Proper Two-Way Radio Etiquette

Because of its nature, two-way radio communications require a particular manner of speaking; sort of a proper two-way radio etiquette, if you will. Standard two-way radio communication codes and a certain two-way radio protocol have developed over the years. Two-way radio users try to stick to it to maintain clear and concise communications. This article will uncover some of the “dos and don’ts” regarding two-way radio etiquette.

For Example…

To gain the most use out of a walkie-talkie or two-way radio, it is important to understand how to communicate through them. Check out the walkie-talkie conversation samples below for both a good and a not-so-good example:


Billy-Bob: “Hey, can anybody out there hear me? I can’t tell if this dang walkie-talkie is working or not. Hello… Anybody there? If you’re out there, say something…”

Billy-Bob: “Darn thing… Hello… Tommy-Jack, Can you hear me?”

Tommy-Jack: “Well, hey there, Billy-Bob! It’s Tommy-Jack! Yessiree! I can hear you just fine! MIGHTY FINE!!!

Billy-Bob: “B-B here. Radio Service Check, 1… 2… 3…”

Billy-Bob: “Radio Service Check, 1… 2… 3…”

Tommy-Jack: “T-J here. Read you 5 x 5”

Key Points Of Proper Two-Way Radio Etiquette

The walkie-talkie conversation samples above illustrate several critical points of proper two-way radio etiquette. These critical points of knowing how to talk on a two-way radio all revolve around three common aspects:

  • Clarity
  • Brevity
  • Patience

Keep these three aspects in mind as we explore some of the critical points of two-way radio etiquette.

Keep It Clear

Communicate effectively by enunciating clearly and using proper grammar. Do not use jargon or speak too quickly and try to remain as simple as possible when conveying your ideas. The above will distract from clear two-way communications for yourself and others in your talk group.

Control Your Volume

Be sure that you are not yelling into your two-way radio. Also, ensure your mouth is not too close to the radio. On the other hand, don’t whisper or talk too softly into your walkie-talkie and ensure you are not holding the radio too far away from your mouth. Talking too loudly or softly only distracts from an otherwise understandable transmission.

Be Brief

Remember your two-way radio communication training. Don’t forget your proper two-way radio etiquette when it comes to radio transmissions. Keep it brief. Keep it clear. Keep it concise!

Use Proper Protocol

Identify yourself. Briefly state your message. And, especially if there are many users in your talkgroup, end your transmission with “over”.

Be Patient

A two-way radio is not comparable to a smartphone, as it does not allow for simultaneous listening and talking. Moreover, if someone else is using the radio and a user tries to “key up” and talk, it will only result in interference and usually result in criticism from the other users for “walking on” the transmission.

Know Your Radio

Knowing the features of your radio is key. For instance, the man-down alarm is a feature that, when enabled, will alert everyone if the radio is left on its side for a period of time.

Many radios come with an emergency button that will interrupt all transmissions with an emergency alert at the single (accidental) touch of the emergency button. Know the features of your radio.

Use Common Radio "Lingo" and Codes

Two-way radio communication has developed a kind of shorthand language, using a few words, phrases, and numbers that allow for quick and precise communication.

Basic two-way radio jargon, the 10-Code System, and the Phonetic Code are common to proper two-way radio etiquette.

Speak Confidently

A confident voice speaks at just the right volume. A confident voice does not mumble or slur words. A confident voice speaks a clear message with a consistent tone. A confident voice is a perfect voice to use for proper two-way radio etiquette.

Importance Of Proper Two-Way Radio Etiquette

Much of our non-verbal communication cues are taken away when communicating over two-way radios. For example, we do not see lip movements, facial expressions, hand motions, and more. This lack of non-verbal communication is why two-way radio communication training in two-way radio etiquette is so necessary. Practicing proper two-way radio protocol and etiquette can cut transmission times and eliminate failed communications.

The highest tier two-way radio in the hands of an untrained, unpracticed user is as valuable a tool as a department store walkie-talkie. So, please acquaint yourself with two-way radio protocol and proper etiquette and get out there and talk it up.

RCS Communications

And speaking of highest tier two-way radios, look no further than RCS Communications. The Team at RCS Communications can help with all of your two-way communication needs. From a pair of economic walkie-talkies to an elaborate voice and data system, RCS Communications is your trusted go-to partner. Contact RCS Communications today!
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