Radio Procedures

Core Principles


Brevity is the art of saying a lot with few words. Operators, must always strive to be frugal on the number of words needed to convey a message – there’s a lot that needs to be said by many people in a fight, and it’s all important. Utilizing brevity allows for all the important things to be communicated as rapidly as possible.


In addition to brevity, operators must strive to be very clear in their language. This requires the usage of defined tactical language terms, brevity words, a clear and loud voice, and so forth. Enunciation and repetition of critical statements is helpful as well.

Confirmation and readback

It’s important to confirm that you heard orders, so that leaders know that they are being understood. Additionally, it can be helpful to provide a ‘readback’ of an order to confirm that you fully understand what is being asked of you – this is done by restating what you were ordered to do, so that the person giving the orders can confirm that you heard them correctly.

Alerting and identifying

Alerting is the act of using key words to get the attention of people before you start saying something important. For example, a section leader might say “section, listen up!”. Identifying is the act of saying who you are and who you’re trying to contact when utilizing the ‘channel commander’ functionality. This helps reduce confusion and alerts people that someone is attempting to tell them something. For example, a section leader saying “Dragon-1, this is Dragon-2, be advised, you have enemy infantry on your west flank” is utilizing the alert/identify concept.

Usage of standard operating procedures and tactical language

Being familiar with the standard formats of SITREPs, CASREPs, contact reports, etc, as well as being familiar with the wide range of brevity words and tactical terms, helps to ensure that communication is easy to understand by all involved participants.



Radio Operators: Circuit Discipline

To attain reliable, fast and secure communication relies largely upon the operator:

  • Being well trained/experienced.
  • Maintain circuit discipline.
  • Understand his/her responsibilities.
  • Must not deviate from the prescribed procedures.

The following basic rules are essential:

  1. No transmission shall be made which has not been authorized by proper authority, i.e. your Section Commander/patrol leader or the CO.
  2. The following practices are specifically forbidden:
    1. Violation of radio silence
    2. Unofficial conversation between operators
  3. The following practices are to be avoided:
    1. Excessive time consumed in setting up radios, changing frequency or adjusting equipment.
    2. Transmitting at speeds beyond the capabilities of receiving operator.



Basic Message Format

All messages should be short, concise, transmitted clearly, with sufficient detail, and without delay, at a speed that allows the message to be understood and in English only. They should be acknowledged by the recipient, where required and acted upon without delay, especially in the case of requests for support or medevac.


This is a simple affirmative acknowledgement. If told to watch to the NW by your patrol leader, you should sound off with a quick “Roger” to let him know that you heard him and are complying.


Short for “will comply”. Typically used in conjunction with roger, so that it ends up as “Roger, wilco” which translates into “Understood, and I will comply with the order”. For the sake of brevity, only very important commands should be answered with a “Roger, Wilco”. “Roger” by itself suffices for most things. (Note: Technically, “Roger, Wilco” is redundant, but for the purposes of gaming, it’s not a big deal).


Stand by

This acts as either a wait request or a preparatory command. When used as a preparatory command, it is a warning to anyone listening that an important event is about to happen, typically one which other players will need to participate in. For instance, a section leader might tell his patrol to hold their fire while an enemy patrol approaches unaware. He would then say “stand by” to indicate that they are about to initiate the ambush (alternatively, he could say “stand by to open fire”). Upon hearing “stand by”, all section members would prepare to engage the enemy. The section leader would then announce “Open fire!”, at which point the section would ambush the enemy patrol.

When used as a wait request, it is a way to tell the person asking you a question that you need a few moments to get the answer. If the Commanding officer asks 2 section if they can get eyes on an enemy patrol near them, 2 section Section Leader might answer back with “Dragon-0, this is Dragon-2, stand by…” and then try to accomplish that goal before radioing back with a yes/no.


Radio Silence / Break, Break, Break

Typically used by a Section Commander, Troop Commander to tell everyone in their channel to be quiet while command chat occurs. Also can be used to get everyone to shut up so that faint sounds, such as distant vehicles, can more clearly be heard.

Be advised

Used to indicate important information during a radio communication, typically to another leadership element. “Dragon-0, be advised, Dragon-2 section took heavy casualties and is down to one patrol”.


Use of the word “over” means that you have finished your transmission and are waiting for a reply from the other operator.

Out / Wait out

The word or phrase “out” and  or “wait out” should only be used where a response is not required at this time or that the operator, will get back to you shortly for example, “Dragon-0 actual this is Dragon-1, contact, enemy infantry, wait out”, “Dragon-2-1, this is Dragon-2-2, in position out”.




A standard radio message should begin by using the call sign  of the operator you wish to contact, i.e. Dragon-0, and ended by using your call sign and the word over.

For example:

Dragon-0,  this is Dragon-2-1 over

For radio checks with other operators on your net it would be:

Dragon-2-1 this is Dragon-2-2 radio check over

The correct response is:

Dragon-2-2, this is Dragon-2-1 receiving you 5-5 over

The use of 5-5 denotes that you have full signal clarity and full volume of the sending station.

Roger, receiving you 5-5 also, no further traffic

This allows others who maybe on your net know that you have finished your conversation, if there were any further traffic there would be no need to use the call signs again as you have already established who you are talking too.



Team Movement

On Me

Command by the element leader to tell his element members to form up on him and follow him. Typically prefaced with the element name, ie “Dragon-2-2, on me!”.

Move out / moving / step off / stepping

Commands used to indicate the beginning of a period of movement.


Used to control movement. “Hold” is ordered when a unit needs to make a temporary halt. Oftentimes used to maintain cohesion between multiple elements.

Go Firm

The short version is that once “Go Firm” is ordered, all elements consolidate their position, assume a defensive and secure posture, get a count of their numbers, check their ammo situation, and stand by for orders.


Jogging- tactical-walking etc are all used within the patrols/sections to define the movement speed, of course the CO can also order the speed of movement. The pace is dictated by the lead scout or point man of any advance.



Fire Control

Cease Fire

Used to cause a temporary lull in the shooting. Cease Fire is used when all enemy are seemingly dead and no further shooting is necessary. Individual players can continue firing at living enemy soldiers at their own discretion, under the assumption that the person giving the order did not see that there were still living enemies.

Check Fire

A “Check Fire” command is given when it’s suspected that a friendly unit is being fired upon by friendlies. Cease Fire can be used in that situation as well, as long as the person giving the command makes it clear that friendly units are possibly being engaged by friendly forces, but “Check Fire” specifically is meant as a way to cut off potential friendly fire.

Hold Fire

Distinctly different from “Cease fire”, this command is used to maintain stealth. When under a “hold fire” order, players do not engage the enemy until the patrol or section commander specifically give the go-ahead, or the enemy spots a friendly and appears to be ready to fire on them.

The person giving the fire command may also give a fire type, for example “rapid fire”, “Suppressive fire” etc, it is important to understand what these commands mean and should be covered in fire team basics.




Warnings should be used before use of certain munitions or when fire is being taken. The following is a non exhaustive list of the types of warnings that can be given in game.

Frag Out

Warning call given when throwing a grenade.


Warning call given when an enemy grenade has been thrown at friendlies.

Incoming / IDF / Indirect

Warning calls given when enemy indirect fire (grenade launchers, mortars, artillery, etc) is inbound on friendly positions.




The situation report, or SITREP, is a quick way for a leader to get information on his troops. It is intended to be a very concise and quick way for an entire element to report their status to their leader.

SITREPs can be asked for at the patrol, section, and troop level. Calling for a SITREP as a leader is as simple as saying “(element you are asking for), SITREP!” or “(element you are asking for), report in!”. “Status report” is also acceptable.

SITREPs are generally asked for during lulls in the action, at the close of an engagement, or when a higher-level leader asks for them. If a leader wants the status of a specific member or element, he will ask them directly.


Examples of how this call can be made are as follows:

  • Troop-level, via command channel:

    Troop, send SITREPs.

  • Section-level, via section Radio channel:

    Dragon-1, status report.

  • Patrol-level, via SW radio

    Dragon-1-1, report in.

When a SITREP is asked for, the elements involved respond in numerical or alphabetical order – for example, squads report in order from Dragon-1 to Dragon-2 and finally Dragon-3, while patrols report in as 1st, 2nd, and then 3rd.

It is important that leaders do not constantly ride the asses of their junior leaders regarding SITREPs. Waiting for a lull in the action helps to ensure that the need to report in does not compromise the leadership of the junior leader, or distract him from the combat task he’s directing.

When being asked for a situation report, a junior leader can reply with “Stand by”, “wait out” or a variation thereof to let the senior leader know that he must deal with the situation at hand before he can report in detail.

SITREPs are not intended to be incredibly in-depth, unless necessary.



Standard Radio Channels

All Sections will be allocated channels (enough for each of it’s patrols) for the SW radio. Your channel is YOUR channel to be used at all times. Section Commanders are to ensure that patrols under their control are aware of and use these channels ONLY for inter personnel chat. No one other than the RTO / Section Commanders / Patrol leaders (if the patrol must act interdependently) is to be on the LR  command net.


The following radio channels would be the default rules for radio-net structure, unless otherwise stated in the mission’s OPORD:

  • Command Net (incl. overflow and logistics): 50Mhz
  • Platoon Combat Net (for units in contact): 40Mhz
  • Aircraft attachment:  30Mhz
  • All other supports i.e. CAS, Artillery, will be allocated channels which will not conflict with other users




This has been a partially summarized version of the document produced by BulletToothDan: Zulu Alpha Radio procedures with additional material from him added and edited or omitted by Phoenix.
The primary document uses material from:

  • Dslyecxi’s Guide
  • Military Radio Guide