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Author Topic: PHONETIC ALPHABET AND WHY IT'S USED  (Read 1679 times)
WB9QEL
Member

Posts: 39




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« on: December 29, 2007, 06:07:25 PM »

This is something that I have observed for quite sometime on the air.  Operators not using the Phonetic Alphabet.  You all do what ever you want when you key that Mic, but here is how some of us hear it.

A calls suffix of RRG, is not Radio Radio Germany, sometimes when tuning around, we only hear the last letter of a call, in this case it would be Germany.  When you come into the middle of that call you hear radio.  Radio is a radio, Romeo is a letter. Germany is Germany, Golf is a letter.    

A call of K1 whatever, is Kilowatt one.  Kilowatt makes me want to write down KW1.  

K4SA, Kilowatt 4 South America. Whoa, South America?

K1SA, Kilowatt 1 Sugar America.  Sugar? America?  

Zansabar for "Z" Sugar for "S" America for "A"  Radio for "R", the list goes on and on.

I'm not trying to dog out operators that use this type of operating technique.  I just wanted to post this so that MAYBE someone may read it and realize how confusing it is when operators don't use the PHONETIC ALPHABET.

I know DX operators sometimes deviate completely from the Phonetics and to answer back to them the same way they called is what we do so they hear their own call how they called it.  That is not what the nature of my post is.

Hope you all have a Happy New Year and God Bless!!

Best 73
Nick
W9ZXT

 

   

 
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W3LK
Member

Posts: 5644




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« Reply #1 on: December 29, 2007, 06:37:09 PM »

<< A call of K1 whatever, is Kilowatt one.>>

The correct phonetic for the letter K is KILO, not KILOWATT.

73,

Lon - W3LK
Naugatuck, Connecticut
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A smoking section in a restaurant makes as much sense as a peeing section in a swimming pool.
KC0SHZ
Member

Posts: 373




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« Reply #2 on: December 29, 2007, 07:15:23 PM »

Proper form is to use the International standard phonetic alphabet.

As a new ham on HF, it is striking how many people invent their own phonetics.

I get sugar a lot.   I get Kilowatt a lot.  And the phonetics people use for their own calls is often just as confusing.

I agree with your point.  
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WB9QEL
Member

Posts: 39




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« Reply #3 on: December 29, 2007, 08:30:37 PM »

<< A call of K1 whatever, is Kilowatt one.>>

The correct phonetic for the letter K is KILO, not KILOWATT.

73,

Lon - W3LK
Naugatuck, Connecticut
----------------------------------------------------

I was making an example Lon.  Thank you though!!

Best 73
Nick
W9ZXT
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K7KBN
Member

Posts: 2762




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« Reply #4 on: December 29, 2007, 10:49:49 PM »

There is not now, nor has there ever been, a REQUIREMENT to use any particular phonetic alphabet on ham radio.  Here's one that might be confusing, but it's perfectly legal:

A   as in      aisle
         are

B   as in      bdellium (yes, the “b” is silent)

C   as in      cue
         czar

D   as in      double-u
         djinn

E   as in      eau
         ewe

F   as in      filly
         faro

G   as in      gneiss
         gnu
         ghoti (pronounced “fish”)

H   as in      heir
         hors d’oeuvres

I   as in      irrupt

J   as in      junta

K   as in      knot

L   as in      llama (with Spanish pronunciation)

M   as in      mnemonic

N   as in      Nguyen (pronounced (“when”)

O   as in      oozy

P   as in      ptomaine

Q   as in      quay

R   as in       are

S   as in      sea, see

T   as in      tsar
         oolong

U   as in      urb
         urn
         URL

V   as in      viaduct (In Chico Marx accent)

W   as in      why

X   as in      xi

Y   as in      why
         you

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73
Pat K7KBN
CWO4 USNR Ret.
G3RZP
Member

Posts: 4366




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« Reply #5 on: December 30, 2007, 03:40:31 AM »

Remember that the Alpha - Bravo - Charlie alphabet was designed much more for high signal to noise ratio signals  with operators quite possibly having very strong accents when not speaking their native language ( or sometimes even when they are!). As a result, in low signal to noise conditions, it suffers from the lack of syllabic redundancy which much longer words have.

Weak signal VHF SSB operators in Europe found this out 20 or more years ago - the US approach of using morse on VHF when the going gets tough never really caught on in Europe.
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KB9CRY
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Posts: 4284


WWW

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« Reply #6 on: December 30, 2007, 06:12:47 AM »

There is not now, nor has there ever been, a REQUIREMENT to use any particular phonetic alphabet


This may be true but if the intention is to communicate, using a common language is key.

DXers will sometimes use certain alternate phonetics when the primary phonetic doesn't work.  Try DXing on the low bands and you'll find out why.
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N0RZT
Member

Posts: 105




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« Reply #7 on: December 30, 2007, 06:32:27 AM »

Good morning,

Personally, I use ITU phonetics until they fail me - then I switch to other common "unofficial" phonetics.

Two or three times in the past year, "November Zero Romeo Zulu Tango" wasn't going through clearly ("November Zero station?" or even "Zero station?").  After a couple of back-and-forths with standard phonetics, "Norway Zero Radio Zanzibar Texas" would immediately be picked-up correctly by the receiving station.  I don't know if it's because the non-standard phonetics are easier to hear or if it's because the receiving station now has two sets of sounds to consider.

Slightly more often, it was a single letter that caused problems.  "November Zero Romeo Zulu Tango."  "November Zero Romeo Sierra Tango, five and nine."  (How the Hallicrafters did he hear "Sierra"?)  "EX4MPL, this is November Zero Romeo ZANZIBAR Tango; you're five-nine."  "Ah, Romeo Zanzibar Tango, thank you, five and nine."

It's like I tell my students - you need to know the best practices, and why they're best practices.  Once you grok that, you'll begin to understand when it's best to deviate from the best practices.


73,
Chris
N0 Romantic Zebras Tango
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G3RZP
Member

Posts: 4366




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« Reply #8 on: December 30, 2007, 07:47:51 AM »

>I don't know if it's because the non-standard phonetics are easier to hear or if it's because the receiving station now has two sets of sounds to consider. <

Exactly! That's syllabic redundancy!
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WB6RXG
Member

Posts: 73




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« Reply #9 on: December 31, 2007, 12:45:15 PM »

I can understand why some people use alternate phonetics especially when the copy gets rough and the standard phonetics aren't working.  But I ask you, half toungue in cheek and half out of a real need, what is a good alternate phonetic for xray?  I've lost a couple of contacts over the years because the DX couldn't copy xray.

Stuart
WB6RXG
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K7KBN
Member

Posts: 2762




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« Reply #10 on: December 31, 2007, 02:15:22 PM »

"But I ask you, half toungue in cheek and half out of a real need, what is a good alternate phonetic for xray?"

Stuart -  have you considered xylophone?  Xanthippe?
X-box? Xyster? (look it up!)  Or the Greek letter Xi?
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73
Pat K7KBN
CWO4 USNR Ret.
ONAIR
Member

Posts: 1735




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« Reply #11 on: December 31, 2007, 06:33:26 PM »

  Zuzu's petals.
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WB6RXG
Member

Posts: 73




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« Reply #12 on: January 02, 2008, 02:30:26 PM »

K7BKN Said:

"Stuart - have you considered xylophone? Xanthippe?
X-box? Xyster? (look it up!) Or the Greek letter Xi?"

And xenon (radioactive xenon gas, a real substance by the way).  With all due respect most or all of those are pronounced with a "Z" sound by english speaking people with the exception of X-box.  Doesn't exactly reinforce an "X".  You'd need a good command of the english language and be a good speller to correctly understand what the speaker is trying to convey.  I might try X-box though. I wonder how many foreign stations know what an X-box is?

I would have thought that X-ray was universal enough to be understood, boy was I suprised when the DX missed it.

Stuart
WB6RXG

 
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K7KBN
Member

Posts: 2762




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« Reply #13 on: January 02, 2008, 05:31:22 PM »

Stuart - It's "KBN" -- and I realize all of my suggestions, Xcept X-Box, start with a "Z" sound.

Listen around and see how DX stations phoneticize the letter "X".  I've heard "xilofono", "equis" (Spanish for the actual letter), "Xantippe" (Socrates' shrewish wife), and a few others I can't remember off the top of my shiny head.

Check my first post on this subject, over on page 1.  There are a lot of possibilities for every letter.

There used to be a guy, W7OTT, in Seattle, who'd identify "This is W 7 One Two Three, go."  Confusing? At first.  Legal? Yes, unless he was trying to deceive.  Which he wasn't.
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73
Pat K7KBN
CWO4 USNR Ret.
K9KJM
Member

Posts: 2416




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« Reply #14 on: January 03, 2008, 12:39:51 AM »

Nice rant.

As much as I would like to agree that we all should use the same "official" alphabet (Even though, As already pointed out, There is NO requirement to do so)
In real life, It just does not work out that way.

I fully agree with N0RZT.

When I am working many DX stations, Giving my call the way is should be (Kilo Nine Kilo Juliet Mike)
will bring me lots of "again, again" requests.
Whereas giving my callsign as Kilo Nine Kilo Japan Mexico seems to get through the first time, Every time.
This happens far more often than can be blamed on band condtions at the time of call..........
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