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Radio etiquette


Channels and frequencies are often shared between multiple users and over large regions and there are few things the serious two-way radio community dislikes more than chaotic and undisciplined chatter over the airwaves. Again Eric shares his wisdom: “It is for this reason that some cubs use ‘tones’ with their frequencies. The use of sub-audio tones eliminate co-users of the same frequency unless they are on the same sub-audible tone. A variation of this is the use of Digital Tones, which are even more secure, but, all users within a given group will have to make use of the exact same sub-audio or digital tone in order to communicate with each other.”

Basic radio etiquette is not difficult to follow and simple practices like using the phonetic alphabet (Alpha, Bravo, Charlie, etc.) and ‘prowords’ (over, out, roger, etc.) can help avoid misunderstandings and keep the airways open for everyone to use.

Universal prowords

  • SEND: Initial call received, continue with the rest of your message.
  • SAY AGAIN: I have not understood your transmission, please repeat.
  • OVER: This is the end of my current transmission and I am now expecting a response.
  • OUT: This is the end of my transmission. No answer is needed or expected. (Note that "OVER" and "OUT" have mutually exclusive meanings and so should never be used at the same time in a single transmission).
  • ROGER, RECEIVED, COPY: Your last transmission has been received and understood.
  • WILCO: Your last transmission has been received and understood and I will comply. (Note that "ROGER" and "WILCO" should never be used together since "WILCO" already includes the acknowledgement of the last transmission).
  • AFFIRM, AFFIRMATIVE: I confirm, or "Yes".
  • NEGATIVE: I do not confirm, or "No".
  • RADIO CHECK: What is my signal strength? Can you hear and understand my transmission?
  • LOUD AND CLEAR: Your transmission has been received clearly.
  • BROKEN AND UNREADABLE: Your transmission has been received, but cannot be understood.

Phonetic alphabet*

Letters

Letter Code Word Pronunciation
A Alpha AL FAH
B Bravo BRAH VOH
C Charlie CHAR LEE
D Delta DELL TAH
E Echo ECK OH
F Foxtrot FOKS TROT
G Golf GOLF
H Hotel HO TELL
I India IN DEE AH
J Juliet JEW LEE ETT
K Kilo KEY LOH
L Lima LEE MAH
M Mike MIKE
N November NO VEM BER
O Oscar OSS CAH
P Papa PAH PAH
Q Quebec KEH BECK
R Romeo ROW ME OH
S Sierra SEE AIR RAH
T Tango TANG GO
U Uniform YOU NEE FORM
V Victor VIK TAH
W Whiskey WISS KEY
X X-ray ECKS RAY
Y Yankee YANG KEY
Z Zulu ZOO LOO

Numbers

Number Code Word Pronunciation
0 Zero ZE RO
1 One WUN
2 Two TOO
3 Three TREE
4 Four FOW ER
5 Five FIFE
6 Six SIX
7 Seven SEV EN
8 Eight AIT
9 Nine NIN ER


* The above represents the standard NATO/ICAO/Aviation phonetic alphabet for the English language. Other phonetic alphabets are also in use around the world.


Page 1: A review of inter-vehicle communication
Page 2: Antenna mounting, fitting and servicing
Page 3: Clubs, licensing and the law
Page 4: Radio etiquette, prowords and the phonetic alphabet
Page 5: Jargon, dealers and price guide



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