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Radio Communication: 5 Tips on Etiquette and Lingo You Should Know
Friday, 03 September 2021

When relying on two-way radio communication, whether used for day-to-day work or emergencies, it's essential to understand the unspoken rules and widely accepted etiquette. These practices are in place to ensure the clearest and most effective communication possible.

A two-way radio isn't like talking on the phone. The technology converts audio waves into radio waves transmitted through the air and then converted back into audio waves on the receiving end. Because of this, there are a few quirks that you should become familiar with before you pick up your walkie-talkie and give it a go.
From rules of etiquette to proper maintenance and terminology, here's what you need to know to perfect your two-way radio communication skills.

1. Maintain Your Technology

First and foremost, if you're going to be relying on this technology (especially in the case of an emergency), you need to ensure it's working correctly at all times. The last thing you want is to be caught without a working radio when an important call comes through—like a distress signal.
Make sure to check that your volume, battery, and antenna are all in good shape. If you notice something is off, opt to replace the part with new Moonraker antennas, for example, so you can rest assured that it's ready to go.

2. Always Use International Radio Language

Whether you speak seven languages or just one, there's only one language that matters when it comes to two-way radio communication. The international radio language is English, so brush up on your skills if it's not your first language, so the receiver can hear you loud and clear.
You may have permission to speak in another language in some instances, but it isn't common.

3. Avoid Interruptions

Interrupting someone at the other end of the radio call is extremely rude and makes it hard to carry on a conversation. Try to avoid interruptions as much as possible, waiting for other people to finish speaking before you respond.

4. Learn the Basic Lingo


While you might wish to speak in plain English over the radio, you'll want to be familiar with the terminology used so you can get your message across clearly. Some of the introductory lingo you should learn include:
  • Roger That/Ten-Four/Copy That—you have received and understood the message.
  • Affirmative/Negative—yes/no.
  • Come in/ Go Ahead—“Come in,” asks the other party if they can acknowledge that they are there and can hear you; “go ahead” means you're ready to hear the message.
  • Over—end of conversation.

5. Monitor Sensitive Information

You always want to confirm that you're speaking to the right person before sharing any information over the radio waves. You especially want to be careful when divulging sensitive information.
In general, however, it's best to avoid sharing any legal, confidential, financial, or military-based information over the radio.

Starting Strong with Radio

While the rules of the road of two-way radio might be overwhelming at first, it's simple once you get the hang of it. With proper etiquette top of mind and a good grasp on the basic radio lingo, now you're ready to answer your first call. Roger that and over!
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