[amsat-bb] Re: The Need for Phonetics

Glen Zook gzook at yahoo.com
Mon Apr 11 08:43:55 PDT 2011

I can assure you that in basically 52 years of working DX that geographical names definitely work better in the vast majority of situations than the ICAO phonetics.  Yes, eventually, the ICAO phonetics will be understood.  However, the station on the other end is generally going to work stations that are the easiest to recognize and that includes what phonetics are used.  Therefore, how much time you spend in the pileup depends on how well the DX station understands your transmissions.  As for me, I prefer not to spend a long time in a pileup!

I give up!  The same arguments that are made time after time on QRZ.com for using only the ICAO phonetics are being made here.  Frankly, the ICAO phonetics do NOT work well, if at all, for certain letters when the other station does not have English as their first language, especially when QRM or QSB is present.

I keep saying that ICAO phonetics are fine when English is the first language of the person or if the person who does not have English as their primary language has had formal training in the "proper" use of the ICAO phonetic alphabet.  However, when the ICAO phonetic alphabet fails, then the operator needs to have an alternate phonetic alphabet available rather than continue to attempt to get the information across using the ICAO phonetics.

I am receiving numerous E-Mails from people who definitely agree that when working DX using geographical names usually works much better.  But, those persons are hesitant to enter into this discussion.

Basically, everyone is chasing their tail.  That is, those who think that the ICAO phonetics are sacred and need to be used no matter what against those who believe that certain circumstances require using an alternative phonetic alphabet.  Few persons are going to change their minds!

One needs to look at the public safety arena where the ICAO phonetics are just not used.  If the ICAO phonetics are so great then why is there an APCO phonetic alphabet?  The basic answer is that public safety organizations have found that the ICAO phonetics just don't do a good job.  Therefore, the APCO phonetic alphabet.

I can assure you that this discussion will never end because those who insist that the ICAO phonetics must be used no matter what seldom realize that they are no panacea and that alternate phonetics do have a place in radio communications.

Glen, K9STH

Website:  http://k9sth.com

--- On Sun, 4/10/11, Jeff Moore <tnetcenter at gmail.com> wrote:

This is a bunch of baloney! Your "unpublished" non-standard just confuses most people.  I've listened to hours of DX and the ITU alphabet gets through just fine.  It's when people start throwing out their cutesy made up alphabet that it gets confusing.
Stick to the standard and it will work fine.

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