top of page


Gerard VK3GER

When using telephony, particularly under adverse operating conditions, words and callsigns may be misunderstood because of phonetic similarity.


Many letters of the Roman alphabet, when pronounced in English, sound alike. It is often hard to tell “s” from”f”, “c” from “e”, or “p” from “b”.

Many ingenious phonetics have been devised and adopted  with various degrees of formality and informality but the current accepted and agreed upon standard alphabet on a world wide basis is the one promulgated by the International Civil Aviation Organisation ( the ICAO).

This alphabet is now universally used by the armed forces of the NATO countries and by the radio services of most of the countries of the world whose language use the Roman alphabet.

The ARRL also has a recommended phonetic alphabet for amateurs in the U.S. and Canada. Phonetics are valuable when properly used. Used improperly, they can be annoying, silly and often downright confusing.

An example of proper use is: “this is VK3FRC - Victor Kilo 3 Foxtrot Romeo Charlie”.

The ARRL version would be: this is VK3FRC - Victor King 3 Frank Robert Charlie”.

The ICAO and NATO version is the one recommended for use by ACMA.

But I will give you the ARRL  and Western Union substitute as well, just for completeness.


AR Phonetics
Download PDF • 475KB

Thanks to our club member.. Gerard VK3GER

57 views2 comments
bottom of page