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Radio Jargon 
and Etiquette

It’s important to get familiar with the etiquette of two-way radio communication. This will help improve your overall experience when using your radio. To make radio communication go more smoothly, over the years certain rules, or etiquette, have been established.

Below we have outlined the basic etiquette a radio user should understand.

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, you do not have exclusive use of the frequency.

Basic Radio Etiquette Rules

  • The international radio language is English, except in cases where you are licensed to speak in some other language.
  • 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
  • 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, confidential, financial or military information.  Unless you are certain your conversations are secured with the proper level of encryption for the level of sensitivity, assume your conversations can be heard by others.
    • 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.
  • Memorize call signs and locations of persons and radio stations you communicate with regularly.
  • In radio communication you are not called by your name. Everybody has their own unique call sign.
  • 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.

SPEAKING THE LANGUAGE