Before radio we had cable telegrams. Telegrams where transmitted by Morse code. Because the traffic of morse code can get heavy, operators used Q-Signals to abbreviate common sentences and paragraphs. When the telephone was invented, these Q-Signals were spoken and evolved into Prowords. Military radio communication adopted telephone Prowords and added some of their own.
The Q-signals QSA and QRK were first introduced in an old Military Radio Telephone Procedure Manual (Circa 1953). In all probability, these came from the Q-Signals of yore where QRK was – What is the readability of my signals? Answer: The readability of your signals is … (1 to 5). And QSA – What is the strength of my signals? Answer: The strength of your signals is … (1 to 5).
The oft heard “receiving you 5 by 5”, is voice equivalent to QRK 5 and QSA 5.
|Figure A: Report of Signal Strength|
|5||LOUD||Your signal is very strong.|
|4||GOOD||Your signal strength is good.|
|3||WEAK||Your signal strength is weak.|
|2||VERY WEAK||Your signal strength is very weak.|
|1||FADING||Your signal strength fades to such an extent that continuous reception cannot be relied upon.|
^Figure B: Report of readability ^^^
|4||READABLE||Quality is satisfactory.|
|3||UNREADABLE||The quality of your transmission is so bad that I cannot read you.|
|2||DISTORTED||Having trouble reading you because your signal is distorted.|
|1||WITH INTERFERENCE||Trouble reading due to interference.|
If you are asked for a RADIO CHECK, reply with the numbers in the protocol above. For further reading, a detailed list of Q- Signals can be found here: http://www.wemsi.org/qsigs.html
From the earliest days of wireless communication, the Morse code letter R (dit-dah-dit) has been used to indicate 'O.K. – understood.' So 'Roger' was the logical voice-phone equivalent. Also from “I Hear America Talking” by Stuart Berg Flexner (Von Nostrand Reinhold Co., New York, 1976). “Roger! A code word used by pilots to mean ‘your message received and understood’ in response to radio communications; later it came into general use to mean ‘all right, OK.’ Roger was the radio communications Morse code word for the letter R, which in this case represented the word ‘received.’ ‘Roger Wilco’ was the reply to ‘Roger’ from the original transmitter of the radio message, meaning ‘I have received your message that you have received my message and am signing off.” Wilco implies “I will comply”.
In addition to “R” Roger, early CW (Cable and Wireless) use for “correct” was Morse “C”, this carried over to the phone circuits as “Charlie”. This is still used by Morse ops and can still be heard on some military voice circuits as in “That's Charlie” or “That's a Charlie readback”. Usually following a readback of a message and meaning 'that is correct'. One will also see the occasional reference to FOXTROT messages as in the “DO NOT ANSWER” also encountered on military circuits. This is also from the CW “F” meaning 'do not answer'.
Prowords speed the handling of radio messages by abbreviating single word or phrases to replace common words, phrases, sentences, and even paragraphs. Among other things, knowing and using Prowords help to reduce radio traffic by performing radio transmissions efficiently. The following table contains the most common Prowords used.
|Figure C: Common Prowords|
|RADIO CHECK||What is my signal strength and readability, i.e., how do you hear me? (See Figure A & B)|
|ROGER||I have heard and understood your transmission.|
|WILCO||I have heard and understood your instructions, and will comply with them.|
|OVER||I have finished my transmissions and turn the channel over to you to transmit.|
|CLEAR||I am finished with this communication and am standing by on the channel.|
|OUT||I have completed transmission and am completely finished and closing this station or switching to another channel.|
|ALL AFTER||The portion of the message to which I make reference is all which follows.|
|ALL BEFORE||The portion of the message to which I make reference is all which comes before.|
|BREAK||I hereby indicate the separation of text from other portions of the message.|
|CORRECT||You are correct, or what you have transmitted is correct.|
|CORRECTION||An error has been made in this transmission. Transmission will continue with the last word correctly sent. The correct version is…|
|ETA||Estimated time of arrival.|
|ETD||Estimated time of departure.|
|ETR||Estimated time of return or repair.|
|FROM||The originator of this message.|
|I SPELL||I shall spell the next word phonetically.|
|OPS NORMAL||Used to say the patrol is normal in all respects, “operations normal”.|
|OUT||Used following the last line of the message transmitted, signifying the end of the transmission and nothing follows. No reply is required or expected.|
|OVER||Used following a transmission when a response from the other station is necessary. It is an invitation to the other station to transmit.|
|ROGER||I have received your transmission satisfactorily.|
|I SAY AGAIN||I am repeating transmission or the portion indicated|
|REQUEST YOU SAY AGAIN||you should repeat your transmission or the portion indicated.|
|SILENCE||(Spoken 3 times and pronounced SEE LONS) Cease all transmissions immediately. Silence will be maintained until lifted. Used to clear routine transmissions from a channel only when an emergency is in progress.|
|SILENCE FINI||- (Pronounced SEE LONS FEE NEE) Silence is lifted. Indicates the end of an emergency and resumption of normal traffic.|
|THIS IS||This transmission is from the station whose designator immediately follows.|
|TO||The addressees immediately following are addressed for action.|
|UNKNOWN STATION||The identity of the station which you are trying to establish communications with is unknown.|
|WAIT||I must pause for a few seconds.|
|WAIT OUT||I must pause longer than a few seconds.|
|WORD AFTER||The word to which I have reference is that which follows.|
|WORD||The word to which make reference is that which BEFORE precedes.|
|WRONG||Your last transmission was not correct. The correct version is…|
|Figure D: Numerical Prowords|
|Figure E: NATO Phonetic Alphabet|
|I||India||S||Sierra||.||(full) stop||8||Ait (Eight)|
The French language, up until the last century, was the international language of diplomats. If you read historical accounts of battles (War and Peace, The Glorious Cause: A Novel of the American Revolution, etc.) you notice most officers and commanders communicated in French. Therefore, some radio communications include French words. Why do ships and aircraft in trouble use “mayday” as their call for help? This comes from the French word m'aidez - meaning “help me” - and is pronounced “mayday.” Another example: the Prowords SILENCE and SILENCE FINI are pronounced in French.
In the book, The Right Stuff, a chapter is dedicated to General Chuck Yeager. Aside from Yeager breaking the sound barrier, he popularized the “pilot's voice”. On my flight from Hawaii, the pilot's voice reminded me of this passage from The Right Stuff.
“Anyone who travels very much on airlines in the United States soon gets to know the voice of the airline pilot…. coming over the intercom…. with a particular drawl, a particular folksiness, a particular down-home calmness that is so exaggerated it begins to parody itself (nevertheless! –it's reassuring …. the voice that tells you, as the airliner is caught in thunderheads and goes bolting up and down a thousand feet at a single gulp, to check your seat belts because “it might get a little choppy”…. the voice that tells you (on a flight from Phoenix preparing for its final approach into Kennedy Airport, New York, just after dawn): “Now, folks, uh…this is the captain… ummmm… We've got a little ol' red light up here on the control panel that's tryin' to tell us that the landin' gears're not…uh…lockin' into position when we lower 'em…. Now….I don't believe that little ol' red light knows what it's talkin' about –I believe it's that little ol' red light that iddn' workin' right” …. faint chuckle, long pause, as if to say, I'm not even sure all this is really worth going into – still, it may amuse you …“But…I guess to play it by the rules, we oughta humor that little ol' light …so we're gonna take her down to about, oh, two or three hundred feet over the runway at Kennedy, and the folks down there on the ground are gonna see if the caint give us a visual inspection of those ol' landin' gears” –with which he is obviously on intimate ol'-buddy terms, as with every other working part of this mighty ship.”—- Well, who doesn't know that voice! And who can forget it, even after he is proved right and the emergency is over.
“That particular voice may sound vaguely Southern or Southwestern, but it is specifically Appalachian in origin. It originated in the mountains of West Virginia, in the coal country, in Lincoln County, so far up in the hollows that, as the saying went. “they had to pipe in daylight.” In the late 1940's and early 1950's this up-hollow voice drifted down from on high, from over the high desert of California, down, down, down, from the upper reaches of the Brotherhood [of test pilots] into all phases of American aviation. It was amazing. It was Pygmalion in reverse. Military pilots and then, soon, airline pilots, pilots from Maine and Massachusetts and the Dakotas and Oregon and everywhere else, began to talk in that poker-hollow West Virginia drawl, or as close to it as they could bend their native accents. It was the drawl of the most righteous of all the possessors of the right stuff: Chuck Yeager.”
But, all in all, the more radio traffic you have, the likelihood of your personnel being confused increases. Sticking to simple proword speak, keeping your cool and limiting radio traffic is best for military intel. Here's another snip from The Right Stuff detailing “jabber” as a sign of weakness.
Combat had its own infinite series of tests, and one of the greatest sins was “chattering” or “jabbering” on the radio. The combat frequency was to be kept clear of all but strategically essential messages, and all unenlightening comments were regarded as evidence of funk, of the *wrong* stuff. A Navy pilot (in legend, at any rate) began shouting, “I've got a MiG at zero! A MiG at zero!” — meaning that it had maneuvered in behind him and was locked in on his tail. An irritated voice cut in and said, “Shut up and die like an aviator.” One had to be a Navy pilot to appreciate the final nuance.”
BF2 doesn't rank that well in my book with the ease of Voice over IP setup. But most games with VoIP these days are tricky to setup. At the very least, new games should include a *separate* mic setup program that will allow you to use multiple sound cards and not require you to load the game, join a server and test your mic out … only to loop you through the same process if the mic doesn't work. Here's a link to help you setup VoIP. VoIP mic setup issues
Because “Roger” means that you have heard and understood, that is all you need to say for a successfull radio check. Radio check normally goes:
X: “Any station this net, this is X. Radio Check, over.”
Y: “X, this is Y, Roger, over.”
X: “Y, this is X, Roger, out.”
The point being that you want to spend as little time on the air as possible, so your position can't be triangulated. This is the shortest, by the book, way to communicate your intent, and be sure your communication was heard.
If the reception is crappy to the point where it might affect comms, Y might say:
Y: “X, this is Y, be advised your transmission is broken and distorted, over.”
X: “Y, this is X, roger, out.”
Then X would check his radio to figure out what the hell is wrong with it.
Obviously, if X knows Y is out there and listening, and wants to get a radio check with that person specifically, he would substitute “Y” for “any station this net” in the original transmission.
Roger = I have heard and understood your transmission.
Wilco = I have heard and understood your instructions, and will comply with them.
Thus: Roger Wilco = I have heard and understood your transmission, and I have heard and understood your instructions, and will comply with them.
Roger Wilco is poor radio etiquette, and should not be said. In any unit I served in or with, saying that would have gotten you kicked off the radio. Instead, you just say, “Wilco.”
'Out' doesn't necessarily mean you are shutting down or switching channels. It just means you have said and heard all you need to say and hear, and you are ending that conversation. There are 2 schools of thought on “out”. One school says that the originator of a radio conversation always finishes it, and thus is the one who should say 'out'. The second school says that you never 'out' higher (i.e. you never tell someone who outranks you that the conversation is over; they tell you when it is over). In practice (officers being officers), the latter is more common.
Something I teach all my soldiers: Never mistake the proword 'Repeat' for 'Say Again'. 'Say Again' = Send your last transmission again. 'Repeat' = Fire last mission again. The latter is used with respect to artillery. If you go to check on the damage an artillery mission did, and you say 'repeat' on the radio, you might be in for a nasty surprise!