Radio Etiquette

Basic Radio Etiquette Rules

  • The international radio language is English
  • 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 it is an emergency. If it is an emergency, inform the other parties that you have a 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.  Assume your conversations can be heard by others no unprofessional language
  • Perform 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.
    • Regularly make radio checks to make sure everything is working and that you are still in range to receive signals.
  • Important Blanco call signs
    • SAPS Delta                            Blanco SAPS dedicated vehicle
    • Blanco Control                     Blanco Watch control room
    • ADT Mobile                          Dedicated Blanco ADT Vehicle
    • SAPS Control                       Blanco SAPS CSC
  • 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 sentences. If your message is long, divide it into separate shorter messages.
    • Do not use abbreviations unless they are well understood by your group.

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.
3. Brevity: Be precise and to the point.
4. Security: Do not transmit confidential information on a radio unless you know the proper security technology is in place. Remember, frequencies are shared by many groups, you do not have exclusive use of the frequency.

How to Make Calls

Follow these easy steps to make a call.

  1. First listen to ensure the channel is clear for you.
  2. Press the PTT (Push-To-Talk) button.
  3. After 2 seconds:
    • Say “recipient’s call sign” twice
    • followed by   “THIS IS”   and “your call sign“.
  4. Once the person replies, convey your message.

Emergency Calls

If you have an emergency message and need to interrupt others’ conversations:

  • Wait and listen until you hear “Over”.
  • Press PTT and call (BREAK, BREAK, BREAK, this is (say your call sign), I have emergency message for (recipient’s call sign), Do you copy, Over!

Typical radio phrases and what they mean

  • “affirmative”: yes.
  • “breaker, breaker”, “break”: somebody else is trying to cut into your conversation with urgent or important additional information. (in this case stop transmitting and give them a chance to speak).
  • “copy, copy”, “I copy you”: I have received the information, understood.
  • “positive”, “that’s a positive”: yes, correct.
  • “negative”, “that’s a negative”: no, wrong.
  • “what’s your Lima?”: what’s your Location?
  • “I’ll give you a Lima”: I’ll call you on your Land-line telephone (and just to be confusing, sometimes also refers to a call to a mobile phone).
  • “M.V.A.”: mostly given as “em-vee-ay”, and not “Mike Victor Alpha” over the air, this refers to a “Motor Vehicle Accident”.
  • “repeat your Mike”: repeat your Message.
  • “that’s a Papa” “that’s Positive”: correct, affirmative.
  • “roger”, or “that’s a roger”: I understand, message understood.
  • “Tango Yankee”: Thank You
  •  “(I’m) standing by”: I’m on duty, awaiting any further instructions, available, listening.
  • “(I’m) standing down”: I’m going off duty.
  • When spelling or providing letters over the air (such as in the case of a vehicle’s registration number), use is made of a phonetic alphabet to ensure clarity during transmission. Thus a Cape Town registration plate (CA) would start with ‘Charlie Alpha…’ The phonetic alphabet is listed below, but if you’re not sure of a letter’s designation while on the air, use anything clear such as “N for nuts” – make sure the operator repeats the information back to you – make it as easy as relaying a message to a slightly deaf person over the phone! Repeat information as you deem necessary to provide clarification and speak slowly and clearly, making sure the transmitting button is pushed IN before you speak! Remember to release the button when you finish speaking!
  • SAPS Radio terms
    • 14A House breaking in progress
    • 14B House breaking occurred more than 60 minutes ago
    • 14C Attempted house breaking

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

 

Remember you will get better with practice,