There are generally two types of 2 way radios used for communications. VHF – Very High Frequency, used for short distance communications which generally work using the line of sight method meaning there should be no obstacles in between such as mountains, tall buildings, etc., and HF – High Frequency used for long distance communications.
Using the 2 way radio differs from using a cell phone in that you cannot speak and listen at the same time. Your radio frequency can be heard by other listeners on the same frequency so never trasmit sensative or personal information.
Most of the common handheld 2 way radios will offer 22 channels and up to 121 privacy codes. Look for radio channels and frequencies that are not being used by anyone else. Have primary and secondary channels and frequencies determined for members of your group. As an example, your primary channel might be 3 and your frequency 19. Your secondary might be channel 4 frequency 28.
Perform radio checks frequently to make sure the radio is working properly. Make sure the battery is charged, the power is on and the volume is high enough to hear any calls. Memorize your call sign and others call signs which are on air identifiers other than your names. Do not use your real names, use call signs only on any 2 way radio communication.
Your communications should be short, clear and concise. In the following examples, let’s designate your call sign as Whiskey Tango Nine and your recipients call sign as Alpha Charlie One.
Do not interrupt if a station is being used unless it is an emergency. If it is an emergency press the PTT (Push to talk button) and as an example say Break, Break, Break, This is Whiskey Tango Nine, with an emergency message for Alpha Charlie One, over.
If the station is clear and it is regular, non emergency communications, Press the PTT (Push to talk) button and after 2 seconds say the recipients call sign twice followed by your call sign and the word over.
Example of you sending: Alpha Charlie One, Alpha Charlie One, This is Whiskey Tango Nine, Over.
Recipients response: Whiskey Tango Nine, This Alpha Charlie One, Go Ahead, Over.
Example of you sending: Meet at rendezvous point Omega, Acknowledge, Over.
Recipients response: Wilco (means message acknowledged), Over.
Example of you sending: This is Whiskey Tango Nine, Out. (Communication ended)
The phonetic alphabet is commonly used during 2 way radio communications for spelling out words and is listed below.
A – ALPHA
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 – QUEBEC
R – ROMEO
S – SIERRA
T – TANGO
U – UNIFORM
V – VICTOR
W – WHISKEY
X – X-RAY
Y – YANKEE
Z – ZULU