31 Oct Alcom’s Top 10 Tips For Radio Users
Many staff or volunteers who have little or no experience with radios are required to use them as part of their job. We have often been asked to provide some guidelines for these novice radio users. The aim is to eliminate user error and ensure critical communications are relayed promptly and then clearly understood by everyone.
Here are our 10 top tips:
1. Remember the radio does not operate the same way as a phone: Only one person can speak at a time.
2. Understand how operate your radio and 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.
3. Be patient and wait for the channel to clear before you relay a message. Do not respond to a call if you are unsure if it is for you. Do not interrupt conversations unless it is an emergency.
4. Know what channel you should be using. This is very important especially if channels are assigned to different crews or for different functions.
5. Think before you speak so that you can deliver your message concisely.
6.Press the PTT (Push to Talk) button, then pause (breathe) for 1-2 seconds before you speak. Speak clearly and slowly in your normal voice and hold the radio or microphone 10-15cms away from your mouth when you speak.
7. Identify both who you are calling and yourself at the start of the conversation and then relay your message: eg “All stations, this is Alcom Communications/Vernon. I need all stations to……..”
8. Avoid transmitting 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. Learn the lingo. The KISS (Keep it simple, stupid) principle definitely applies – Keep your language as simple as possible and avoid long complicated sentences.
Here are some key 2-way radio words and phrases:
Affirmative – Yes
Negative – No
Roger/Roger that – message heard and understood
Stand by – please wait
Over – I have finished speaking and a cue for the other person to speak
Wilco – I will comply/follow instructions
Copy – Usually used to confirm the message has been understood eg “Do you copy me?”
Say again – re-transmit your message
Read you loud & clear – response to a “radio check” call meaning the transmit signal is good.
Out – This is said to indicate the end of a conversation ie “Over and out.”
10. 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
Remember these top tips and your communications will be smooth and frustration free.
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Over and Out!