The Dos and Don’ts of Radio Communication
Do: Think ahead
Always know what you’re going to say before you transmit, as no one else can use their radio while you’re holding down the talk button. While you’re um-ing and ah-ing someone else might be trying to transmit an emergency message, so be ready and know what you’re going to say before you speak.
Don’t: Transmit confidential information
Unless you have the necessary security in place, don’t relay any sensitive information over your radio. Remember that frequencies are shared, and you do not have exclusive use of the frequency.
Do: Be clear and brief
Speak clearly, at a regular volume, and a little slower than you normally would. Keep your message concise and only include necessary information.
If other people are having a conversation, wait until they’ve finished before transmitting your message – unless it’s an emergency.
Do: Know what to do in an emergency
If other people are having a conversation and you have an emergency message, wait until you hear “over” then press push to talk. Say “Break, break, break, [your call sign], I have an emergency message for [recipient’s call sign], do you copy, over.”
Don’t: Get impatient
The other person may not be able to reply immediately. Give them time to respond before trying again.
Do: Identify yourself and who your message is intended for
Before starting your message, identify yourself and get the attention of the person you need to communicate with. For example, “[recipient’s call sign], this is [your call sign], over.” You can transmit the rest of your message once they have responded and you know they’re listening.
Don’t: Start talking straight away
There can be a short delay before your radio transmits, so wait a second or two before speaking to make sure the beginning of your message doesn’t get cut off.
Do: Know the lingo
Here are some key phrases to memorise:
- Over – I’ve finished speaking
- Say again – Please repeat your last message
- Stand by – I acknowledge the transmission but can’t respond right now
- Go ahead – I can respond, go ahead with your message
- Roger – Message received and understood
- Affirmative/Negative – Yes/No
- Out – Conversation finished, channel clear for other users