Basic Radio Etiquette Rules

  • Clarity: Your voice should be clear. Speak a little slower than normal.
  • Simplicity: Keep your message simple enough for intended listeners to understand. You can be too concise though; use affirmative or negative in favor of yes or no.
  • Brevity: Be precise and to the point; avoid unnecessary banter.
  • 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 any frequency.


  • You cannot transmit and receive at the same time
  • Transmission should be used sparingly to preserve power
  • Monitor a channel for traffic before use
  • Any emergency transmission takes priority
  • Plan your message before keying the radio
  • Wait half a second after keying the radio before speaking
  • Call format: “Hey you, it’s me.” i.e.: “Chase truck, this is Race car. We blew a tire.”
  • Check in periodically to ensure proper operation
  • Do not use profanity over the airwaves
  • Learn the NATO phonetic alphabet to avoid confusion

The NATO Phonetic Alphabet

Alfa Golf Mike Sierra Yankee
Bravo Hotel November Tango Zulu
Charlie India Oscar Uniform
Delta Juliett Papa Victor
Echo Kilo Quebec Whiskey
Foxtrot Lima Romeo X-Ray