Proper two way radio etiquette

Updated February 21, 2017

Proper conduct on a two-way radio not only displays good manners, but may save someone's life. Enunciating poorly may confuse a listener providing help, and clogging the airwaves with banter may prevent others from being heard on a shared line.


Hold the receiver several inches away from your mouth. Speak slowly and clearly so that the listener may understand you, and spell unusual terms if necessary. There may be static or background noises competing for the listener's ear.


Keep messages short. For large amounts of information, break it up into key ideas. Write down your message ahead of time to avoid filling the airwaves with long pauses and superfluous speech such as "uh" and "um." Short messages allow a listener to break in if they need a message repeated.


Transmit only speech on a two-way radio. The Federal Communications Commission forbids the transmission of "sound effects (music, whistling, etc.) or obscene, profane, or indecent words." Also avoid noises strictly intended to attract attention or cause alarm.


Others have access to a public frequency. Do not discuss personal information that you do not want the world to hear and never transmit false or misleading information. Accidental listeners may not recognise humour.

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