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      The amateur radiogram "check" is the number of words in the text including the salutation if present. The count is determined by the spacing used by the operator in sending the text. The first operator to transmit the radiogram enters the check in the preamble; this check should carry through to destination. The relaying operator has no authority to change the check unless it is determined that the check is incorrect. Then it should be confirmed with the transmitting operator before making the change. But the original check should remain in the preamble (example: an original check of 10 corrected to 9 would be sent "10/9". The check allows for ensuring the accuracy and completeness of your copy. It indicates to the receiving operator how many words the radiogram will contain.

     Numbers count as one, regardless of length. Don't use punctuation or fractions. "X" or "X-ray" is used in place of a period or semicolon and is counted in the check. Here are examples of word counts:

New York City 3 words
527B 1 word
NYC 1 word
Fifty six 2 words
H O Townsend 3 words
W1YL/4 1 word

      The ARRL-recommended procedure for counting the telephone number in the text is to separate the number into groups, with the area code counting as one word, the three-digit exchange one word, and the last four digits one word. (860 594 0301 counts as three words and 594 0301 as two words). Separating the phone number into groups minimizes garbling.

A few rules have to be observed in sending words:

Make your spacing methodical and accurate on both phone and CW.

      Do not waste time arguing about "how to count." The purpose of the "check" in amateur work is to confirm the number of words or groups in the text. QTB is a useful signal in confirming check. Once you are sure that you have copied the radiogram correctly, QSL (on CW) or "roger" (on phone) the radiogram and get on with the next one, correcting the check when you relay the radiogram.

     In copying traffic by pencil or typewriter, it is quite easy to count the words in the text as you copy. When using pencil, copy five words to a line. At the end of the radiogram, you can easily figure the number of words by the number of lines (plus how many words over) you copied. By typewriter, it is more convenient to copy ten words to a line--this can easily be done by copying five words, hitting the space bar twice instead of once, copying five more words, then line spacing to begin a new ten-word line. At the end of the message a glance at the number of lines will show you how many words you copied. You can then question the sending operator if your figure doesn't agree. When message traffic is heavy, it is not advisable to query a check unless you believe that a mistake was made in sending or copying.

ARL Check

     Messages containing ARRL numbered radiogram texts (see form FSD-3) have the same form as any other radiogram, except that the symbol ARL (not ARRL) is used before the check. This symbol indicates that a spelled-out number in the radiogram refers to a complete text on the ARL list. When delivering a message with an ARL text, you must deliver the complete text. It is therefore very necessary that the symbol ARL be included with the check to avoid the possibility of delivery of a meaningless number to the addressee.

NTS | Radiograms | Precedence | Handling Instructions
Word Count | Numbered Messages | Sending | Delivering

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