Common Words/Phrases

Each radio user is allocated a call sign, which often corresponds to their role. This enables directed communication between users and means control can keep track of resources and their locations. It is important to use your call sign when passing information or answering your radio. Convention dictates using the call sign of the person you are contacting first, followed by your own call sign.

Common procedure words are used to facilitate communication by conveying information in a condensed format.

Radio check – used to ask the other party about the signal strength and readability of your transmission, the response could be loud and clear, weak but readable, weak and distorted, or strong but distorted. Some services use the term ‘5 by 5’ for loud and clear on a scale of 1 (bad) to 5 (excellent) signal and readability.

Yes and no – self-explanatory, generally used instead of affirmative and negative as these can be mistaken for one another particularly if the first part of the message is cut off. Doubling is sometimes used for clarity, e.g. ‘yes yes’ or ‘no no’.

Over – used to end your transmission in an ongoing conversation
Out – used to end a conversation (over and out are never used together), only one person needs to say ‘out’ and this should be control in most cases to ensure all other channel users hear that the conversation has finished in case they are waiting to send a message
Roger – “I received your last transmission satisfactorily”
Say again – “I did not receive or understand your last message, please say again”
Figures – “I am about to read a series of numbers”
I spell – “I am about to spell a word”
Read back – “Please read back to me what I just told you”
Wait – “I have received your message, give me a second to reply” – usually used in the middle of a conversation
Standby – “I am too busy to take your call right now but will call you back later”
Priority – “I have a priority message and need to interrupt someone else to send it” – in order to transmit this you would wait for a gap, then transmit “priority, priority” and your call sign, e.g. “priority. priority, Mike 1, over” then wait for control to reply before passing any further message

Learning bite

Knowledge of common procedure words helps to keep radio conversations brief and clear.