Effective Radio Communications

This guide assumes you are new to the Kings Point Disaster Radio Service (DRS). You may already be familiar with how radio communications works but when a number of participants are simultaneously online, it can become chaotic very quickly. It’s important to follow a disciplined process to ensure communications for all is as effective as possible. The following are mostly common sense thoughts.

  • Be prepared
    1. Keep your radio charged
    2. Test it weekly
  • Perform radio check before using
    1. Ensure your radio battery is charged and power is on
    2. Keep volume high enough to hear calls
    3. Make sure it’s on the right channel
    4. Make regular radio checks to ensure everything is working and you are still in range
  • Prepare before you speak
    1. Decide what you are going to say and who your message is meant for
    2. Identify yourself before you talk – memorize call signs and use yours before speaking
    3. Don’t transmit sensitive or confidential information unless you are sure it is appropriate
    4. Speak slowly and clearly, so you can be understood
    5. Say ‘over’ to indicate you are finished so the other party know they can speak or reply
  • Keep it simple
    1. Avoid long complicated sentences – be precise and to the point
    2. If you have multiple things to cover, speak one point then say ‘break’, wait a couple of seconds then speak the next point and again say ‘break’ – this allows the other party to speak or ask for clarification
    3. Don’t use abbreviations unless these are well understood by your group
    4. Terminate the call by saying ‘out’
  • Stay on point
    1. The radio is for sending and receiving important messages – and not for gossip/small talk which blocks channels for other radio users
    2. Don’t interrupt others when they are speaking – wait patiently until they finish
    3. Use the Phonetic Alphabet to spell out keywords: Alpha, Bravo, Charlie, Delta, Echo, Foxtrot, Golf, Hotel, India, Juliet, Kilo, Lima, Mike, November, Oscar, Papa, Quebec, Romeo, Sierra, Tango, Uniform, Victor, Whiskey, X-ray, Yankee, Zulu
  • Be patient, kind and considerate