Wednesday, August 10, 2022

The Ultimate Guide to Two-Way Radio Lingo

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When you communicate over two-way radios it is important to understand the ‘lingo’ or the language that you may hear. While you can have ‘normal’ conversations over a radio, using short-hand expressions and codes can be very useful. Transferring information quickly over two-way radios helps keep the channels free for other users and improves efficiency.

Before we look at two-way radio lingo specifics, some checklists should be undertaken so that each user is comfortable with using the radios and that they too understand the etiquette required.

Two-Way Radio Lingo Starting Checklist

  • The international radio language is English.
  • Two-way radios are simplex, in other words, you cannot speak and listen at the same time, like a mobile phone.
  • Don’t interrupt an existing conversation unless you have an emergency.
  • If you have a callsign, Wait until you hear it before responding. Do not interrupt.
  • The channels are often ‘open’ channels so disclosing private or sensitive information is not advised.
  • Ensure your radio is in good working condition and perform a radio check at the beginning of the day.
  • Make sure the battery is charged and the power is on.
  • Check the volume is high enough to hear calls.
  • Perform radio checks periodically to ensure you are still in range to receive signals.
  • Make your conversations as concise, precise, and clear as possible.
  • Only use abbreviations if they are going to be understood by your group.

Shorthand Two-Way Radio Lingo

  • Roger that: “Message received and understood”
  • Roger so far: Confirming part way through a long message that you’ve understood the message so far
  • Stand By: I’m busy at the moment, I’ll call you asap
  • Affirmative: Yes
  • Negative: No
  • Come in: Asking another user to acknowledge they can hear you
  • Go ahead: I am ready for your message
  • Say again: Repeat all of your last messages
  • Say all before/after: Repeat all before/after a certain phrase or word if you didn’t catch part of the message
  • Disregard: Ignore the previous transmission
  • Copy: Message understood
  • Over: I’ve finished my part of the transmission ready for your reply
  • Out: Conversation is finished, no answer is required or expected
  • Radio check: What’s my signal strength? Can you hear me?
  • Do You Copy?: Can you hear me?:
  • Loud and Clear: Your radio is working
  • Mic Check or Radio Check: Is my radio working?
  • Say Again or Go Again: Retransmit your message
  • Read you loud and clear: Your transmission signal is good, I can hear you fine
  • Wilco: Abbreviation of “I will comply”, means the speaker will complete the task that’s been asked of them
  • On it: I’m in the process of doing what you asked
  • Eyes On: I can see what we’re talking about
  • Break, break: Interruption to transmission to communicate urgently
  • Emergency, emergency: Distress call, only to be used when there is an imminent danger to life and immediate assistance is required
  • Stand by: Wait for a short period and I will get back to you
  • Wait out: The waiting period is longer than I expected, I will get back to you as soon as possible
  • What’s Your 20?: Where are you?
  • I spell: The next word will be spelled out using the phonetic alphabet

Phonetic Alphabet Used with Two-Way Radio Lingo

A: Alpha
B: Bravo
C: Charlie
D: Delta
E: Echo
F: Foxtrot
G: Golf
H: Hotel
I: India
J: Juliet
K: Kilo
L: Lima
M: Mike
N: November
O: Oscar
P: Papa
Q: Quebec
R: Romeo
S: Sierra
T: Tango
U: Uniform
V: Victor
W: Whiskey
X: X-ray
Y: Yankee
Z: Zulu

Using Two-Way Radio Lingo Effectively

Starting Your Transmission

Starting a transmission is important. If you have many users in your group, the following lingo will help you communicate with the right person:

  • Come in Bill: Are you there Bill?
  • Go ahead: Transmit your message
  • Go ahead Bill: Acknowledge “Bill” wants to contact me and I’m ready to listen
  • Jane Calling Bill: I, Jane, want to talk with Bill
  • Bill, Come In: Are you there Bill?

During Your Conversation

During your conversation you can start to introduce some more shorthand two-way radio lingo:

  • Affirmative: Yes
  • Copy: Message understood
  • Disregard: Ignore the previous transmission
  • Eyes on: I can see what we’re talking about
  • Negative: No
  • On It: I’m in the process of doing what you asked
  • Roger or Roger That: Message understood
  • Stand By: I’m busy at the moment, I’ll call you asap
  • What’s Your 20?: Where are you?

Radio Check Issues

On occasion, you may have issues with your two-way radios. Instead of just shouting, try these:

  • Do You Copy?: Can you hear me?
  • Loud and Clear: Your radio is working
  • Mic Check or Radio Check: Is my radio working?
  • Say Again or Go Again: Retransmit your message

Ending Your Conversation

Using two-way radio lingo to end your conversation, lets everyone know that the conversation is finished.

  • Out: Conversation is finished, no answer is required or expected
  • Over: I’ve finished my part of the transmission ready for your reply

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