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Phonetic Alphabet

Caution: This page addresses a subject for which I have a strong opinion. While I do try to make my case here, I preface it with a reminder that this entire site is just my personal opinions & interpretations.

The phonetic alphabet is word equivilents to letters. It is used to clarify letters that sound alike, by using recognizable words that can be distinguished easily.

Its not on the licensing test, but in my opinion it should be. There are many on the air that make up their own words. While using any word that starts with a given letter may help; its much more effective to use the word that the other party anticipates hearing for a given letter. They can both interpret it nearly instinctively fast, and more easily recognize it in times of noisy conditions.

I plan to make this page into some sort of interactive practice to help the memorization process. For now, here is the official words as developed by international agreement and stated by the ITU.

ITU Phonetic Alphabet
A Alpha N November
B Beta O Oscar
C Charlie P Papa
D Delta Q Quebec
E Echo R Romeo
F Foxtrot S Sierra
G Golf T Tango
H Hotel U Uniform
I Indigo V Victor
J Juliet W Whiskey
K Kilo X Xray
L Lima Y Yankee
M Mike Z Zulu

I strongly encourage all amateur radio operators to learn it in its entirety, but at a very minimum I'd recommend learning the ones necessary for your call sign. You will almost certainly be asked on the air to give your call sign phonetically - and it will be nice to know how to do so with the correct words!