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Phonetic Alphabet

Child using a walkie talkie

Our walkie-talkie radios have many uses in many different industries

Our walkie talkie radios are also supplied by Motorola, Kenwood, Icom, Barrett, Tait, Vertex Standard, Entel and Codan.

A walkie-talkie (more formally known as a handheld transceiver) is a hand-held portable, two-way radio transceiver. The first walkie-talkies were developed for military use during World War II, and spread to public safety and eventually commercial and jobsite work after the war. Major characteristics include a half-duplex channel (only one radio transmits at a time, though any number can listen) and a push-to-talk switch that starts transmission. Typical walkie-talkies resemble a telephone handset, possibly slightly larger but still a single unit, with an antenna sticking out of the top. Where a phone's earpiece is only loud enough to be heard by the user, a walkie-talkie's built-in speaker can be heard by the user and those in his immediate vicinity. Hand-held transceivers may be used to communicate between each other, or to vehicle-mounted or base stations.

The Phonetic Alphabet is used by radio operators, to spell out words. It is useful when exchanging important and precize information (addresses, names, etc) especially during not clear transmission. This alphabet has been changed over the years and in different groups of radio users and different countries the alphabet varying from each other.

The NATO phonetic alphabet, more formally the international radiotelephony spelling alphabet, is the most widely used spelling alphabet. Though often called "phonetic alphabets", spelling alphabets have no connection to phonetic transcription systems like the International Phonetic Alphabet. Instead, the NATO alphabet assigns code words to the letters of the English alphabet acrophonically so that critical combinations of letters (and numbers) can be pronounced and understood by those who transmit and receive voice messages by radio or telephone regardless of their native language, especially when the safety of navigation or persons is essential. The paramount reason is to ensure intelligibility of voice signals over radio links.


The phonetic alphabet is used by many national and international organisations, including the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), the International Maritime Organization (IMO), the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO), the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), and the American National Standards Institute (ANSI). It is a subset of the much older International Code of Signals (INTERCO), which originally included visual signals by flags or flashing light, sound signals by whistle, siren, foghorn, or bell, as well as one, two, or three letter codes for many phrases. The same alphabetic code words are used by all agencies, but each agency chooses one of two different sets of numeric code words. NATO uses the regular English numeric words (Zero, One, with some alternative pronunciations), whereas the IMO uses compound numeric words (Nadazero, Unaone).

The alphabet's common name (NATO phonetic alphabet) arose because it appears in Allied Tactical Publication ATP-1, Volume II: Allied Maritime Signal and Maneuvering Book used by all allied navies in NATO, which adopted a modified form of the International Code of Signals. Because the latter allows messages to be spelled via flags or Morse code, it naturally called the code words used to spell out messages by voice its "phonetic alphabet". The name NATO phonetic alphabet became widespread because the signals used to facilitate the naval communications and tactics of the United States and NATO have become global. However, ATP-1 is marked NATO Confidential (or the lower NATO Restricted) so it is not publicly available. Nevertheless, a NATO unclassified version of the document is provided to foreign, even hostile, militaries, even though they are not allowed to make it publicly available.

Circuit Board

Most of the words are recognisable by native English speakers because English must be used upon request for communication between an aircraft and a control tower whenever two nations are involved, regardless of their native languages. English is not required domestically, thus if both parties to a radio conversation are from the same country, then another phonetic alphabet of that nation's choice may be used.

In most versions of the alphabet, the non-English spellings Alfa and Juliett are found. Alfa is spelled with an f as it is in most European languages. The English and French spelling alpha would not be properly pronounced by speakers of other languages—native speakers of those languages would not know that ph should be pronounced as f. Juliett is spelled with a tt for the benefit of native French speakers because they will treat a single t as silent. In English versions of the alphabet, like that from ANSI, one or both may revert to their standard English spelling.

Please see the official phonetic alphabets list below:

Letter NATO & Int. Aviation British Forces 1952 RAF 1942-43 NY Police French German Italian Spanish
A Alfa Abel Apple Adam Anatole Anton Ancona Antonio
Ä N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A Ärger N/A N/A
B Bravo Baker Beer Boy Berthe Berta Bologna Barcelona
C Charlie Charlie Charlie Charlie Célestin Cäsar Como Carmen
Ch N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A Charlotte N/A Chocolate
D Delta Dog Dog David Désiré Dora Domodossola Dolores
E Echo Easy Edward Edward Eugène Emil Empoli Enrique
F Foxtrot Fox Freddy Frank François Friedrich Firenze
G Golf George George George Gaston Gustav Genova Gerona
H Hotel How Harry Harry Henri Heinrich Hotel Historia
I India Item In Ida Irma Ida Imola Inés
J Juliet Jig Jug / Johnny John Joseph Julius l lunga José
K Kilo King King King Kléber Kaufmann Kursaal Kilo
L Lima Love Love Lincoln Louis Ludwig Livorno Lorenzo
LI N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A Llobregat
M Mike Mike Mother Mary Marcel Martha Milano Madrid
N November Nan Nuts Nora Nicolas Nordpol Napoli Navarra
Ñ N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A Ñoño
O Oscar Oboe Orange Ocean Oscar Otto Otranto Oviedo
Ö N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A Ökonom N/A N/A
P Papa Peter Peter Peter Pierre Paula Padova París
Q Quebec Queen Queen Queen Quintal Quelle Quarto Querido
R Romeo Roger Roger / Robert Robert Raoul Richard Roma Ramón
S Sierra Sugar Suga Sam Suzanne Samuel Savona Sábado
Sch N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A Schule N/A N/A
T Tango Tare Tommy Tom Thérèse Theodor Torino Tarragona
U Uniform Uncle Uncle Union Ursule Ulrich Udine Ulises
Ü N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A Übermut N/A N/A
V Victor Victor Vic Victor Victor Viktor Venezia Valencia
W Whisky William William William William Wilhelm Washington Washington
X X-Ray X-Ray X-Ray X-Ray Xavier Xanthippe Ics Xiquena
Y Yankee Yoke Yoke / Yorker Young Yvonne Ypsilon York Yeguna
Z Zulu Zebra Zebra Zebra Zoé Zeppelin Zara Zaragoza

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Simone Icough, Basic PLUS Author

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