National Traffic System

The National Traffic System (NTS) represents one of the two branches of the ARRL Field Service Organization (the other being the Amateur Radio Emergency Service — ARES). Tasked with the role of quick and efficient movement of formal message traffic, the NTS makes use of the ARRL Radiogram message form to achieve this end. All emergency communicators can benefit from periodic participation on a local or Section net, as the skills and procedures used are directly translated to operation on any directed emergency net. Techniques utilized to originate, relay, and deliver Radiogram message traffic can be employed to handle other message forms (e.g., ICS-213, ARC-4612 and SATERN welfare message traffic).

Those interested in being a well-rounded emergency communications resource are encouraged to seek and participate on an NTS net.


ARRL Colorado Section Traffic Manager:

Willem Schreuder, ACØKQ

Section Traffic Manager Responsibilities 



Colorado Traffic Net

Check the CTN’s Facebook Page https://www.facebook.com/coloradotrafficnet

About the CTN

The Colorado Traffic Net (CTN) is a directed VHF net that meets every evening between 7:30 and 7:45 PM local mountain time to handle formal National Traffic System (NTS) messages called “traffic” into, out of, and within the State of Colorado.

The NTS is an organized network of amateur radio operators for the purpose of relaying messages. The NTS is most useful during emergencies when telecommunications infrastructure such as cell phone and land line telephone are inoperative. The CTN is an officially recognized NTS net which is sponsored by The American Radio Relay League (ARRL).

Handling traffic efficiently and accurately requires practice. Therefore, the NTS commonly practices with routine messages such as greetings, congratulations, and license renewal reminders in order to hone the skills of its operators. We welcome and invite anyone and everyone to be involved!

History of the CTN

For many years, there were several regional VHF traffic nets in Colorado that were spread out geographically. The regional nets gradually disappeared, except for the Central Colorado Traffic Net which survived and even thrived. As the last remaining VHF traffic net in Colorado, the Central Colorado Traffic Net was operating on a state-wide, linked system. Operators from this older net were no longer confined to the central part of the state and sought National Traffic System (NTS) recognition.

On Sunday, September 7, 2014, nine operators from the old Central Colorado Traffic Net met with Colorado NTS Section Manager Jack Ciaccia (WMØG). The nine unanimously decided to form the Colorado Traffic League (CTL), a club to support a new, NTS recognized, explicitly state-wide traffic net. That evening, the CTL held the first Colorado Traffic Net on the Colorado Connection System of Linked Repeaters. Shortly after, the ARRL formally recognized the Colorado Traffic Net as an NTS net and appointed the first Net Manager.

ARRL Appointees

Net Manager

The Net Manager is appointed by the ARRL. He/she has the function of requiring that all traffic handled through an NTS net or node be in proper ARRL form. Recruitment of new hams and ARRL members is also an integral part of the job of every ARRL appointee.

Official Relay Stations (ORS)

The Net Manager recommends Official Relay Stations that are approved by the ARRL. Official Relay Stations interface with other nets on VHF and HF. These “long haul” exchanges are often beyond the reach of the Colorado Connection system of linked repeaters. Interfaces between Official Relay Stations form the backbone of the National Traffic System (NTS).

Local Traffic Handlers

The CTN frequently receives NTS messages originating from outside of Colorado. These messages require a local CTN traffic handler to deliver the message. This local delivery is what we specialize in, and we would love for you to be a part of it. If originating or delivering a message sounds like fun, please join us by handling your first piece of traffic tonight!



nts nets june 18


WX Net Logo


wx net june 18


DEC 17 carwn


Colorado Traffic League (CTL)


The Colorado Traffic League strives to foster the participation in and the practice of proper traffic handling procedures to expand our ability as Amateur Radio Operators to serve our communities. Regular traffic exchange with nets recognized by the National Traffic System (NTS) such as the Colorado Traffic Net is of particular interest, attention, and dedication to the League.

Membership Criteria

Please consider joining the Colorado Traffic League (CTL) to enjoy the full rewards of membership as a traffic handler. The CTL is the support structure behind the Colorado Traffic Net (CTN) in its goal to handle formal NTS traffic. There are no membership dues, membership merely requires your active participation as a traffic handler.

To apply for full membership, an individual must simply be an active participant by meeting at least 1 of the following requirements on the Colorado Traffic Net:

  1. Act as Net Control Station for two NTS nets
  2. Deliver three formal NTS messages
  3. Originate two formal NTS messages
  4. Deliver one and originate one formal NTS message

We also encourage participants to hold ARRL membership, but it is not required.

Membership Application

If you believe you have met one or more of these requirements and would like to become a full member, please contact the CTL secretary, listed below. Full membership will allow you to check in during the members portion of the net, participate in the monthly CTL net, and even vote in the annual election of the CTL officers.


The League currently meets quarterly, during the four months below. Please check the calendar in each of the four months for specific dates and locations. Anyone is welcome to attend, member or not.

  • MAR – Held in Ft. Collins on even years, Colorado Springs on odd years
  • JUN – Meeting is held annually on Field Day
  • SEP – Annual meeting with officer elections
  • DEC


ctn officers

For Colorado Traffic Net info:




To NTS Officials, Section Managers and Section Emergency Coordinators

The National Traffic System, as represented by our senior national staff members, thanks you for the opportunity to address the Emergency Communications Advisory Committee (ECAC) Final Recommendations report of December, 2013, recently released to the general public.
NTS is pleased the ARRL and ECAC regard NTS highly enough to dedicate the many hundreds of hours spent to understand our organization and our status. The ECAC team did outstanding work and their diligence and perseverance is a testament to the highest ideals of Our Code as laid out by The Old Man himself. Even so, and not surprisingly given the immensity of the task, misperceptions and disagreements over particular findings were inevitable.
In the attached document, which we call the “NTS Response”, we set out a detailed and point-by-point discussion of the specific findings and recommendations we believe to be erroneous or mistaken. We took great pains to ensure this response was, well, responsive to ECAC and not reactionary of the pride and ego inevitably invested in our System. In that spirit, we also discussed the many areas where NTS and ECAC were in general agreement but thought a deeper analysis would benefit any subsequent course of action. The original ECAC report, for those who did not receive it, may be accessed via the link in section 2 of the White Paper.
This White Paper has been delivered to the ARRL Programs and Services Committee (P&SC) for review. We would like all the members of the Public Service Amateur Radio community to be aware of the ECAC and NTS reports so they can understand the concerns and issues at hand.
Our Response is made with four general purposes in mind:
1. Address the major misunderstandings about NTS that have arisen since both papers were published,

2. Provide up-to-date information about the operation and organization of the NTS and Digital NTS (NTSD) as well as the Radio-email communications layer (Winlink 2000) and how it may be used by both the ARES and NTS,

3. Present a more detailed explanation and rationale of the NTS counter proposal where it differs from the ECAC proposal,

4. Clarify the NTS position regarding all portions of the ECAC report where NTS is addressed.

While some of our Response is unavoidably duplicative, as it follows the ECAC report’s language, we believe it is presented such that amateurs not intimately involved with NTS can quickly follow our logic and train of thought.
While we believe our Response speaks for itself, we ask and encourage you to seek us out if we can better answer your questions and concerns in person.
With sincere collegial thanks and appreciation,

Please click on this link below for response letter from the NTS Staff:



NTS Links


Public Outreach with NTS Messaging

By Clara Woll, KJ6CNO (ARRL Official Relay Station)

The ARRL National Traffic System (NTS) routinely passes practice messages to help operators build and maintain their traffic-handling skills. One way to create such messages is to solicit them from the public at preparedness fairs, exhibit booths and, of course, Field Day.

Click the link in the DOWNLOADS section below to download a pre-formatted message form that’s guaranteed to make this process as smooth as possible. Print as many copies as you need and put them on display along with a sign inviting visitors to send a message.

Disaster preparedness for individuals and families includes having out-of-state contacts that can be notified in case of an emergency. When curious visitors approach the table, explain the importance of having such information. Be sure to emphasize the fact that in a real incident Amateur radio may be the best way to reach their designated contacts.

The message form is easy to use. Your “intake” person simply inserts the addressee and sender information from the visitor and passes the completed form to the NTS operator, who adds the appropriate header information and sends the message on a regular traffic net.

It’s a terrific way to engage the public and it will heighten their appreciation for our disaster-communication capabilities.




nts hf nets





ARRL Net Directory

Nets, or on-air meetings, take place every day across the country on virtually every Ham band to pass traffic or for socializing. ARRL maintains a list of known nets that can be searched by any Ham. Click here to find out what net awaits you today.



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