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Old 07-26-2012, 05:04 PM
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Post Radio Communications for Airsoft

Radio communications should be short, sweet and to the point. Operators should minimize unnecessary communications as much as possible. If you want to discuss the weather, last night’s football game or how great you are then you shouldn’t be allowed to use a radio and should probably be sent to a channel all by yourself. If you do want to discuss these things on the radio during a game then you should be used for SAW target practice.

Trivia devotees will note that unlike a cell phone, only one person can be talking at a time on a radio. So if you are wasting time jabbering like a fool on the radio then nobody else can talk or tell you about that flanking force coming up behind you. More professional players will change channels, or turn down or off their radio so they don’t have to deal with you. When you need help you can know with confidence that nobody is listening.

When speaking, you should first take a breath and calm down. People will not understand you if you are yelling, panting, or talking too fast. The best radio communicators sound like they are terribly bored and sitting behind a desk or still laying in bed. Remain cool and calm! Think about what you are going to say before you say it on the net.

There are many different ways of doing things in radio communications. What I describe here is usually the method I prefer, but I have included some alternates as well.

Initiating Communications: This is best done by saying the other person’s call sign twice and then yours. For instance, “MechEng, MechEng, this is Warcat”. Listeners may not hear the first name said (in this case MechEng), but by the 2nd saying of their name are usually listening in time to hear who is calling them, or their buddy next to them will clue them in.

Some people like the “Warcat calling MechEng” method, but I have found that the listener might not always know who is calling them. When people are concentrating on something else (like somebody shooting at them) their attention is not focused on the radio and they may have to turn their attention back to the radio to be effective.

Commonly heard terms;
“Over” - helps the listener understand that the speaker is waiting for a response.
“Out” - helps the listener(s) understand the speaker is done with the communication and moving on to other things.
“SitRep” - is a request for a situation report.
“How Copy” - is a request from the speaker to the listener asking if the listener understands. This is a request for a brief back.
“Hard Copy” or “Solid Copy” - indicates that the listener understands fully but doesn’t feel like repeating it. Or it might be used by the originator of a message to indicate the brief back was good.
“Say Again (your last)” - is a request for the last speaker to repeat the last transmission. Do NOT use the word “repeat” as it is considered very bad form (and is actually a command to repeat an artillery or mortar fire mission).
“Please advise” - is a request for orders.
“Break” - is used when the speaker needs to take a breath and should be done frequently to give others a chance to break into the net in the event of an emergency. This can also be used if someone needs to break into a conversation by repeating “break” several times. However, “flash” is more appropriate for breaking a conversation.
“Correction” - means that the message was not repeated properly and should be followed by the correct information.
“Disregard” - means that the information that was about to be shared is obsolete or incorrect.
“Roger” - is not someone’s name so much as an acknowledgement that the order was received. This is not used much anymore now that people are actually named Roger.
“Wait” - means to wait for a few seconds while the speaker talks with someone, gets more information or finishes a task.
“WILCO”, is army terminology for “WILL Comply” – and means that the message has been received and will be acted upon. Don’t use “roger wilco” as this is redundant and a radio communication faux pas.
“Flash, Flash, Flash”, “Silence on the Net”, or “Radio Dark” - means silence on the net. All units maintain radio silence while important information is shared or a high priority transmission is resolved. Only higher authorities are authorized to give these commands.
“Resume Normal Traffic” - indicates that the “Flash, flash, flash”, “Silence on the Net”, or “Radio Dark” condition is lifted.

There are a couple types of report formats that can be used on a radio to communicate information to higher command or other team members. For the most part the following reports are used.
Contact Report
This is a critical report for higher level commanders and should not be ignored. The report is given the second rounds are fired OR the enemy is observed whenever possible.
WHO – Who is calling.
WHAT – What is happening, taking fire, sighted the enemy, ambush initiated, etc.
WHERE – Where the unit is located.
ACTIONS – Estimated actions
Once those four items are transmitted it is expected that a full SALUTE report will follow shortly thereafter. The contact report is a quick warning to higher command that you are about to step into ‘it’ and if they don’t hear from you again they can mark on their map “Here there be dragons.”

This is a more detailed report and applies to enemy forces. It is very structured to help give other people a better grasp on the situation and enemy troop deployment. This can be given at any time, before, during or after the fight. It is usually better to give it as soon as possible in case you get killed. You do not have to give ALL the information. It should be expected that you do not know everything, but the goal here is to at least GUESS what you are up against. You can always correct the report later, but if you get killed then nobody will know anything.
S – Size of the enemy force
A – Activity of the enemy force. What are they doing, where are they going, how they are deployed
L – Location of the enemy force
U – Uniform or Unit. This should be obvious, but if they are one of the established squads this is good information to pass on.
T - Time that contact was made
E – Equipment. Do they have any special weapons, boxes, equipment or gear?
Ammo Casualty Report
This report is simple and you just let your commander know if you are running out of ammo or have a large number of casualties. This report is sent AFTER the firefight so the commander knows you are still alive and the condition of your unit.

Phonetic Alphabet
The purpose of the phonetic alphabet is to make sure letters and numbers are properly understood over a radio where static, accent, background noises or speaker stress may affect pronunciation. For example “ ’C’ Company” might sound like “ ’G’ Company” on the radio.
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

Number pronunciation is a way to pronounce numbers over the radio so they are clearly understood by a listener.

0- Zeero
1- Wun
2- Too
3- Tree or Thr-ree
4- Fower
5- Fife
6- Siks or Sex
7- Seven
8- Ate
9- Niner

Call Signs
A call sign is NOT a screen name. Call signs should be short, sweet and to the point. Someone with a call sign like “Wearer of fluffy bunny slippers”, “Sniper777413” or “Son of Liberty” will be asked to use a different radio channel that everyone else will conveniently ‘forget’ or ‘lose’ while neglecting to share their own channel.

Numbers with call signs are frequently used to denote a position or team, but should be short.

Two or three syllable (that are easy to pronounce) call signs are best. They should roll off the tongue and be easily understood on the radio. Apache, Comanche, Headshot, MechEng, Warhawk, ToeJam, Rumcake, Princess, Bigfoot, and 404 are good examples.

In some cases a platoon or squad may be assigned a call sign, for instance “Apache”. Then based on standard procedures, elements within that unit take on additional ‘call signs’. This can vary between units and branches so it should be discussed beforehand.

<call sign> actual is the unit commander, not the RTO. (Marine Speak)
<call sign> six may also refer to the unit commander (Army speak)
<call sign> one is the 1st team, squad, platoon, or company.
<call sign> two is the 2nd team, squad, platoon or company.
<call sign> one actual/six would be the platoon or company commander instead of the RTO.
<call sign> five is the company XO.
<call sign> seven is the company first sergeant.
<call sign> two one could be 2nd squad, 1st Fireteam.

Another method to identify a unit is with numbers denoting platoon and squad. For instance, “Apache Wun-Wun” would be Apache Company, 1st Platoon, 1st Squad. “Apache Wun-Too” would be Apache Company, 1st Platoon, 2nd Squad, etc.

Whatever is decided, it should be short and very simple. Leave the complexity to the people who do it for a living and usually establish their own standard operating procedures.

Call Signs for Locations and Objectives
While it can get confusing sometimes to assign call signs to objectives or locations it makes good sense tactically. Inevitably, the enemy has the ability to ‘listen in’ on conversations. When the order is given to a subordinate unit for instance to attack the enemy HQ, an enemy listening in then knows to reinforce their HQ or to move it. When a subordinate unit is directed to attack “Hotel Quick” then the enemy is left to wonder. One method that makes it easier to remember what is what is to just change the names, not the initials. For instance “Gold City” becomes “Groovy Cow” and “HQ” becomes “Happy Queen”, etc.

Example Conversations
Enemy Sighting (Good Example)
“Bigfoot, Bigfoot this is RumCake, come in.” - RumCake wants Bigfoot to wake up and start listening.

“This is Bigfoot, go.” – Bigfoot wants to know ‘Whadya want’.

“You have an enemy squad approaching you from the North, they are in column formation and about tree hundred yards away. I estimate grid D5” –RumCake is letting Bigfoot know that they have an ambush opportunity approaching them, currently three hundred yards out around the field grid of D5.

“I copy enemy squad approaching from the north in column formation, tree hundred yards, ETA?” – Bigfoot wants to know how long he has to wake up his people and get them ready.

“About five mikes.” –RumCake estimates five minutes. Bigfoot should realize that RumCake probably means two minutes.

“I copy five mikes, thank you. Bigfoot out.” –Bigfoot has to get ready and is done jabbering on the radio.

“RumCake out.” –RumCake is done as well.

Enemy Sighting (Bad Example)

“Yo Bigfoot “... “YO Bigfoot!” – can anybody hear me?


“You got tangos coming.” – oh joy.

“From where?” – in front, behind, to the flanks, are they tunneling?

“North of you”

“How many?”

“I dunno, maybe a squad. Hard to say for sure, but the guy in the back is a big fat guy who looks like he is having trouble keeping up. He should have stayed home with his bag of potato chips.”

“Does he have a boonie hat on or a baseball cap?” – and what does this have to do with an impending firefight?

“Goony hat?” – Who cares about a freakin hat?

“No, BOONIE hat.”

“Oh, yea, he’s wearing a boonie hat.”

“I know that guy, does he also have an M203?”

“Yea, looks like it. Friend of yours?”

“I owe him one. He shot me last game.”

“Well, now’s your chance.”

“How far away is he?”

“About two hundred yards I think.”

“Is he approaching from near the stream or that big tree?”

“What big tree?”

“The one that was hit by lighting.”

“Oh. Near the stream then.”
Etc. . . . . .

Any professional listening would hope that one of the two would hurry up and freakin’ die.

Enemy Contact (Good Example)
“ToeJam, ToeJam this is Armpit, come in.” – Armpit wants ToeJam to wake up and answer.

“This is ToeJam go.” –Proceed with your transmission.

“This is Armpit, we have enemy contact to our front near grid A7. Estimated two to three with light weapons. They were in defensive positions.” – a fireteam is slowing us down, just thought you should know in case
that fireteam turns out to be a platoon and we get wiped out.

“Copy that. Over run or break contact. Continue mission.” - ToeJam is saying thanks for the info, kill them quickly or go around them. I don’t want you to get bogged down in a firefight when you have a mission to accomplish.

“WilCo Toejam. Armpit out.” –Armpit has some mayhem to wreck.

“ToeJam out.” – ToeJam is going to finish his lunch now.

Enemy Contact (Bad Example)

“We are getting shot at!” – but not yet shot.

“Who is ‘we’?” – two mistakes from caller and listener.

“Uh… this is Armpit.”

“Where are you?”

“Behind a tree where they can’t see me.” – gotta love Armpit, such a fount of worthless information.

“What tree?”

“A big one. They know I’m here and I can hear the BB’s smacking against the tree. I think Bo-Bo got hit, but I can’t see. At least one guy is shooting at me, maybe two. They can’t move very well though because they have a large opening to the side and if they try to get through it I can shoot them pretty easily.” – of course Toejam can’t tell Armpit to shut up and tell him what grid coordinates are.

“What grid coordinate are you at?”

“I don’t have a map” – Armpit is a well prepared noob who should be a rifleman instead of team leader.

“How many are shooting at you?” – ToeJam asks, realizing Armpit could be anywhere.

“I don’t know, at least one.” – one guy holding up a squad?

“I meant how many enemy is your squad facing”.

“How can I tell?”


“Maybe three or four.”

“What are they doing?”

“Shooting at us.” – and if ToeJam was there, someone else would be shooting at Armpit.
Etc. . . . . . hopefully Armpit will get wasted soon.

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