Military Radio Etiquette

Discussion in 'The War Room' started by Moskau, Jun 13, 2012.

  1. Hey all, not sure if this is the correct place to post.

    Just curious as to what the correct protocol is for communications via radio for a modern military.
    How you'd send a receive information, how professional it would be regarding language and how different units will communicate to others. Just asking for a story I'm starting to create, would like it to have resemblance to real life.

    Obviously if this is something that can't be answered due to what ever reasons, thats cool.
  2. SGTschlock

    SGTschlock Sensei aishitemasu

    I'm not sure I can offer specific suggestions, but you might want to try watching Generation Kill, and pay attention to how they handled radio communications.
  3. Etiquette if you can call it that is too never use names.
    Always keep the massage short as possible,Radiomen can never use his radio without an expressive order form his superior officer.
    On the exam my CO asked me what will I do if I see a mechanized infantry company driving on to a known minefield and I have radio connection to them.
    I replayed "camm them in to warn them."
    I was promptly running around the barracks in full gear.
    The correct response was do nothing, they will find out soon enough and I just communicated position of two units too the enemy.

    Do not answer if there is any doubt that you are the recipient of the massage.
    Radiomen are to be changed as frequently as possible so the enemy will not recognize what unit is radioing simply by the fact that they know the persons voice.
    Also never use Radios if any other means of communication are possible. Telephone lines and fiber-optics are always to be deployed when ever an unit is in the same location any period of time.

    I was a army radiomen if You have any questions about specifics just PM me.
  4. Tiberius Sran

    Tiberius Sran Lieutenant

    Never ever ever ever say over and out to end your transmissions.
    Stormwalker likes this.
  5. Xort

    Xort Mahō Shōjo

    Holy fuck if the enemy is listening to your comm you have much bigger problems than them knowing who you are by the sound of your voice.

    Proper procedure for the radio is different nation to nation. How Canada talks on the radio is similar but different to how the US does.

    For example in Canada every member of the radio network is identified by number and letter, so in theory everyone knows who is talking. In the US they throw names and without a print out of the names you don't know who is talking. They might have some rules for the naming convention but I never figured it out.

    Example, I was the call sign, T13B on my tour. That is T for armour or tank, 1 for A squadron, 3 for 3 troop, B for the B vehicle of the troop.
    When I was in reccon I was 41c or N41c. Which is 4 = D squadron (recce squadron), 1 first toop, C vehicle. When I dismounted from the vehicle and had my own personal radio, I add N to the front to tell people I'm the dismounted independant radio from my vehicle.

    Now you might say what happened to the T? Shouldn't armoured recce also have a T in front of it? Well when I was using T13B I was part of a mixed net (of different units) and the controlers wanted roll identifiers added on in front. So infantry would put an I, engineers an E, arty a G.


    To directly answer the topic at hand a short contact report, lets say between myself N41c and my troop officer 41.
    41, N41C, Contact WAIT OUT. (This is me saying I'm in contact with the enemy, I might be fighting for my life, little busy to explain on the radio I'l get back to you when I can)
    41, N41C, Contact Report OVER. (I now have time to give a report, so 41 wake up and get ready to copy it)
    N41c, 41 send OVER (41 is telling me he is ready and to send my message)
    41 PARA: A 546 678, PARA B 2 times APC pulled into intersections under observation and dismounted section sized force and look to be establishing a road block covering all directions, MORE TO FOLLOW OVER. (Here I droped my call sign because he knows who is talking to him, I am using the standard contact report so he knows that the first line or Paragraph is my grid. The second or B paragraph is the enemy, how many, what type, what they are doing and the direction they are doing it in. I gave him a break at the end rather than the whole report so he can write it down and to give everyone a chance if they need to talk to jump in)
    41 (This is common radio slang, he is giving me the go ahead to send the rest of my report by saying his call sign)
    41 Contact Report Continues PARA C Continuing to observe enemy action, and eyes on my objective, PARA D 1045 hours, contact report ends OVER. (I'm just finishing off the report with my own action and the time of the contact)
    N41c, 41 What direction did the APCs come from? OVER. (Here the officer is getting more information that I didn't include in my initial report)
    41, N41C APCs aproached from the North on the road, OVER. (And I answer)
    N41C, 41 Be ready to adjust arty fire on the APCs OVER. (And here he is giving me heads up find my book with how to adjust arty fire)
    41 I was hoping you would say that, OVER. (Even in serious business people make jokes)
    N41C, OUT TO YOU, 4, 41 Do you copy my last with 41C? OVER. (Here 41 is ending the communication with me, I could have finished the communication with him before as I started it, but in the armour we let the higher call sign end the communication with an OUT, so you can actual end up with no one saying an OUT leaving the communication 'open' but ended with two overs. 4 Is the HQ for our squadron, so in theory they were listening to what I was saying so to save time, the officer (41) can just ask them if they got what they needed to hear which saves 41 having to make a duplicate report. This doesn't always work because it's possible my radio wasn't heard so all 4 heard was 41's side of the conversation, he also dropped the N off my call sign because I'm logicaly part of the 41C call sign and what I report is actualy what the call sign is reporting)
    4, Yeah, I got that. Umm... Is your A patrol compleat in it's task? OVER. (Here you see that often higher is highly informal and speaks more naturaly)
    41, Negitive My A patrol is about halfway compleat, in fact I'm expecting a SITREP from them in the next 10 minutes. OVER. (Here 41 is giving the A patrol a heads up that they should make up a situation report and send it to him)
    4, Right, I don't think we are going to drop any arty on the APCs, the guns are busy for now. Let me know if anything changes OUT. (And where 4 concludes the contract report and ends this little bit of military communication with an OUT)
  6. Over means I want a reply
    Out means I don't. So over and out is nonsense.
    Contact wait out. Is the first thing you say when getting shot at. The airwaves then should be clear as your the most important call sign on the net (net being the radio net)
    Call signs UK ones are generated by a sheet of signal orders and will be alpha numeric so d coy commander might be D 1 0 zero being a commander.
    US air craft can get away with call signs such as" gunfighter 36"

    Really depends how secure your radios are and what capability the enemy have to listen in jam,confuse and the worst thing direction find.So radio conversations should be brief and to the point.We would let our radio operators use the radio as nesscary for radio checks situation reports,etc and could inform the call sign driving into a minefield without censure.He should do all the stuff the commander needs doing ,but,not chat away to other operators.
    There are NATO and ISAF standard reports for calling air support,medivac,etc probably available online if you that intrested.
    A radio is the most powerful weapon a dismounted unit has as it can bring all your friends to the party.If things have gone to shit and the only person on the radio is private fuckwit. The guys on the other end will work with what they have.Knew a lance corporal ended up calling in air strikes as he was the only one with a radio that worked and no one could get to him as they were pinned down.
    So a B1 ended up dropping bombs for a bloke I wouldn't trust to get a pizza delivery right:D

    Swearing is also frowned at on the net.
    We don't use the word repeat on the net we say ,say again as repeat is used by artillery and mortars when you want them to fire again.
  7. Teln

    Teln I'm Captain Basch! Don't listen to Ondore's lies!

    All I know about military radios is that when the guy you're talking to finishes his callsign with "Actual", it means you're not speaking to a random radioman but the radioman's CO--which can get quite interesting when you're radioing into brigade HQ, for example.
  8. British army has a chatnet prc basically a radio for screaming at your section with.
    Not used with vp as non secure
  9. Bazooka Man

    Bazooka Man Kablooie

    *takes notes on what to listen for in*
  10. Xort

    Xort Mahō Shōjo

    That always struck me as hugely retarded.

    Is some arty guy listening to the radio waiting to hear the word repeat to fire his last fire mission, even thought no on is talking to him, the context of the communication isn't for the arty to shoot.

    Basicly how stupid do you think the arty is?
  11. Jonen C

    Jonen C F.M.D.G. Arbiter

    Do not taunt Murphy.

    That said: Etiquette is not the proper word. Procedure is what you're looking for.

    Also keep in mind: Every nation does things their own way, and often time each branch of the military has it's own way of doing things, and sometimes they can't even agree on a joint standard within a branch.
    lackofgravitas likes this.
  12. Very like the rest of the Army:).
  13. In my army "over and out"(translated) has a meaning that you are finishing an getting of the comms. As in You will not be receiving again.
    That was what the reg book said back then.

    "Over and out" is how we usually translated it too English.

    I don't find it retarded at all.

    Its the same reason when doing a countdown to opening fire English do not say "four" its goes "five" "..." "three" "two"
    The word "four" sounds to much like "fire".
    Plus with all the interference over the comm and people on edge a single word can start an un-intended shit storm.

    Also we had a simple system, we did use a code that each unit had a code
    No numbers was used but whole word some time You were "oceania" other time "amethyst" but you usually got some stupid like "umbrella" or "doghouse".

    The enemy is always listening. They called your own ENINT guys they write a rapport and you are fucked... well at least laugh at.
    But them actually understanding the coded dribble you are saying is a whole different thing.
    ENINT on maneuvers have a lot of fun figuring out what the guys in the field are up to.
    decipher likes this.
  14. They are artillery best not to tempt them.
    The nick name is Drop shorts.
    Did an advance to contact live fire ex with commando artillery giving support 105mm light guns produce instant swimming pool size craters. In peat and thats the nerf version of artillery
    Kokurokoki likes this.
  15. Jonen C

    Jonen C F.M.D.G. Arbiter

    Swedish lesson:

    English : Swedish [Literal meaning of Swedish term]

    "Over": "Kom." ["Come."]
    "Out.": "Klart slut." ["Finished End."]

    Additionally, the term "Slut, kom." is sometimes used when the transmitting party has nothing more to say, and is handing over actually ending the conversation to the receiving party.

    The fixed call signs of units in the Swedish army are built up according to a schema:
    If the Company is QJ, platoon level this is AQ, BQ, CQ, DQ, and the squads in AQ are EA, FA, GA, HA and so on.
    (On company level uses QRST, battalion is JLNP, IIRC).
    Temporary callsigns may be used for the purposes of deception because:

    decipher likes this.
  16. Kensai

    Kensai He ain't heavy, he's my cub SuperModerator

    When we did it, it was called Voice Procedure, or VP.

    Mostly the same as the chaps above, but we did have what were called functional nicknames as well. So for example the commander of a unit (however small) was referred to as Sunray, the 2ic was Moonbeam. That kind of thing. Funny thing is, a lot of the regular officers had trained with other forces (I was radioman for our S3, who did the SEALS course) so they tended to import bits and pieces of their VP as well. It all worked pretty okay with a bit of common sense.

    One classic was when the codeword for radio check was "Nike". So when we sent, "Nike," some bright spark just had to reply with, "Just do it."

    The officers got away with a lot more swearing than we did.

    It was fun to impersonate S3 and harangue some poor 2LT for fucking up his SITREP.

    Knowing each other's voices was useful. One exercise, the enemy found our command net frequency and tried to do a bit of deception. Inserted into the net and started transmitting. We knew that wasn't one of our chaps. Cue: "Hello 09 this is 02," "09 send," "02 fuck your mother 18 ancestors." Followed by everyone switching to alternate frequency. This scored us a few points with the assessors. :D

    Chair Force were incredibly sloppy with their VP. Just chatting on the net like it was Aunt Rosie's Sewing Club.

    We'd come up with our own codes of course. "Bingo gold" meant "We're out of coffee, send some more," and "Lai liao," meant "The civilian mobile canteen has found us, get your money ready." The latter is in Hokkien dialect, the use of which was very much frowned upon officially but who gives a rat's arse?

    Once we got into the reserves, we tended to not bother with the radios and just use our mobile phones. Lots more convenient. Just remember to put them on silent. Also, when we were in harbour the comms rover would become a mobile charging station.
    decipher likes this.
  17. Xort

    Xort Mahō Shōjo

    I don't think I've ever heard that before.
    Not with professionals, unless they are sure that someone is directly talking to them, and communicating a desire to conduct the same fire mission over, they aren't going to shoot.

    Do you honestly think that the radio op at the guns listening to another net, is going to say, OMG someone said repeat and then said what he just said, and wasn't talking to us at all, WE MUST FIRE GUNS!

    Always listening to what? Encrypted frequency hopping static?
  18. Cheers for all this guys, lots of info to take in.

    As for conflicting procedures, I might even implement that as different branches and then individual corps may have different procedures. I like the idea of causing unintentional consequences. I plan to have the tech at such a stage where radio encryption is absolute, but corruption is rife, units discipline poor and enemy listening is always evolving.

    As for the chair forces lack of discipline, an old army friend commented about that from Afghanistan. I quite like that, will be fun to use for the Space forces. A sign of arrogance.

    But yes, lots of ideas and etc to implement. Hopefully soon I'll be able to post something up and you guys can pick it apart lol!
  19. Longtom

    Longtom welder

    So... you CO would just let those men killed? That is a fucked up CO I must say!

    Something tells me you forgot to mention us that there was full radio silence - why else would enemy know position of 2 units.

    a sample of ours (estonian)
    NATO-- Ours-- Translation
    over-- kuuldel-- listening
    out-- side lõpp-- end of transmission
    repeat-- kordan-- (I am) repeating
    received-- vastuvõetud-- same
  20. Our battalion for awhile used glaswegian reinforcements as radio ops
    as nobody could understand what the fuck they said on the net same with geordies :)

    After midnnight people had a tendancy to fuck around on the net.
    Are you a friendly bear?
    i,m a friendly bear etc etc
    this is sunray correct vp at all terms OUT!

    Pause your not a very friendly brear :)
  21. Longtom

    Longtom welder

    we had bit similar things with russian conscripts - sometimes it was really bloody hard to understand their estonan (at least they tried)
  22. Jonen C

    Jonen C F.M.D.G. Arbiter

    I've no real experience of it, but supposedly, listening to the net when a Scanian is trying to report to anyone from north of former East Denmark is supposed to be hilarious.
    Longtom likes this.
  23. IXJac

    IXJac Citizen

    That is quite possibly the most retarded thing I have ever heard in any military test or training - and I've heard some pretty retarded things.

    So, on the off chance that the enemy is listening to your coms and can DF your OP before you relocate, you're going to let a unit - that the enemy might not even know is there - blunder into a minefield thus:

    1.) Almost certainly revealing its location (BOOOM!)
    2.) Probably incurring damage and casualties, not just from the mines, but also potentially from enemy fire. (Doctrinally, a minefield is covered by fire)
    3.) Almost certainly rendering it fixed and immobile and preventing it from accomplishing its mission.
    4.) Requiring medical and engineering assets to extricate it.
    5.) Requiring an additional combat unit to either take over its mission, or defend it while it extricates itself.
    *6.) Created probably 1000% more radio traffic for enemy intelligence to exploit in the ensuing panic and chaos.

    Congratulations. Because you refused to break radio silence an infantry company is now immobilized in a mine field, possibly now under fire and with damage and casualties, and will now require ANOTHER infantry company, and a troop of engineers to extricate, along with CASEVAC and medical attention.

    If you were a member of the Canadian forces and you used that argument at your inevitable charge parade they'd probably upgrade it to a court martial forthwith.

    Your instincts were 100% correct. You break radio silence and inform the other unit that they are in imminent danger. Then you take reasonable measures to mitigate the risk to yourself from enemy SIGINT/ELINT.
  24. Tusken Raider

    Tusken Raider Outcast Warrior

    What!?.... What?

    I have seen radiomen use their radios all the time without express orders from a superior, much less a superior officer.

    Or you could just say, 'Stand By, Fire' like Marine Batteries do.

    Is it really worth taking the chance? I mean, you can either avoid slightly inconveniencing radio operators.... or possibly save someone's life in the future. I know which option I would choose.
  25. Xort

    Xort Mahō Shōjo

    What chance?
    If the arty is going to fire because in a conversation between someone else they heard a single word, then those gunners should all be in jail for being too stupid to live.
    It would be like the infantry shooting up a school bus because they thought they heard the word fire on the radio and thought it was for them to fire on the bus full of children.

    Unless you have a clear order or request you don't do anything. How about this, if you are so sure that the arty are going to instantly REPEAT their last fire mission any time they hear that word on the radio no matter the context, you remove REPEAT as a pro word for do your last fire mission over. If you want someone to fire their last fire mission again you say, "Do your last fire mission again" or "Keep shooting for another 2min", or "Same corrections fire again".


    Do you think "I heard someone on the radio not talking to me, clearing asking for someome to say what they just said again" so I fired my last fire mission I had and killed 50 people, is going to be a defense when the battery commander is up on a murder charge? Or how about "I only heard one word, so I assumed that of all the guns on the radio net that this random single word was ment for me".

    It's retarded and saying it's FER SAFETEE is also retarded.