Radio Communications Radio Communications

   When initiating radio communications with a ground facility, the following should be stated:

      1. Identification of the ground station being called.
      2. Identification of the airplane, by make and registration number.

   Ground station call signs comprise the name of the location or airport, followed by the appropriate indication of the type of station:

      OAKLAND TOWER (airport traffic control tower);
      MIAMI GROUND (ground control position in tower);
      KENNEDY APPROACH (radar or nonradar approach control position);
      ST. LOUIS DEPARTURE (radar or nonradar departure control position);
      WASHINGTON RADIO (FAA Flight Service Station).

   During the initial contact with a ground station, the complete airplane call sign should be used. This includes the name or make of the airplane followed by the complete registration number. For example, "NEW YORK RADIO, MOONEY THREE ONE ONE FIVE ECHO, OVER." Communication transmissions may be continued by using the airplane make and only the last three characters of the airplane's registration number when so initiated by the ground station.

   When initiating the call to any FSS, the pilot should also indicate the frequency on which a reply is expected. Some ground stations transmit on more than one frequency. For example, the New York FSS transmits on several VORTAC frequencies in the area, one of which is Riverhead VORTAC. These VORTACs are shown on charts, each having a different name and frequency. If the pilot has the receiver tuned to Riverhead VORTAC and wishes to call the New York FSS, the call should be made to "RIVERHEAD RADIO." This automatically tells New York FSS that the pilot is expecting a reply on the Riverhead VORTAC frequency. If the call is made to "NEW YORK RADIO," it would be necessary to tell the FSS to "REPLY ON RIVERHEAD VORTAC."

   When a reply from the ground station is not received on the initial call, the pilot should recheck the radio frequency to make sure it is correct, and check the altitude - the airplane may be too low for two way VHF radio communications.
   When a reply is received, the same format as for initial callup should be used except, after the airplane identification, state the message to be sent or acknowledge the message received. The acknowledgment is usually made by saying the word "ROGER." For example, "APACHE ONE TWO THREE XRAY, ROGER." Pilots are expected to comply with ATC clearances/instructions if they acknowledge the message by "ROGER."

   The radio is similar to a "party line" telephone - that is, many people use the same frequency. To avoid interfering with someone's communication it is necessary to first listen on the appropriate frequency to be sure no one else is transmitting. When the frequency is clear and after giving thought to what is going to be said, the pilot should hold the microphone close to the mouth and speak in a normal tone of voice. As few words as possible should be used to give a clear understanding of the message. Standard phraseology is explained in the Airman's Information Manual.