Radio 101: Lingo


Two-way radio lingo was created to quickly and effectively communicate commonly used phrases and easy to misunderstand words. Here are a few examples:

  • Radio Check – Check on signal strength. Can you hear me?
  • Read you loud and clear – Responding to “Radio Check.” Transmission Signal is strong.
  • Go Ahead – Resume the transmission.
  • Stand By – Acknowledges transmission but unable to respond at the moment.
  • Come in – Asking other party to acknowledge that they hear you.
  • Do you copy? – Can you hear me?
  • Copy That I hear you. I understand what was said.
  • Say Again – Re-transmit your message.
  • Roger or Ten Four Message is received and understood.
  • Affirmative – Yes
  • Negative – No.
  • Over – Transmission finished.
  • Out – Communication is over; channel is available.
  • Over and Out – I’m finished and the channel is available.
  • Break, Break, Break – To interrupt a communication because of an emergency.
  • Breaker 1-9 I want to begin conversation.
  • What’s your 20? – Where are you?
  • Go for ____ – I’m here and ready for conversation.

NATO Alphabet

The NATO Alphabet, also known as the International Radiotelephony Spelling Alphabet, is a phonetic alphabet that can be easily pronounced and understood by those transmitting and receiving. When spelling out names, use the phonetic alphabet that corresponds with each letter of the traditional alphabet to avoid confusion. For example “Radio” would be spelt: Romeo, Alpha, Delta, India, Oscar.

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
W – Whisky
X – X-Ray
Y – Yankee
Z – Zulu

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