Traffic handling is one facet of the hobby that I’ve never explored.

While the notion of originating, handling, and delivering personal messages via ham radio seems dated, I have received a handful of such messages over the course of my radio life and must admit to enjoying each and every one of them. Typically, these have been birthday greetings from a friend of the air, but a few times I’ve received a radiogram ‘welcome’ for having checked into a net.

The practice comes from somewhere back in our long ago, so it’s surprising to find it still exists and seems surprisingly healthy in this new century. The only real snag being that most radio enthusiasts, myself included, know little about how it all works. I’ve never originated a message in nearly 40 years of being licensed, have you?

For the last two nights I’ve checked into the 75 Meter Interstate Sideband Net, an independent traffic net providing Public Service since 1952.

I actually stumbled into the net on the first night. I’d been experimenting with antennas for 80 meters in preparation for the coming season. It’s one way that I’m making other arrangements in response to the Modern Maunder.

Ill-prepared to handle traffic and with “nothing for the net”, I was warmly welcomed and enjoyed riding along for nearly an hour just to see how this traffic handling thing works. The experience was positive enough to get me back the following night, and I’ll likely check-in tonight too.

It’s completely random, but now I’m smitten with the idea of originating and handling traffic as another ham radio bucket list item.

There are plenty of online resources that walk the neophyte thru the process of traffic handling. It seems that with a little research, a fellow could originate a message — simple greetings to some long-lost radio friend (or maybe “hello” to those who comment on this blog?) and let the traffic nets run their course.

The value of that kind of traffic comes from the practice it provides in keeping the system functional and in the goodwill it creates in connecting with friends via radio.

How can that be anything but good for amateur radio?

Author: Jeff Davis


2 thoughts on “Traffic”

  1. Jeff, please elaborate a bit on the antennas you’ve been working with. I’ve got to get something up before the snow flies, and I’m on a city lot. A full length dipole would be challenging…

    1. Hey Dave, I’ve been comparing a Cobra antenna ( and a Delta Loop for 80 meters. Neither are mounted very high, less than 40 feet, and both seem to be good at NVIS though I have my doubts about DX possibilities with either. So far I’m giving the nod to the Cobra because it works well on the other bands and so seems more flexible, but I’m really only interested in 3.5MHz these days. More on this in another post after I’ve had a few weekends to compare.

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