson Valley Net)
Net Manager: Ed N2JBA
146.97 Mhz- PL 100 (NOT REQUIRED)
7:30 PM daily

NYP (New York Phone Net)
Net Manager: Tom N2LTC

NYPON (NY Public Operations Net)
Net Manager: Pete N2YJZ

Net Manager: Dom WB2QIX

Net Manager: Bruce KA2GJV

Net Manager: Art W2YGW

 K2KJ's NTS Emergency Traffic Guide (24K PDF file)