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Two-Way Radio Guide – Tips & Etiquette

Post Date: Tuesday, June 05, 2018

Talking over a two-way radio is not the same as talking on a landline or mobile phone. For one thing, most two-way radios operate in simplex mode1, which means that a user can either talk or listen, but can’t do both at the same time.

Only one radio user can talk at a time, while the others listen. To help make your two-way radio experience a positive one, and to ensure communications is effective, here are some basic etiquette rules and protocols to follow.


1. Speak clearly and simply

It’s important to choose words that are easy to understand by all when communicating over two-way radio. Speak slowly and clearly. Use your normal voice. No shouting please. It’s a good idea to think about what you want to say instead of blurting it out.


2. Identify yourself and your intended recipient

This is especially important if there are a group of users sharing the same radio channel. People are busy, so
direct your message to the right person.


3. Wait for confirmation

Before proceeding, wait to ensure that your intended recipient has heard you or that they are available for communications. Once this is confirmed, begin your message.


4. Keep messages short

Get to the point and keep your messages short. This isn’t the time for long-winded water cooler conversations. If you must relay a long message let your audience know at the start of the message. It’s also a good idea to break long messages into sections or parts.


5. Avoid transmitting sensitive or private information

Radio frequencies and channels are shared, therefore, unless you know that a channel is secured with the proper encryption, do not communicate sensitive or private information.


6. Do not interrupt

If another radio user is communicating, wait for the conversation to end. Remember, only one person can talk at a time. Repeatedly pressing the Push-to-Talk (PTT) button isn’t going to get you anywhere. Emergency messages are the ONLY exception to this rule.


7. Listen for your call sign before responding 

Unless you know the call is for you, do not engage in the conversation.



8. Acknowledge a direct contact 

If another radio user is attempting to communicate with you directly, acknowledge the call with either “Go ahead” (indicating you are ready to receive) or “Standby” (indicating you need a minute before you can engage).


9. Remember to pause

When you press the PTT button, there may be a short delay before the radio begins to transmit. Before you begin to speak, wait a couple of seconds to ensure the beginning of your message is received.


10. Radio Communication Language - Learn the lingo

If you are going to communicate using two-way radio, you need to know the basic language. The table below provides general terms and their meaning.


Do NOT use slang or inappropriate language.



11. Complete routine radio checks 

In order to receive transmissions, you need to ensure that your radio is functioning properly. Check to ensure batteries are charged and the device is turned on. Make sure the volume is set high enough for you to hear incoming transmissions. Regularly check to ensure that you are in range.


12. Memorize the International Phonetic Alphabet

You will most certainly need to use it in conversations where you are required to spell something.

It is also advisable to memorize call signs, locations of people and radio stations that you communicate with regularly.


Be Prepared | Be Concise | Be Courteous | Be Patient



As a leading provider of wireless communications services and solutions, Prairie Mobile Communications offers a variety of reliable two-way radios from industry-leading manufacturers (JVCKenwood, Motorola, Harris, Tait Communications, Icom, etc.).

Not sure how to choose the right Two-Way radios for your operation? This blog post can help. Also, Our Radio Sales Consultants and Technical Experts would be pleased to discuss wireless solutions for your business, just fill out the contact form below and we’ll get in touch with you shortly.


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