Table of Contents
List of ARRL Numbered Radiograms
Counting Words in Radiograms
ARRL Recommended Precedences
The letters ARL are inserted in the preamble in the check
and in the text before spelled out numbers, which represent
texts from this list. Note that some ARL texts include
insertion of numerals.
NR 1 R W1AW ARL 5 NEWINGTON CT DEC 25
DONALD R SMITH AA
164 EAST SIXTH AVE AA
NORTH RIVER CITY MO AA
555 555 3968
ARL FIFTY ARL SIXTY ONE
For additional information about traffic handling, consult The ARRL
Operating Manual, published by ARRL.
Group One — For Possible “Relief Emergency” Use
ONE Everyone safe here. Please don’t worry.
TWO Coming home as soon as possible.
THREE Am in _______ hospital. Receiving excellent
care and recovering fine.
FOUR Only slight property damage here. Do not be
concerned about disaster reports.
FIVE Am moving to new location. Send no further
mail or communication. Will inform you of
new address when relocated.
SIX Will contact you as soon as possible.
SEVEN Please reply by Amateur Radio through the
amateur delivering this message. This is a
free public service.
EIGHT Need additional _______ mobile or portable
equipment for immediate emergency use.
NINE Additional ______ radio operators needed to
assist with emergency at this location.
TEN Please contact _______. Advise to standby
and provide further emergency information,
instructions or assistance.
ELEVEN Establish Amateur Radio emergency
communications with ______ on _______ MHz.
TWELVE Anxious to hear from you. No word in some
time. Please contact me as soon as possible.
THIRTEEN Medical emergency situation exits here.
FOURTEEN Situation here becoming critical. Losses
and damage from _______ increasing.
FIFTEEN Please advise your condition and what help
SIXTEEN Property damage very severe in this area.
SEVENTEEN REACT communications services also
available. Establish REACT communication
with _______ on channel _______.
EIGHTEEN Please contact me as soon as possible at
NINETEEN Request health and welfare report on
_______. (State name, address and telephone
TWENTY Temporarily stranded. Will need some
assistance. Please contact me at _______.
TWENTY ONE Search and Rescue assistance is needed by
local authorities here. Advise availability.
TWENTY TWO Need accurate information on the extent and
type of conditions now existing at your
location. Please furnish this information
and reply without delay.
TWENTY THREE Report at once the accessibility and best
way to reach your location.
TWENTY FOUR Evacuation of residents from this area
urgently needed. Advise plans for help.
TWENTY FIVE Furnish as soon as possible the weather
conditions at your location.
TWENTY SIX Help and care for evacuation of sick and
injured from this location needed at once.
Emergency/priority messages originating from official
sources must carry the signature of the originating
Group Two — Routine messages
FORTY SIX Greetings on your birthday and best wishes
for many more to come.
FORTY SEVEN Reference your message number _______
to _______ delivered on _______
at _______ UTC.
FIFTY Greetings by Amateur Radio.
FIFTY ONE Greetings by Amateur Radio. This message is
sent as a free public service by ham radio
operators at _______. Am having a wonderful
FIFTY TWO Really enjoyed being with you. Looking
forward to getting together again.
FIFTY THREE Received your _______. It’s appreciated;
FIFTY FOUR Many thanks for your good wishes.
FIFTY FIVE Good news is always welcome. Very delighted
to hear about yours.
FIFTY SIX Congratulations on your _______, a most worthy
and deserved achievement.
FIFTY SEVEN Wish we could be together
FIFTY EIGHT Have a wonderful time. Let us know when you
FIFTY NINE Congratulations on the new arrival. Hope
mother and child are well.
*SIXTY Wishing you the best of everything on
SIXTY ONE Wishing you a very Merry Christmas and a
Happy New Year.
*SIXTY TWO Greetings and best wishes to you for a
pleasant _______ holiday season.
SIXTY THREE Victory or defeat, our best wishes are with
you. Hope you win.
SIXTY FOUR Arrived safely at _______.
SIXTY FIVE Arriving _______ on _______. Please arrange
to meet me there.
SIXTY SIX DX QSLs are on hand for you at the _______
QSL Bureau. Send _______ self addressed
SIXTY SEVEN Your message number _______ undeliverable
because of _______. Please advise.
SIXTY EIGHT Sorry to hear you are ill. Best wishes for a
SIXTY NINE Welcome to the _______. We are glad to have
you with us and hope you will enjoy the fun
and fellowship of the organization.
ARL NUMBERS SHOULD BE SPELLED OUT AT ALL TIMES.
*Can be used for all holidays.
FORM FSD-3 (Revised 2/94)
The handling of radiogram traffic was the basis for the formation
of ARRL, and a sizable segment of amateurs still makes this its
principal Amateur Radio operating activity. Amateur radiogram service
does not compete with other services, since there are no charges and
can be no guarantee. Provided FCC and international regulations are
complied with, messages may be accepted from anyone for sending by
What constitutes “legal” messages, or any other kind of third
party communication, has been a matter of considerable discussion and
various interpretations throughout the years. The pertinent
regulations sections are 97.3b, which defines an amateur operator as
being a person “without pecuniary interest”; 97.112, which forbids any
remuneration or other kind of compensation for use of an amateur
station; and 97.114, which details certain prohibitions on third-party
Generally speaking, unimportant, personal, non-business messages
may be exchanged between different countries only after a special
agreement has been reached between the countries. A list of countries
which have signed such agreements with Canada and with the U.S.
appears frequently in QST. In addition, most countries do not object
to actual emergency radiograms being handled in the amateur bands if
government or commercial facilities are not available at the time.
Individual amateurs handle radiograms in a number of different
ways. Some are “free lancers” who handle their traffic on individual
schedules without recourse to regular nets. Most traffic operators,
however, participate in nets of various kinds. The largest organized
system of nets is the ARRL National Traffic System. Others include
networks organized by individuals for traffic-handling purposes in
which individual amateurs participate out of preference.
Any amateur can originate a radiogram on behalf of another
individual, whether such individual be a licensed amateur or not. It
is the responsibility of the originating amateur, however, to see that
the message is in proper form before its first transmission, because
under most circumstances it is improper for a relaying or delivering
station to make changes.
Each radiogram originated and handled should contain the
following component parts in the order given:
(a) Number (d) Station of (g) Time Filed*
(b) Precedence Origin (h) Date
(c) Handling Instruc- (e) Check (i) Address
tions* (f) Place of Origin (j) Text
*Optional with originator
a) Every radiogram transmitted should bear a number. Keep a
sheet with a consecutive list of numbers (beginning at 1) at your
operating position. When a radiogram is filed at your station for
transmission, complete all parts of the preamble except the number,
leaving this blank. When you send the radiogram, assign a number to
it from the number sheet, crossing out numbers on the sheet as they
are used and making a notation, after the number, of the station to
whom the radiogram was sent and the date. Such a system is convenient
for quick reference purposes. Most traffic handlers start with
number 1 at the beginning of each year.
(b) Every radiogram has a precedence in amateur procedure. This
will normally be “Routine” (R). It is a separate part of the preamble
and is transmitted as such, not as part of the number. Other
precedences are “Emergency” (never abbreviated), “Priority” (P), and
(c) Handling Instructions (HX) are available prosigns for use
when or if desired by the originator or the originating station,
whenever special instructions are required in the handling of the
(d) The “station of origin” is the call of the station from
which the radiogram was first sent by Amateur Radio and is included so
that handling stations will be able to communicate with the originator
if something interferes with the prompt handling or delivery of the
(e) The “check” is the number of words and numerals in the text
of the radiogram. Handling stations should agree on the check before
the message is considered handled. Full information on checking
radiograms is given later.
(f) The “place of origin” is the name of the place (city or town)
from which the radiogram was started, not necessarily the location of
the station of origin. The preamble of a radiogram filed at League
headquarters in Newington Conn., might read as follows: NR 457 R W1INF
21 NEWINGTON CONN 2057Z JUNE 11.
If a message is sent to your station by mail or otherwise not
filed in person, the preamble should show the place the radiogram
originally came from. If the radiogram came to League Headquarters by
mail from Wiscasset, Maine, the preamble would read: NR 457 R W1INF 21
WISCASSET MAINE 2057Z JUNE 11. Any radiogram received at an amateur
station by any means other than Amateur Radio is an origination when
put on an amateur circuit by that station.
(g) The time filed is the time at which the radiogram is
received at the station from which it is to be sent. Standard
practice is to use UTC. This part of the preamble is optional with
the originating station.
(h) The month and the day of the month that the radiogram was
filed at the originating station. The year is not included. If the
filing time is UTC, be sure the date agrees.
(i) The address is the name, street and number, city and state
of the party to whom the radiogram is being sent. The telephone
number should be part of the address. A complete address should
always be given to ensure delivery. When accepting a radiogram for
origination this point should be stressed. In transmitting the message
by CW, the signal AA is used to separate parts of the address
and the address is followed by BT or “break” before the text is
In street addresses where the words east, west, north, south are
part of the address, spell out the works in full. Suffixes “th,”
“nd,” “st,” etc., are not recommended. Example: “19 W 19th St” should
be “19 West 19 St.” It is not good practice for the relaying station
to change address format, but the originating station should observe
the above practices to insure clarity in retransmission.
(j) The text consists of words in the body of the radiogram. No
abbreviations should be substituted for the words in the text of the
radiogram. The text follows the address and is set off from the
signature by another BT.
(k) The signature is usually the name of the person originating
the message. The signature follows the BT or “break” at the end of
the text. The abbreviation “sig” is not transmitted.
After the signature, say “end” or transmit AR. If more to
follow, say “more.” On CW, use the prosign B. If no more, say “no
more.” On CW use the prosign “N.”
The amateur radiogram “check” is the count of the number of words
in the text only. It is essentially an “as sent” count. While it is
assumed that the rules of grammar and spelling will be followed, the
check count is determined principally by the spacing used by the
transmitting operator in sending the text. Since the first operator
to transmit the radiogram is the operator of the originating station
who enters the check in the preamble, this check should carry through
to destination. The relaying operator has no authority to change the
check unless it is definitely determined that the check as he received
it is incorrect, then he should confirm with the transmitting operator
before making the change. When such a change is made, the original
check should remain in the preamble. Example: an original check of 10
corrected to 9 would be sent “10/9” on CW.
The check is a means for ensuring the accuracy and completeness
of your copy. It also indicates to the receiving operator how many
words the radiogram he is about to copy will contain. Inclusion of
“check” in a message preamble is not optional.
Numbers, ciphers, mixed groups and punctuation each count as one
in the check, regardless of length. It is recommended amateur
practice not to use punctuation, fractions or other unorthodox or
seldom-used code symbols in messages as such, but rather to spell
these out when used in the text of a message to avoid complications in
checking. The letter X or “X-ray” is used in place of a period or
semicolon and is counted in the check.
Special note: The ARRL-recommended procedure for counting the
telephone number in the text of a radiogram is to separate the
telephone number into groups, with the area code (if any) counting as
one word, the three-digit exchange one word, and the last four digits
one word. For example, 203 666 1541 counts as three words in the
text of a message; 666 1541 counts as two words. Separating the phone
number into separate groups also minimizes garbling.
The principle of counting words as sent can be illustrated
by a few examples, as follows:
New York City….3 words 527B………….1 word
NYC…………..1 word H O Townsend…..3 words
Fifty six……..2 words W1YL/4………..1 word
A few rules have to be observed in sending words so this
principle of “counting as sent” will not be abused:
1) Make your spacing methodical and accurate on both phone and CW.
2) Follow the dictionary wherever possible.
3) Do not waste time in traffic nets arguing about “how to
count.” The purpose of the “check” in amateur work is to confirm the
number of words or groups in the text. QTB is a useful signal in
confirming check. Once you are sure that you have copied it
correctly, QSL (on CW) or “roger” (on phone) the radiogram and get on
with the next one, correcting the check when you relay the radiogram.
In copying traffic, whether by pencil or typewriter it is quite
easy, with a little practice, to count the words in the text as you
copy. When using pencil, copy five words to a line. At the end of
the radiogram, you can readily figure the number of words by the
number of lines (plus how many words over ) you copied. By
typewriter, it is more convenient to copy ten words to a line, and
this can easily be done by copying five words, hitting the space bar
twice (instead of once), copying five more words, then linespacing to
begin a new ten-word line. At the end of the Radiogram a glance at
the number of lines will show you how many words you copied. You can
then query the sending operator if your figure does not agree with
When traffic is heavy and time is precious, it it not considered
advisable practice to query a check unless you have reason to believe
that a mistake was made, either in sending or copying.
Messages containing ARRL numbered radiogram texts (see form FSD-
3) have the same form as any other radiogram, except that the symbol
ARL (NOT ARRL) is used before the check. This symbol indicates
that a spelled out number in the text of the radiogram refers to
a complete text bearing that number on the ARL list.
In delivering a message with an ARL text, one of course delivers
the complete text. It is therefore very necessary that the symbol ARL
be included with the check to avoid the possibility of delivery of a
meaningless number to the addressee.
Use of ARL text is a special tool for special occasions. When
used, it should be used properly to avoid delays and confusion.
Please observe the following ARRL provisions for PRECEDENCES
in connection with written message traffic. These
provisions are designed to increase the efficiency of our
service both in normal times and in emergency.
EMERGENCY Any message having life and death urgency to
any person or group of persons, which is
transmitted by Amateur Radio in the absence of
regular commercial facilities. This includes
official messages of welfare agencies during
emergencies requesting supplies, materials or
instructions vital to relief of stricken
populace in emergency areas. During normal
times, it will be very rare. On CW/RTTY, this
designation will always be spelled out. When
in doubt, do not use it.
PRIORITY Use abbreviation P on CW/RTTY. This
classification is for a) important messages
having a specific time limit b) official
messages not covered in the emergency category
c) press dispatches and emergency-related
traffic not of the utmost urgency d) notice
of death or injury in a disaster area,
personal or official.
WELFARE This classification, abbreviated as W on
CW/RTTY, refers to either an inquiry as to the
health and welfare of an individual in the
disaster area or an advisory from the disaster
area that indicates all is well. Welfare
traffic is handled only after all emergency
and priority traffic is cleared. The Red
Cross equivalent to an incoming Welfare
message is DWI (Disaster Welfare Inquiry).
ROUTINE Most traffic in normal times will bear this
designation. In disaster situations, traffic
labeled Routine (R on CW/RTTY) should be
handled last, or not at all when circuits are
busy with higher prcedence traffic.
Note — the precedence always follows the message number.
For example, a message number may be 207 R on CW and “Two
Zero Seven Routine” on phone.
American Radio Relay League, 225 Main Street, Newington, CT 06111