Re: Custom FLMSG Red Cross form conforming to NTS standard

Steve Hansen


Actually, flmsg's radiogram is very good.

  • The user screen is a great guide for someone who's not adept with the radiogram format.
  • With a couple of mouse clicks you can get the text view which is proper for voicing, cw and digital - in other words, every mode used within the traffic networks.
  • With another couple of mouse clicks you can get an html version that can be presented to the addressee and is suitable for framing.
  • If you have an organizational preference, you can switch the html header between ARRL and RRI.

If someone sends me an flmsg radiogram via, say, our local NBEMS net I can open the text view and then inject it into the digital network. Very simple process.

Now, when I get a radiogram for local delivery and I want to mail it in the html format (I like to do that with new ham messages. They get the flmsg html on the top of the page, a somewhat customized letter below and on the reverse side a FAQ about radiograms. (When I got my license I received a welcome radiogram on the ARRL postcard, had no idea what it was and then chucked it.....having some explanation lets new hams know what exactly this message is and how it got to them.)

That said, when I do that I have to take the text and then copy it into flmsg's various fields. That takes a few minutes. There is one program called the NTSD Parser which, while it was designed for other primary purposes, can actually take the text and convert it to a reasonably good html form similar to flmsg's form. However, the Parser is rather awkward to use and the form sometimes does funny things.

I think that the important thing to remember is that there's only one radiogram format (text) and there are many variations - some better than others - on the "pretty form." ARRL has theirs, RRI has several fillable pdfs (lined/unlined/with op data, without op data) e.g.

I'm sure there are more.

73, Steve

On 1/27/2020 5:37 PM, Larry Levesque wrote:
Thanks for the detailed explanation Steve.
Unfortunately my Custom Forms skill set will not help here.

Custom forms presents the data to fldigi as field names and numbers along with the corresponding text values.

This would have to be a form implemented in the base program.
Although that is not beyond my abilities, it would require a lot of learning for me to get up to speed.

Dave / All - is anyone willing to help out here.
It would make perfect sense in this application to program another form so that the HTML and data sent to fldigi would just be a copy of the raw text form of the form data.
Maybe call it NTS Raw Radiogram or something similar.

On Mon, Jan 27, 2020 at 08:53:34AM -0500, Steve Hansen wrote:
Hi Larry,

The proper radiogram format is described in, for example, the "pink
card" (cheat sheet) reference. This can be found at

Below is the example that is given. It is pure text. This is what flmsg
produces if you fill out the data entry window and then go to File -
View - Text. What flmsg produces is in this format.

410 555 1234

Traffic handlers know what each of the elements represents so there is
no need to add any other information when transmitting. All of the
content is compatible with cw, voice and digital. This is important as
the sender may not have any idea how the message is going to be
transported. For example, the manual inter-area nets are cw. A message
sent from NH to AK via the digital network might well make the hop from
the Pacific Northwest to AK via cw.

The flmsg html output is perfectly good as a way of presenting a
radiogram to someone who is not familiar with the format. It also
includes the translations of, for example, the ARL numbers. I use the

html form when presenting a radiogram in person or delivering it by
mail. In fact, the flmsg html form includes items that the ARRL printed
form (which hasn't been updated in ages) does not include.

On the Winlink side, the old (pre-July 2018) Winlink Express radiogram
template produced a nice html form but the text that shows in the
message panel was scrambled and contained extraneous information. The
result was that it was essentially worthless as far as the traffic
network was concerned. We changed the input template so that it looks
much like the flmsg input screen. It has helps and changes things like
periods to X, decimal points to R, etc. When one is finished, the
information in the template is transferred to the message panel in the
proper format and the html template disappears. I.e. it's only an input

The way that the Winlink system works is that the radiogram gets sent to
a regional liaison. This is done using tactical calls that are in a drop
down on the form. I handle Region 1 and handle about 100-200
radiograms/month that are submitted via Winlink. I input them to the
digital network in most cases. If coming into Maine I take them to
either the section NTS net or deliver myself.

For flmsg, the best way to send a radiogram to a traffic handler is to
send the text output.

Bottom line, flmsg as a tool is excellent. Dave has been very good at
providing updates as needed.


Steve KB1TCE

On 1/26/20 9:14 PM, Larry Levesque wrote:
Please explain what "compatible" is....
Do you want an exact replica of the ARRL message form?
Send me an HTML example of one that is compatible and I can create one for flmsg.

On Sun, Jan 26, 2020 at 08:58:18PM -0500, Steve Hansen wrote:
The text output of the flmsg Radiogram form is correctly formatted for
transmission by voice, cw or digital. I use it routinely for injection into
the Digital Traffic Network (DTN). The form itself is mainly meant for
delivery since it explains the fields. It is not compatible within the
traffic networks.

73, Steve KB1TCE

RRI DTN Maine/Winlink-RRI Liaison

On 1/26/2020 8:09 PM, Doug K7KY wrote:
We want to pass FLMSG RadioGram traffic to an NTS net, but NTS doesn't
work with the FLMSG form.  We're hoping someone here has developed a
custom FLMSG RadioGram form compatible with NTS. If so, we'd appreciate
the opportunity to use your form.  Thanks in advance for your assistance
or advice. ''  Doug K7KY


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