Public Outreach with NTS Messaging
By Clara Woll, KJ6CNO (ARRL Official Relay Station)
The ARRL National Traffic System (NTS) routinely passes practice messages to help operators build and maintain their traffic-handling skills. One way to create such messages is to solicit them from the public at preparedness fairs, exhibit booths and, of course, Field Day.
Click the link in the DOWNLOADS section below to download a pre-formatted message form that’s guaranteed to make this process as smooth as possible. Print as many copies as you need and put them on display along with a sign inviting visitors to send a message.
Disaster preparedness for individuals and families includes having out-of-state contacts that can be notified in case of an emergency. When curious visitors approach the table, explain the importance of having such information. Be sure to emphasize the fact that in a real incident Amateur radio may be the best way to reach their designated contacts.
The message form is easy to use. Your “intake” person simply inserts the addressee and sender information from the visitor and passes the completed form to the NTS operator, who adds the appropriate header information and sends the message on a regular traffic net.
It’s a terrific way to engage the public and it will heighten their appreciation for our disaster-communication capabilities.