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[Articles Home]  [Add Article]  

What's So Hard About Phonetics?

Robert Bogash (W7DDD) on November 29, 2004
View comments about this article!

What's so hard about Phonetics?

I grew up with Able, Baker Charlie, Easy, Dog, Fox. I liked them a lot. "Hello Easy Company, this is Fox One." When the TV police shows arrived, I learned Adam, Baker, Charlie, David, Edward. We all learned them; "One Adam Twelve, see the woman..." My long time piloting career taught me Alpha, Bravo, Charlie, Delta, Echo. I thought, well at least Charlie had staying power, when along comes, America, Boston, Canada, Denmark, England... but, wait, there's Amsterdam, Baltimore, Chile, Denmark, Egypt. I mean, is it Zulu...or Zed, or Zebra, or Zanzibar, or Zurich, or Zero, or Zeppelin, or...

Personally, I have come to appreciate aviation. They definitely have a system and are sticking to it. Hams, well, they seem to be on a boutiquey course of maxing out one's cleverness. Like Whilhamina Naraggansett Two Dapheney Saskatchewan Uganda, or maybe Alaska Seward Seven Jerremiah Thomas McGuillicutty (Hey! It's my name isn't it, and I live here in Seward, Alaska, numskull. Plus, it's easy to remember! Can't you speak English?")

It's tough enough with dialects, accents, and people who do not speak English as their native tongue, to say nothing about QRM! In some contests, I think I've listened to some guy I wanted to work, give his call 50 times before I "got it." And then, there are the guys with 'rolling calls', changing the phonetics every time they give it - I heard one yesterday that had an inexhaustible repertoire.

Might I suggest we go back to the International Standard Phonetic Alphabet? Or, if not, then you can check out this website for an inexhaustible supply of new clever ones guaranteed to get me to spinning on down the dial. http://montgomery.cas.muohio.edu/meyersde/PhoneticAlphabets.htm

So just sign me off Whiskey 7 Triple Delta, or is it Whiskey 7 Delta Delta Delta? -- Or Washington 7 Triple Denmark? No, it must be William 7 Triple Dog? Triple David???...

Actually, it's my personal favorite vanity call - meant for clear and universal understanding: KK7KK, as in "Japan Alpha Five Tango Echo, I'll repeat this for you just one more time: This is Knick Knack Seven Knock Knees. Do you copy? Over." Dad-Gum, that call's already taken!

Member Comments:
This article has expired. No more comments may be added.
 
What's So Hard About Phonetics?  
by N6AJR on November 29, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
10-4 good buddy :)
 
RE: What's So Hard About Phonetics?  
by W6TH on November 29, 2004 Mail this to a friend!



It is illegal to use "tripple dog etc. FCC doesn't like it". No tripples and just each dog.

.:
 
What's So Hard About Phonetics?  
by G0GQK on November 29, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
If the phonetics used by NATO are found to be suitable for an international military machine do you not think they should be OK for humble radio amateurs to use ?

Anyway who cares ? Calls should be given as read and not phonetically.

73, Mel
 
RE: What's So Hard About Phonetics?  
by W3JJH on November 29, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
G0GQK,

Actually, the rule we here in the colonies operate under encourage the use of phonetics:

47CFR97.119 (b) The call sign must be transmitted with an emission authorized for the transmitting channel in one of the following ways ...
(2) By a phone emission in the English language. Use of a phonetic alphabet as an aid for correct station identification is encouraged ...

73 de Whiskey Three Juliet Juliet Hotel
 
What's So Hard About Phonetics?  
by N1NJI on November 29, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
eh, what does it matter really, as long as the point gets across...

73's
number one neon jade igauna
 
it's all about weak signals  
by KZ1X on November 29, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
'NJI: "what does it matter really, as long as the point gets across"

Ummm...

Two VERY good reasons to use standard phonetics:

1. in weak signal 'fone work, the use of these specifically-selected English words allows the transmitted signal to 'stand out' in enunciation, and to be more readily discerned in poor signal to noise environments due to the 'expectation' effect of the brain

2. for working stations whose native language is not English, they may not know these odd other words ('philadelphia' versus 'papa'; "bugs bunny" vs. 'bravo bravo') and when THEY transmit, if they tried to use English words other than the standard ones, you might not be able to figure out what they are saying ...

Reason #3 is: it's good amateur practice ... but that is so obvious that I won't mention it ...

Standard phonetics are typically used on HF and linear phone modes above 30 MHz. Generally, they aren't needed on FM, which is why most Techs don't see the point.
 
RE: What's So Hard About Phonetics?  
by N0CTO on November 29, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
Message follows:

Germany, Japan, Boston, Kilowatt two Zanzibar, Pretty Darn Ugly, Tree, Amsterdam, Randy, George, Michigan, Huey Dewey and Louie Seven. Over.

WHAT?

I hope what you said wasn't important because I stopped listening awhile ago.

To each his own I guess but why be cute? That's for seven year old girls. I'll stick the the standard phonetic alpahbet thank you.

Ok I admit sometimes I'll say "Fox" vice "Foxtrot". I'm such a rebel.
73,
Mike Gregory "N0CTO"
 
RE: What's So Hard About Phonetics?  
by LNXAUTHOR on November 29, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
- i always use standard phonetics when calling CQ or answering a call...

- however, i've found that somehow many stations cannot get my call correct when using standard phonetics (i operate QRP a lot)... in that case i resort to some of the 'other' phonetics and that seems to work...

- but my first inclination is to use NATO phonetics (after 20 years in the military it's habit)..
 
RE: What's So Hard About Phonetics?  
by K9FV on November 29, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
I agree the use of standard phonetics should be used... BUT I tend to use Fox instead of Foxtrot a lot myself - just seems simple with only one syllable instead of two.

When chatting with local folks (USA type) some of the "cute" phonetics seem to work pretty good also. a.k.a my old call of WA4UBD, Ugly Bad Dog just seemed to get the msg across quick - FOR local English speaking hams anyway, but on DX I would not use anything but Uniform Bravo Delta.

Ken H>
 
RE: What's So Hard About Phonetics?  
by WB2WIK on November 29, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
If you want to maximize the time-bandwidth used, it's best to avoid phonetics altogether and speak clearly and distinctly.

I can complete a couple of meteor scatter QSOs (SSB) in the amount of time it takes most people to modulate their callsign using standard phonetics. Just takes too long, unless you have a callsign which favors clear, short phonetics that don't take more time to pronounce than the letters themselves. "Whiskey" vs. "W," for example.

There's a lot to learning how to enunciate properly. I almost never use phonetics, and I speak quickly, and I can't remember the last time anybody asked me to repeat my call.

But on those rare occasions when I think phonetics are actually called for, if I'm working a DX station whose native language is not English, I avoid the "standard" phonetics and use more international ones, like city or country names. DX stations seem to get those better.

Better use of phonetics: In traffic handling, when dealing with non-standard and impossible to anticipate text that might be confusing, to differentiate letters that sound a lot alike, like "X-Ray" vs. "Sierra," or "Mike" vs. "November."

WB2WIK/6
 
What's So Hard About Phonetics?  
by K1ZF on November 29, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
...must be a slow news day...

Gene, K1ZF
 
ITU (ICAO)phonetics... exceptions to the rule!  
by KQ6XA on November 29, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
ITU (ICAO) standard phonetic alphabet is a good idea most of the time. Good operators use it.

HOWEVER, in practical use, the ITU phonetic alphabet has a few "weak" words!

Some standard ITU phonetic words get confused more often than others under difficult SSB signal-to-noise conditions.

An Example:
ALPHA is very often mis-understood as OSCAR.
That is why the phonetic "AMERICA" is often substituted for ALPHA these days by ham operators. It simply gets through the noise better.

Also, some operators who speak English as a second language have a difficult time saying some of the ITU phonetics... or for that matter, hearing certain ITU phonetics when pronounced rapidly by native "English" speaking operators. Many of the ITU words are very difficult for native Japanese and Korean speaking operators.

73---Bonnie KQ6XA

A--Alfa “AL-FAH”
B--Bravo “BRAH-VOH”
C--Charlie “CHAR-LEE” or “SHAR-LEE”
D--Delta “DELL-TAH”
E--Echo “ECK-OH”
F--Foxtrot “FOKS-TROT”
G--Golf “GOLF”
H--Hotel “HOH-TELL”
I--India “IN-DEE-AH”
J--Juliett “JEW-LEE-ETT”
K--Kilo “KEE-LOH”
L--Lima “LEE-MAH”
M--Mike “MIKE”
N--November “NO-VEM-BER”
O--Oscar “OSS-CAH”
P--Papa “PAH-PAH”
Q--Quebec “KEH-BECK”
R--Romeo “ROW-ME-OH”
S--Sierra “SEE-AIR-RAH”
T--Tango “TANG-GO”
U--Uniform “YOU-NEE-FORM” or “OO-NEE-FORM”
V--Victor “VIK-TAH”
W--Whiskey “WISS-KEY”
X--X-ray “ECKS-RAY”
Y--Yankee “YANG-KEY”
Z--Zulu “ZOO-LOO”

Numbers pronunciation:

0 - “ZEE-RO”
1 - “WUN”
2 - “TOO”
3 - “TH-UH-REE” or “TREE”
4 - “FOW-ER”
5 - “FI-IV” or “FIFE”
6 - “SIX”
7 - “SEV-EN”
8 - “ATE” or “A-IT”
9 - “NIN-ER”

DECIMAL = “DAY-SEE-MAL”

ANOMALIES and IDIOSYNCRASIES:

1 - To distinguish “Z” from “C” on phone, it is common practice to say “zed” (an old British phonetic) for “Z”, especially when saying a call sign. “Zed” is shorter (one syllable vs. two for “zulu”.) However, in formal traffic, the ITU: “ZULU” is more correct and proper.

2 - “ROGER” (an early phonetic) is still used for “received” (equivalent of sending “R” in Morse) - It does NOT mean “yes” or “affirmative”. It only means: “I have received your message completely.”
 
What's So Hard About Phonetics?  
by K7NNG on November 29, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
The reason all this has come up is because of CB. The operators that come over to ham radio just are not training properly, and thus, we have psss poor operators that don't have a clue as to what phonetics to use properly. I cringe each time I hear EXTRAs using improper phonetics. I feel ashamed for them, but, they don't know any better because the haven't been trained properly, and I suppose we must look sideways at it all. I never talk to them, I never answer anyone using stupid phonetics in the place of the "real ones"....all in all, they sound pretty stupid when they use non standard phonetics. The other countries must think of us as a nation of stupid ham radio operators...
 
RE: What's So Hard About Phonetics?  
by WA4MJF on November 29, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
As a point of history, the
Adam, Baker, Charlie, David,
Edward, etc. version was the
"ARRL Word List for Voice Work"
when I became a ham. At some
point, I not sure before, after
or simultaneoulsy at the same time
it became the APCO Phonetic Alphabet.
That is why you heard it on 1Adam12.

If I'm talking to an ole fart that
learned Able, Baker, Charlie, Dog,
Easy, Fox, Geroge, etc during the
war. I respond with what he knows.
If I'm talking with someone who uses
the APCO version (I'm a retired cop,
so I know that one, three) I use that.
Otherwise, I use the NATO standard.

Happy Holidaze!

73 de Ronnie
 
RE: What's So Hard About Phonetics?  
by K0IMJ on November 29, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
There is a good reason to use foxtrot rather than fox. Foxtrot is a phonetically balanced word, a two syllable word word with equal emphasis on both syllables. "PB" words are the easiest words in the english language to understand. When noise is present they are very much easier to understand than spondaic or one syllable words.

73 Gary K0IMJ www.heathkits.com
 
RE: What's So Hard About Phonetics?  
by WA4MJF on November 29, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
W3JJH,

There is not the same accent
on all the parts of each word
as your post may lead others to
think.

For example: A= AL fah
C=CHAR lee H=hoh TELL
O= OSS cah

Only MIKE is one part and
BRAH VOH is the only one
in which all parts are equally
accented.

Happy Holidaze!

73 de Ronnie
 
RE: What's So Hard About Phonetics?  
by WA4MJF on November 29, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
Gary,

Foxtrot is FOKS trot
note not equal.

Back when I was a NCO, I
was an instructor at the Radio
School at Fort Jackson. Then
I became a butterbar and didn 't
"work" for a living anymore :-)


Happy Holidaze!

73 de Ronnie
 
What's So Hard About Phonetics?  
by KB7LYM on November 29, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
Wilhelm Strassenheimer from the Resthome in Berlin knows ! After reading all this stuff here, Wilhelm a veteran of WW1 had this comment. Dressed in his old uniform included the Helmet with the spike he said....

Vely Vely Intelesting !!!
 
What's So Hard About Phonetics?  
by K8XF on November 29, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
When a ham uses phonetics its always interesting listening to the selection and accent for each associated letter. I hereby submit the New York City
Fa-Netics for all concerned parties:

Alpha -Alfer
Bravo - Bravooh
Charlier - Chaalee
Delta - Delter
Echo - Echoo
Foxtrot- Foxtrout
Gulf - Galf
Hotel - Hotewl
India- Indier
Juliette - Jew le-ate
Kilo- Keelow
Lima - Limer
Mike -Mike
November- Novembaaa
Oscar - Oscaah
Papa - papaa
Quebec - Kweebek
Romeo - Romeo
Sierra - see-era
Tango - Tangoh
Uniform - Unifarm
Victor - Victaah
Whiskey - Yeah ,I'll have a shot
Xray- X-rayy
Yankee - Yankee
Zulu - Zooluu

Note : To all W2's that use these types of Phonetics you lighten up our world with such fine pronouncements.
For Boston Hams that another Universe of humourous pronouncements....

YOU TALKIN TO ME ???
Come ova heaar.....


73
Mike, K8XF



 
What's So Hard About Phonetics?  
by WD5DFP on November 29, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
Let's see, that's "P" as in pneumonia, "K" as in knife ...

I agree. Stick to the standards.
 
What's So Hard About Phonetics?  
by W5EEX on November 29, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
I can live with just about any of the phonetics, but I cringe every time I hear the "Roger That" exchange. "QSL" means...I confirm that I got what you said or sent to me...."Roger That" is astronaut talk....if you want to use it...go get a job at NASA.
73
 
RE: What's So Hard About Phonetics?  
by WX2YOU on November 29, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
That's too funneh!

Weather To You!

OR Not..... heheh.
 
RE: What's So Hard About Phonetics?  
by KB1LKR on November 29, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
The ones I find awkward (unexpected as one listens?) are "Kilowatt" for "Kilo" (common), also the occasional "King" (believe this is from another less comon phonetic set), and "PA-pah" vs. the technically correct (if not odd sounding at first) "pa-PAH."

Zed for Z (when phonetics are not used, e.g. FM) has a nice ring to it, too bad I don't have a z in my call

Interestingly our local police use the NATO "alpha bravo charlie" not "adam baker... for things like vehicle license plates, etc.

I also have a friend who claimed, when on the telephone, to use "K as in knife" "P as in pneumatic" but I suspect he was pulling my leg, as otherwise he's end up ordering the wrong part or whatever.

73

de KB1LKR -- Steve
 
RE: What's So Hard About Phonetics?  
by K5MYJ on November 29, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
"I grew up with Able, Baker Charlie, Easy, Dog, Fox."

Me too! USAF 1952.

Bob Macklin
K5MYJ/7
Seattle, Wa.

"REAL RADIOS GLOW IN THE DARK"
 
RE: What's So Hard About Phonetics?  
by AE6IP on November 29, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
> ...."Roger That" is astronaut talk....if you want to
> use it...go get a job at NASA.

In all my years at NASA I never once heard anyone, not even Sally Ride say "Roger that".

 
RE: What's So Hard About Phonetics?  
by AE6IP on November 29, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
Eh. I'm flexible. When I'm calling, especially when I'm NCS, I use the 'standard' phonetics. Expect, of course, when I've reasonably sure that the called party has good enough copy to understand the letters.

When someone else has been calling, if they use unusual phonetics, I reply using the phonetics they expect. Easier all around.

On nets, you get used to some people having 'clever' phonetics. They're like mnemonics, they make it easier to remember people's call signs.

On the other hand, I've got a bit of a dilemma. AE6IP is a *great* CW callsign. But it sucks on phone. Amazing how hard it is for people to get it right.

 
RE: What's So Hard About Phonetics?  
by K5MYJ on November 29, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
Roger and Wilco were from the Phonetic Alphabet used by the US military during WWII and the Korean War.

Bob Macklin
K5MYJ/7
Seattle, Wa.

"REAL RADIOS GLOW IN THE DARK"
 
RE: What's So Hard About Phonetics?  
by KC7GNM on November 29, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
The worst one of all is "KiloWatt" When I am copying a callsign down I normally write down a KW because I think they are using two letters. K=Kilo not a 3 syllable phonetic. I am in the Army and started my career 20 years ago as a signal corps soldier. They taught us the proper phonetics. Also remember Q = Quebec pronounced kay-beck. If you use standard phonetics it is much easier to copy than someone saying kilowatt charles seven got no money as in my callsign. My call with proper phonetics is Kilo Charlie Seven Golf November Mike. Easy to say and when you hear me on HF that is the way I will say it not using those silly weird phonetics you hear poor operators using.

73 de Greg
KC7GNM
 
RE: What's So Hard About Phonetics?  
by N6AJR on November 29, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
#1 why is phonetics not spelled foneticly

# I learned 1 alphabet in the boy scouts, another in the military, yet another when dealing with the Hiway patrol , and still another with the state of calif maintenance and emergency responce crew..

and still another with ham radio.. so able, alpha, apple, ataboy, all go as a.. whoooooo careesssssssssssss
 
What's So Hard About Phonetics?  
by WZ9Y on November 29, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
I have to admit to using Zed sometimes instead of zulu. I always CQ using Whisky Zulu 9 Yankee and at the end use Zed to clarify. Reason is for some reason many stations have always asked if my call was W09Y after making contact so when I call cq from Whisky Zulu 9 Yankee I end the call with W Zed 9 Y for that reason.
 
What's So Hard About Phonetics?  
by WA6BFH on November 29, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
Hey Robert, Pretty cute article!

I remember watching the movie, "The Thing", you know, the one where Matt Dillon was the Thing. Thats the movie Howard Hawks did, not the re-make that John Carpenter did in the eighties. Anyway, as a little kid at the matinee, I loved those phonetics used in the radio communication! Oh and, 'Ya want me to leave the Mike open and sing, so you can zero in on our heading?'

I got used to ICAO/ITU phonetics pretty easily as a kid, and new Ham. These days however, while most often I am Whiskey Alpha Six Bravo Foxtrot Hotel, for foreign contacts I'm William America Six Belgium France Holland. When I'm feeling particularly patriotic, I'm William America Six Benjamin Franklin Hamilton.

Considering the present state of Ham Radio though, or at least when I'm on 80, 20, or 2 Meters, maybe I should be, Wolfhound Akita Six Bishon Frizae Hound!

73! .-- .- -.... -... ..-. .... ___ . ___
 
What's So Hard About Phonetics?  
by VK6NU on November 30, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
Standard phonetics are good but if somebody in Europe or Japan uses different phonetics and you go back with the standard phonetics they think you got it wrong. Like the following for example. Victor Kilo 6 Norway United. If I went back with Victor Kilo 6 November Uniform it really confuses them. I do quite a few contests and find its much easier to use the same Phonetics that the other station just used for the callsign. It may not be the standard ones but it gets through quicker. By the way N & U are very difficult to get across as November Uniform, its much easier with Nancy or Norway & United instead.

But my No1 rule always answer with the same phonetics makes it easier and quicker.

73 John VK6NU
 
RE: What's So Hard About Phonetics?  
by KC2IXE on November 30, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
My "new" call

Kilo Golf 2 Victor

I often use the APCO, slightly modified, and I try to break myself of it

King George 2 Victoria

Calling DX, I'll often "double call" if I hear the DX runing "non standard" phonetics - one of each
 
What's So Hard About Phonetics?  
by KB2HSH on November 30, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
I used to hear it when the "old timers" would gather for coffee everyday. They would sit around and think of funny phonetics to try to sound cute on the air. The one that made me want to puke was xxxCCB ("cute cuddly bunnies"). WHAT THE HELL IS THAT???!!!

OK, maybe I'm nit-picking, but I remember on my Novice license exam the section pertaining to STANDARD INTERNATIONAL PHONETICS. It's for this reason I stopped checking into a VERY popular 40-meter WAS net.

73,

KILO-BRAVO-TWO-HOTEL-SIERRA-HOTEL
 
RE: What's So Hard About Phonetics?  
by KC8VWM on November 30, 2004 Mail this to a friend!

Ok..., how many of you guys are guilty and actually getting caught using phonetics when clarifying something over the telephone with someone?


:)
 
RE: What's So Hard About Phonetics?  
by N3EVL on November 30, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
I see some references to "Zed" like it is some phonentic in its own right - believe it or not, a large portion of the English-speaking world refers to the letter "Z" as "Zed." "Zee" is a purely North American phenomenon;)

Pete
 
RE: What's So Hard About Phonetics?  
by K2GW on November 30, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
>>The worst one of all is "KiloWatt" When I am copying a callsign down I normally write down a KW because I think they are using two letters.

Hear, Hear! I totally agree and also often wind up writing down KW when someone uses "kilowatt" to mean K. I suspect it's because a kilowatt's abreviation is KW.

Let's ban "Kilowatt" from phonetics from this day forward!

Gary (Kilo Two Golf Whiskey)
 
RE: What's So Hard About Phonetics?  
by K0BG on November 30, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
Let's see. If I follow the rules as explained here, I guess I won't get into trouble if I give my call as read: ka zero ba ga.

Alan, KØBG
www.k0bg.com
 
RE: What's So Hard About Phonetics?  
by W0FM on November 30, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
Never quite figured out how the 6 meter SSB clan came to use "Mary" as in grid square "Echo Mary Thirty One." Then the same guy turns it back to me and it's "Whiskey Zero Foxtrot Mike".

How did "Mike" become "Mary" in a matter of seconds? And only on 6 meters. A good sex change surgeon perhaps?


73,

Terry, WØFM
 
RE: What's So Hard About Phonetics?  
by W0FM on November 30, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
Or, maybe Lorena Bobbitt?
 
RE: WHAT'S WRONG WITH THIS PICTURE!  
by W9WHE-II on November 30, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
Wow....the "politically correct" crowd takes up the cause of phonetics.

Want Nine Whiners Hollaring (to) END
 
RE: What's So Hard About Phonetics?  
by K0IMJ on November 30, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
Ronnie
I beg to differ, foxtrot is a "PB" word and so designated by speech pathologists all over the world. I use it daily in my practice.
73 Gary K0IMJ www.heathkitscom
 
RE: WHAT'S WRONG WITH THIS PICTURE!  
by KC7GNM on November 30, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
What about numbers? Some of them have their own phonetics as well.

3= Tree
5= Fife
9= Niner

Those are taught in basic radio operting in the military as well as the standard phonetic alphabet. We had to test on knowing it before we could move on. I still use the standard military phonetics and number phonetics because for one I use them in the military and two because I have been doing it for 20 years in the military and they are second nature to me now.

73 de Greg
KC7GNM
 
RE: What's So Hard About Phonetics?  
by WA4MJF on November 30, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
Well, Gary, this could be an example of
the ole truth that there is a right way,
a wrong way and the Army way.

My 1A-11-907 AG-8210-O-Army-Knox-Mar 69-50M
and Radio Operator's Handbook 4-11-C20
201-05B/C-HB USASC&FG say that it is
FOKS trot.

Happy Holidaze!

73 de Ronnie
 
RE: What's So Hard About Phonetics?  
by K4JF on November 30, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
I always use standard phonetics, unless a DX station uses something different (ie: "Japan France"), then I will use his/her version for the rest of that QSO. A matter of courtesy in my opinion.

My old call (for over 20 years) was WA4LHL. When I coordinated ham help at a Scottish festival and showed up in the kilt, they started using "Long Hairy Legs" and that one stuck for a long time. Just another reason to get my initials when this call came available!! :o)

73 DE Kilo Four Juliet Foxtrot
 
What's So Hard About Phonetics?  
by G3RZP on November 30, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
The NATO/ICAO alphabet is fine under conditions of good signal to noise ratio. There are extremely few commercial applications where the signal to noise ratio used is as low as in some amateur applications - such as weak signal SSB on VHF/UHF or even occasionally on the HF bands. 12dB is considered the minimum commercially, but I've certainly had QSO's (Johnston Island is one that I particularly remember)where the S+N/N was about 3dB, and the exchange was really minimal.

Where the SNR is bad, then communications theory tells us that longer words with syllabic redundancy have a better chance of getting through. So 'Germany Three Radio Zanzibar Pacific' is much better than 'Golf Three Romeo Zulu Papa' in this respect. The downside is that the guy at the other end may have difficulties with those words, but it's been shown time and again in Europe that for weak signal 2m SSB work, the NATO/ICAO alphabet just doesn't cut it. And the theory says it won't, either. Another minor (!) problem is that some of the ICAO words are too 'soft' and in noise, are indistinguishable from other similar ones.

But if you're just passing traffic on the repeater, then that's another matter.
 
RE: What's So Hard About Phonetics?  
by W9IND on November 30, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
I take a middle road on this particular issue: Yes, cutesy phonetics such as "Woohoo-9-I-Need-Dames" are confusing and annoying, but certain aspects of standard phonetics also fall into that category.

Bonnie, KQ6XA, has a point on this one -- as anyone who's spent any time DXing and/or contesting can tell you, sticking only to standard phonetics (especially when the op has a thick accent) can lead to frustration and actually waste time, especially during marginal conditions. She's exactly right -- when uttered by a non-English speaker, "Alfa" and "Oscar" often sound identical.

As I see it, the main problem with standard phonetics is that the vowels don't contain the more recognizable "long" sound of the letters. In other words, it's easier to hear the "A" sound in "Able," the "O" sound in "Ocean," and the "E" sound in "Easy." And that makes a huge difference when you're trying to discern a single letter in the midst of S9 QRM or thunderstorm-level QRN. "Alfa" and "Oscar" simply don't cut the mustard under similar conditions, which is why -- when I participated in the special event operation W87PAX -- we often clarified the strange-sounding call by saying, "Peter-Able-X-ray."

I also must disagree with the advice that the op should keep repeating the standard phonetics instead of rotating the words. Totally wrong: When you're asked two or three times to repeat a particular letter of your call -- as in "Whiskey-9-India-November-WHAT???" -- it's time to change your phonetics. And what normally works best in this instance is to choose a geographic name and/or a word with more syllables.

So, when a foreign op's pronunciation of "Yankee" sounds more like "Jahn-kay," he should try something different, like "Yesterday." And when "Hotel" comes out like "Hawt-ul," he should also try "Honolulu" -- not continue to say, "Hawt-ul, hawt-ul, hawt-ul."

Another advantage of multisyllabic words is that they come through much better in marginal conditions. For instance, if a signal is fading rapidly, short phonetics like "Mike," "Golf" and "Hotel" can get swallowed up in the soup. It's much easier to understand, "...xico," "...ma-ny" and "...nolulu."

We also shouldn't rule out the occasional easy-to-understand phrase if (and I stress, IF) it promotes clarity. For instance, I've heard special event station WA1NPO use the phonetics, "Non Profit Organization," and I have no problem with that. It reduces confusion in this case, and after all, isn't that what we're all going for?

So again, I'm not defending the "too-clever-by-half" phonetics (other than in casual conversation). But I do believe the standard phonetic alphabet leaves much to be desired, particularly with regard to vowels. And a final note: No matter what the suggested pronunciations are, I'll probably continue to say "Oss-ker" and "Kwe-bek" regardless, because -- well -- "Oss-cah" feels kind of silly, like I'm mocking a guy with a foreign accent.

But seriously, as I'm sure many of you DXers and contesters have already discovered, the old "Able-Baker-Charlie" alphabet had many advantages over the current version. And what I'm saying is, let's not choose "doing it by the book" over "doing what works better."

73 to all,
Brian, W9IND
 
RE: What's So Hard About Phonetics?  
by W9IND on November 30, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
To AE6IP:

You do indeed have a confusing callsign for phone. You might try something like "Able-Easy-6-Italy-Portugal" and see if that works better.

Or ... if you've had your fill of misunderstandings, you could always switch to a 1 x 3 call with a classic prefix, such as W6XXX or K6XXX. Those are generally much easier to grasp on the first go-'round.

In other words, "If you're losing sanity, go for vanity." HI.

73,
Brian, W9IND
 
What's So Hard About Phonetics?  
by N6PC on November 30, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
Well, I for one appreciate any use of a phonetic in the callsigns. As you get older some of the alphabet start to sound the same. Letters such as Z, C, V all sound the same to me on SSB. I have tried to decifer callsigns and have to give up unless there is a phonetic sent along with the single letter character.
One of the issues that draws me toward using CW and the digital modes is the ability to understand the callsigns.

My thanks for all those that use some type of phonetic on voice communications.

N6PC
NOVEMBER SIX PAPA CHARLIE
 
RE: What's So Hard About Phonetics?  
by KE4SKY on November 30, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
Standard phonetics and Procedural Words should be taught to new operators, but aren't always included in license classes, because we tend to teach to the test.

The following is from course material we use in our RACES courses, and is offered for anyone to use:

- - - - -

“Procedural words” or “prowords” are terms that have a specific, identified and agreed-upon meaning in the context of emergency communications. Some are common to the radio hobbyist through common use in traffic nets, whereas others are specific to emergencies, and some are words that have been used in radio communications for many decades, and though they may be no longer in common use, they retain utility.

“Acknowledge” As query, “Did you receive my last transmission? Reply either “Roger” or “Negative, Say Again”

“Affirmative” and “Negative”: Single syllables such as Yes' and 'no' are easily lost in noise and static, so the more distinctive 'affirmative' and 'negative' are used instead.

“All Stations”: Attention everyone on this net - stand by for important information.

“Break”: Use only to separate the text of a formal message from the preamble, given after the address, and again at the end of the text, prior to signature, to enable the receiving station to request “fills” or retransmission of missed information. “Break” is sometimes used incorrectly to indicate that a breaking station has traffic of a higher priority than the current conversation. A double-break is used in some radio services to indicate emergency traffic. These meanings are discouraged in RACES use as they are confusing. Any station needing to “break” into a net should “IDENTIFY and SAY WHY” using plain language.

“Confirm”: Tell me that what I have just transmitted is correct. The correct response is “message confirmed.”

"Correction”: Indicates that an error has been made, followed by the corrected text.

"Figures”: Numerals follow.

“I Say Again”: I am re-transmitting my last message.

“I spell”: Following words are spelled phonetically. E.g., all proper names, "SAR Base, this is Team Echo. His name is Geoff Smyth; I spell Gulf Echo Oscar Foxtrot, Foxtrot Sierra Mike Yankee Tango Hotel, over."

"Out”: This conversation is ended - the frequency is now free for other users.
NEVER USE WITH “OVER”!

"Over”: I have finished speaking - please go ahead with your reply. It lets the other station know it is their turn - you expect a reply - and lets everyone else know that this conversation isn't finished. NEVER USE WITH “OUT”!

“Radio Check” What is my signal strength and readability? Use Plain Language Signal Reporting: i.e. Loud & Clear, Good Readable, Fair Readable, Weak Readable, Unreadable, Nothing Heard.

“Roger”: Received and understood.

“Say Again”: Re-transmit your last message.

Do not use the word “repeat,” because in poor conditions it sounds like “complete.” In working with military or fire services, “RE--PEAT” means to execute the previous fire support mission again.

“Wilco”: Short for 'will comply.' This means that the instruction(s) will be carried out.

“Wait” Please wait for the reply or next part of this transmission; I still have the floor, it does not mean that you can use the silence to send your message.

“Wait Out”: Stand by until contacted. I will call you back – use a pause for longer than a few seconds.
Operational Abbreviations:

ASAP: As soon as Possible
FR: Fair Readable, as a signal report
GR: Good Readable, as a signal report
IC: Incident Commander
INFO: Information
LC: Loud and Clear, as a signal report
MSG: Message
NH Nothing Heard, as a signal report
PAX: Passengers
RESTAT Resource status
RPT: Repeat
RPTR: Repeater
SH: State Highway
UR: Unreadable, as a signal report
WX: Weather

Abbreviations for logging traffic:

ABT: About
COML: Communications Unit Leader
FM: Frequency Modulation/From
GR: Grid Reference
HELO: Helicopter
LOC: Location
LOGS: Logistics
LSC: Logistics Section Chief
OPS: Operations
OSC: Operations Section Chief
PIO: Public Information Officer
REF: Reference
SITREP: Situation Report
STATS: Statistics
TPT: Transport
TXT: Text
WELF: Welfare
@: At (location)


Federal and Other Acronyms which you may see in official traffic (for reference only):

ARC American Red Cross
CERT Community Emergency Response Teams
CEOF Corporate Emergency Operations Facility
DFO Disaster Field Office
DoD Dept of Defense
DRC Disaster Recovery Center
DSR Damage Survey Report
EAS Emergency Alert System
EDSL Emergency Services and Disaster Law
EPI Emergency Public Information
ERT-A Emergency Response Team – Advance Element (FEMA)
FCO Federal Coordinating Officer
FEMA3 or REG3 FEMA Region 3
FNARS FEMA National Radio System
IA Individual Assistance
IDA Initial Damage Assessment
IFG Individual and Family Grants
IFLOWS Integrated Flood Observing and Warning System
LEOF Local Emergency Operations Facility
MERS Mobile Emergency Response System
MIS Management Information Systems
NAWAS National Warning System
NG National Guard
NGB National Guard Bureau
NWS National Weather Service
OEMS Office of Emergency Medical Services
OPSECURE Operation Secure
PA Public Assistance
PAO Public Affairs Office
PDA Preliminary Damage Assessment
RACES Radio Amateur Civil Emergency Service
RNAT Rapid Needs Assessment Team
SCO State Coordinating Officer
SERT State Emergency Response Team
Stafford Act – Public Law 93-288
TSC Technical Support Center
WMD Weapon of Mass Destruction
 
RE: What's So Hard About Phonetics?  
by WA6BFH on November 30, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
For KC8VWM, I have been "caught" by Directory Assistance Operators on the telephone when they ask for the spelling of a name. After I do this, I have several times been asked, "were you in the military" because, they are used to hearing phonetics like "Baker Uncle Sally Herbert". I use ICAO phonetics Bravo Uncle Sierra Hotel.

When I tell them I'm a Ham Radio operator, they often come back, I have a cousin who is a CB'er, have you ever talked to him, his handle is Rubber Duck? So much for our public recognition!

.- .-. de John
 
What's So Hard About Phonetics?  
by WA2JJH on November 30, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
Yes, I do use both plain english and phonetics.

We were taught the more miltary vesion. Most ham clubs did

whisky, alpha too Julliet Julliet hotel, echo,romeo.golf,Seara,tango. xry
lima,liko,mexico,zulu, ect.

The Police in my area use the biblical phonetics
KING, DAVID, Mary, Goerge, ECT.

What ever? Phonetics ae a very good tool. They are not to be used when when MOS is talking to a civilian.

I do agree that people that create thier own phonetics just goofy. Airplane, Boxcar, Chump, ect.

Ever hear this stupid one on air, years bacK?

CQ,CQ -DOG XRAY CQ CQ DOG XRAT...nOW THAT IS SILLY!!!
 
RE: What's So Hard About Phonetics?  
by WA6BFH on November 30, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
W0FM, I don't recall hearing that on 6 Meters? I'm in Delta Mike 13 Bravo Uniform!

--... ...-- de John
 
RE: What's So Hard About Phonetics?  
by KI7YY on November 30, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
Yankee Alpha Whiskey November.
-.-- .- .-- -. .-.-.-




--... ...-- -.. . -.- .. --... -.-- -.-- .-.-.
 
RE: What's So Hard About Phonetics?  
by WA6BFH on November 30, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
-. --- ... . -. -.-. .
--- ..-. .... ..- -- --- .-.
 
RE: What's So Hard About Phonetics?  
by AB8TM on November 30, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
Try telling an OM on air that the phonetics that he uses and has used since his days as a young man that they are incorrect! That situation can fill up your entire day, I can assure you that!

It doesn't bother me and it's not illegal to do. It's up to us to communicate, if we are not communicating, then we better change our habits. If we are communicating, then what's the deal?

I personally use phonetics for my call but I answer a call usually however it's sent unless it's something completely off the wall.
 
RE: What's So Hard About Phonetics?  
by N0CTO on November 30, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
Quote KC8VWM: Ok..., how many of you guys are guilty and actually getting caught using phonetics when clarifying something over the telephone with someone?

Guilty. So Guilty. That comes up a lot in the military of course. But once when I was ordering something over the telephone from a company I even corrected her phonetics.
"Is that N as in Nancy? No. N as in November."
She was very confused.
73,
Mike
 
RE: What's So Hard About Phonetics?  
by AK2B on November 30, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
K8FX

Wadya think weer stoopid? Winever I use cw, I only use the first ones.

Tom, AK2B
 
RE: What's So Hard About Phonetics?  
by K5FZ on November 30, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
King Five Fox Zed


That's my story and I'm stickin' to it.

73
 
RE: What's So Hard About Phonetics?  
by WB7PWM on November 30, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
I agree.

we broke seven plate windows monday
 
What's So Hard About Phonetics?  
by K8NQC on November 30, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
As I look at my log books for the past 50 years, I also see several sets of Phonetics suggested. I wonder what a good list would be if put together by non english speaking communicators. The rule I always apply is what works best and that sometimes changes. What policemen want to use or taxi drivers or speech pathologists or warriors or the UN or telephone operators makes me no difference as long as it gets the job done.

I think it is like music. What one hears in their formative years always seems classic and certainly the standard of comparison. Some phonetics are so descriptive that they defy standardization. I remember years ago contacting November seven Silver Dollar in Las Vegas. I think that was the best Phonetics for him. Maybe the PC folks might want to change that but I think not.

Phonetics are standard only on CW.
 
RE: What's So Hard About Phonetics?  
by WB2WIK on November 30, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
Geesh...

de

Willy Bought 2 Wrinkled Icky Knishes
 
What's So Hard About Phonetics?  
by N9PCS on November 30, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
I earned my ham license before I earned my pilot license. The Alpha, Bravo, Charlie... alphabet was taught in the fist study guide(s) I used. I learned them before I took the test. I knew them when I started flying lessons. Knowing that was helpful (as was 5 wpm morse when IDing navaids).

I use the phonetic alphabet I know on the air. Others can do what they want. But if I say my call phonetically it is November 9 Papa Charlie Sierra.
I do notice alot of people use "sugar" for the "S". I won't correct their phonetics on the air. But I won't say it that way! I have not gotten into DXing and PSK makes the whole argument moot.

So rest assured you are not the only pilot here who finds the roll-your-own phonetics somewhat annoying. (but not that big of deal really). I do have to chuckle when I think about if some of these guys ever take up flying lessons (especially IFR) and their initial call-up to approach with the colorful phonetics.

 
RE: What's So Hard About Phonetics?  
by K2GW on November 30, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
Actually, the ICAO/NATO/ITU standard phonetics were developed after WWII and specifically designed to be pronounceable in many foreign languages, predominantly the European ones, given the NATO orientation at the time. In World War II, the British and US had differing sets and they decided to standardize on a new universal one for NATO. Conversely, the "One Adam 12" APCO set was only designed for English speakers in the US.

By the way, that's why Alfa is not Alpha. Alp-ha is how it might be mispronounced in some languages within NATO otherwise. The other criteria were words that were commonly used outside their language of origin (Whiskey and Golf, for example) . They also tried to avoid having similar syllables in the same positions so tha when part of the phoentic is taken out by a static crash the meaning can often be discerned.

In thirty years of military, ham and aviation communications the standards have usually worked for me, especially in formal traffic handling. If you want your phonetic ability to increase rapidly, check into a MARS or NTS voice traffic net regularly.

That said, I have been known to use Kilo Two George Washington in a DX pile-up just to be unique, not necessarily better understood. Most folks around the world have heard of George Washington. ;-)

73

Gary, K2GW
 
RE: What's So Hard About Phonetics?  
by K2GW on November 30, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
For those of you who are really getting into this, Brian Kelk has developed a pretty good list of the various phonetic alphabets and their history at

http://www.bckelk.uklinux.net/menu.html

But try to stick to the ICAO/NATO/ITU ones as a starting point until the third repeat. ;-)

73

Gary, K2GW
 
RE: What's So Hard About Phonetics?  
by AD7DZ on November 30, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
Anything other than the standard international phonetic alphabet in amateur radio sounds so amateurish!

Phonetics is a necessity for my call. D's and Z's sound a lot like B's and V's.
 
RE: What's So Hard About Phonetics?  
by K0BG on November 30, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
Will somebody please write an article about the miss use of Q calls. Just maybe it'll end this one!

Alan, KØBG
www.k0bg.com
 
RE: What's So Hard About Phonetics?  
by W6TH on November 30, 2004 Mail this to a friend!

CQ CQ CQ


This is Whiskey Six Tough Hombre.


Calling and standing by.

.:
 
RE: What's So Hard About Phonetics?  
by K8JDC on November 30, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
I've seen this topic come up periodically since I got my ticket and will admit that I have changed my ways as a result. I always adopted the standard phonetics with the exception that I preferred Kilowatt to Kilo. I found it easier to say and thought it would be easier to decipher on the other end because it included an extra syllable. I also thought it sounded cooler. I justified it in my mind because the word Kilowatt contains the word Kilo and I figured it was just a slight variation. But, having read these objections before to the use of Kilowatt and the consequent confusion, I have tried hard to use Kilo for quite a while now.

So, these boards do produce good things sometimes, right?!

My complaint was always the use of Germany for G because Germany has the soft sound of J (Juliet) and not the sound of G (Golf).

JDC
 
RE: What's So Hard About Phonetics?  
by AA4LR on November 30, 2004 Mail this to a friend!

I have a lot of trouble with standard phonetics. Many operators want me to be in Germany or the Netherlands, as they come back to Delta Alpha Four, or Papa Alpha Four. However, America America Four seems to get the point across.

Similarly, no one seems to get "Lima", except some South American stations. "London" works better.

And forget "Romeo". Everyone seems to understand "Radio"!

--

Sometimes non-standard phonetics can really be a help. At NQ4I's 10m station in CQWW this year, I busted a pileup on an HP1 with "Noviembre Quebec Cuatro Italia". Of course, it took a few moments for the other operator to stop laughing....
 
RE: What's So Hard About Phonetics?  
by AB5XZ on November 30, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
I use the standard (NATO?) phonetic alphabet, but I find, in SSB contesting, that my call sign just doesn't always get through using the standard phonetics.

First try: ALFA BRAVO FIVE XRAY ZULU
Response: ALFA BRAVO FIVE ECHO ZULU?
Second try: ALFA BRAVO FIVE XRAY ZULU
Response: ALFA BRAVO FIVE VICTOR ZULU?
Third try: AMERICA BOSTON FIVE XRAY ZANZIBAR
Response: ALFA BRAVO FIVE VICTOR ZULU?
Fourth try: ALFA BRAVO FIVE X RAY ZULU (stretch the XRAY)
Response: OK - ALFA BRAVO FIVE XRAY ZULU!

I also sometimes use the Spanish names for the numbers and letters, (AH BEH CINCO EQUIS ZETA) since most of the difficulty comes in contacts with South Americans. I have tried using XILOFON for X, but that hasn't worked.

CW contesters have it easier. Maybe I should try some CW?

73deTomAB5XZ
 
RE: What's So Hard About Phonetics?  
by AB5XZ on November 30, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
While in Ecuador last month, I heard a young lady - a travel agent whose office was in the hotel - using NATO-style phonetics to spell something over the phone. Considering that her clients were travelers, and likely to be from other lands, with unfamiliar surnames, it was a very wise choice. I suspect (not sure, though) that she may have had some military training.

In any case, it made for a very efficient telephone transaction, because she got the information across correctly the very first time.

73TomAB5XZ
 
What's So Hard About Phonetics?  
by KC2FTN on November 30, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
Dare I say:
Kay-see-two-football-team-niners? ;)
 
RE: What's So Hard About Phonetics?  
by X-WB1AUW on November 30, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
Si
de
Argentina Ecuador Siete Guatamala
Have FUN
Bob
 
RE: What's So Hard About Phonetics?  
by W2DUG on November 30, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
I once posted a similar message on QRZ a few years back after my first experience trying to log callsigns while my Advanced-class elmer buddy operated his FT-840 mobile on 40m.

My point at the time was that trying to log non-standard phonetics was particularly difficult for a newbie like me who was already struggling to copy fading signals and just trying to follow the action for the first time, so, hey, wouldn't it make more sense if everyone used the standard phonetics?

The replies I got taught me two important lessons about ham radio and operating HF that still ring true today:

1) shut up and quit whining.
2) see item #1 above.

That was my introduction to online elmering. And, you know, it hasn't changed much since.
 
What's So Hard About Phonetics?  
by KU4UV on November 30, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
Yeah my favorite are the guys who say "Kilowatt" instead of "Kilo." I caught myself doing this during the Sweepstakes contest and almost had to kick my own butt once I realized what I had done. It would be so much simpler if the whole world would just use Alpha, Brava, Charlie, Delta, etc. This is one of the reasons why I like CW operating, no Phonetics to have to confuse me.
 
RE: What's So Hard About Phonetics?  
by K3UD on November 30, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
Now I would use Kilo 3 Uncle Dave (if my name was Dave) :)

73
George
Kilo3 Utility Dog
 
X in Spanish (Phonetics)  
by KQ6XA on November 30, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
>< Tom AB5XZ wrote ><
> most of the difficulty comes in contacts with
> South Americans. I have tried using XILOFON for
> X, but that hasn't worked.

Hi Tom,

In spanish language, the accented syllable is very important for the phonetics. The most commonly used phonetic among Latin America hams for the letter X is "xilófono", which is pronounced:

zee - LOW'- fo - no

73---Bonnie KQ6XA
 
RE: What's So Hard About Phonetics?  
by WA9SVD on November 30, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
The problem is that there is NO one, standard, Phonetic alphabet accepted (or used) by all, and sometimes an alternative word can be necessary if the first word used in not properly understood. The real idea is to communicate the callsign, or whatever as accurately as possible, regardless of the actual "phonetic alphabet" used.

Ate
Bdellium
Cede
Djinnee
Eye
Faze
Gnu
Honor
Immense
Jicarilla
Know
Lymphatic
Mite
Nine
One
Ptomaine
Quoim
Rate
Seller
Two
Urn
Voila
Wren
Xylophone
You
Zero


(With Apologies to QST, ca. early 1960's.)
 
What's So Hard About Phonetics?  
by WA2JJH on November 30, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
I ALWAYS THAUGHT M WAS MEXICO.

NOT MIKE OR MARY. PPM =PETER PAUL AND MARY OR PULSES PER MINUTE

LIDS PHONETIC ALFA-BET
ARGUE, BICKER, CHEATER, DUMMY, EMPTY, F.U., GOOF BALL,
HOOCHE,IMPORT,JACKASS,LIER,MORON,NUTJOB,OSCAR THE GROUCH,
PIN-HEAD, QUE? ROCKER,SANDWICH,TOUCH DOWN,URSALA,VENISON,WHACKY,X-TC,
YO,ZITI.

I HAVE HEARD SOME ON 2M CREATE SOME AWEFULL PHONETICS.

Glad most of us, use the correct phonetic alphabet.
WALK AND 2 JUMP JUMP HOLLER WA2JJH
 
What's So Hard About Phonetics?  
by KB1IVU on December 1, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
ZEDZEDZEDZEDZedZedZedzedzedzedzezezezzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.............
 
What's So Hard About Phonetics?  
by KG6TOJ on December 1, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
I am very glad you wrote this piece since I was just looking on the ARRL site the other day for some comment or information on this. It seems to me that one of the purposes of the phonetic alphabet is to use a standard and unchanging set of words that represents the alphabet. This is to improve communication under adverse conditions. The use of "creative" phonetics partially defeats this purpose. These non-standard words can distract from the intent and effectiveness of the phonetic alphabet.

I encourage radio amateurs to use the standard phonetic alphabet to make full use of its benefits.
 
RE: What's So Hard About Phonetics?  
by N4KRA on December 1, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
You could always use the ones I used for my Novice call: KA4KVQ = Kids Babied 4 Kindly Vomiting Kindly.
the reactions I got from this was what prompted me to change the call. Enjoyed the column.
 
RE: What's So Hard About Phonetics?  
by K5UJ on December 1, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
So this is what it's like to be retired.
 
What's So Hard About Phonetics?  
by K0EX on December 1, 2004 Mail this to a friend!

If you work CW, all this doesn't even matter...

-Mark K0EX
 
RE: What's So Hard About Phonetics?  
by N0TONE on December 1, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
The ICAO alphabet (which has been the one, standard, phonetic alphabet recognized by military and law enforcement for at least 50 years, worldwide) was not intended for situations in which signals are marginal. Instead, it's for when signals are relatively strong, and it's a matter of overcoming the narrowband of the voice channel that's being accomplished.

The ARRL recommended the ICAO alphabet in the 1950s in the version of the Operating Manual they published then (you all do have a copy of the Operating Manual, yes?). The recommendation has never changed.

Bonnie has presented it exactly as the ARRL has for over 50 years, complete with pronunciations, and she has also identified some of the reasons why people change it.

I agree with WIK for the most part, but for some reason, my callsigns have always included those letters that are very difficult to understand when spoken without phonetic. CDB, FSC, etc. Maybe that's why I so much prefer CW....

AM
 
RE: What's So Hard About Phonetics?  
by KG6TOJ on December 1, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
I did a little on line research about your statement that the phonetic alphabet "was not intended for situations in which signals are marginal." Can you cite a reference for this?

I am not sure I agree with your statement. I have not found any scientific research studies that looked at the effects of interference or other radio conditions on intelligibilty of the alphabet, and it was designed, after all, to increase intelligibility. It should then be the most effective way of communicating important data under poor receiving conditions. At least, better than anything else we have.

Your point implied that hams and others might want to make up new words to increase intelligibilty, but this results in a random array of untested and unfamiliar words being used to represent letters. This defeats the purpose of having a standardized vocabulary. The disadvantages outweigh the advantages, I think.
 
RE: What's So Hard About Phonetics?  
by KG6TOJ on December 1, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
Can you cite the research studies you mentioned?

The other factor that your are perhaps overlooking is that a standardized set of words that is overlearned by the users may outweigh any effects of having longer words. Also, if longer, multi-syllable words are only partly received, the last part of the word might be mistaken for the letter being represented. Again, there would be an advantage in using a standard set of words.

This discussion really should be addressed by research one would think. But I have not yet found any references to studies on the web. I am a human factors psychologist and this is of interest to me.
 
RE: What's So Hard About Phonetics?  
by WD4AQX on December 1, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
Zee is not North American. Canadians use Zed for the letter z when reciting the alphabet. As far as I know the whole English speaking world except the USA. uses ZED.
In the Royal Canadian Navy in the 60s, we used
Alpha: Bravo: Charley: Delta: Echo: Foxtrot: Golf: Hotel: India: Juliet: Kilo: Lima: Mike: November: Oscar: Papa: Quebec: Romeo: Sierra: Tango: Uniform: Victory: Whiskey: X-ray: Yankee: Zulu
 
RE: What's So Hard About Phonetics?  
by K4JF on December 1, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
<Will somebody please write an article about the miss use of Q calls. Just maybe it'll end this one! Alan, KØBG>

That would be a good one, Alan! They are thoroughly misused. As in QRZ? when they mean CQ? Why don't you go ahead? QSL?
 
RE: What's So Hard About Phonetics?  
by AE6IP on December 1, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
> This discussion really should be addressed by
> research one would think. But I have not yet found
> any references to studies on the web. I am a human
> factors psychologist and this is of interest to me.

I don't currently have access to a research library I could use for the literature search, but what research I do know about in the field of speech intelligibility was reported in the Bell Systems Journal, many years ago.

It's also been a bit of a topic of research in the artificial intelligence community, mostly in pragmatic voice recognition; but I don't think anything organized has been published there. Try the MIT press series on AI.

Another area to look into is the International Phonetic Alphabet and the research surrounding its design; although I suspect you're already familiar with that.

http://www.research-lab.com/resource5.htm might lead you to some interesting results; but it'll take some digging.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/NATO_phonetic_alphabet#History_and_use has some interesting history that hints at research taking place but doesn't identify the research. The first reference would be interesting reading, if you could get a copy.



Sorry I couldn't be more helpful.

 
RE: What's So Hard About Phonetics?  
by WA5KRP on December 1, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
I am NOT ready to say QRMike instead of QRMary or QRNovember instead of QRNancy.
 
RE: What's So Hard About Phonetics?  
by G3RZP on December 2, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
I can't remember all the of 1914 British Army one that was improvised, but it went a bit like this...

A is for 'orses (hay is for horses)
Bee for mutton (Beef or mutton)
C forth 'ighlanders (Seaforth Highlanders - a
Scottish regiment in the British
Army

and so on, including

T for toc

Now that is confusing!
 
RE: What's So Hard About Phonetics?  
by VE3XDB on December 2, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
Hi Pete,

I was going to raise the same point about "zee" versus "zed". "Zed" is not a phonetic, it's the letter. As for "zee" being a North American phenomenon, it's actually pretty much only an American usage. Up here in the Great White North, the last letter of the alphabet has always been "zed".

Best regards,

Doug (I'm not a rebel, so my call is Victor Echo Three Xray Delta Bravo)
 
RE: What's So Hard About Phonetics?  
by EXWA2SWA on December 2, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
WD5DFP writes:
"Let's see, that's "P" as in pneumonia, "K" as in knife ..."

Actually, it's "P" as in "Psychology"! Get it right, will ya?

Semty-tree,
Jim
Knock Eschew Fi-Yuv Cellular Xylophone Xylophone
 
RE: What's So Hard About Phonetics?  
by EXWA2SWA on December 2, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
KU4UV on November 30, 2004:
<snipped> "This is one of the reasons why I like CW operating, no Phonetics to have to confuse me."

I worked a guy the other night who never did get it that I had 2 "X"s in my callsign - I found myself keying the phonetic - and he still insisted on giving me a 2x2 call. 'Course, that may have been because my sigs were atrocious (40m, around 0300UCT) and my fist even worse (I'm the guy they named "ham-fisted" after).

As a youngster in 2-land, one of my pals was WA2IFY: Wasn't it Awful Two Indians Fought Yesterday and another, K2ORI, was the Old Red Indian. Funny how that stuff sticks in your brain.

Oh yeah: I used to be WA2SWA, the Short Wave Amateur.

73,
Jim
KE5CXX


 
What's So Hard About Phonetics?  
by K0RGR on December 2, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
Well, I try to stick to ICAO when passing traffic or doing contest exchanges that require it. But in a pileup, you can take it to the bank - 'Radio Germany Radio' beats 'Romeo Golf Romeo' 99.9% of the time. The 0.1% of the time that it does not is that percentage of the world that does not understand the word 'Germany'. For them, I use 'Radio Golf Radio' in pileups.

Those with the letter 'F' in their call suffer a 10 dB disadvantage in signal to noise ratio on phone, for each occurence of the letter. This is why when I was N6FF, and then WF0H, I developed such a strong preference for CW and digital modes. The use of 'fox', 'foxtrot', 'forget-me-not', or unprintable words as phonetics for the letter F do not help at all.

KH6 'Bloomin Zipper Flipper' dubbed me 'Raunchy Goat Rancher' about 30 years ago, and the phonetics stuck.
 
RE: What's So Hard About Phonetics?  
by K7CCC on December 2, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
KB2HSH:
"I used to hear it when the "old timers" would gather for coffee everyday. They would sit around and think of funny phonetics to try to sound cute on the air. The one that made me want to puke was xxxCCB ("cute cuddly bunnies"). WHAT THE HELL IS THAT???!!!"


...but...I LIKE "cute cuddle bunnies"......

;^)

Dave - K7CCC
"Cheddar Cheese Consumer", but better known as "Triple Charlie."
 
What's So Hard About Phonetics?  
by K9GLN on December 3, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
I've been a cop for 32 years. We always used the police phonetics of ADAM,BOY,CHARLES,DAVID etc etc. When I became a HAM I had to really think about the international phonetics. Now I can do either, however I do slip and revert back to the cop phonetics since I use them every day at work.

I think when HAMS bring up these way out phonetics it is counter productive.

73,
Kilo 9 Gulf Lima November

or on the cop side

King 9 George Lincoln Nora
 
RE: What's So Hard About Phonetics?  
by W9IND on December 3, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
Isn't it hilarious when people who don't like a particular thread feel compelled to share their misery by typing something along the lines of, "This isn't important. Get a life, people!" etc.?

I always find myself thinking, "Hmmm ... but if YOUR life were really fulfilling, you'd have better things to do than sitting in front of your computer, logging on a ham radio Web site, clicking on a topic you didn't like, scrolling down and reading the posts, then clicking on the button that enables you to add your own comment, then adding your own comment, then hitting the Preview button, then giving it final approval, then probably going back and reading it just to make sure it posted correctly, then sitting there in front of your computer feeling self-satisfied."

But hey, it's everybody else who needs to get a life, right?

Here's a little hint: If you don't like this topic, there are several more you can explore. Just go back to the home page and have at it.

As for the topic at hand, my fun phonetics for my previous call, KA9OIH, used to be "K-A-9-Old Indiana Hoosier." But my all-time favorite is WA9RAP -- "Whiskey After 9 Relieves All Pain."
 
RE: What's So Hard About Phonetics?  
by N3ZKP on December 3, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
My favorite was used by a friend in the Baltimore area, KG6TU.

He often signed as Koalas Growing Six Tomatoes Underground.

Lon
 
RE: What's So Hard About Phonetics?  
by W8DPC on December 3, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
If you are in an emergency situation though, you need to use phonetics because you are too weak to be understood, and all you know how to do is start going on about the King of the Zebras or something, it's not going to be very productive.

In a way, it is kind of like CW. When you hear a CW character, you need to recognize it instantly. If everyone is using standard phonetics, you can get the letter instantly as well, instead of going through each word in your head trying to get the leading letter - hmmm, Jupiter was J, Singing Poptarts was S and P...

Kilo X-ray Eight November
 
"Hooked On Phonetics?"  
by K4JSR on December 3, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
If all of you hurry, you could have your new book,
"HOOKED ON PHONETICS" on bookstore shelves in time
for Christmas.

Seventy Trees, Killed Four Just Saying Reductio ad
absurdum.

;-P
 
RE: "Hooked On Phonetics?"  
by K4JF on December 3, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
My favorite was many years ago when I met K4AYA. His wife said it stood for "Always Yakkin' Away". Couldn't get more appropriate for a ham, right?
 
What's So Hard About Phonetics?  
by W6CJ on December 3, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
There's the old story of the ham who called "CQ DOG XRAY"... and received several canine xray photos in the mail.

What is so hard about the proper use of phonetics? Doesn't Amateur Radio recognize the international
military/aviation phonetics? I learned two sets
of phonetics- the military/amateur/aviation ones
and the APCO ones used by many law enforcement agencies. No problem.

Sometimes I will tell a DX or local ham I don't understand or recognize his (bogus) phonetics, and
almost always get the correct ones in response.

W6CJ/AAR9QM
 
What's So Hard About Phonetics?  
by HAMDUDE on December 4, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
Who cares?
 
RE: What's So Hard About Phonetics?  
by KL7PB on December 6, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
I don't know about that-Ding Dong Daddy sounds pretty kewl to me..signed "Peanut Butter".
 
What's So Hard About Phonetics?  
by VE3MFN on December 6, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
I agree that some of the "creative" phonetics I hear used get on my nerves and in rough conditions can actually be a nuisance rather than a help in copying. But as the bulk of my operating time is spent running CW or digital modes, the point is moot.......

Richard. VE3MFN (Victor echo 3 money for nothing)
 
RE: What's So Hard About Phonetics?  
by N5RMQ on December 7, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
yeah !!! And since when did this business of phonetically spelling your name every time you give it begin ? I hear QSO's all day wherre both partys report 20 or 40 over but continue to spell their name.

de N5RMQ Bob bravo oscar bravo
 
RE: X in Spanish (Phonetics)  
by AB5XZ on December 7, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
KQ6A wrote that xilofono, properly accented, might work. Thanks, Bonnie. I'll try it next contest.

73TomAB5XZ
 
RE: What's So Hard About Phonetics?  
by KC2WI on December 7, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
"Roger" and "Wilco" are not phonetics, they are prowords like "Over" and "Out"
 
RE: What's So Hard About Phonetics?  
by N2NZJ on December 8, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
NICE TWO NEW ZEALAND JACKAROOS, some hams personalize phonetics in jest or otherwise. they know its not proper but if their call sign rings with it they use that once in a while as to give their CALL some sort of PERSONALITY on occasion. AS I SAID BEFORE its not proper but it is done OCCASIONALLY. other wise most of the time they do use the proper FORMAT. SO 73 TOM
 
What's So Hard About Phonetics?  
by VA7CMZ on December 10, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
Hi!

I would like to add my piece into this discusson. It really drives me nuts when Amateurs (mostly Amateurs from the U.S.) do not know or refuse to use standard phonenetics. Standard phonetics was not simply designed for fun. They were designed so certain words would be easily recogizable by non-English speakers, when there is QRN, and also designed to be easily recognized by English speakers alike. If Amateurs use "cute" words of their own then there is no point to using phonetics because nonody knows what you are trying to get across. As DXers know, It an sometimes can be difficult getting foreign callsigns correct and even more difficult when everyone is using there own "cute" phonetics.

Chris VA7CMZ

Phonetic Alphabet:

A Alfa
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 Québec
R Romeo
S Sierra
T Tango
U Uniform
V Victor
W Whiskey
X X-ray
Y Yankee
Z Zulu

An interesting site:
http://www.scphillips.com/morse/
 
RE: What's So Hard About Phonetics?  
by W9IND on December 10, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
But again, the reason people don't use standard phonetics in every case is that standard phonetics don't work in every case.

We shouldn't look at standard phonetics as sacred. If saying, "Alfa, Alfa, Alfa" produces a response of "What, what, what?" or "Did you say Oscar, Oscar, Oscar?" it's time to try something different -- like "America" or "Able."

I'm not advocating cutesy phonetics in most cases, but if standard phonetics fail (as they often do in bad conditions or when one of the ops has a thick accent), we need to keep our eyes on the goal: effective communication. In other words, we're not going to score any Brownie points if we end up declaring proudly, "Well, I stuck to standard phonetics exclusively -- but after 10 tries, the other op gave up, and I lost the QSO."
 
RE: What's So Hard About Phonetics?  
by K4JF on December 10, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
That's why I use standard phonetics but if a DX station uses different ones, I will use his/her preferred ones. I consider it the courteous thing to do. After all, they are making the effort to converse in my language.

Therefore I am:
Kilo Four Juliet Foxtrot
aka
Kilo Four Japan France
 
What's So Hard About Phonetics?  
by KE6BOL on December 27, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
My two cents...

I learned "Roger That" in the Navy as a way of answering a question that you heard in the same noisy compartment, and that it was not to be used over the radio!

"Don't you think we should crank that AY-SEE down a few degrees, Seaman Smith? The equipment is starting to sweat!"
"Roger that!"

... as opposed to...

"SMITH! Turn down that air conditioner!"
"Aye-aye SIR!"

Otherwise (and back on topic), the phonetic alphabet I learned was the "Alpha, Bravo, Charlie..." one.

Some of the operators would argue if the phonetic for the letter Q was "KAY-bek" or "KWEE-bek", and that was never really settled in any command I was with.

73!

KE6BOL

-or-

KEE-lo EHK-oh SIKS BRA-vo AHS-kar LEE-ma
 
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