The Missouri Citizens Militia (MCM) uses the radio extensively during training and deployment. Proper use of the radio aids in smooth and precise communication. Where improper use may lead to miscommunication and possible loss of life.

Proper use includes how to use and maintain your radio. It also includes how to properly start and end conversations, how to say letters and numbers, and how to phrase your message.

Use local or Greenwich Mean (Zulu) military time depending on group and operation area size. 0600 for 6am, 1200 for noon, 1800 for 6pm, 2400 for midnight, 2100Z for 9pm Zulu.

Call Signs
Normally Call Signs are assigned by the Radio Operator (RTO) in the Signals Operation Index (SOI). Tactical call signs are allowed (e.g., LP 1, Patrol 2). Personal call signs are only allowed intra-team or squad (Jester, HoneyBadger, Archangel, etc.)

The Golden Rules of Radio Communication
• Clarity – Your voice should be clear. Speak in a normal tone, a little slower than normal, do not shout. Keep the microphone 3-5 inches directly in front of your mouth.
• Simplicity – If the message is long, then break it down into understandable shorter pieces.
• Brevity – Think before you speak. Be precise and to the point. Who, what, when, where, why, and how? Write down the message beforehand.
• Security – Do not transmit confidential information on a radio unless you know the proper security technology is in place. Assume Eavesdroppers.

Other Rules

  1. Do not respond if you are not sure the call is for you.
  2. Listen to the channel before speaking. You may be interrupting an emergency communication.
  3. Use single, cardinal numbers. Do not combine them into bigger numbers
  4. If you have to spell a word, use the NATO phonetic code.

Phonetic Alphabet and Digits
A — Alpha
B — Bravo
C — Charlie
D — Delta
E — Echo
F — Foxtrot
G — Golf
H — Hotel
I — India
J — Juliet
K — Kilo
L — Lima
M — Mike
N — November
O — Oscar
P — Papa
Q — Quebec
R — Romeo
S — Sierra
T — Tango
U — Uniform
V — Victor
W — Whiskey
X — X-ray
Y — Yankee
Z – Zulu
1 — Won
2 — Too
3 — Tree
4 — Fow-er
5 — Fife
6 — Six
7 — Sev-en
8 — Ait
9 — Nin-er
0 – Zee-Ro

Procedure Words (Pro Words)

Starting a Call with a Station

  • Give the call sign of the station you are calling first. Say it twice if there is a lot of radio traffic. Introduce yourself by your call sign. End your phrase with the word “OVER” when you finish your message and are waiting on a response.
    • Roadrunner, Roadrunner this is Coyote, OVER.
  • Wait for the called station to respond. If they don’t respond try calling again.
  • The called station will respond
    • Coyote, this is Roadrunner, GO AHEAD, OVER.

Prefix each Message

  • Every time you start transmitting again, you need to identify yourself and your called party.
    • Roadrunner, this is Coyote. BE ADVISED there is heavy traffic on your route. OVER.
  • If the listener believes they got the full message, they can respond “COPY”, “COPY LOUD AND CLEAR” or “LIMA CHARLIE”.
    • Coyote, this is Roadrunner. LIMA CHARLIE. OVER.

Sending a Long or Complicated Message

  • Speak clearly and a bit slowly, especially if the message needs written down. Pause after phrases, by saying “BREAK” and waiting a few seconds. Give the person receiving a chance to interject or write down your message.
  • Reports are broken into Lines, so prefix each with “LINE” and the number. End with “BREAK
  • At the end of the report you should ask “HOW COPY, OVER? or “HOW DO YOU READ? OVER
  • The receiving station should say “I COPY” or “I READ” then repeat back the report, line by line.
  • If the receiving station didn’t understand the message, they should say “SAY AGAIN, OVER”. Never use “PLEASE REPEAT” as this may mis-communicate a request to repeat an action.
  • If there was a mistake then you will correct the line by saying.
    • I SAY AGAIN, LINE Tree, Location Alpha, OVER
  • When you are satisfied that the message was received correctly then you can acknowledge

Ending a Call with a Station

  • Use your call sign then the word “OUT” when you have finished your message and are not waiting on a response. Only the initiator of the call or the higher rank should end the call.
    • Coyote, OUT.

Other useful Procedural Words

You can use “WILCO” (WILL COMPLY) instead of “COPY” if the caller requires action.
Use “AFFIRMATIVE” and “NEGATIVE” instead of yes and no.

See FM 18-25 Tactical Single Channel Radio Communications – Chapter 5 for more Pro Words.