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How Do I Start Transmission of My Message?

posted Jun 30, 2014, 3:29 AM by C. Matthew Curtin   [ updated Jun 30, 2014, 3:30 AM ]
Congratulations! You've brought traffic to the local net. You're holding the Radiogram form in your hand. You've filled it out completely. You've double-checked it to be sure that everything is correct. Suddenly you hear Net Control mention your callsign.

Net Control: W1AW call KD8TTE for one California.
W1AW: KD8TTE W1AW ready to copy.

You squeeze the push-to-talk button, and now all ears are on you. How do you get started?

We use formal procedure not to sound stuffy but to ensure that even in poor operating conditions we are unambiguous about what is happening. The receiving station need not try to figure out whether that's traffic coming over the air or chatter directed to his attention. The receiving station need not wonder if the message is finished or whether the battery in your radio gave out. The receiving station will know whether the words you're saying go into the text or the signature.

MPG Chapter 2 to the rescue! Section 2.1.4 covering prowords and operational words tells us how to start and end the transmission unambiguously.

2.1.4.1 NUMBER (before message number or SVC) 
The proword “number” begins message copy. It tells the operator to copy everything after 
hearing the word “number”. 
 
To begin the message say "number ..." then transmit the preamble. This is the short formal way to 
initiate copy. (It has been a long standing custom to begin by saying “Please copy number...” or 
“Copy message number...” but these informalities are not required.) 
 
The corresponding operational word to stop copy is "end". 
 
The message numbers in variable parts of a book are also introduced with “number” followed by 
the individual message number.

Similarly, there is a proword to indicate the end of transmission.

2.1.4.2 END (END OF MESSAGE) 
The proword “end” signals the end of groups to be copied, in other words, the end of the written 
message. (“end” is a shortened form of “END OF MESSAGE” and is used to make the short and 
formal end of copy although the later is still used by operators from time to time.) 
 
In other words, written copy is begun with “number” and terminated with “end”.

While operating conditions for COTN are typically such that less formal procedure can get the job done, remember that this might not always be the case. (Simplex net!) Additionally we're a training net, which means that we should be training here to operate as we would elsewhere, even when conditions are not favorable.

Airtime is valuable. Operators need to be clear and concise. Use the prowords and you won't need to think of something clever to say; you can transmit correctly and sound like, well, a pro!
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