Few radio amateurs are good as this, unlike professional service radio operators: formal messages.
What do I mean here by formal message? I refer more to the formal FORMAT of a message.
Radio amateurs are often (but not all, perhaps most are not these days) good at chatting, about WX, ANT etc. all good stuff. Then others are not, they find it hard to exchange anything other than 5NN TU or 73. Same often for professionals who come to amateur radio.
But FORMAL FORMAT MESSAGES (QTC if you like or radio grams) have a very important role for radio preppers. It is all to do with reliability and efficiency of communicating a message and being able to have that message relayed ACCURATELY.
I will give a typical example. IN a net, one station can hear one but not another. So he asks for QSP. He wants to inform the third station that he is going to be unable to make the sked today and will be on tomorrow at 1600Z on 14049kHz. But what actually gets relayed? The station in the middle, listened, did not write down, and then sends the message as follows:
Sorry Bill, John says he could not make the net today but will be on 20 meters at 4pm tomorrow. YET that is completely wrong. So this is why a FORMAL FORMAT is required and a message needs to be WRITTEN (or typed) down. But it has other benefits too:
* Easy to check if something is missing, by counting the words and comparing it to the check number
* Easy to fill in missing letters or blanks by using the "WA", "WB", "AA", "AB", "BN" codes.
For a much detailed explanation of all this, please see -- relating to CW in particular but also applicable to SSB and digital modes:
Of course the benefits are many more: hard copy, filing, third parties, accuracy no matter how many times it is relayed, time and place of origin and clear destination, the importance or urgency of the message.
CW by the way has many benefits over SSB for sending FORMAL FORMAT MESSAGES (QTC or Radiograms). These include as much as 20dB better signal-to-noise ratio thus requiring much less power, e.g. as much as 1W CW to 100W SSB equation. Typically at least 10db but very often more than this. CW can also be copied, by an experienced and trained ear, as much as 12dB or more below noise.
Another advantage is SPEED. Who would have thought Morse Code is faster than voice or digital? Assuming three trained operators: a competent SSB Op, a competent digital OP, a competent CW Op. Digital often needs hand shaking and setting up and a message often has to be typed in and/or printed out before or after the event of sending. But particularly SSB can be very slow and unreliable:
MR TRYANTHEWONTIGONG OF ST KATHRINES CAN BE CONTACTED ON 789 321 4567
in CW that is sent exactly like that, and if readability is good, requires no repeats.
But SSB will require spelling out:
MIKE ROMEO NEW WORD TANGO ROMEO YANKEE ALPHA NOVEMBER TANGO HOTEL ECHO WHISKY OSCAR NOVEMEBT TANGO INDIA GOLF OSCAR NOVEMBER GOLF NEW WORD OSCAR FOXTROTT NEW WORD SIERRA TANGO NEW WORD KATHRINES I SPELL KILO ALPHA TANGO HOTEL ROMEO INDIA NOVEMBER ECHO SIERRA CAN BE CONTACTED ON 789 SPACE 321 SPACE 4567
(because the spaces are important to the word count, remember, any message must be sent or relayed EXACTLY as it was received INCLUDING what may appear to be errors or unimportant things).
The IARU even acknowledges this in the Emergency Telecommunications Guide which is VERY MUCH worth printing out by radio preppers it is up to date, comprehensive and covers a lot of things. This together with any other list of frequencies, codes, things that you cannot access from the Internet or computer so should be prepared in print -- even the message forms/format mentioned above.
Great resource, thank you!