Radio Etiquette

So, you got your license; now what? The ham radio test only teaches you the basics of radio theory. It does not teach one how to be a good operator. There are all kinds of unwritten rules in this hobby that are never discussed.


Let me first by starting off with the real rules. These are the major rules of ham radio. They are located Here

There is actually very little that is legislated in the rules. Most of amateur radio is unwritten rules that have been passed down throughout time.

Keep in mind that most of what follows are not actually rules; it is simply what is done.

Initiating a conversation

1. Specific Person:

It is common to call someone specifically. If I want to talk to N6YOU and my callsign is N6ME I would say:

"N6YOU, this is N6ME"; he would reply "This is N6YOU, go ahead".

This is often simplified to:
"N6YOU, N6ME" he would reply "N6YOU".

As you can see, you list the callsign you want to talk to, followed by your own callsign. Common practice is to call twice and then clear.


10 second pause


10 second pause

"N6ME clear"

This is to give the other person ample time to respond but when you receive no answer you let others know you are done and they can use it.

2. Anyone:

Let's say you want to talk but have no particular preference who. One would key up and say:

"This is N6ME Monitoring"

What this means is that you are available to talk and anyone listening that wants to talk should call you.


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