Best Practice for Radio Users

Get Connected

How to Connect

When making a radio call, it’s important to connect with the right person or people. This process will look different depending on if you’re speaking on a conventional network or a trunked network.

Connect on a Conventional Network

For a conventional network, simply select the channel being used by the person or people you need to connect with. First, you will need to establish contact by identifying by name the recipient and yourself. Once they acknowledge transmission, then you can carry on your conversation until it is complete.

Police Officer making a Radio Call

Let’s do an example. My call sign will be Portable 5 and I will communicate with Base 23:

First, I would say “Base 23, this is portable 5 on channel 2. Over.”

Then Base 23 acknowledges as follows: “Portable  5, this is Base 23. Over.”

Then I might say something like, “Base 23, I have returned from Job 734, are there any messages? Over.”

Base 23 replies: “Portable  5, you have three messages. Over.”

Portable 5 replies: “Base 23, I will collect them at 1600. Over”.

Base 23 replies and signs off: “Roger Mobile 5, this is Base 23. Out.”

Connect on a Trunked Network

Trunked networks, however, work a bit differently because you may have the option to make individual calls or group calls.

An Individual Call is a one-to-one call between one user and another user. As there are only two people involved in this call, it is a private call.

An individual call is made by dialing the individual’s number from the keypad of the radio or choosing their ID from a menu. A radio can be configured to ring like a cell phone. To answer, the user pushes the PTT switch. Call timers are generally lower for individual calls than for group calls to keep conversations to a minimum and reserve system time. Once a call finishes, the units involved in the call return to their local control channel.

Talk Group Calls consist of people with a common interest. They can be fixed by the network operator, or they can come together for a certain situation. This call is the most often used voice call for trunked networks.

When a talk group is called by an individual, the system assigns a channel for that call to go ahead. The group can be permanent, which means that it’s programmed into each individual radio . Group calls are typically used for emergency or for calls that are significant to a team.

A group call could either be a conference call, where everybody in the call can respond and communicate, or a broadcast call, where only the person who started the transmission can talk and everyone else must listen.