Radio 101: Etiquette and Usage

Clear communication over two-way radios is important and because of this, fundamental rules were created. While your company might not be using the NATO alphabet or two-way radio language, such as “10-4”, “Over”, and “Copy That”; it is beneficial to know some of the etiquette and techniques to provide everyone with the best two-way radio experience.

Two-Way Radio Etiquette and Usage

Identify Yourself and Who you are speaking too

Two-way radios are a one-to-many system that does not provide identification when being used. To reach out to a specific person or to let the team know you need help, using names will alert specific people that they are being address directly. By saying, for example, “Sue, this is Frank” you will be clearly stating who you wish to speak with and who is speaking. This also alerts other coworkers who are sharing the channel that the call is not for them and they may return to what ever task was being performed.

Wait a Few Seconds to Speak

After pressing and holding the Push-To-Talk button (PTT), you should wait 2-3 seconds before speaking, as there might be a brief delay. Some radios, such as the AWR Advantage, can be programed to include a PTT Tone. This can be beneficial because it provides an audible alert once the PTT button is pressed, reminding the user to wait before speaking. Release the PTT button when finished speaking.

Make Sure you have their attention

Common radio etiquette dictates that acknowledgment should be given when someone is contacted. Acknowledgment can range from ‘go ahead’ (you’re ready to listen) to “Stand By” (you know they’re calling but you are too busy to reply at the moment).

Clarity and Simplicity

For clarity and ease of listening hold the radio two inches away from your mouth when speaking. Use a normal tone and speak a little slower for the best results. Keep your communications brief and to the point. Long-winded conversations can block the channel for others who may need to relay a message.

Don’t interrupt

Unless it is an emergency it is considered rude to interrupt someone while they are speaking over two-way radios. It is best to wait for the conversation to be over or a natural lull occurs before speaking.

Think before you speak

A two-way radio system is intended to be used as a one-to-many communication platform. Whatever you say will be heard by all the people on the same channel. So, if you don’t feel comfortable saying it in front of your boss, spouse, or kids, it probably shouldn’t be said over the radio. This also applies to confidential and sensitive information as well.

Want to learn more about two-way radios? Check out our Radio 101 Post Series! Stay tuned for new additions and check out our past posts here:
Two-Way Radio Lingo and the NATO alphabet
Two-Way Radio History

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