STM Report for December 2023
Year End Review
Since the year 2023 came to an end, I have been reflecting on all our accomplishments during the past year and the list has grown amazingly long. See below a few stats and some of the year’s achievements.
2023 2022 2021
Sessions 2002 1901 2328
Traffic 5767 6220 5610
Check-ins 12,992 12,396 18,916
Time 32,454 32,363 37,426
HHTN increased sessions from 6 to 7 evenings per week effective Dec 2022
MARIPN increased sessions from 6 to 7 evenings per week effective Jan 2024
MARIDN (Digital Net) created and reporting NTS operation beginning in December 2022
MEN Montachusett Emergency Net began reporting weekly nets in August, handling NTS traffic.
APRS to DTN Gateway created by Michael WZ0C, reporting handling NTS traffic beginning in September.
New Official Relay Stations added: KC1SLQ, N1CVO, W1LEM, N1ILZ
New HHTN manager Bob Sparkes KC1KVY effective August 2023
New link to HHTN: Gardner and Fitchburg repeaters giving increased access to Worcester County
New Assistant STM for training, Peter KC1HHO appointed.
New NTS-ARES coordination team created under WZ0C and KD1CY
November section SET added NTS messaging including encapsulated ICS-213 type messages.
New Rhode Island Section Manager Nancy Austin KC1NEK elected and participating on MARIPN.
New website NTS2.arrl.org created reporting on activities of NTS 2.0 group working on improvement and enhancement of NTS.
New article on NTS featured in July QST, won ARRL cover plaque award.
New article in On the Air magazine highlighting volunteerism featuring KC1OIP, KC1HHO
New NTS Letter featuring all news NTS published by ARRL monthly beginning in October.
Annual traffic handlers picnic in August.
NE HamXposition in August featured two forums held on NTS.
Monthly STM reports highlighted W1HAI, N1LAH, KC1HHO, WZ0C, N1ILZ
Monthly traffic tips included on originations, deliveries, book traffic, SAR/PSHR reports.
Welcome to a new traffic handler, Tyler KC1RVS. A Fitchburg resident and newly licensed in September 2022 and upgraded to General Class in December 2022, Tyler has become very active handling traffic on both MARIPN and HHTN. A welcome addition from Worcester County and the Western Mass section.
NTS-ARES coordination and participation in upcoming section SET February 3, 2024
Since amateur radio operator privileges are awarded in part due to the ability of licensed radio amateurs to assist public service organizations in times of disasters and other emergency situations, NTS and ARES leadership is promoting greater coordination between these two programs. A team under the leadership of Michael WZ0C, ASTM for NTS-ARES Coordination, and Rob KD1CY SEC, has been discussing how both NTS and ARES personnel can collaborate more effectively. During an upcoming SET (Section Emergency Test) on February 3 from 10 AM to Noon, NTS personnel will be assisting ARES by relaying and delivering Health and Welfare traffic received from ARES teams. During this exercise several ARES groups will be originating test Health and Welfare messages that will be relayed via NTS. NTS will have traffic handlers in the role of NTS-Coordinators, who will receive these messages from each ARES group and relay them into the National Traffic System. EM2MN (145.23), MARIPN (3978) and MARIDN (3582.5) will be operating during this exercise. As in past exercises NTS stations are being asked to check into at least one of these nets and to also send a radiogram to Marcia KW1U (Section Traffic Manager) and/or Jon N1ILZ (Section Manager). Please mark the date and help practice readiness for service to the public.
NTS2.arrl.org website and NTS Letter:
Just a reminder that the NTS 2.0 teams continue to work on updating and enhancing the National Traffic System. Check out the website for new information. Also check out the NTS Letter, available for ARRL members to opt in to receive monthly issues in their e-mailboxes. Soon to go public is a web-based portal for use by the public or those unable to check into a net for entering messages which will be automatically converted into radiograms and then picked up by authorized traffic handlers from across the country for entry into the NTS. Another coming attraction is a treasure hunt where radiograms will be used to track clues and find hidden treasure. We know there are a lot of gamers out there and hope this will provide a little fun while keeping nets busy and our skills in practice. Teams are also working on creating training videos which should become available early in 2024. Stay tuned.
Traffic Tip – Servicing radiograms:
I have been noticing continued confusion on how to service radiograms. If for any reason you are unable to deliver a radiogram, a service message must go to the Station of Origin, informing that person of the message status and including a brief explanation. ARRL SIXTY SEVEN (see ARRL numbered radiograms) is generally used for this purpose.
It is important to distinguish between a Station of Origin and a message Originator. The Station of Origin is the one whose call sign appears in the header or preamble of the message and who formats the radiogram and enters it into the NTS. The Originator may be a third party other than the station of origin and whose signature is given at the conclusion of the radiogram. It is also the Originator’s location that is given in the preamble as the Place of Origin. So, remember to send service messages to the station of origin whose address can be found in an online database such as qrz.com. The originator of a third-party message likely knows little or nothing about radiograms including message numbers. The Station of Origin will know how to contact the Originator if needed to inform him/her of the message status. Of course, if there is a reply from the recipient to the originator that would be addressed to the originator. I must admit that it took me years of traffic handling to get this straight! I hope this helps.
Spotlight of the month: KC1KVY
This month I would like to spotlight our newest net manager Bob Sparkes KC1KVY, manager of the Heavy Hitters Traffic Net. While Bob is a relative newcomer, having been first licensed in 2019, he has become a valuable member of the traffic handling community, as a participant on multiple nets, an Official Relay Station, a Net Control Station and now Net Manager.
Bob’s professional background is one of service. He was an elementary school teacher for 34 years, retiring as an Interim Principal. As an educator he also served as Adjunct Lecturer for the Education Department at Merrimack College for 30 years. In his “so-called” spare time he served as a part time police officer for the town of Hampton NH for 41 years. It was in this position as a police officer that he became acquainted with radio operation, and while curious about amateur radio, it wasn’t until after retirement from his busy schedule that he first became licensed in January 2019. Just one month later he upgraded to General class.
At first Bob checked into several of the local club nets, but on receiving a radiogram from NX9K delivered by Al W1PLK he was encouraged to check into the Eastern Mass 2 Meter Net. After listening to the net for awhile he was persuaded to deliver some radiograms to local recipients, thanking them for volunteering for the Boston Marathon. Bob can now be found on EM2MN, HHTN, MARIPN and First Region Net where he volunteers as net control. He also checks into the Eastern Area Net as a liaison station. Then, of course, what traffic handler throughout the US and Canada has not handled one of his POTA contact confirmation radiograms he sends out regularly.
Bob says he enjoys the ham radio activities he participates in but most of all he enjoys the wonderful people he has met along the way. He thanks his mentors KW1U, KC1HHO, N1LAH, K1UAF W8YS, W1HAI and many others who have guided him along the way. I think I can speak for all of those who say thank you Bob for the many contributions of service and encouragement you have provided to the whole traffic handling community.
That’s all folks for 2023. I look forward to more friends and more traffic in 2024. The December report can be found below.
73, Marcia KW1U
Section Traffic Manager