National Traffic System Information




"NTS Rules and Guidelines regarding the use of SVC"


It is customary to use the letters "SVC" followed by a space ahead of the message number in a service message. For some reason this practice has been used less frequently in recent years, although without justification. Although some argue that today's best practice omits the "SVC" on service messages, it is probably fair to say that this is mainly due to the lack of awareness about this protocol.

The use of "SVC" has been carried forward from earlier years and clearly identifies messages related to servicing at the point of delivery or elsewhere, and are a guide to handing stations to indicate their nature. Since they are related to delivery or handing of traffic in the forward direction, the use of "SVC" indicates that there is information contained therein related to the success of the network function which the originating station should be advised about in a timely fashion.

Therefore, service messages are generally handled ahead of routine traffic, seldom require HXG handing instructions, and are delivered to the station of origin promptly. This becomes critically important for welfare and priority traffic requiring a service message to be sent back, regardless of whether the service message is related to the inability to deliver or is related to confirmation of delivery and/or handling. It can also be a valuable flag for message centers operating at served agencies, clearly indicating that the service message is related to previously sent traffic on our nets, perhaps requiring immediate action, and not simply a reply or other incoming traffic.
Such service messages are sent to the station of origin, not the individual or agency for which the original message was created and sent.

The precedence of the service message is always the same as that of the original message being serviced. The message number is assigned by the servicing station. Since messages may only be forwarded to another station, delivered to the addressee, or serviced back to the station of origin, the "SVC" clearly distinguishes messages in the last category from other traffic.

The use of "SVC" represents a functional protocol with meaning and purpose for NTS operators (if properly trained), affects the handling of such messages, and may be critical to the originator with respect to the success of the original traffic.

Since the NTS Chairs and staff approved carrying forward this protocol, perhaps we should check our training literature and methods to make sure operators are aware of its purpose and use. W3YVQ, MPG Committee


Operating an Amateur Radio Station
(Pamphlet, CD-4, 1/88, p. 15)

"When transmitting a service message, it is customary to indicate its nature by using the letters "SVC" preceding the number in the preamble. Service messages should receive the same precedence as the message they are servicing."

MPG 1.1.1:
"NOTE: If the message is a SERVICE message, place letters SVC in front of message number as a leading group (infrequently used currently). Precedence is kept the same as in the message being serviced. (See the
section on creating service messages.)

MPG 1.1.2:
"* SERVICE MESSAGES: The precedence of a SVC message should be the same as that of the message being serviced. SVC ahead of a message number indicates a service message sent between stations relative to message handling, or delivery. Since they affect timely delivery, they are handled before routine messages. SVC is not a precedence (See section 1.11)."

MPG 1.11:
"Service messages are originated with the letters "SVC" ahead of the message number followed by a space, and the precedence of the service message is kept the same as that of the message being serviced.

(This practice is used less frequently in recent years. Best practice of the day may be leaving off the SVC ahead of the number for service messages. The precedence is still handled the same way.)"




  * NTS Training PowerPoint Presentation


  * NTS Methods and Practices Guidelines