National Traffic System ICS-213 Guidance

David Struebel

The National Traffic System (NTS)  is working on structuring  the ICS-213 into a suitable form/format so that it can be sent by radio circuits.  This is to be accomplished by
January 2016 and we will take suitable information such as the articles published in QNI by Jim WB8SIW and other examples that have been used by other groups.

We have already provided guidance for handling of ICS-213 forms in any format in the MPG (reference the current MPG, chapter 6, 6.2.15). For your convenience, here is an excerpt from Chapter 6:
                                1.1    ICS-213 GUIDANCE

The NIMS/ICS ICS-213 message form, and similar forms used by various agencies for internal communications in a preferred format, is not designed for tracking and logging in radio networks. Guidance for transmitting such forms in the ARRL Field Organization follows:


The ICS-213 (etc.) form contents as written may be transmitted from an originating station directly to a receiving station having a blank copy of the form, as is frequently done for other government or agency forms (such as situation reports, etc.). It is assumed that both stations are familiar with the form, and are familiar with how to identify the blocks of the message being transmitted. Care must be taken to use transmitting protocols to ensure exact copy of the message contents at the receiving end. General voicing and CW protocols may be used for transmitting the groups of the message as noted in Chapters 2 and 3 of the MPG. The military-like use of the introducer “symbol for ___” may be used to articulate colons and other punctuation. Of course, a direct packet radio or Radio-email connection between the stations may be used to transfer the form contents. RELAYS THROUGH MANUAL NETS/STATIONS

If the contents of an ICS-213 form (etc.) must be sent through intermediate manual relaying stations on Local, Section, or nation-wide NTS nets and NTSD, a Radiogram must be created with a valid preamble, address of the destination station or site, the ICS-213 contents entered into the text block, and a valid signature, including, as necessary, Op Notes and full a signature with return address, phone and/or email contact information. The Radiogram received-from and sent-to record sections must be completed. The ICS-213 contents must be modified to comply with Radiogram punctuation rules for the text so that standard voicing or CW transmission methods may be used. This can be cumbersome, but the ICS-213 itself is not suitable as a radio communications format, lacking the tracking and record attributes of the standard ARRL Radiogram.


By far, the most effective method for transferring the ICS-213 form (etc.) is to simply attach the contents file to a Radio-email to be sent via WL2K (telnet, packet, or HF access to the system), or sent via station-to-station transfer of the Radio-email via packet or HF. If the recipient has no WL2K or internet link on site, Type 3 Radio-email may be used to move the form messaging to a relay station capable of making direct delivery to the addressee(s). If the originator has no WL2K or internet link on site, it may use Type 4 direct station-to-station transfer to move the form messaging to a relay station capable of re-filing the traffic onto the WL2K network or internet.

In the interim if you receive any ICS-213 for sending, please just add the handwritten information contained in the preamble of an ARRL radiogram to be able to send it.


Joe Ames  W3JY                                           Steve Phillips K6JT                                      Rob Griffin K6YR
Chair Eastern Area Staff                              Chair Central Area Staff                              Chair Pacific Area Staff

Join { to automatically receive all group messages.