Top Tips for Radio Users

Top Tips for Radio Users

Radios are often the preferred form of communication for people working in a range of industries and professions. The aim for all users is to get their message through accurately and with minimum delay.

Here are 12 general tips to help you achieve these goals:

1. Remember the radio does not operate the same way as a phone: Only one person can speak at a time.

2. Don’t respond if you are not sure the call is for you and don’t interrupt conversations unless it is an emergency. Be patient and wait for the channel to clear.

3. Think before you speak so that you can deliver your message concisely – in other words, avoid waffling!

4. Speak clearly and slowly in your normal voice and hold the radio or microphone 10-15cms away from your mouth when you speak.

5. Identify yourself: Introduce yourself and also state who you are addressing at the start of the conversation.

6. The KISS (Keep it simple, stupid) principle definitely applies – Keep your language as simple as possible and avoid long complicated sentences.

7. Pause before you speak: To avoid your first words being cut off it is best to pause for 1-2 seconds after you press the PTT (Push to Talk) button and then speak.

8. Do not transmit confidential or sensitive information unless you are sure your channels are secure with a proper level of encryption. Otherwise, always assume your conversations may be overheard by others.

9. Know what channel you should be using. This is very important for those working in forestry or similar industries which often have hundreds of channels programmed into their radios. Channels will be assigned to different crews or functions.

10. Learn the lingo. Here are some key 2-way radio words and phrases:

a. Affirmative – Yes
b. Negative – No
c. Roger/Roger that – message heard and understood
d. Stand by – please wait
e. Over – I have finished speaking and a cue for the other person to speak
f. Wilco – I will comply/follow instructions
g. Copy – Usually used to confirm the message has been understood eg “Do you copy me?”
h. Say again – re-transmit your message
i. Read you loud & clear – response to a “radio check” call meaning the transmit signal is good.
j. Out – This is said to indicate the end of a conversation ie “Over and out.”

11. Memorise the phonetic alphabet – it helps when you need to spell out difficult, ambiguous or unfamiliar words.

A – Alpha I – INDIA P – PAPA X – X-RAY
B – BRAVO J – JULIET Q – QUEBEC Y – YANKEE
C – CHARLIE K – KILO R – ROMEO Z – ZULU
D – DELTA L – LIMA S – SIERRA
F – FOXTROT M – MIKE T – TANGO
G – GOLF N – NOVEMBER U – UNIFORM
H – HOTEL O – OSCAR V – VICTOR

12. Perform regular checks on your radio equipment. Look after your equipment. In particular keep your radio speaker and microphone clear of debris/dirt. Make sure your batteries are charged and the radio is working as it should. It is a good idea to get your radios serviced by a licensed radio technician on a regular basis.

Remember these top tips and your communications will be smooth and frustration free.

Over and Out!