Tips for Clear Communication with Two Way Radios

Radios are placed in company vehicles and equipment as a means of efficient & safe communications. They are not toys, a place for standup comedy routine or to discuss your weekend plans.

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. Use brief messages.
  • Your voice should be clear. Speak a little slower than normal. Speak in a normal tone.
  • Do not use abbreviations or slang unless they are well understood by your group

Be Prepared: When you have the talk button pressed, no one else in your group can speak or be heard. Two way radios are a one-at-a-time system unlike telephones where you can interrupt and talk over each other. Think about your message beforehand. Think before you speak is always good advice.

Identify Yourself and Who the Message is for: Onsite all share the same radio channel. Use good manners to identify yourself immediately when you start transmitting. Get the attention of the person you want before relaying your message. “OVER” is used to let the other person know you’ve finished speaking.

Examples: “Corn Dog, this is Trash, OVER, dump the cut near me” or “Jake this is Sparky OVER, can you join me here at the pit?

Be patient: The other person may not be able to respond immediately; give them time to reply before re-sending your call.

Use short, clear and concise messages: As two way radios only allow one person to speak at a time, it’s best to keep your transmissions short, clear and to the point. This gives other users an opportunity to acknowledge your message or request further clarification before you carry on with your next point.

Radio users often repeat a message utilizing three way communication to make it clear that they’ve heard and understood the information.

Three-Way Comms: Sender says his message, receiver repeats it back, sender agrees or provides more detail. Always keep messages short.

Pause before speaking: When you first press the push to talk (PTT) button, there can be a short delay before your radio transmits. This could result in your first couple of words being cut off, so wait a second or two before speaking to be sure your listeners receive your whole message.

Learn the lingo: It helps two way radio communication when everyone understands and uses similar language and etiquette, especially when there are more than two people using the channel.

  • Over – I’ve finished speaking
  • Say Again – Repeat your last message
  • Stand-by – I got it, but can’t talk right now
  • Go ahead – I can respond, go ahead with your message
  • Roger – message received and understood
  • Affirmative / Negative – Yes / No
  • Out – Conversation is finished

The phonetic alphabet: It’s often necessary to clarify an important part of your message by spelling it out. Following is a list showing the phonetics used for the alphabet:

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

Use your radio professionally. If not, your handset will be removed and you will have to follow instead of lead.

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