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This Week's RadioGram

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RadioGram Forms and Instructions

Early RadioGram - Courtesy ARRL

A radiogram is an instance of formal written message traffic routed by a network of amateur radio operators through traffic nets. It is a plaintext message, along with relevant metadata (headers), that is placed into a traffic net by an amateur radio operator. Each radiogram is relayed, possibly through one or more other amateur radio operators, to a radio operator who volunteers to deliver the radiogram content to its destination.

Radiogram forms facilitate a standard protocol between amateur radio operators, allowing much faster relay of formal messages. They do this by always having the message headers in a certain order, allowing operators to read and understand the headers without explicit verbal labels. This is especially important in hectic and stressful environments such as during a disaster, when many parties call upon radio operators to quickly transfer messages in and out of the affected areas. A typical form has a place for the plaintext message, as well as for several headers that are important for routing the message to its proper destination in a timely manner.

These fields include the message's priority, the callsign of the station of origin (the amateur radio operator who placed the message onto the message net), the date and time of origin, contact information of the message's recipient, as well as the callsign of the station that delivered the message. The headers' purpose and order is logical and intuitive enough that many amateur radio operators have memorized it and in extremis can transmit and receive radiograms without referring to the form.

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