Delivering traffic

Once a piece of traffic reaches its destination area, it will be relayed to an amateur radio operator within the addressee’s area for final delivery. Ideally this operator would be in the same city as the addressee, but it is not uncommon for the addressee to be in the area, such as within the same metropolitan area.

If you have an ARL numbered radiogram for delivery, you should look up the meaning of these when providing the radiogram text to the recipient. They will likely not know what “ARL FIFTY” means.

Delivery options

When you are given a piece of traffic for delivery, your delivery options are based on what was included in the address part. Ideally the traffic includes a phone number, as this is the most common way to deliver traffic.

Phone delivery

Simply call the phone number and ask for the addressee. Explain you are an amateur radio operator and that you are delivering a message that arrived over amateur radio.

If no one answers but there is a voice mail greeting which says the addressee’s name (or you are otherwise confident you have the right phone number), you can leave the radiogram’s text in the voicemail and consider the traffic delivered. Provide a callback number in case they have any questions.

If you try calling the number but there is no answer, try again in a day or two. If there is a voicemail box, and the greeting does not indicate whose mailbox it is by name, leave a message explaining you’re trying to deliver a message to the addressee and provide your callback number.

What if the phone number is wrong, or not included? You should try to find a valid number. Remember, the goal is to deliver the message, and a quick internet search may yield a working phone number.

Postal service delivery

If there is no phone number, or if phone calls were unsuccessful, you can try putting the message in the mail. Provide a quick explanation, just as you would on the phone, about the traffic net and that you are delivering a message that arrived via amateur radio.

Note that if the radiogram has a HXG handling instruction, the sender has explicitly indicated you should not spend any funds when attempting delivery, which includes the cost of postage, paper, and envelope. In this case, if you cannot deliver the message by phone, email, or in person, send a message back indicating you could not deliver the message.

Email delivery

Alternatively, if the radiogram includes an email address, or if you can locate their email on a site such as QRZ.com, you can email the recipient. This should be treated as a last resort, as email delivery somewhat negates sending the message via amateur radio.

Personal delivery

While this is an option, it really shouldn’t be attempted unless you personally know the recipient. Putting aside the cost and time involved, your safety is more important than delivering the radiogram.

Successful delivery

If you are able to deliver a piece of traffic to its recipient, unless the sender has explicitly requested confirmation, such as via the handling instruction HXC, there is no need to send confirmation, but it is good form.

There is an ARL numbered radiogram item for this, ARL FORTY SEVEN, which is shorthand for, “Reference your message number ___ to ___ delivered on ___ at ___ UTC.” You can use this shorthand in your reply traffic. For example, if you successfully delivered our example radiogram on October 5 at 23:15 UTC (which is 6:15 PM Central Daylight Time), your radiogram text would be:

ARL FORTY SEVEN 7 ARIT OCTOBER 5 2315 X 73

What would the check on this message be? ARL 10. We used an ARL shorthand in the text, so we need to place ARL ahead of the number. Also, we say 73 at the end, but given that number is right against another, it is good practice to separate the numbers with initial X-RAY for clarity.

This is the completed radiogram example.
This is the completed radiogram example.

Unsuccessful delivery

After two or three days, if your delivery attempts were not successful, it is good practice to send a message back to the sender letting them know. Similar to successful delivery, there is an ARL numbered radiogram you can use, ARL SIXTY SEVEN, which is shorthand for, “Your message number ___ undeliverable because of ___. Please advise.” While this suggests you will receive a reply back on what to do, chances are the sender will appreciate your notification and leave it at that.

Let’s say our example radiogram was not successfully delivered after multiple phone call attempts because they are not answering, and we are not able to place this in the mail, email it, or deliver it personally. Our radiogram’s text would be:

ARL SIXTY SEVEN 7 NO ANSWER AFTER SEVERAL ATTEMPTS 73

Again, our check here is ARL 10 given we use an ARL shorthand.

While the text above fits the ARL shorthand, it is good practice to also provide the recipient’s callsign (if applicable), as well as phone number, for two reasons. Providing a callsign can aid the sender in matching up what traffic you’re referencing, and providing the phone number can help the sender determine if it somehow changed during transit. With this in mind, the text would read:

ARL SIXTY SEVEN 7 AR1T 330 555 4424 NO ANSWER AFTER SEVERAL ATTEMPTS 73

And its check is ARL 14.