[amsat-bb] Re: The Need for Phonetics

Jeff Moore tnetcenter at gmail.com
Mon Apr 11 14:17:49 PDT 2011

See comments in line below:

Jeff Moore  --  KE7ACY

----- Original Message ----- From: "Glen Zook" <gzook at yahoo.com>

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!

<== If everybody is using the same phonetic alphabet, then there shouldn't be any problem understanding what one is saying.

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.

<==  Don't you ever wonder why you keep seeing the same arguments??  The ITU phonetic alphabet works fine if it's used.

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.

<==  "Training" comes from use.  What I don't understand is how you can advocate a phonetic alphabet that by your own admission isn't even documented legitemately anywhere let alone recognized or recommended.

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.

<==  Could it be that they understand the quicksand you're standing on?

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!

<==  There's nothing "sacred" about the ITU phonetic alphabet.  It's just the current Internationally recognized and recommended standard that should be used.  Anything else just confuses people.

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.

<==  Public safety organizations use their own phonetic alphabet for the same reason they use their own numeric codes, to confuse the general public and make it harder for them to understand the info being passed.  It has nothing to do with one being easier to understand than the other.

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.

<==  You're right!  As long as people argue against the accepted, documented, recommended prevailing standard, the discussion will go on.  Come up with a documented, better phonetic alphabet and get it internationally recognized and recommended and then this discussion will go away (or at least be changed to an argument between the old and new standard).  As long as there is no official alternative (and I don't give a rip about how long the geographic non-documented non-standard has been used), the internationally recognized standard is what should be used.  You can play your word games all day long on DX, but as soon as you start working emcomm - you'd better be using the accepted standard or you're putting people's lives at stake.

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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