Using The International Phonetic Alphabet

Discussion in 'Amateur Radio News' started by WX4W, Mar 6, 2019.

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  1. K3CGG

    K3CGG Ham Member QRZ Page

    cute...add a smiley face to curb the insult. I will give you this one and you can figure out what gesture I am giving you....:mad:
  2. PA0MHS

    PA0MHS XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    It wasn't meant as an insult Joseph. Come on, you must have had a laugh or two about how us Dutchies pronounce things, didn't you? Humor makes the world turn...
  3. K3CGG

    K3CGG Ham Member QRZ Page

    I apologize. I was out of line....
    K1ZBT and PA0MHS like this.
  4. AB0YM

    AB0YM Ham Member QRZ Page

    I am coming into this late so I hope this hasn't already been rehashed. I always try to start with the standard ITU phonetics, but there are times it flat doesn't work. For most aviation/public service/aviation/military it works great because you are on VHF/UHF, etc. The problem with the particular phonetics is that several are mono-syllabic. If you have a call that ends in one of these, it it is easily lost in conditions of QRM + QSB. My call ends in "M" or Mike. After I call as "alpha bravo zero yankee mike", I will often hear back "alpha bravo zero ?" I will then say "AB0 Yokohama Mexico" and normally get through.

    So the main point is use standard phonetics when possible, but don't hesitate to switch if it isn't working.
    K1ZBT, KV6O, UT7UX and 1 other person like this.
  5. WU8Y

    WU8Y Ham Member QRZ Page

    You know, I don't ever hear any of the "i'll use whatever phonetics I durned well want to" crowd saying, "I'll use whatever Morse characters I durned well want to."

    I want C to be dahdahdidah! If you don't like it, too bad!
    WW1I and K1ZBT like this.
  6. WW1I

    WW1I Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    Boom....100% correct.

    I hear this drumbeat that "I use non-standard because they work better". The reason aviation, DOD, maritime all use the standard is that there can only be one. Again, folks, "alpha" doesn't start with "A".... "alpha" is "A". I hear "A" and I write "A". Zero thought required. Just like good CW operators don't hear dits and dahs, but rather they hear letters. Good standard phonetics do the same exact thing in phone. Lastly, this concept that pilots only use UHF (military) and VHF (civil) is wrong. We work Oceanic Control on HF in some horrible conditions. We work VHF in countries where English is not their first in most of the planet and standard phonetics are sometimes all we have to get the message across. Also, in my fighter aviation days and a young pup, we worked with FACs that had less than perfect com. So boys, when some Marine 2LT is pinned down and direct contact with the enemy and asking for air assets, would you prefer he give his nine line by making up his own phonetics, or call in a strike with standard phonetics. One way is professional and accurate, the others is unprofessional and not accurate. I get it, I get it, we're not professionals in HAM radio. But, we can sound professional, and if/when called on in an emergency, we will sound like professionals when the data being transmitted is more important than a QSL card from a DX.

    There is only one standard. As soon as you make up your own, you'd be better served by just saying the letter, which is fine.

    "booger" "roadkill" "yellow" "automatic" "nonsense"
    WU8Y and K1ZBT like this.
  7. 9A5BWT

    9A5BWT XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    "That one time I was saying Nato and i had to switch..." - yeah, it's cool
    Americans (USA) that don't dx can do whatever and, yes, FCC does not say what to use.
    But you have not read the original post. Go read it again.

    I'm still a newb, but as I am starting out here in Europe and I hear some Arab guy calling once Alpha and immediatelly after that America (Emirates prefix is A6) it sounds like Alpha Six Foxtrot Tango America Six ...)
    He is using two alphabets, first stating his sign in ITU and than the other one. How do I know where it starts and where it ends while I'm turning the knob and how do I know that he is not calling America continent? I have to listen to it for 5 times. Nad then he might turn the knob or swith bands because no one came back to him.

    So, people that use non standard and say yo never have the problem. How do you know? How do you know that the operator on the other side listend for five times in bad conditions and moved on? You don't. But you're hams, and you should know that what you say does not even sounds the same to you when played back because your voice in your head and coming from the speaker is much different.

    Sounds like to me that you just want to excercise your freedom whenever you can because it is not a law to use one standard. Sure you can, but there are hundreds of countries and hundreds of languages and while many of them have their own spelling alphabets, they use NATO, ITU, ENGLISH which is all the same. Why don't we use our own? Well, English is the lingua franca of the world. Due to British imperialism, American movies, American technology, I, coming from Croatia, and traveling to Hungary speak english, same as I am whe traveling to Austria or Germany, or Tunisia, Italy... or when i converse with the guy that sends me arduino clone from Hong Kong, or Yury from Ukraine that sent me the telegraph key, or taht french guy I returned the call to on 3.5 MHz band.

    And there absolutely is one standard.
    "After the phonetic alphabet was developed by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO)[3] (see history below) it was adopted by many other international and national organizations, including the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), the International Maritime Organization (IMO), the United States Federal Government (as Federal Standard 1037C: Glossary of Telecommunications Terms,[4] and its successor ANSI T1.523-2001, ATIS Telecom Glossary,[5] both of which cite Joint Publication 1-02: Department of Defense Dictionary of Military and Associated Terms,[6] but modifying the spelling of alfa and juliett) and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), and the International Amateur Radio Union (IARU), the American Radio Relay League (ARRL), the Association of Public-Safety Communications Officials-International (APCO); and by many military organizations such as the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and the now-defunct Southeast Asia Treaty Organization (SEATO)."

    Also, where did your callsign prefix come from? ITU. Internation Telecomunication Union.
    W9FL, PA0MHS, WW1I and 1 other person like this.
  8. M0UMG

    M0UMG Ham Member QRZ Page

    I'm an ex-pilot, and use standard phonetics without even thinking about it. The standard words just translate by reflex into the letter without conscious thought (as another poster said happens once you know Morse).
    I (and my partner and son) are very new to amateur radio. I only recently finished setting up our station, and was surprised (and, to be honest, mildly irritated) to hear totally random phonetics. Maybe this is why it's called 'Amateur' radio :)
    But I guess it doesn't really matter, as this is supposed to be fun, and if someone wants to express individuality it's not for anyone else to complain.
    But as others have said, if conditions are marginal, it's a nuisance, and makes copying a bad signal a lot more work.
    KM6CND likes this.
  9. N0TZU

    N0TZU Platinum Subscriber Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

    Welcome to ham radio!

    I use standard phonetics almost all the time. I agree it is best to have a standard which generally makes communication easier and faster. This is absolutely vital in a structured communications environment like flying, and especially so when life safety is a big concern.

    However in the unstructured amateur radio hobby world there are occasions (and it will happen to you someday) when in bad or crowded band conditions the OP at the other end of the ionosphere simply cannot understand a particular letter using standard phonetics. In that case, using a non-standard but common ham radio phonetic will usually work.

    Why? Could be many reasons.

    Most hams are older, dare I say elderly, and unlike professional pilots and ATC personnel, don’t need to still have decent hearing. In particular, it’s very common for older people to lose high frequency hearing, and the ability to discriminate words in noise, especially those with softer consonants.

    Perhaps the OP is not a native English speaker and has trouble with some pronunciations - most hams aren’t trained and practiced professionals doing it daily for hours.

    Perhaps there is adjacent channel interference, a common ham situation especially in contests and DX pileups. Unlike other radio services, we have VFOs and can crowd right up against each other.

    It could be that his radio, or yours, is not adjusted in the best way for poor conditions, particularly if low frequencies are emphasized, or if the modulation is overdriven or underdriven. Unlike other services, hams have the knobs available to misadjust their radios.

    Whatever the reason, it really does happen.

    There are some DXers and contesters who choose to use non-standard phonetics frequently because they think it makes them stand out in the crowd, and perhaps it does to a degree. What exactly is wrong with that? A contest or DX QSO is not a critical life safety mission and nobody is getting paid.

    And there are a few jokers who sometimes like to use silly phonetics just for fun. Why not?

    Amateur radio is a service for good reasons but in daily practice mostly a hobby.
    M0UMG and KV6O like this.
  10. KM6CND

    KM6CND Ham Member QRZ Page

    I am

    Always have been
    Always will be

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