New hams listening in on a local net are likely to hear the net control station begin the session by asking for stations with traffic. Seems like there never is traffic, so what’s that all about?
Traffic is ham-speak for passing messages, usually via regular radio nets.
Messages are almost always formal, written on a form with bureaucratic detail.
Even friendly, casual messages (“happy birthday, Aunt Edna”) are typically passed this way.
Such messages (traffic) resemble the old telegram format. They go back to the very early days of amateur radio when passing messages was a primary function. In fact, this is from where the US Amateur Radio Relay League (ARRL) derives its name.
Nowadays traffic is mainly an emergency communications (EmComm) function, although the occasional casual message is passed on. Purpose-specific traffic nets meet regularly to pass messages to stay in practice for when they are really needed, like when there is a local or regional communication outage. Likewise, local nets support traffic to maintain readiness.
The general traffic flow is from an originating station to a local net where the message is Continue reading