Table of Contents
List of ARRL Numbered Radiograms
About Radiograms
Originating Radiograms
        Counting Words in Radiograms
        ARL Check
ARRL Recommended Precedences


The letters ARL are inserted in the preamble in the check
and in the text before spelled out numbers, which represent
texts from this list.  Note that some ARL texts include
insertion of numerals.


For additional information about traffic handling, consult The ARRL
Operating Manual, published by ARRL.

Group One -- For Possible "Relief Emergency " Use

ONE          Everyone safe here.  Please don't worry.
TWO          Coming home as soon as possible.
THREE        Am in _______ hospital.  Receiving excellent
             care and recovering fine.
FOUR         Only slight property damage here.  Do not be
             concerned about disaster reports.
FIVE         Am moving to new location.  Send no further
             mail or communication.  Will inform you of
             new address when relocated.
SIX          Will contact you as soon as possible.
SEVEN        Please reply by Amateur Radio through the
             amateur delivering this message.  This is a
             free public service.
EIGHT        Need additional _______ mobile or portable
             equipment for immediate emergency use.
NINE         Additional ______ radio operators needed to
             assist with emergency at this location.
TEN          Please contact _______.  Advise to standby
             and provide further emergency information,
             instructions or assistance.
ELEVEN       Establish Amateur Radio emergency
             communications with ______ on _______ MHz.
TWELVE       Anxious to hear from you.  No word in some
             time.  Please contact me as soon as possible.
THIRTEEN     Medical emergency situation exits here.
FOURTEEN     Situation here becoming critical.  Losses
             and damage from _______ increasing.
FIFTEEN      Please advise your condition and what help
             is needed.
SIXTEEN      Property damage very severe in this area.
SEVENTEEN    REACT communications services also
             available.  Establish REACT communication
             with _______ on channel _______.
EIGHTEEN     Please contact me as soon as possible at
NINETEEN     Request health and welfare report on
             _______.  (State name, address and telephone
TWENTY       Temporarily stranded.  Will need some
             assistance.  Please contact me at _______.

TWENTY ONE   Search and Rescue assistance is needed by
             local authorities here.  Advise availability.
TWENTY TWO   Need accurate information on the extent and
             type of conditions now existing at your
             location.  Please furnish this information
             and reply without delay.
TWENTY THREE  Report at once the accessibility and best
              way to reach your location.
TWENTY FOUR  Evacuation of residents from this area
             urgently needed.  Advise plans for help.
TWENTY FIVE  Furnish as soon as possible the weather
             conditions at your location.
TWENTY SIX   Help and care for evacuation of sick and
             injured from this location needed at once.

Emergency/priority messages originating from official
sources must carry the signature of the originating

Group Two -- Routine messages

FORTY SIX    Greetings on your birthday and best wishes
             for many more to come.
FIFTY        Greetings by Amateur Radio.
FIFTY ONE    Greetings by Amateur Radio.  This message is
             sent as a free public service by ham radio
             operators at _______.  Am having a wonderful
FIFTY TWO    Really enjoyed being with you. Looking
             forward to getting together again.
FIFTY THREE  Received your _______.  It's appreciated;
             many thanks.
FIFTY FOUR   Many thanks for your good wishes.
FIFTY FIVE   Good news is always welcome.  Very delighted
             to hear about yours.
FIFTY SIX    Congratulations on your _______, a most worthy
             and deserved achievement.
FIFTY SEVEN  Wish we could be together
FIFTY EIGHT  Have a wonderful time.  Let us know when you
FIFTY NINE   Congratulations on the new arrival.  Hope
             mother and child are well.
*SIXTY       Wishing you the best of everything on
SIXTY ONE    Wishing you a very Merry Christmas and a
             Happy New Year.
*SIXTY TWO   Greetings and best wishes to you for a
             pleasant _______ holiday season.
SIXTY THREE  Victory or defeat, our best wishes are with
             you.  Hope you win.
SIXTY FOUR   Arrived safely at _______.
SIXTY FIVE   Arriving _______ on _______.  Please arrange
             to meet me there.
SIXTY SIX    DX QSLs are on hand for you at the _______
             QSL Bureau.  Send _______ self addressed
SIXTY SEVEN  Your message number _______ undeliverable
             because of _______.  Please advise.
SIXTY EIGHT  Sorry to hear you are ill.  Best wishes for a
             speedy recovery.
SIXTY NINE   Welcome to the _______.  We are glad to have
             you with us and hope you will enjoy the fun
             and fellowship of the organization.


*Can be used for all holidays.

FORM FSD-3 (Revised 2/94)

                      ARRL RADIOGRAMS

     The handling of radiogram traffic was the basis for the formation
of ARRL, and a sizable segment of amateurs still makes this its
principal Amateur Radio operating activity. Amateur radiogram service
does not compete with other services, since there are no charges and
can be no guarantee.  Provided FCC and international regulations are
complied with, messages may be accepted from anyone for sending by
Amateur Radio.
     What constitutes "legal" messages, or any other kind of third
party communication, has been a matter of considerable discussion and
various interpretations throughout the years.  The pertinent
regulations sections are 97.3b, which defines an amateur operator as
being a person "without pecuniary interest"; 97.112, which forbids any
remuneration or other kind of compensation for use of an amateur
station; and 97.114, which details certain prohibitions on third-party
     Generally speaking, unimportant, personal, non-business messages
may be exchanged between different countries only after a special
agreement has been reached between the countries.  A list of countries
which have signed such agreements with Canada and with the U.S.
appears frequently in QST.  In addition, most countries do not object
to actual emergency radiograms being handled in the amateur bands if
government or commercial facilities are not available at the time.
     Individual amateurs handle radiograms in a number of different
ways.  Some are "free lancers" who handle their traffic on individual
schedules without recourse to regular nets.  Most traffic operators,
however, participate in nets of various kinds.  The largest organized
system of nets is the ARRL National Traffic System.  Others include
networks organized by individuals for traffic-handling purposes in
which individual amateurs participate out of preference.

                    ORIGINATING  RADIOGRAMS

     Any amateur can originate a radiogram on behalf of another
individual, whether such individual be a licensed amateur or not.  It
is the responsibility of the originating amateur, however, to see that
the message is in proper form before its first transmission, because
under most circumstances it is improper for a relaying or delivering
station to make changes.
     Each radiogram originated and handled should contain the
following component parts in the order given:

(a) Number            (d) Station of        (g)  Time Filed*
(b) Precedence            Origin            (h)  Date
(c) Handling Instruc- (e) Check             (i)  Address
    tions*            (f) Place of Origin   (j)  Text
                                            (k)  Signature
*Optional with originator

     a)  Every radiogram transmitted should bear a number.  Keep a
sheet with a consecutive list of numbers (beginning at 1) at your
operating position.  When a radiogram is filed at your station for
transmission, complete all parts of the preamble except the number,
leaving this blank.  When you send the radiogram, assign a number to
it from the number sheet, crossing out numbers on the sheet as they
are used and making a notation, after the number, of the station to
whom the radiogram was sent and the date.  Such a system is convenient
for quick reference purposes.  Most traffic handlers start with
number 1 at the beginning of each year.
     (b)  Every radiogram has a precedence in amateur procedure.  This
will normally be "Routine" (R).  It is a separate part of the preamble
and is transmitted as such, not as part of the number.  Other
precedences are "Emergency" (never abbreviated), "Priority" (P), and
"Welfare" (W).
     (c)  Handling Instructions (HX) are available prosigns for use
when or if desired by the originator or the originating station,
whenever special instructions are required in the handling of the
     (d)  The "station of origin" is the call of the station from
which the radiogram was first sent by Amateur Radio and is included so
that handling stations will be able to communicate with the originator
if something interferes with the prompt handling or delivery of the
     (e) The "check" is the number of words and numerals in the text
of the radiogram.  Handling stations should agree on the check before
the message is considered handled.  Full information on checking
radiograms is given later.
     (f)  The "place of origin" is the name of the place (city or town)
from which the radiogram was started, not necessarily the location of
the station of origin.  The preamble of a radiogram filed at League
headquarters in Newington Conn., might read as follows: NR 457 R W1INF
     If a message is sent to your station by mail or otherwise not
filed in person, the preamble should show the place the radiogram
originally came from.  If the radiogram came to League Headquarters by
mail from Wiscasset, Maine, the preamble would read: NR 457 R W1INF 21
WISCASSET MAINE 2057Z JUNE 11.  Any radiogram received at an amateur
station by any means other than Amateur Radio is an origination when
put on an amateur circuit by that station.
     (g)  The time filed is the time at which the radiogram is
received at the station from which it is to be sent.  Standard
practice is to use UTC.  This part of the preamble is optional with
the originating station.
     (h)  The month and the day of the month that the radiogram was
filed at the originating station.  The year is not included.  If the
filing time is UTC, be sure the date agrees.
     (i)  The address is the name, street and number, city and state
of the party to whom the radiogram is being sent.  The telephone
number should be part of the address.  A complete address should
always be given to ensure delivery.  When accepting a radiogram for
origination this point should be stressed.  In transmitting the message
by CW, the signal AA is used to separate parts of the address
and the address is followed by BT or "break" before the text is
     In street addresses where the words east, west, north, south are
part of the address, spell out the works in full.  Suffixes "th,"
"nd," "st," etc., are not recommended.  Example: "19 W 19th St" should
be "19 West 19 St." It is not good practice for the relaying station
to change address format, but the originating station should observe
the above practices to insure clarity in retransmission.
     (j) The text consists of words in the body of the radiogram.  No
abbreviations should be substituted for the words in the text of the
radiogram.  The text follows the address and is set off from the
signature by another BT.
     (k)  The signature is usually the name of the person originating
the message.  The signature follows the BT or "break" at the end of
the text.  The abbreviation "sig" is not transmitted.
     After the signature, say "end" or transmit AR.  If more to
follow, say "more."  On CW, use the prosign B.  If no more, say "no
more."  On CW use the prosign "N."


     The amateur radiogram "check" is the count of the number of words
in the text only.  It is essentially an "as sent" count.  While it is
assumed that the rules of grammar and spelling will be followed, the
check count is determined principally by the spacing used by the
transmitting operator in sending the text.  Since the first operator
to transmit the radiogram is the operator of the originating station
who enters the check in the preamble, this check should carry through
to destination.  The relaying operator has no authority to change the
check unless it is definitely determined that the check as he received
it is incorrect, then he should confirm with the transmitting operator
before making the change.  When such a change is made, the original
check should remain in the preamble.  Example: an original check of 10
corrected to 9 would be sent "10/9" on CW.
     The check is a means for ensuring the accuracy and completeness
of your copy.  It also indicates to the receiving operator how many
words the radiogram he is about to copy will contain.  Inclusion of
"check" in a message preamble is not optional.
     Numbers, ciphers, mixed groups and punctuation each count as one
in the check, regardless of length.  It is recommended amateur
practice not to use punctuation, fractions or other unorthodox or
seldom-used code symbols in messages as such, but rather to spell
these out when used in the text of a message to avoid complications in
checking.  The letter X or "X-ray" is used in place of a period or
semicolon and is counted in the check.
     Special note:  The ARRL-recommended procedure for counting the
telephone number in the text of a radiogram is to separate the
telephone number into groups, with the area code (if any) counting as
one word, the three-digit exchange one word, and the last four digits
one word.  For example, 203 666 1541 counts as three words in the
text of a message; 666 1541 counts as two words.  Separating the phone
number into separate groups also minimizes garbling.
     The principle of counting words as sent can be illustrated
by a few examples, as follows:

New York City....3 words                    527B.............1 word
NYC..............1 word                     H O Townsend.....3 words
Fifty six........2 words                    W1YL/4...........1 word

     A few rules have to be observed in sending words so this
principle of "counting as sent" will not be abused:
     1)  Make your spacing methodical and accurate on both phone and CW.
     2)  Follow the dictionary wherever possible.
     3)  Do not waste time in traffic nets arguing about "how to
count."  The purpose of the "check" in amateur work is to confirm the
number of words or groups in the text.  QTB is a useful signal in
confirming check.  Once you are sure that you have copied it
correctly, QSL (on CW) or "roger" (on phone) the radiogram and get on
with the next one, correcting the check when you relay the radiogram.
     In copying traffic, whether by pencil or typewriter it is quite
easy, with a little practice, to count the words in the text as you
copy.  When using pencil, copy five words to a line.  At the end of
the radiogram, you can readily figure the number of words by the
number of lines (plus how many words over ) you copied.  By
typewriter, it is more convenient to copy ten words to a line, and
this can easily be done by copying five words, hitting the space bar
twice (instead of once), copying five more words, then linespacing to
begin a new ten-word line.  At the end of the Radiogram a glance at
the number of lines will show you how many words you copied.  You can
then query the sending operator if your figure does not agree with
     When traffic is heavy and time is precious, it it not considered
advisable practice to query a check unless you have reason to believe
that a mistake was made, either in sending or copying.

                            ARL Check

     Messages containing ARRL numbered radiogram texts (see form FSD-
3) have the same form as any other radiogram, except that the symbol
ARL (NOT ARRL) is used before the check.  This symbol indicates
that a spelled out number in the text of the radiogram refers to
a complete text bearing that number on the ARL list.
     In delivering a message with an ARL text, one of course delivers
the complete text.  It is therefore very necessary that the symbol ARL
be included with the check to avoid the possibility of delivery of a
meaningless number to the addressee.
     Use of ARL text is a special tool for special occasions.  When
used, it should be used properly to avoid delays and confusion.


Please observe the following ARRL provisions for PRECEDENCES
in connection with written message traffic.  These
provisions are designed to increase the efficiency of our
service both in normal times and in emergency.


EMERGENCY     Any message having life and death urgency to
              any person or group of persons, which is
              transmitted by Amateur Radio in the absence of
              regular commercial facilities.  This includes
              official messages of welfare agencies during
              emergencies requesting supplies, materials or
              instructions vital to relief of stricken
              populace in emergency areas.  During normal
              times, it will be very rare.  On CW/RTTY, this
              designation will always be spelled out.  When
              in doubt, do not use it.

PRIORITY      Use abbreviation P on CW/RTTY.  This
              classification is for  a) important messages
              having a specific time limit b) official
              messages not covered in the emergency category
              c)  press  dispatches and emergency-related
              traffic not of the utmost urgency  d) notice
              of death or injury in a disaster area,
              personal or official.

WELFARE       This classification, abbreviated as W on
              CW/RTTY, refers to either an inquiry as to the
              health and welfare of an individual in the
              disaster area or an advisory from the disaster
              area that indicates all is well.  Welfare
              traffic is handled only after all emergency
              and priority traffic is cleared.  The Red
              Cross equivalent to an incoming Welfare
              message is DWI (Disaster Welfare Inquiry).

ROUTINE       Most traffic in normal times will bear this
              designation. In disaster situations, traffic
              labeled Routine (R on CW/RTTY) should be
              handled last, or not at all when circuits are
              busy with higher prcedence traffic.

Note -- the precedence always follows the message number.
For example, a message number may be 207 R on CW and "Two
Zero Seven Routine" on phone.

American Radio Relay League, 225 Main Street, Newington, CT  06111

Comments and suggestions for this page may be sent to:
Don Felgenhauer K7BFL
Revised July 30, 2016