Walkie Talkie Etiquette: 10 Important Things You Should Know

Since its inception, the walkie-talkie has been a popular medium of communication. And even though you’ve got your smartphones, it is still one of the most used devices.

Many vital services like police, firefighters rely on it. And places where the network is hard to get, you can’t help but use it.

So, it is still going strong. And maybe you’re one of those people who need to use one. However, unlike your phones, you can’t just use the radio the same way. There is certain walkie-talkie etiquette that you’ve got to maintain to pass on your message clearly.

If you don’t know about them or need a refresher, you should check them out.

10 Walkie Talkie Etiquette

Walkie Talkie Etiquette

Whether you’re using it for fun or for work, there is no harm in knowing the protocol. Make sure to follow this as much as you can.

1. Use The Code

To use the two-way radio the best way, you’ve got to learn the codes. These codes convey messages shortly and quickly without you requiring to talk a lot.

Now, there are certain words and codes out there that get used a lot. Let’s take a quick peek at some of them here.

  • Affirmative: That means “YES.”
  • Negative: Means “NO”
  • Roger: When you want to make sure you’ve received the message and understood it, you use it.
  • Stand by: By telling it, you ask for them to wait.
  • Over: When you finish up speaking, you say over. It’s quite essential, mainly because you can’t use the radio at the same time. So, you’re done talking, you let the other person know so that they can start talking.
  • Copy or Read: It is just like Roger. But usually gets more often to make sure if the message got heard like—”Do you read/copy?”
  • Out: When the conversation ends, and you’re getting off the radio, you say “OUT.”

Besides them, there are the 10-codes you can look for here to know and learn more about them.

2. Wait a Bit

It is something that many newcomers to the walkie-talkie world get wrong. After pushing the PTT button, they start talking, which isn’t wrong, but you should wait a bit. That’s because usually with radio transmission, there is a delay. This can cause your message to get cut off, which might require you to repeat yourself over for the receiver to listen.

3. Show Your ID

Unlike your phones, there isn’t any exact way to know who is trying to communicate using the walkie-talkie. Anyone can get on the frequency you’re using and transmit. That’s why it is required to first identify yourself with one another. That way, both parties can be sure they are talking to the right person and not some random stranger using the same channel.

Also read: How Do Walkie-Talkie Work – Know It NOW!

4. Keep It Short

With two-way radio, you’ve got to keep your talks short. It got made to do that.

But sometimes, you might need to convey a long message. In that case, you should speak and take a break to let the other guy know. That way, both parties can talk and listen instead of one person transmitting the entire time before the other guy speaks up.

5. NATO Alphabet:

Using a walkie-talkie, there will be some sort of static most of the time. It is, therefore, heard to listen to things loud and clear. There might be times when you’ve said something, but another guy can’t understand. You might want to then spell out the word for the other person. Even that might not work as there are similar sounding words that might confuse them.

That’s why there is something NATO phonetic alphabet. In this system, for every word of the English alphabet, there is a corresponding word.  Like Alpha means A, Zulu means Z. This way, there is no room for confusion.

6. Don’t Scream

That something we all universally do wrong on any type of audio communication system. May that be the phone or the radio. But that doesn’t help. Screaming won’t make them hear you clearly. Instead, talking slow in a normal tone might help you convey the message in a much better way. Don’t hold the microphone right in front of your mouth. Keep it 4-5″ inches away to make it pick up your voice for the other guy to get a clear sound that’s not too loud to understand.

7. Don’t Interrupt

When someone is talking on the radio, wait for them to finish. Unless, if you need to send some emergency message, in that case, state that emergency. You do that by saying break 3 times. Only after letting it know you should interfere. That’s a walkie-talkie etiquette.

8. Everyone’s Listening

Don’t relay any sensitive information over the two-way radio. That’s because the frequency isn’t exclusive, and there is nothing private about it. Anyone can eavesdrop and listen to your conversation. You should keep that in mind.

9. Communicate in English

The official language of the walkie-talkie is English. So, if you’re using one, you should better speak in that. Not that it’s essential if you’re using it for hiking and other regular stuff. But it’s a good thing to follow.

10. Check Equipment

The last thing is to check your equipment regularly. Make sure you’ve got fully charged batteries, you’re on the right frequency, and most importantly, you’re within range to transmit.


When you’re just starting with two-way radios, it might be possible, you won’t be able to remember all those walkie-talkie etiquettes. Don’t sweat on it. It will take time, but you will get the hang of it.

However, if you’re using it for regular use and not for the workplace, it is still essential to learn and follow them. That’s because it will help you to improve your communication.

Otherwise, you’ll be repeating yourself a lot over the radio a lot. So, practice. Don’t be afraid if you get things wrong. With time, it will become second nature to you. Trust me.

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