An HXE NTS message means "Delivering station get reply from addressee, originate message back". On an NTS form, the origination station and location are indicated, but no other information about the originator is included. How are you supposed to address a message back to the originator? Usually sending a message includes an email, phone, address, etc, but the receiver won't necessarily have that information.

The best that I can imagine is to simply listen to the traffic net that you sent it from and hope the same message comes back, but I want to see if that is really the case.


In my experience with HXE, I end up looking up the ham's call (e.g.on eHam) and emailing the message asking for confirmation of receipt if I cannot find a phone number on-line and they are not a regular on the net. I tend to look at the significance of the message to determine how much effort I should invest in tracking down a way to contact the originator.

In listening on traffic nets, it seems that once the message gets close to the originators QTH, that person is known to the local traffic net so they find a way of delivering it.

If all else fails, looking up the originating call in the FCC database and mailing a copy of the message to the address on record is acceptable. This probably is probably less than desirable service time, however - especially with H&W messages.

  • $\begingroup$ And if the message is not from a ham, hopefully the originating ham will have kept records about the sender - but it does seem like a hole in the process. $\endgroup$ – user3486184 Sep 29 '17 at 21:54
  • $\begingroup$ Presumably the replying person knows by the signature who should get the message, and can translate "Uncle Bill" into "William Smith, 123 Fake Street"... but there's no guarantee of that. $\endgroup$ – user3486184 Sep 29 '17 at 22:00
  • $\begingroup$ The originating station is always a ham. $\endgroup$ – Glenn W9IQ Sep 29 '17 at 22:04
  • $\begingroup$ The originating station is, but the originating person may not be - a message from Joe to Uncle Bill could start with Joe being a non-ham, filling out a radiogram form at Field Day and passing that to a ham to send via NTS. $\endgroup$ – user3486184 Sep 29 '17 at 22:21
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    $\begingroup$ If I were the originating ham at FD, my first question would be "And how should I get in touch with you when I get a reply?". You can also include Joe's contact details in the body of the outgoing message if you wish. $\endgroup$ – Glenn W9IQ Sep 29 '17 at 22:25

Usually with NTS the originating station, which is always a ham radio station, receives the acknowledgement of delivery which is usually returned via NTS message using ARL numbered phrases like ARL 47 means delivery was successful and ARL 67 is not delivered for a stated reason. An example of non-delivery reason would be bad phone number as many times a phone number of recipient is included in the message delivery instructions.

NTS has a network of layered message handling sections that include local nets, section nets, and regional nets. A regional net might be something like RN6 or RN7 and a section net is something like OSN (Oregon Section Net) and WSN Washington State Net. I only mention OSN and WSN because I am a member of those nets but there are others in North America.

If for some reason you can not deliver back thru the NTS messaging system then another form of acknowledgement can be done and you are open to take your pick of phone call, e-mail, or routing back to who you actually received the message. This last method is often the most common but not the most formal which is to use the NTS messaging system.

In answering this question, I am answering from my own experience in NTS message traffic handling and not because I just read it in the ARRL documentation. I say this because it has been years since I read the ARRL NTS documentation and there could be more detail and even changes from the methods I and others I know employ.

  • $\begingroup$ The problem is with HXE is that a response is required, but one doesn't have anywhere to include the originating station's contact information on the form. I guess the desire is for the operator to participate in the same NTS net and hope it gets routed that way? $\endgroup$ – PearsonArtPhoto Dec 29 '17 at 2:42
  • $\begingroup$ I have been involved, almost daily, in NTS nets, mostly CW nets but also SSB. I have never seen any problems with respect to sending acknowledgement. Originators station call sign is always available. Contact information other than call sign must be derived from other 3rd party sources such as QRZ or something else. NTS assumes that ack is done via NTS, not by e-mail or phone call. Also, except for times of disaster or something, almost all NTS messages are "practice" with contrived messages such as congrats on upgrade, welcome to ham radio, etc. No one cares too much about ack for these $\endgroup$ – K7PEH Dec 29 '17 at 2:55

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