To make radio communication go more smoothly, over the years certain rules, or etiquette, have been established. Below we have outlined the basic etiquette a radio user should understand. It will help improve your overall experience when using your radio!
Basic Radio Etiquette Rules
- The international radio language is English, except in cases where you are licensed to speak in some other language.
- When using a two-way radio you cannot speak and listen at the same time, as you can with a phone.
- Don’t interrupt if you hear other people talking. Wait until their conversation is finished unless you have something useful to add, or it’s an emergency. If it is an emergency, inform the other parties that you have an urgent emergency message (see “Emergency Calls” below).
- Do not respond if you aren’t sure the call is for you. Wait until you hear your call sign to respond.
- Never transmit sensitive or confidential information. Unless you are certain your conversations are secured with the proper level of encryption for the level of sensitivity, assume your conversations can be heard by others.
- Perform monthly radio checks to ensure your radio is in good working condition.
- Ensure the battery is charged and the power is on.
- Keep the volume high enough to be able to hear calls.
- Make radio checks monthly to make sure everything is working and that you are still in range to receive signals.
- Memorize call signs and locations of persons and radio stations you communicate with regularly.
- In radio communication, you are not called by your name. Everybody has their own unique call sign.
- First names can be used so long as you identify with you call sign as required by law.
- Think before you speak.
- Decide what you are going say and to whom it is meant for.
- Make your conversations as concise, precise, and clear as possible.
- Avoid long and complicated conversations without a break.
- Do not use abbreviations unless they are well understood by your group.
- You are only required to ID at the end of your transmission, and every 15 minutes during conversation.
- Don’t be a quick keyer, allow a break between transmissions to allow other a chance to key.
- Allow the repeaters a chance to drop every 2 minutes to avoid timing them out.
4 Golden Rules of Radio Communication
|1.||Clarity:||Your voice should be clear. Speak a little slower than normal. Speak in a normal tone, do not shout.|
|2.||Simplicity:||Keep your message simple enough for intended listeners to understand, some people hear differently.|
|3.||Brevity:||Do not interrupt conversations to say hello or announce your call sign, its rude and will cause avoidance.|
|4.||Security:||Do not transmit confidential information, frequencies are shared, you do not have exclusive use of the frequency.|
If you have an emergency message and need to interrupt others’ conversations:
- Wait and listen until you hear “Over”.
- Press PTT and say “BREAK, BREAK, BREAK, your call sign, I have an emergency message for (recipient’s call sign), Do you copy, Over”.
Memorize the Phonetic Alphabet
- It is almost certain you will have to use it in your conversations.
- You will often be required to spell a certain word or name in your radio conversations to make sure you are understood.
- Using the phonetic equivalents instead of letters will make sure letters such as ‘F’ are not misinterpreted as ‘S’, ‘T’ as ‘C, or ‘M’ as ‘N’.
Following is a list showing the international phonetics used for the alphabet:
|A – ALPHA||H – HOTEL||O – OSCAR||V – VICTOR|
|B – BRAVO||I – INDIA||P – PAPA||X – X-RAY|
|C – CHARLIE||J – JULIET||Q – QUEBEC||W – WHISKEY|
|D – DELTA||K – KILO||R – ROMEO||Y – YANKEE|
|E – ECHO||L – LIMA||S – SIERRA||Z – ZULU|
|F – FOXTROT||M – MIKE||T – TANGO|
|G – GOLF||N – NOVEMBER||U – UNIFORM|