Radio Communication Protocol and Etiquette

Written by tara m. clapper
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Radio communication is intended for brief and imperative messages and is utilised in both military and civilian circumstances. Universal understanding of radio communication etiquette enables radio network users to communicate briefly and effectively.

Initiating Communication

When you call another person on the radio, clearly and politely identify the recipient and yourself. For example, "Bravo423, this is Echo5Charlie."


Radio communication should be short, concise and understandable. Deliver all messages briefly in consideration of others on the network. If you have a long message, use the word "break" between ideas in case the other person needs to interject. This consideration also allows the recipient to record your message on paper if necessary.

Concluding Communication

When you are finished delivering your message, signify your message is complete by saying "over" to let the recipient know your delivery is complete. After the entire exchange is complete on both ends, say "over and out." This also informs others that the network is free for use.


If an additional party on the network needs to interrupt a message, he should use the words "break, break, break." Breaking in during general communication is considered impolite, but emergency information (such as a medical emergency) always necessitates an interruption.

Expert Insight

When using radio communication in the military, never use the terms "repeat" in general discourse, as this term may be misconstrued as a military action. Always use "say again" to ask the recipient to relay his message again.


According to the Regents of the University of California, the FCC (Federal Communications Commission) monitors the use of profanity on public radio waves. (It is illegal to use profanity on the radio.) Use clear vocabulary such as "affirmative" and "negative" to avoid miscommunication.

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