Register Account

Login Help

Forum Home - Rules - Help - Login - Forgot Password
Members can access, post and reply to the forums below. Before you do, please first read the RULES.

EMCOMMS - Prowords and NIMS Plain English

Sep 30th 2012, 14:25


Joined: Apr 9th 2003, 15:56
Total Topics: 0
Total Posts: 0
First - may I propose an Emergency Communications forum category? Might have a sub category of equipment for EMCOMM use and Jump Kit construction, another for Skywarn... I was thinking EMCOMM would be the place to put this question -

Greetings group:

Recently gave a presentation on radio use and controlled nets to a State Guard volunteer group. Provided a "cheat sheet" of common prowords - you know...

Roger / Over / Out / Say Again / All After / Figures
and the Alpha Bravo Charlie ITU phonetics.

One student challenged that under NIMS all comms are supposed to be in plain English.

I haven't found an authoritative read on this yet and I'd like to show up at the next meeting with a concise "here is the proper way" statement... Are Prowords and ITU Phonetics "Plain English"?
And are Q codes confirmed not to be "Plain English"?

Anyone have a reference?

I argue that Prowords are not code or local jargon, but they are internationally recognized jargon associated with operating a radio. This should not be an issue in dealing with licensed operators, but if we hand a radio to a non-licensed operator...
I think that saying "This Is" or "Say Again" is plain English. All of the prowords are understandable on their own - no 10 code lookup tables required. Saying "Over" or "Out" -- well -- perhaps not everyone would know that "Over" means "it's your turn to talk", but I suspect they would pick it up quickly. Further - one could argue that "10-4" has made the transition from jargon into plain English, but none of the other CB ten codes. (That is - if I hear someone say 10-4 I won't go out of my way to correct them but I won't encourage the use either.)


N8XZ / Ron
Oct 1st 2012, 16:35


Super Moderator

Joined: Apr 4th 1998, 00:00
Total Topics: 0
Total Posts: 0

This forum and others suggest that plain English and a common phonetic alphabet be adopted.

Zack Lau W1VT
ARRL Senior Lab Engineer
Oct 6th 2012, 21:26


Joined: Apr 9th 2003, 15:56
Total Topics: 0
Total Posts: 0
Thanks for the reply. I concur about a common phonetic alphabet but can accept either way. The thing I need to answer is "Are Prowords = plain English"? Saying "All Before" or "I Copy" or "Figures" are already plain English, "Roger", "Over" and others might not be. I contend it would be cumbersome to end each transmission with "ok, now it's your turn" so "Over" makes a lot of sense -- but since we don't seem to have a clear statement I think I have my answer.
Oct 9th 2012, 15:40


Joined: Apr 4th 1998, 00:00
Total Topics: 0
Total Posts: 0
Hi. I agree that plain English and the standard ITU phonetics should be used. Q codes should not. While "Over" may not be clear enough to some, "over to you" or "over to (callsign) should be. I think the standard of what is considered "plain English" for EMCOMM use should be:
That it can it be understood by anyone not familiar with Amateur or other radio operations and the jargon associated with any such operations.

Back to Top


Instragram     Facebook     Twitter     YouTube     LinkedIn