How do I use a period/dot in a radiogram? That depends! How do you want to use it? When finishing a thought or changing subjects in a radiogram message, use “X” to end the statement or thought as in Example1. When referring to a decimal point, use “R” in place of the period/dot as in Example2. When referring to an email or website, use “DOT” written out as in Example3.
Example1: WE HAD A GREAT TIME X WHY IS IT THAT WE ONLY VISIT IN FALL QUERY
Example2: 146R52 IS THE CALLING FREQUENCY
Example3: WWW DOT GOOGLE DOT COM
Punctuation in a radiogram is simple. No punctuation such as commas, periods, colons, hyphens, question marks, etc. are permitted in a radiogram. Instead, other characters or words are used in their place. For example, “X” is used to indicate a period (but should NOT be used as the last group in a radiogram) and the word QUERY is used in place of a question mark. Hyphens or dashes should be left out, unless they are necessary, then should be written as HYPHEN or DASH.
When building a radiogram including a telephone number, it is important to remember that phone numbers are split into either two or three groups, depending on if an area code is necessary and/or included. The NTS Methods & Practices Guide, section 1.2.4 indicates that with an area code, a telephone number is split into three groups – 3 digits, 3 digits and 4 digits.
When correcting check errors the original check should be maintained in the message and the corrected check should be noted. In the radiogram the original and corrected check should be noted with a “/” which on voice would be read as corrected to. This also applies to missing ARL designator in messages where ARRL Numbered Radiograms are used. Example1: A check of 15 that was corrected to 14 should be noted as “15/14” which would be read as “one five corrected to one four“. Example2: A message which starts out with ARL Fifty and has a check of 14 should be noted as “14/ARL 14” and should be read as “one four corrected to A-R-L one four“.
It is best practice to indicate initials as initials versus taking them for abbreviated words. Changing some word-groups can change the check of the message, while some simply imply that a word is written out; but both change the message, which should always be avoided. One example of this is changing NJ by reading it as “New Jersey” instead of “initials november juliette” or “initial group november juliette” which would change the word count as well as alter the original message. Another example of this is changing KHZ by reading it as “kilohertz” instead of “initials kilo hotel zulu” or “initial group kilo hotel zulu” which, while minor, alters the original message that was sent, which should always be avoided.
When sending a message by radio there are many factors that may change the way a message is heard by the receiving party. This is especially true of numbers. It is best practice to indicate “figures” and voice each number in a group of numbers as a single digit. For Example: 14 should be sent as “figures one four” because the word “fourteen” may be misheard or believed to be written out with letters.