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Radio Relay International Offers Online Training

posted by C. Matthew Curtin

Hello Everyone:

With much of the US population stuck inside while engaged in "social distancing," Radio Relay International has decided to take advantage of this lull in economic activity to present some training classes for those interested in emergency communications preparedness and traffic handling.  These classes are intended for beginners and those who are fairly new to the world of public service communications.

For this initial run, we will limit class size to 15 people in each class.  This will allow us to gauge response and make adjustments to the class content and schedule if needed.  

The two classes consist of:

RRI Training Class TR-002: "An Introduction to Professional Emergency Communications Preparedness."

This class covers:

* Basic disaster telecommunications theory.
* The application of various modes.
* The structure of the traffic system.
* The radiogram format and its network management data.

RRI Training Class TR-007: "Basic Radiotelephone Net Procedures." (prerequisite required: TR-002 above).

* The nature of radiotelephone nets.
* The ITU phonetic alphabet
* The prowords (and procedural phrases).
* Basic net procedures.
* Transmitting radiograms and radiogram-ICS213 messages.
* Practical exercises with student participation.

Two hours is allotted for each class, but time may vary somewhat depending on the amount of student participation.

Dates are:  

Series One:  March 31 and April 2 at 1630Z
Series Two:  April 7 and April 9 at 1830Z

IT requirements:

Students will be attending a "go to meeting" video conference.  A computer or laptop with both audio and video functions must be available.  

Students should register at:

Once registered for either pair of classes, students will receive an e-mail with links to documents they should have available when attending the on-line class.

Please feel free to share this announcement with those who might have an interest in getting started in traffic handling or those who want to brush-up on their skills.


James Wades (WB8SIW), RRI National Emergency Communications Coordinator
Kate Hutton (K6HTN), RRI National Training Manager

Radio Relay International (W6RRI)
833-377-0722 x 700

COVID-19 Impact on COTN and Radio Amateurs in Public Service

posted Mar 15, 2020, 2:54 PM by C. Matthew Curtin   [ updated Mar 19, 2020, 7:19 AM ]

The National Traffic System (NTS), its sister service Amateur Radio Emergency Service (ARES), and numerous other programs are designed to organize service radio amateurs' service to the public in times of need. With aggressive action being undertaken in the State of Ohio to contain the novel coronavirus known as COVID-19, the question arises: What if anything will amateur radio do to serve the public?

The COVID-19 pandemic is not a communications emergency. Don't expect large-scale requests for assistance but that does not mean that there's nothing for you to do.

Central Ohio Traffic Net (COTN) provides an outlet for third-party message handling. In light of closures and restricted hours for businesses and facilities of all types, people are being encouraged to reach out and stay in communication with one another through means other than face-to-face. Expect more demand on the infrastructure for supporting video feeds, phone calls, and short messages. It's possible that there will be some overloading of the infrastructure, but the most likely scenario is that high-bandwidth applications like videoconference will be unreliable, but text messaging, email, and social media will be widely available. People might use letters sent through the mail or send radiograms as a novelty. Should that happen, treat the traffic well, and be sure to provide good service.

We're more than radio amateurs, however. We're neighbors, friends, and family. Think in practical terms about those around you. You know that schools are closed, so who around you has children who now will be at home? Are they nurses, doctors, or others whose services are most urgently ready? What can you do to help them keep their children well cared-for, without using daycare centers with large populations that could spread the virus?

Serving the public means doing what you can for the benefit of others around you. While there is no need to panic, the best information available is that there is need for action. Each of us needs to ask the question: Who among people I know needs help, and what can I do to help?

The State of Ohio has a website now running at Please go there for the latest information, checklists to help you protect yourself, and ideas for what other action you can take for the benefit of the entire community.

C. Matthew Curtin KD8TTE
Net Manager, Central Ohio Traffic Net

PostScript by Thomas Cox NK3F, PhD, RN

As a nurse and a statistician I want to ask people to please take this seriously.

This is not a hoax, it is an extremely lethal, and very viral disease. We statisticians can argue about how lethal - whether it is 5, 10, 20 times more lethal than the flu, and believe me, we do, but we all agree that it is many times more lethal than the flu and it also seems to have a much higher transmission ratio.

Avoid any social interaction that isn't critical. They keep lowering crowd sizes,so be proactive - the only safe crowd size is 1. Anything over that is less safe, and the higher you go the less safe it is.

I love motorcycles, but we just had the worst thing that could have possibly happened in a pandemic - hundreds of thousands of bikers, from all over the country and the world, traveling to Daytona Beach, partying like there was nothing happening, and now either back home, or still traveling home.

So we have already lost valuable time in shutting down the spread, and we need to work even harder going forward. It is going to be unpleasant, but so is getting sick or dying, or causing someone else to get sick or die, for a few minutes of social interaction.

The health care systems in some areas are already overwhelmed, nurses, doctors and other health care providers are going to have our hands filled trying to meet the demand for care, and as is always the case in such situations, many nurses and doctors and other health care workers are going to get sick and some of them are going to die because most facilities failed to have sufficient quantities of masks, face shields, gowns, and gloves.

Difficult ethical choices are being made in Italy, and other countries, and those difficult choices are coming here to the US.

Take it seriously, practice hygiene, learn about what is actually happening and how to protect yourself and others.

Thomas Cox PhD RN

In person meeting canceled Thu 12 Mar 20

posted Mar 12, 2020, 2:44 PM by C. Matthew Curtin

There will be no meeting in person this month. Hear you on the air! 

Want to Be Net Control or Net Liaison?

posted Mar 4, 2020, 11:48 AM by C. Matthew Curtin   [ updated Mar 4, 2020, 11:53 AM ]

If you're interested in taking a turn as a net control station or liaison to another traffic net, please let us know. If you don't have experience, that's not a problem; we'll get you paired up with an Elmer to make sure that you're ready. Complete the form below to let us know if your interest!

Traffic Handlers Wanted For Exercise March 1, 2020

posted Feb 16, 2020, 5:19 PM by C. Matthew Curtin   [ updated Feb 16, 2020, 5:25 PM ]

An Emergency Communications Exercise will be held in Gainesville, Florida (ARRL Northern Florida Section) on March 1, 2020. The exercise scenario calls for massive interruption of communications and other services throughout the state of Florida and the southeast United States. In this scenario stations able to make contact with Region 4 (4RN) stations but that are not themselves part of 4RN will need to take traffic from stations in the affected area and route accordingly.

This exercise is not just about getting traffic out of the exercise sites, but ensuring that messages are delivered according to proper procedure and in a timely fashion. Traffic will be leaving the site for a period of a few hours on Sunday, March 1. We are especially interested in stations able to take traffic from HF SSB circuits on 20, 40, and 60 meters, and able (as appropriate) to deliver via phone or email, or to relay to closer stations for delivery.

Stations interested in joining the operation should complete the form below to indicate their interest, capabilities, and availability. Respondents will get a copy of the exercise ICS Form 205 with operating frequencies, as well as operating instructions for moving exercise traffic and reporting activity to exercise controllers. Your can be reported through Public Service Honor Roll (PSHR) and ARES Connect.

Thank you for your support!

Ohio JS8Call Stations Wanted

posted Feb 9, 2020, 5:01 AM by C. Matthew Curtin

COTN is participating in experimental use of JS8Call software for traffic handling. Any Ohio station is welcome to participate. Please contact KD8TTE to advise of your interest and availability.

JS8Call is software that allows for message transfer via the FT8 protocol. Where WSJT-X introduced FT8 and allowed for exchange of grid and signal report, JS8Call introduced a means of working longer contacts, directing messages, use of groups, and message relay with the FT8 protocol.

We are looking to experiment with JS8Call for use in third-party traffic handling, including messages on behalf of both the public and the agencies that serve them.

Calling for Volunteers: Simplex Day Special Operations

posted Jan 7, 2020, 8:31 AM by C. Matthew Curtin

Saturday, January 11, 2020 is the Ohio Simplex Day! Stations all over and around Ohio will be making contact with one another at 50MHz and up in simplex mode, using the same station classifications as Field Day, and competing for points according to rules specific to Simplex Day.

Central Ohio Traffic Net is looking to operate special 59-minute sessions starting at 1000, 1100, 1200, 1300, 1400, and 1500, covering the entire period of the contest. We are asking for stations able to serve as Net Control and Liaison stations in particular to volunteer for a shift or two, to ensure that someone is always on the COTN simplex operation.

Our nets will start as usual, with an abbreviated call-up for liaison stations and traffic. Once all traffic has been passed, the net will be free, where stations stay on frequency but any station may call any other, and make contacts for points in the contest. This operation will allow us to test simplex operation for traffic handling, identified as an area for improvement in SET 2019, as well as to assist contest participants by performing the function as a "spotter net" under the contest rules.

If you'll be participating in Ohio Simplex Day, please register your operation at, and if you're able to support COTN's Simplex Day operation, please complete the form below to volunteer for a shift or two. We'll publish the COTN operating schedule on the COTN calendar before the contest gets underway at 10 o'clock Saturday morning.

Our operation will be according to our Standard Operating Procedure, which specifies operating frequencies—including simplex. If you don't hear a net when one should be active, try tuning around to see if the net is operating on a different frequency. Remember, net control is always on the right frequency—net control might have had to move the operating frequency to avoid interference—so find the net, move some traffic, make some contacts, assess your station's performance, and have fun!

Hoping to hear you on the air Saturday.

COTN 2019 Annual Report Released

posted Jan 5, 2020, 4:54 AM by C. Matthew Curtin

Central Ohio Traffic Net (COTN) is pleased to announce the release of its 2019 Annual Report, available from the Report section of the COTN web site, or directly at

During 2019, COTN conducted a total of 394 sessions (averaging 1.1 daily), with 4,493 stations checking in (an average of 11.4 per session), moving 1,093 messages (average of 2.8 per session), for a total of almost 132 hours of operation (average 20 minutes per session).

December 2019 Issue of QNI

posted Dec 25, 2019, 12:18 PM by C. Matthew Curtin

The December 2019 issue of QNI, an independent traffic handlers newsletter is now available at

This issue contains several important articles—including one discussing work from COTN—about traffic net emergency mode operation. Some other important discussion includes the petitions to limit Winlink and other types of digital traffic operation. (Our own net manager Matthew Curtin KD8TTE has published his Opposition to the NYU Petition to FCC.)

Topics for this issue:
  • Old Sparky
  • The Ubiquitous Two-Meter HT
  • Can a Slave Serve Two Masters?
  • The Importance of Peer Review
  • The War on Winlink
  • Preparing Traffic Nets for Emergency
  • Training Column—Net Efficiency
  • Training Column—Did You Know
  • NYU Petition for Declaratory Ruling
  • RRI Response to NYU Petition
  • An Old Memory
QNI is an independent traffic handling newsletter published periodically throughout the year. It is always available from

KD8TTE Elected Net Manager

posted Dec 18, 2019, 3:05 AM by C. Matthew Curtin

DECEMBER 16, 2019—Central Ohio Traffic Net’s 2019 Teller AD8CM reported the successful conclusion of our election for 2020 Net Manager. According to the rules in our By-Laws, nominations were accepted from December 1–7, and votes were received December 8–15. By unanimous vote, Matthew Curtin, KD8TTE, was elected Net Manager of the COTN for 2020.

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