Important Sites

 * ARRL Ohio Section

 * Great Lakes Division

 * ARRL Headquarters




Website created and maintained by:


Scott Yonally, N8SY


Commercial use of content only by expressed written consent of the

Ohio Single Side-Band Net


New Postings..

 Updated: 01/07/2016






Before delivering that Radiogram..


One of the most joyous things that you as an Amateur Radio Operator can do is deliver good news to the general public, like birthday greetings, birth of grandchildren and so on. Delivering these messages to other active Amateurs is easy as that you are speaking the same language.


You do however need to keep in mind that when you are dealing with the general public that has had little to no exposure to Amateur Radio, or our message handling system, itís all different. So, Keep It Simple (KIS). Donít try to explain how the NTS operates, unless they specifically ask. Most generally they donít care and wonít ask anyway.


But, it also can be a very embarrassing moment too. If for example, you get a birthday greeting hot from the net and call up thinking youíre going to be delivering great news to someone. Then you find out that the person youíre talking to is the widow of the person you want to deliver that good news to. This can be very hard for them (and you) to handle, especially if this is a person hurting. Your phone call is not one that they want to hear. They may even feel that youíre being very insensitive. So, to avoid this situation itís advisable to do a quick check to be sure that the addressee is in fact alive.


How can you do that? There is a website (of course, isnít there always!!) that you can look up people from all over the country that have become Silent Keyís.  


This site has the most updated information on all the deaths recorded around the country, so it is a good source of information that can be counted on. But, like anything, donít count on it too much. Itís just a listing, and like every list thatís ever been produced itís outdated as soon as it gets published.


Your approach on how you contact the general public can also be as important. Be careful when making calls to people that you donít know. During World War I, World War II, Korea, and yes, even Viet Nam, bad news often came by Western Union Telegraph. So, when you start to explain to those civilians (even other Amateurs) about your Radiogram, please be sensitive to the fact that they may confuse you for Western Union and bad news.


Also be sensitive as to how you ask for a person as well. Donít assume that this person is living there. They may have just moved out from a divorce, left with another partner or yes, even recently deceased. Your approach to this is as important, if not more so, than the message itself. You may want to practice how to ask for a person before you actually call the number. You never know what sort of response you are going to get on the other end. Be prepared!


And, just how do you approach this? Simply explain to the person answering that you are an Amateur Radio Operator and you have received a radio message for the individual you asked to speak with. The response from the person answering will guide you as to how to proceed. Listen carefully. Be sympathetic and end the conversation quickly if it is revealed that the person is deceased, or if there is a bad situation (divorce, person left, etc..) donít go into it any further. Apologize for disturbing the person and end the call quickly. If requested, service the message back to the sender explaining the situation.


If the person is just not available, then you have some choices. You can leave the message with the person answering, if they are agreeable, or you can ask when a better time to call would be. This last option may be met with some opposition since the individual may be concerned for safety reasons (remember, unless you know them, you are a stranger to them.)

So, be prepared to leave your phone number with them, so they can return your call.