Whiskey Tango Foxtrot Is The Phonetic Alphabet?

Sometimes you just have to write words for others. I’ve been on phone calls where the person on the other side is writing about me and it’s painful. Was it “b” or “p”? “Sometimes they will try to use words with the initial letter on the move, trying to convey the letter: ‘B like a boy.’ Then they will bury themselves in grumbling as they desperately think of the “k” words… “ketchup.” Okay, but is this really ketchup or ketchup? Now think about how much easier it is to spell on a phone than on a poor quality radio channel. What we say and how we say it is the key to our brain’s ability to make mistakes in correct human speech. This is a solved problem that has long been embedded in the radio label.

Sam Houston National Forest is miles from the repeater we use to communicate during the local IronMan and other public service events. With spotted cells, our radios are the only viable tool. But it’s really amazing how much RF can take over a pine forest. With these events near the coverage limits of the repeater, it can be a challenge to find a place that is not in a “hole”, even with the help of my 50 watt mobile platform.

Event attendees sometimes need help, so we call a maintenance car to pick them up. We will distribute their number and gender, “The rider is a woman, a foxtrot, with a bib number, numbers, 1234”, for a woman with a bib 1234. The man is a “microphone”. We use letters chosen from a standard phonetic or spelling alphabet so that no one is confused about words.

Call a police officer

Spelling alphabets arise because early users of radio stations, such as police departments, had similar problems with weak or uncertain signals. An officer who calls the registration number must be accurate. Unfortunately, the English letters are easily confused. Did the officer or ham say “P” or “B” during an event?

Police began using a phonetic alphabet, where the first letter of the word is the transmitted letter. So in my case, my plate is a Kilo Five Romeo Uniform Delta, using NATO’s current phonetic alphabet. But it took us a while to get here. An early alphabet used by the Los Angeles Police Department was based on people’s names:

Adam Boy Charles David Edward Frank George Henry Ida John King Lincoln 
Mary Nora Ocean Paul Queen Robert Sam Tom Union Victor William Xray 
Yellow Zebra

The ND alphabet in New York uses several different names: Charlie Peter Young. In 1948, the American Radio Relay League (ARRL) adopted the words in the NYPD alphabet in exchange for Baker Lewis Nancy Otto Susan Thomas Zebra.

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NATO phonetic alphabet

One motivation for changing the words in the alphabet is to improve understanding. Local police officers would understand the local accents of other officers, so the understanding is high. It is more difficult to understand some words when communicating two hams with different regional accents in the United States. The accents helped to change the ARRL alphabet.

As its name implies, the main role of ARRL in the early days was the transmission of messages in the United States and internationally. This was in the days when long distance telephone calls were so expensive that one could only use them for emergencies. A friendly local ham can insert a message into the national ARRL movement system and this will speed up the way to the recipient. Unfortunately, this system does not work so well today.

Adoption of the NATO phonetic alphabet

The aviation industry and the military have faced the same problem of understanding operating beyond national borders. This led to the development of the International Spelling Alphabet for Radiotelephony, also known as the NATO or International Civil Aviation Alphabet. It is widely used by other organizations. ARRL and hams fall under the jurisdiction of the International Telecommunication Union, which determines the use of this alphabet, so it replaced the 1948 alphabet. as mentioned, weak signal strength.

There was still a problem. Different language users did not pronounce the words in the same way, at least following the spelling of the word in English. This required pronunciation guides for various speakers. The diagram shown is for English speakers. One for a French speaker would be different.

Spit out numbers and avoid the delta

digital alphabetTransmitting numbers is just as important. Distinguishing flight 123, 767 from flight 456, 737 in an airport landing approach is quite critical. In an aviation issue, the word “Delta” is not used for “D” at airports, such as Hatfield-Jackson Airport in Atlanta, where Delta Airlines has a large presence. To avoid confusion, use “Data”, “Dixie” or “David”.

To solve the problem of numbers, a pronunciation guide is also provided for the numbers. It sounds a little strange to our inner ears when we read the list. In fact, it sounds much better, although usually hams just use our daily pronunciations.

The processing of messages itself requires some adaptations. When a complex word is transmitted in a message, the sender must write it for the recipient. For example, “This article was edited by Szczys, I’m typing, Sierra Zulu Charlie Zulu Yankee Sierra.” -ro pageviews. ”Another related technique is to convey the characters themselves when they are not a word. This could be for acronyms such as ARRL or an airport designation such as IAH – for Houston Intercontinental Airport. You would say, “I am a member of the initials, Alf Romeo Romeo Lima.”

I memorized the NATO alphabet for use in ham radio. But there are times, like writing my name for someone on the phone, when it’s helpful to have it on the tip of my tongue. A negative reaction I’ve seen is someone who sees the use of the alphabet as pretentious, as if the hams are defined as excellent. Of course not. This is just training.

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