What is Walkie Talkies Etiquette

what is walkie talkies etiquette

Learn Walkie Talkie Etiquette  – How to communicate on Hand Radios 

When working with walkie-talkies, you should be aware of some etiquette.  Radio etiquette, as it’s commonly called, is important so that everyone understands what is trying to be communicated.  This can seem a little silly in some cases, but trust us. It’s something that is very helpful and needed when you are using walkie-talkies as your line of communication.

What is Walkie-Talkie Speaking Language?

Walkie-talkie speaking language refers to the language, jargon, and etiquette used when using walkie-talkies. While there isn’t any official language when using these types of devices, it’s pretty well known that some things are done to ensure clear communication at all times.  We will be going over some of that later, but for now, understand that communication over a walkie-talkie can be very confusing and disrupted from time to time. This can lead to misinterpretation, which can really cause issues.  This is why walkie-talkie etiquette has formed some of its own way of communicating.  One of these is the phonetic alphabet, which forces people to use words to state letters, such as F, as in Foxtrot.  You’ve probably heard of this, even if you don’t know the phonetic alphabet, as many people will use this when speaking over the phone.  This ensures that b and d, for example, are switched, or letters that have a similar sound.  
If you are looking at what walkie-talkie-speaking language is, you’ll notice acknowledgement as another component. If you are using walkie-talkies correctly, you’ll want to acknowledge that you received the communication and state when you are done speaking. Walkie-talkies cannot send and receive signals at the same time.  
Some terms used during acknowledgement are “roger” or “copy that,” which basically means you got the message and understands its intent. When someone is finished speaking, they may say “over” to tell others they are done with their message. 

What is Phone Alphabet?

We touched on this briefly previously, but it’s basically words used in the place of letters.  This can be the actual phonetic alphabet that uses the same words for each letter, or you can use a word that starts with.  You have probably seen this done a time or two when people are communicating in person or over the phone.  It’s the same as when you are using walkie-talkies correctly.  Walkie-talkies can have quite a bit of interference, and having these words instead of letters helps ensure there isn’t any miscommunication.  So, if you were to use the phonetic alphabet, you’d use Alpha for A and Bravo for B. You’ve probably heard people using these terms in the past. However, not everyone knows that alphabet, which is fine. Using a commonly used word such as Kangaroo for K or Lion for L will certainly get your point across.

learn walkie talkies etiquette and radio alphabet

Perform Basic Testing

While all of this is fine, if you don’t have a properly working radio, no radio etiquette will matter.  When you are about to go out into the field or start to perform work, you want to make sure that everyone on the team tests their walkie-talkie to ensure that it is in working condition.  Check the battery and ensure that it has enough charge to work throughout the duration expected.  You’ll also want to check the volume button.  After all, even with a proper walkie-talkie speaking the language, if you can’t hear the other person, what good is it?  

4 Golden Rules to Follow for Radio Etiquette

1-Clarity- Be sure that you speak clearly and into the walkie-talkie in a slow and steady manner.  Don’t try to shout, and try to keep your excitement to a minimum, as it’s harder to understand when people are not speaking slowly and in an even tone.
2-Brevity-Keep your messages short and to the point.  This isn’t a telephone call or a time to tell a story.  Keep things simple and short to ensure proper delivery.
3-Simple-Again, be sure that your messages are short and simple. Use simple one-answer questions and phonetic words for letters to keep things as easy to understand as possible. Sometimes, these walkie-talkie communications are very important, and understanding what is being said is key. 
4-Security-The security of your walkie-talkie will depend on the type of walkie-talkie you have.  But, in most cases, the communication across the radio waves can be heard by others.  Be sure that you are not transmitting information that is personal.  If you are going to be using personal information over the walkie-talkie, you’ll want to invest in one that is much more secure in nature. 

General Terms in Radio Etiquette

Some general terms such as “over” and “out” mean that the person speaking is finished; these might seem a little obvious. But, there are other terms such as “say again” or “Wilco” which are not so obvious to some people.  Say again simply means repeat the message, and Wilco basically means the person will comply with what was said.  If you have an emergency, you’ll want to say “break, break, break”, trying to get across to the other person you need to speak to.  Remember, walkie-talkies cannot send and receive messages.  
When it comes to radio etiquette, there are obviously some things to keep in mind.  However, the most important aspect of it is patience and understanding.  Always give the other person ample time to speak before trying to speak.  Remember that the radios cannot transmit and receive at the same time so don’t interrupt.  If you have instructions for your particular group, go over them before sending everyone off in different directions. This will ensure that your group can speak clearly and be understood at all times.

what is walkie talkies etiquette
About The Arthur
Picture of Kenny Zhang
I've been running a factory that manufactures two-way radios & their accessories. We want to share some knowledge and news about Walkie-Talkie from the sight of the supplier.

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