Patterns of Successful Communication


With event or emergency communications on the radio our goal as communicators should be to convey clear and concise information with as little ambiguity as possible. We should practice through our routine nets, contesting, event support, and drills to hone our skills in this form of communication. An article I came across was from the Ham website from Richard Bateman KD7BBC. Richard identifies common poor practices in radio communication and suggests more effective communication practices


When we communicate information, protocols help us convey information in a predictable format for the sender and the receiver. Imagine if there was no protocol to the phonetic alphabet and I gave my call sign as Wonder Seven Dead Buzzard Odor. Since you were not expecting the phonetic format of letters you were most likely struggling to copy. Now imagine this under adverse conditions or poor band conditions. It makes the copy of transmissions more difficult.

The next ineffective practice is saying your own call sign first when making a call. For example, "this is Aid Station 8 calling Net control" The issue is people tend to not focus until they hear their name. An aid station or net control is a noisy place and full of distraction. Usually someone calling this way results in the other station replying "station calling call again?" To solve this the correct practice is to always indicate first who you are calling, then who you are. This helps the receiving station hear their name, then listen for the calling station. For example, "Net Control, this is Aid Station 8".

The next ineffective practice is taking time to have a conversation or finding out the information before responding. This is common with net control thinking it will only take a quick check in a database, or a question to ask someone else in the room before responding. Meanwhile, the calling station is not seeing your non verbal feedback of flipping pages or raising a hand to ask of another staff member. The calling station wonders if the transmission was received, or did they go off frequency. The correct practice is to always respond to a query immediately, even if it is to just say "stand by" if the answer is not immediately known. Ideally the receiving station would paraphrase the request then identify if it can be immediately answered or if it will require a call back. If it will require a call back, it is best to release the channel for other traffic.

The next ineffective practice is using common slang, or conversational language while communicating over the air. In poor band conditions, unexpected language is difficult to discern. The correct practice is to use common terms or procedural words, or commonly called pro-words. Phrases like "Copy", "Affirmative", "Negative", "Understood", "Standby", "I Say Again", "Break", and "Correction" are examples of pro-words.


If we practice small procedural items discussed above we will find ourselves being more effective communicators and being a greater asset to our community and served agencies or organizations.


For more information on the original article visit: Ham Study Blog


Click here to download the audio file of this article