443-595-7911 - 24/7 Message Center

Emergency Communications
Safety of Life
Preservation of Property
Dissemination of Information


Message Handling Overview

The Auxiliary Communications Service does not use the ARRL National Traffic System (NTS) Radiogram for handling of formal messages. The radiogram is only used by the ARRL and is not used by any local jurisdiction, state or federal agency.  The form is presented here for reference proposes only.

The ICS 213 General Message Form is used to transfer formal messages between Federal, State and local jurisdictions. The form is originated in one location and transmitted electronically or over the air to another location. The reply from that location is returned electronically or over the air and the two "parts" of the form are matched together.

Using the ICS-213 form operational messages are routed directly, by the MOST EXPEDIENT method. Served agency messages are sent directly between agencies and deployed resources. ICS Form 213 is widely used by FEMA, SHARES, DHS, CAP, and Coast Guard. It’s a common sense format, similar in format to an e-mail message. and requires little or no training to use.

ICS-213 General Message Format
During declared emergencies and Public Service events BaCo ACS uses the Department of Homeland Security Incident Command System standard ICS-213 form. The ICS-213 formal message is not used for:

  • Real-Time” Tactical Communications
  • Direct conversations between third parties
  • Life-safety matters when timing is critical
  • Most routine task assignments
  • Most routine task completions
  • Most routine resource coordination
  • Record routine exchanges as line-items a ICS-309 Comm Log

Because incident reports are public documents the ICS-213 is used for:

  • Site  activation & closure
  • Damage assessments
  • Shelter and EOC status
  • Situation updates
  • Declarations
  • Resource Requests
  • ICS facility relocations

ARRL Radiogram
Used to transfer Health and Welfare information via National Traffic System Nets. This overview may be used as a guide in the preparation of Health and Welfare messages for routing through the National Traffic System via the Baltimore Traffic Net (BTN). The BTN is called by a Net Control Station (NCS) daily at 6:30p on the  W3FT repeater 146.670 MHz  pl 102.7.

ARRL Radiogram Format
Components of a Radiogram.

  • Preamble
  • To Address
  • Text / Body
  • Signature

Please refer to the National Traffic System Methods and Practices Guidelines manual available for download from the ARRL web site  for an in depth review and explanation of NTS message handling.


“Preparedness is Not an Option, Preparedness is a Requirement

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Baltimore  County Auxiliary Communications Service
115 Wight Avenue - PBX 88 -  Hunt Valley, MD 21031