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NTS

Although the Kentucky Phone Net is not a Traffic Net specifically,  we do welcome any and all traffic that might be brought before the net.   Many of our participants and net control personnel are experienced traffic handlers.
I want to thank Tom Lykins (K4LID) for the following article.

KENTUCKY NETS AND THE  NATIONAL TRAFFIC SYSTEM

BY TOM LYKINS

The term "NTS" is an achronym for The National Traffic System.

The focus of this article is not to explain how NTS works, rather
to tell you how Kentucky became involved.


If you have a copy of THE EMERGENCY COMMUNICATIONS MANUAL produced
by ARRL you can learn how NTS is supposed to work if done
correctly.  Also another good publication is one that is out-of-
print, "FIELD ORGANIZATION" produced by the League back in the mid
80's.

The earliest known activity in NTS in Kentucky dates back to the
1937 flood which devistated many communities along the Ohio river
in January of that year.

In those days CW or Continuious wave or Morse code was the primary
vehicle to move traffic.

What is traffic?  Traffic as discussed here is simply a radiogram.

You can see what a radiogram form looks like in the affore
mentioned publications and other emergency preparedness sources.

In those days there was not any training for traffic handlers.  You
just did it by the seat of your pants.

However, two of the pioneers in traffic handling were CD Alcock,
W4CDA of Danville and J.B. Wathan W4BAZ of Louisville.  Both men
became involved in amateur radio in the mid to late 20's.

While there were others, those two stand out with their work
promoting "Elmering" of hams in Kentucky.

Remember there was no internet or communications as we have today
which we take for granted.

During the flood phone service was out as well as other public
utilities.  In fact, one source of listening to what happened is to
go to:  http://www.lkyradio.com and click on the WHAS page.  There
you will hear how assistance was rendered to the public and the
problems that they encountered.

This event was probably the first major event in radio where we
learned a lot.

Shortly after the flood these two men, Mr. Alcock and Mr. Wathan
realized that we needed trained operators in handling emergency
messages not only throughout Kentucky but the rest of the nation.

It was decided that to keep a fleet of trained operators in
practice that a formal system had to be developed.

When World War II came along and we became involved on December 7,
1941, all efforts on further development of a system ceased.

Back in the time under discussion Kentucky was in the 9th call
area.  So, if you had a callsign you were either a "W9" or just
a"9" and two letters as a suffix.

In 1945 Kentucky was moved into the 4th call area and all of the
"9" prefix designations in Kentucky became "4's."

In the beginning the purpose of all nets was to pass formal written
messages throughout the nation.  This would give net members
practice in case there was another emergency like the 37 flood.

Kentucky and the ARRL got serious about this effort in 1948-49.

The basic radiogram form was developed at that time but has
undergone several modifications since.

It was an unwritten edict by Jb that all traffic was to be handled
in CW.  He felt that it could be handled with much more accuracy
than using phone.  In fact, he never participated in a phone net
during his life even when he was the Section Communications Manager
of Kentucky.

However, other people had other ideas and in 1949 the Morning
Kentucky Phone Net was established, its primary purpose to handle
messages.  Comments from net members were done always after traffic
had been passed.

J.B was a businessman in Louisville and had friends and contacts in
all parts of Kentucky and elsewhere.  If he knew someone in your
hometown for example, he would send a radiogram to that person and
expect you to deliver it.  He would then check on you to see if, in
fact, you had delivered the radiogram.  If you had not you got on
his "bad list" and you heard about it.
In April of 1964 another icon of Kentucky amateur radio who worked
at the Postoffice in Winchester, Earl Hinds, WA4AVV started the
Kentucky PON. "PON" is an achronym for the Postoffice net.   This
net was less formal but it handled some traffic thru the postal
system and at that time the U.S. postoffice provided free stamps
and envelopes for those who participated in Postoffice nets across
this nation.

The Postoffice net ended in July of 1992 as Earl's health was
failing and there was no longer any support from the U.S. postal
service and it became an informal net by then.

This net met on Saturday afternoons at 1800z on 3.945 also known as
The Kentucky Pioneer Net.


One might ask what about getting radiograms to other states and
possibly other countries?  In the early days there  was what was
known
as "Route Managers" who would send traffic along its way.

However late in the 1960's the Nts was expanded to regional nets
and Area level nets.  Kentucky is and has always been in the 9th
region along with Indiana, Illinois and Wisconsin.  Central area
comprises Regions 5, 9 and 10.

Also there are lieasons with Eastern area and Pacific area nets
along with the Trans-continental-corps.

Although traffic has fallen off today and we mostly have what some
people term "Spam" traffic the system is still in place and will
operate as efficiently as the operators who are willing to keep it
going.

The National traffic System is as strong as its weakest link.

Why not try NTS if you are bored with your current amateur
activity?  They can surely use your help and you may find you like
it.