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 NATO phonetic alphabet

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Victor
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PostSubject: NATO phonetic alphabet   NATO phonetic alphabet Icon_minitimeSun Jul 26, 2020 7:55 am

Hi all,


Just a little discussion about the NATO phonetic alphabet.
You know the one, it puts the 'Charlie Tango' into the name of this group Smile

For those that don't know it or don't remember all of it -

Wikipedia - NATO Alphabet


Even if you don't know it's instantly recognisable for many, including those who are unfortunate enough to have never enjoyed radio transmission. (Poor souls Wink)

For radio users "Foxtrot, Tango" is not a dance or musical beat, "Romeo and Juliet" is not a romantic play!

Some will call it the 'CB alphabet', the 'radio alphabet' or other description and even spell the words differently, (Alfa or Alpha?), but we know what me mean......or do we?


I personally think this alphabet is a fantastic way of passing information on, especially across radio transmissions and particularly for DX. For the "lesser reliable bands" as some like to call 27MHz and especially for DX it's a god send.

Imagine a difficult DX with it's QSB, (fading signal), and excessive QRM, (interference), or even QRN, (static noise), it comes into it's own.

"Operator...ssshh...name thi...ssshh....ay....is....ssshh...mas...ssshh... that's...bzzssshhn...TANGO...ssshh...HOTEL....ssshh....CAR...ssshh...MIKE...ssshh....ALPHA....sshhbzzz...ERA...ssshh"


You haven't heard every word and yet got all the information.
The operator name wasn't heard but luckily they went on to spell it with the radio phonetic alphabet. Even though not every one of those alphabet words were heard they were easy to figure out. The experienced radio operator would have heard...

"Operator name this way is Thomas. That's TANGO, HOTEL, OSCAR, MIKE, ALPHA, SIERRA"


Isn't that just flipping awesome!! Smile


If you didn't even get all of the spelling simple deduction would've made his name change from "Mas?" to "Thomas" just by catching the "Tango" element. If they were good enough to repeat what they said twice, (as a more experienced operator would have), chances are you'd have caught some of the first, some of the second or repeat and hopefully from that get it all.

Just brilliant! Which is why it was devised In such a way and more importantly why we should use the same alphabet.


This alphabet wasn't just made up, it was careful!y researched, ammended, evolved and even checked for the main languages of English, French and Spanish. It's actually a very clever alphabet!

With the recent summer skip on CB frequencies it's a joy to hear operators from all over Europe using this alphabet and conveying useful QSO's even with some difficult or short lived radio conditions.

But....

For whatever reason if you go to some of the amateur bands it all changes? 

They're using the "ABLE/BAKER" alphabet as if they've watched too many of those WWII movies where the Americans won the whole war..."EASY" company on "OMAHA" beach type of thing???
Or...
The RAF, "F for FREDDIE, S for SUGAR", alphabet as if they're sat in a Lancaster bouncing bombs down a 'jerry' reservoir???
(Ahhh, that might explain that "Fine business, old man, Hi-Hi thing? Wink)

No, this isn't going to be a CB Vs HAM discussion.....

I suppose on a clear band it might just be all a little less important than the more difficult bands or propogation conditions.

Honestly though, I'm getting sick of examples like, "This is GEE-blah-GOLF-GERMANY-GIRAFFE" as if they're making up every letter as they go along....
(Apologies to any G#GGG, it's just an example Wink)


Perhaps the 'serious' amateur radio operator reverts to the NATO alphabet on a difficult DX....they do, I hear them....and smile.



Do you appreciate this alphabet? Do you make it up as you go along? Let us know Smile


Anyway, more of my waffle, but again in the spirit of sharing and maybe even interesting?

All the best,
Victor

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PostSubject: Re: NATO phonetic alphabet   NATO phonetic alphabet Icon_minitimeSun Jul 26, 2020 10:18 am

I always give my ham call as Germany six, radio radio london, which sounds better than the ICAO version. 
Most read it back, some translate it first, and you can hear the mental pauses as they do.
So long as it conveys the message I think a bit of artistic license is fine.

Of course there is always

NATO phonetic alphabet Useles10

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PostSubject: Re: NATO phonetic alphabet   NATO phonetic alphabet Icon_minitimeSun Jul 26, 2020 10:51 am

Hi Dave,

At least you repeat one of the phonetic words the same with, "Radio, Radio, London", and not "Radio, Romeo, London", or some such Wink

I do mostly hear it in the Ham radio world and usually for the same reason you have given, "sounds better/nicer, rolls off the tongue easier". On clear bands I suppose it makes no difference but if the bands are noisy or the callsign is given quickly it makes it difficult to log even for a long time SWL such as myself.

Isn't the ICAO aviation version the one where Muslim pilots refuse to use "Whiskey"? (Think there's a mention on the Wikipedia link I gave).


Ha, Ha! Very Happy Yeah, I've seen that 'alternative' alphabet do the rounds over the years!

Cheers Dave, much appreciated.

All the best,
Victor

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PostSubject: Re: NATO phonetic alphabet   NATO phonetic alphabet Icon_minitimeSun Jul 26, 2020 10:54 am

Never seen a NATO list before looks a bit of a tounge tyer lol ,TBH it really annoying when people dont actually use the proper phonetic code  ie: A=alpha ,B=bravo and so on ,cos some operators who I presume dont even know it make up the own codes ,I once heard a Alpha Tango member (well I presume he was a real one) America Tokyo plus his number , I mean there club is called Alpha Tango , it's like us calling out Chicken Teryaki instead of Charlie Tango lol.

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PostSubject: Re: NATO phonetic alphabet   NATO phonetic alphabet Icon_minitimeSun Jul 26, 2020 11:14 am

I agree with you there Martin, it does make it easier than leaving us trying to figure it out.


I'm still laughing mate! With every callsign allocation here, Mr. Gary Wilson asks if you want "Naan or Papadum with that?" Very Happy  lol!

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PostSubject: Re: NATO phonetic alphabet   NATO phonetic alphabet Icon_minitimeSun Jul 26, 2020 11:27 am

Its true Victor really mate ,if we stick to the proper phonetic code we all understand,  that's all I've ever know from being in army cadets as a kid to working in the motor trade quoting number plates, if I ever have to give number and letters to anyone ie DVLA or even my post code I use phonetic,  there is even the number version of phonetic style too for radio transmission ie: pronunciation as one-er ,two-er and so on 
if I find the list I'll post it up

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PostSubject: Re: NATO phonetic alphabet   NATO phonetic alphabet Icon_minitimeSun Jul 26, 2020 11:35 am

NATO phonetic alphabet Y6qcy10
I found a small section of it  ,airline pilots seem to use it alot

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PostSubject: Re: NATO phonetic alphabet   NATO phonetic alphabet Icon_minitimeSun Jul 26, 2020 11:52 am

I'm not making my phonetics up as such, I've been using this series for radio a long time, which I first got from a magazine in the 70's or so;


Alternative phonetics sometimes used unofficially in amateur
radio:

America Boston Canada Denmark England France Germany
Honolulu Japan Kilowatt London Mexico Norway Ontario/Ocean
Pacific Radio Santiago/Spain Tokyo United Victoria
Washington Yokohama Zanzibar



You can find it and others listed here:
https://www.qsl.net/ta1dx/amator/phonetic_alphabets.htm

I used the ICAO for 40 years at work, its nice to use something different.
Numbers: You missed 'Dess-i-mal' for the point in frequency readouts.

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PostSubject: Re: NATO phonetic alphabet   NATO phonetic alphabet Icon_minitimeSun Jul 26, 2020 12:02 pm

Yeah, remember that "nin-er" Martin.
Pretty sure there was a FrancoSpanglish version of the numbers too?

Like you Martin I learned the version we all know and love from Army Cadets and even the old Boys Brigade. Love hearing it when people use it outside of radio Smile

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PostSubject: Re: NATO phonetic alphabet   NATO phonetic alphabet Icon_minitimeSun Jul 26, 2020 12:10 pm

Hi Dave,

No suggestion of you making it up mate Smile I hear them all the time, but as I said usually on the Ham bands.

Cheers for the link with the radio phonetics, that's a good share.


I personally think that when DXing or difficult radio conditions the NATO version is infinitely better, but maybe because I'm used to it.
But I do draw the line when you get the, "erm, A for Apple, B for erm Bee, G for Giraffe", and I have to tell them to stop and just give me the letters straight Wink

All the best,
Victor

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PostSubject: Re: NATO phonetic alphabet   NATO phonetic alphabet Icon_minitimeTue Aug 11, 2020 10:42 pm

Hi 👋🏻 
I was taught the Alpha-bet and the numbers in the RN. 
I have to admit it drives me mad when people “make it up “as they go along

Sorry 😐 
But it was drummed into us to do it one way!ol🤷‍�😆🏴????????????????????????

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PostSubject: Re: NATO phonetic alphabet   NATO phonetic alphabet Icon_minitimeWed Aug 12, 2020 6:28 am

Hi John,

I agree, it's a lot easier if we're all on the same page so to speak Wink


As I mentioned the NATO phonetic alphabet was designed & evolved extremely well to convey information under difficult situations. One difficulty would be a noisy band or a distant DX and it really does come into it's own, but if they use 'random' words our train of thought or 'radio-ear' just can't cope. I know I'll give up on a difficult DX just because of that reason.

The other 'difficult' situations are when using radio in a noisy environment. This could be as simple as using a two-way system in a noisy vehicle, factory or plant and the clear passing of information becomes more important, perhaps even on a safety standpoint.

Luckily not all of us have to experience radio operation difficulties in the most severe of examples, the soldier under fire, the naval service personnel surrounded by artillery fire and other such extremes.


But, as I also mentioned, let us not forget the most simple of difficulties.....the language barrier.

I've had great QSO's where the other operator doesn't speak my language and I don't speak theirs, yet with Q codes and the NATO alphabet we've exchanged information easily, happily and often with great joy by both parties Smile


Some may well find it 'boring' or something else 'rolls off the tongue' easier, but I think it's a great system for these very reasons.


All the best,
Victor

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