For me, one of the more satisfying aspects of amateur radio is explaining the hobby to non-hams. As an operator delivering an NTS message (or “Radiogram”), you get the unique and exciting opportunity to bring the hobby to the public. However, many people are uncomfortable or unfamiliar with calling a stranger on behalf of someone else.
The goal of this guide is to give you some inspiration and guidance for the words to use when delivering a radiogram by phone. If you’re feeling nervous, just stick to the scripts below. Once you feel more comfortable, go ahead and add your own personal touches.
Remember, even the most experienced NTS operator had to make his or her first call at one point. If you’re looking for coaching or practice making mock phone calls, be sure to reach out to John, W1JWM for help!
Not everyone can answer the phone when you call. Therefore, leave a nice voicemail and invite them to call you back. Here is a sequence of three voicemails you can leave over the course of five days. Leave a day space in-between your voicemails to give your recipient a chance to call you back.
Pro-tip: The first few messages you deliver, be sure to print or type out your message with your information so you don’t need to fill-in-the-blank on the fly.
Voicemail 1, Calendar Day 1:
My name is [YOUR_NAME] and I’m a ham radio operator with a radiogram for you from [SENDER] in [SENDER_CITY, SENDER_STATE].
Please give me a call back at [YOUR_PHONE] at your earliest convenience. Thank you very much.
Voicemail 2, Calendar Day 3:
You have a radiogram from [SENDER] in [SENDER_CITY, SENDER_STATE] waiting for you. My name is [YOUR_NAME] and I’m a ham radio operator ready to deliver the message.
Please give me a call at [YOUR_PHONE]. Thank you very much.
Voicemail 3, Calendar Day 5:
I’m sorry we were not able to connect. My name is [YOUR_NAME] I have a radio message from [SENDER] in [SENDER_CITY, SENDER_STATE] that I will send by [standard mail OR email] to you. If you have any further questions, please call me at [YOUR_PHONE]. Thank you very much and have a great day.
Connecting with the recipient
Great work, you connected with someone on the phone! Now is your time to shine. Below is an example script you can use to deliver your message clearly and easily.
Super Pro-tip: Type out your message ahead of time by filling in the blanks on the below template. Then make sure you have it on your phone. You can send it to yourself in an email or save it to Google Drive, DropBox or various other cloud services. That way, when a recipient calls you back you can just open up your email or file and read it back.
Hi, is [RECIPIENT] available?
(Wait for an answer…)
Hi, [RECIPIENT]. My name is [YOUR_NAME] and I’m a ham radio operator calling to deliver a radiogram from [SENDER] in [SENDER_CITY, SENDER_STATE]. Do you have a moment to receive [his/her] radiogram?
(If Answer = No) No worries, what might be a better time to connect?[SENDER] says to you:
(If Answer = Yes) Great! Let me know when you’re ready to receive the message. (Deliver Message)
(Example Message:) Special occasions and events happen in friends lives quite often. Show your remembrance and support in a surprising way send a radiogram.[SIGNATURE] Did you need me to repeat any part of the message?
(If Answer = Yes) Sure thing, let me try again. (repeat the message) (If Answer = No) Great, thanks for your time and have a good day.
That’s it, you did it! Now record your activity and report back to your section traffic manager or assistant-STM.
Other tips for delivering traffic
Practice makes perfect: delivering messages is simple and fun when you get to practice a few times. Be sure to practice with friends or family or even in the mirror (it works!) if you’re looking to get better at delivering messages on the phone.
Don’t rush the call, but don’t linger-on: Many times when delivering messages to other hams, the recipient will want to rag-chew about the radiogram and how it got to them. This is just like any other CQ and a great opportunity to get other people involved in our favorite hobby. Other times, the recipient just wants to get their message and get on with their day. Be respectful of time and don’t worry if the exchange is short. Your goal is to deliver the message clearly and accurately.
Happy message handling, 73 DE W1JWM
About the Author
John, W1JWM developed sales teams for over a decade and has made thousands of calls to deliver messages to absolute strangers in his day job. He provides free coaching and “mock” or practice calls to amateurs looking for practice delivering traffic. New traffic handlers are encouraged to reach out to him on the EM2MTN and at http://www.jwmarcus.com.