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How Long Do I Keep Trying To Deliver Traffic?

posted May 12, 2014, 5:43 PM by C. Matthew Curtin
When taking a piece of traffic for delivery, a relay station has accepted the obligation to see to it that the traffic is delivered. But when you try to reach the addressee without success, how long do you keep trying?

Chapter 8 of the MPG addresses the matter of delivering messages. In particular, 8.1.4 says that "an amateur has an ethical obligation to keep a message 'in play' until delivered." There is, however, no hard rule on how long a station can keep a message before it's no longer "in play." Note that handling instructions of an individual message might impose rules here: note in particular HXB and HXF as discussed in MPG Chapter 1.

Once a station has accepted the traffic, the traffic can be delivered to the addressee, relayed to another station to attempt delivery, or serviced back to the station of origin. If a station may after making attempts at delivery conclude that a message is undeliverable. MPG addresses that condition. The undeliverable message is to be serviced "as soon as possible," with an explanation of the problem. The ARRL Numbered Radiogram SIXTY SEVEN might be of use in this case.

Without handling instructions or a rule from MPG, stations are left to make a judgment call as to how long to attempt delivery. Whether you keep the traffic for a day, a week, two weeks, or some other period will depend upon you. Are you really keeping the traffic "in play" or is it just sitting on your desk?

Keep the traffic in play, and if you haven't been able to deliver or to relay, service it back!