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Radio Chatter

Updated: Apr 2

Using two-way radios & comm systems in a live event environment

It's always fun to watch the new guy trying to figure out his radio. We've all seen it. The sweat beading up on his forehead as he frantically tries to figure out how to attach his biscuit, while trying to look calm and cool - as if he handles radios like this all the time. We all snicker under our breath, knowing he's never goig to get that Kenwood mic onto that Motorola radio.

Admit it. The only reason we take such joy in watching him suffer is, we were also there once ourselves. It's all fun and games until we're in the thick of it, and we can't find him, because we didn't take the time to teach him the fundamentals of proper radio/comm use. Here is a list of radio fundamentals, followed by a vocabulary list and some common phrases.

Radio Fundamentals

  • Do not scream into your mic.

  • ​Do not whisper into your mic.

  • Hold (key) your talk button for a full second before you start to speak, otherwise we lose the first part of your sentence, which is usually who you are.

  • Keep chatter to a minimum. Carrying a radio is already distracting and it becomes annoying when you have to keep shifting your focus from the task in front of you to the comments on your radio.

  • If it’s necessary to change channels, to contact someone that’s monitoring a different channel, it’s helpful to those that know you’re assigned to a specific group that you're switching before you switch, and inform them when you switch back (see examples is Common Phrases)

  • Radios are easy to pass around, so you can never be quite sure who’s monitoring your conversations. Avoid inappropriate conversations, discussing sensitive or protected information, or playing jokes over radios or comm.

  • Keep an eye on your battery life and switch out dying batteries with fresh batteries before they die. You want to avoid having a dead radio when it’s most needed. Don’t forget to return your radio to its charging base or station at the end of each day.

  • Record the serial number of your assigned radio, in case you lose it or it gets accidentally mixed up with other radios.

  • Report a missing radio as soon as you know it's missing. The chance recovering lost radios goes down the longer you wait and becomes almost impossible once it goes dead.

  • Print legibly and accurately when you sign out a radio.

  • Avoid wear your radio in a place where clothing or gear attached to you may accidentally key your mic.

  • Be mindful when you’re in close proximity to other radios monitoring the same channel. You want to lower your volume to prevent feedback if someone close to you opens their mic..

  • IIf you bring your own radio, check with the RF tech to make sure you're not using a frequency that's been isolated for another purpose or may cause issues with other RF systems.

  • Be aware of any and all safety protocols when using a radio while operating heavy machinery.