ARRL Special Bulletin ARLX003 (2013)

ARLX003 National Traffic System Developer George Hart, W1NJM (SK)

QST de W1AW  
Special Bulletin 3  ARLX003
From ARRL Headquarters  
Newington CT  March 26, 2013
To all radio amateurs 

ARLX003 National Traffic System Developer George Hart, W1NJM (SK)

George Hart, W1NJM -- the chief developer of the National Traffic
System (NTS) -- passed away Sunday, March 24. He was 99. An ARRL
Charter Life Member, Hart spent more than four decades as a member
of the ARRL Headquarters staff and continued to be an active amateur
and regular participant in Field Day. In 1984, the ARRL Board of
Directors named Hart as an ARRL Honorary Vice President.

First licensed in 1929 as W3AMR in Pennsylvania, Hart began his ARRL
career in August 1938 as a second operator at the W1AW Maxim
Memorial Station, which was new at the time. He took over as Acting
Communications Manager in 1942 when then-Acting Communications
Manager John Huntoon, W1LVQ, left the ARRL for active duty in the US
Coast Guard during World War II. Beginning with the December 1942
issue, Hart contributed almost 1000 articles to QST, with topics
ranging from public service to simulated emergency tests to traffic
handling pointers; he also penned the monthly columns "Operating
News" and "Amateur Radio Public Service." Hart served in the Army
Air Force from 1944-1946, returning to his job as a Communications
Assistant at ARRL Headquarters under Ed Handy, W1BDI, after the war.
During his tenure at the League, Hart served as Communications
Assistant, National Emergency Coordinator and ultimately as
Communications Manager from 1967 until his retirement in 1978.

"George Hart exemplified the finest of the 'old school' radio
amateurs for whom operating skill and public service were
paramount," said ARRL Chief Executive Officer David Sumner, K1ZZ.
"For many years -- as a private endeavor from his own station -- he
offered high-speed Morse code practice at up to 65 words per minute.
George set and met high standards in everything he did, inspiring
generations of radio amateurs to do the same."

Hart first announced the National Traffic System in the September
1949 issue of QST. In his article "New National Traffic Plan: ARRL
Maps New Traffic Organization for All Amateurs," he outlined the new
national system.

"During 1948, practically every section in the ARRL field
organization had a net of some kind going, and 47 sections had nets
devoted exclusively to traffic handling. If, in each section net, a
certain station (or stations) was designated to take all traffic
going outside the section, this station then to report to a later
net having greater coverage, and the same procedure repeated
funneling into still greater coverage areas, we would have a traffic
organization of national scope capable of handling traffic to (and
from) any point in the entire field organization, which includes the
entire United States, most of its Possessions and most of Canada.

"This in briefest outline, is the essence of the ARRL National
Traffic Plan. It takes the already-existing section net as a unit
and makes two larger unit categories which are called 'regional' and
'area' nets. Each regional net covers a certain number of section
nets (normally those within a certain call area), and each area net
covers a certain number of regional nets (normally those within a
time zone). The area nets, of which there are four (one for each
time zone), pass traffic around among themselves, and it then comes
back down through regional and section nets again in the same
evening. This requires organization and teamwork of no small
dimensions, but it will work if we get together on it and push."

In 2009, the ARRL Board of Directors created the George Hart
Distinguished Service Award. This annual award is conferred upon an
ARRL member whose service to the League's Field Organization is of
the most exemplary nature. Selection criteria include the nominee's
operating record with the National Traffic System, participation
within the Amateur Radio Emergency Service or station appointments
and/or leadership positions held within the ARRL Field Organization.

Ellen White, W1YL, remembered Hart fondly: "George was my 'boss' for
a number of years in the ARRL's Communication Department. His
devotion to the National Traffic System and all forms of emergency
communication were legendary, as well as was his even-handed
management of all operating phases. I will miss Geo, and that's no
joking matter."

Hart was a member of the ARRL A-1 Operator Club, the Quarter Century
Wireless Association and the Newington Amateur Radio League, which
he helped create in 1946 and for which he served as its first
president. He was inducted into the CQ Hall of Fame in 2010 for his
contributions to the NTS.

A memorial service is being planned for April.