Phonetics

One of the first things a new ham needs to learn when they get on the air is the phonetic alphabet.  Because many alphabet letters sound the same over the air it is important to use phonetics when spelling out words or giving your call sign accurately.  This is particularly important when checking into a radio net, which is where many new hams get started.

Proper amateur radio protocol uses the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) phonetic alphabet.  You are likely to hear other phonetic alphabets on the air but should learn the ITU version and use it.  Start learning even before you take your license exam so you are ready to go when you get your ticket.

The best way to learn ITU phonetics is to practice.  Familiarize yourself with the phonetics and then practice by spelling words out.  A great way to do this is while sitting idle at a traffic light or while walking through a parking lot.  Just start spelling out signs and license plates phonetically.  When you see a stop sign, just say out loud, “Sierra Tango Oscar Papa.”

Note that there are official pronunciations for each character and a few may seem a little odd; this is to accommodate many native languages, not just American English.  There are also specific ways of pronouncing certain numbers (niner is the most obvious one) and punctuation.  Be advised that the official ITU number pronunciation is very odd (a mixture of languages) and the ones shown below are more common for amateur radio usage.

One good ITU phonetic alphabet link is located here.  It is also pasted below.

Character

A

Phonetic

Alfa

Pronunciation

ALFAH

B Bravo BRAHVOH
C Charlie CHARLEE
D Delta DELLTAH
E Echo ECKOH
F Foxtrot FOKSTROT
G Golf GOLF
H Hotel HOHTELL
I India INDEE AH
J Juliett JEWLEE ETT
K Kilo KEYLOH
L Lima LEEMAH
M Mike MIKE
N November NOVEMBER
O Oscar OSSCAH
P Papa PAHPAH
Q Quebec KEHBECK
R Romeo ROWME OH
S Sierra SEEAIRAH
T Tango TANGGO
U Uniform YOUNEE FORM
V Victor VIKTAH
W Whiskey WISSKEY
X X-ray ECKSRAY
Y Yankee YANGKEY
Z Zulu ZOOLOO
0 Zero ZEE-RO
1 One WUN
2 Two TOO
3 Three TREE
4 Four FOW-ER
5 Five FIFE
6 Six SIX
7 Seven SEV-EN
8 Eight AIT
9 Nine NIN-ER

 

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s