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No phones, no internet, no communications... When all else fails, there's amateur radio

We rely on our cell phones and internet connections to stay in touch. But what happens when these aren’t available? It could happen from a hurricane, earthquake, tornado, landslide, or a major disruption to phone or internet connectivity through equipment failure, network overload, or power loss.

When this happens, amateur radio operators can come into an affected area and set up communications. Antennas can be held up by trees, and generators can provide equipment power. Communications can be set up for across town, across the country, or around the world.

Recent calls to service

As Marco Weakens, Attention Turns to Laura, Which May Become a Category 2 Hurricane

“North Texas Section Traffic Manager Aaron Hulett, K8AMH, said he’s kept in touch with net managers and Official Relay Stations in his Section to discuss plans and preparedness, ‘and we are now on standby for any storm-related traffic.'”

South Carolina Amateur Radio Volunteers Assist with Emergency Communication

“… operators at the State Emergency Operations Center (SEOC) have been keeping in contact with field volunteers in Marion and Dillon counties, after conventional telecommunications failed there.”

Dominica Post-Disaster Needs Assessment Cites Amateur Radio’s Role after Maria

“… all telecommunication services on Dominica except for Amateur Radio were disabled from September 19 to 21.”

Communication standards

When sending communications into and out of an affected area, having a standardized method of communicating can help greatly. Traffic nets are one method to communicate quickly and efficiently. During the nets we move pieces of traffic (in this case messages) using a standardized format called a radiogram.

Without standards like this, an already hectic environment can be made even worse, which is why our goals at the DFW Metroplex Traffic Net include moving traffic as well as helping educate amateur radio operators interested in traffic handling.

Learn more about radiograms

We have details regarding their layout and content.

Types of traffic

  • These are general messages. When there are no emergencies or other time of need, messages offering well-wishes or other general greetings are sent to help test the system and let amateur radio operators build, sharpen, and practice their skills.

National Traffic System

The DFW Metroplex Traffic Net is an affiliate of the American Radio Relay League (ARRL) National Traffic System (NTS). The NTS consists of amateur radio networks (nets) which move non-commercial messages as a public service.

More information about the NTS is available at the ARRL website.

You can also learn who our North Texas Officials are at the ARRL North Texas Section website.


Can we help answer any questions?

Please feel free to ask during or shortly after one of our traffic nets concludes, or you can reach out to the net manager and assistant net manager using our contact us page.