Army Radio Etiquette: 10 Things You Should Know

Army Radio etiquette…

How does it work? What should you know? What should or shouldn’t you do when talking on an Army Radio?

Be it civilian radios or military radios, there is etiquette that must be followed. In the Army, much of this etiquette is formal, and must be followed.

While there are normal Army radio operators who know the etiquette and rules, every Army soldier and officer should know the basic etiquette and rules because at any given time in battle, you may be in a situation where you must operate that Army radio.

army radio etiquette

Army Radio Etiquette: 10 Things to Know

In the paragraphs below, I will share 10 things you should know about Army radio etiquette.

# 1: Slow & Clear

It is best if you speak slow and clearly. Depending on conditions, there can be some interference, so by speaking slowly, the receiver is more apt to understand. Remember, speaking loud does not necessarily help. It can actually cause more confusion.

# 2: When Finishing A Message

To let the receiver know you have finished the message, you simply say “Over” and wait for their reply. If you do not expect or need a reply, your say “Out.”

# 3: Do Not Interrupt Other Conversations

In some cases, the channel may be used by other units, too. Unless you have a dire emergency, allow other messages to be sent before you send your message. If it is an emergency, wait until you hear “Over” and immediately say “Break, Break, Break”, give your call sign and say “I have an Emergency Message for (recipient), Do You Copy? Over!

# 4: Precedence

In any Army call, you must give precedence. There are four types:

  • Flash (For initial enemy contact reports).
  • Immediate (Situations which greatly affect the security of national and allied forces).
  • Priority (Important message over routine traffic).
  • Routine (All types of messages that are not urgent).

# 5: Proper Message Format

There is a format that should always be followed:

  1. Identify first the station you are calling.
  2. Identify your unit.
  3. Transmission instructions which could be relay to, read back or do not answer.
  4. Precedence…

# 6: Should Know…

All units and all potential radio operators should have a copy of ATP 6-02.53. It should be studied carefully to ensure proper Army radio etiquette.

# 7: Never Use the Radio Without…

A radio operator should not use that radio unless they have an order to do so from a superior officer.

# 8: If Message Not Understood

If you do not understand a message, you simply say “Say Again.” The term “Repeat” should not be used as that is used if additional artillery fire is needed.

# 9: Messages Should Be Kept Under 30 Seconds

Every attempt during war should be made to keep radio communications under 30 seconds because:

  • The enemy can pinpoint your location.
  • They can intercept and listen in.
  • Or they can use electronic jamming equipment to disable your communications.

Avoid speaking for a long period of time when you’re using a two-way radio. They were designed to deliver short bursts of communication to solve a problem or get a job done quickly.

If you have to deliver a lot of instructions or have many points to cover, use the word “break” after you’ve spoken one point and release the button. This allows the other party to speak if they have to before you move onto covering the next point. ~ King Radios

# 10: Always Assume

You should always assume the enemy is hearing what you are saying. Unless you are certain your conversations are secured with the proper level of encryption for the level of sensitivity, you should not divulge secret, sensitive information.

roger radio transmission

Best Practices

What you see below are some of the best practices for Army Radio Etiquette.

  • Identify with whom you want to communicate by using their call sign.
  • Pause a moment after pressing the “push-to-talk” (PTT) button.
  • Be direct and short when communicating.
  • Speak slowly and clearly.
  • Spell out letters and numbers, using the Military Alphabet (NATO Phonetic Alphabet.
  • Use correct lingo and prowords to reduce confusion and shorten transmitted messages.


Final Thoughts

In conclusion, these are just 10 Army radio etiquette rules. Can you share any more you feel are important? Leave all comments and questions below.

If you’re looking for some neat hand held, Army style radios, click on the image below or shop here on Amazon.

wishouse army radio

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chuck holmes

Chuck Holmes
Former Army Major (resigned)

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1 thought on “Army Radio Etiquette: 10 Things You Should Know”

  1. There are some radios that you can refer to: the Intra Team Radio, AN/PRC-162 Radio, Compact Team Radio, SINCGARS Radio, and many more. You can choose one of them for your usage.

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