To those who are new to message handling, delivering messages is one of the more important aspects of traffic handling since it is an interface between amateur radio and the general public, educating people on the public service ham radio provides. Messages to other hams also provide an opportunity to introduce message handling and traffic nets to those who may not be familiar with this aspect of our hobby. It is also fun, meeting new people, sharing messages to them from family, friends and other hams around the country, and in the case of other hams, perhaps talking with them about their interests in the hobby as well as yours. This is a skill however, one that improves and becomes more comfortable with practice.
Begin by making sure you copied the message accurately, requesting fills as needed and making sure the check in the preamble matches the number of words in the text.
When calling introduce yourself as a ham radio operator with a radiogram for (addee) from (name in signature) in (place of origin). This helps them to know you are not a telemarketer. You might explain that the message is sent as a free public service so they know you’re not going to ask for money. If you have ascertained that you are speaking with the addee, go on to read the message. If the addee is not home ask the person answering if they wish to copy the message or when would be a good time to call back. If you get an answer machine leave your name and phone number and a brief explanation why you are calling and that you will call back. Some will call you back. If you don’t hear back try again another time. If after three tries you still get no response, send a service message to the originator. This will be covered later.
When delivering a message you will only read the text and signature. Remember most people will not know about arl numbered radiograms, so make sure you are prepared to read the corresponding text for the specific arl number. (See nts.ema.arrl.org for list of these texts) Any use of the initial “x” corresponds to a period and the word “query” represents a question mark, so these are generally not read in the text. Most folks are very appreciative of the messages we deliver. However you may get someone on a bad day who will react accordingly. Remember we are ambassadors for amateur radio and conduct yourself accordingly.
Notice any handling instructions (HX’s in the preamble). If there is an HXC send originator a radiogram with date and time of delivery. If there is an HXE, attempt to get a reply to send back to the sender. An HXF followed by a number means hold message for delivery until that date. If a message is undeliverable send a service message back to originator explaining reason for non delivery. If phone number is incorrect, disconnected or not in service, include number you called in the text of your service message since sometimes phone numbers you received may have been garbled along the way.
Sound complicated? It really is not. The important thing is to relax and have fun, and know that you are getting practice in performing a public service