Cracking the Radio Code: Deciphering Commonly Used Radio Lingo

Radio communication has been a staple in various fields. This can span from emergency services to recreational activities.

Yet, for many, the jargon used in radio conversations can seem like a foreign language. Understanding radio lingo is crucial for efficient communication. This is whether you’re a newbie or looking to refresh your knowledge.

This guide will walk you through the most commonly used terms. We’ll help you become more confident in your radio communication skills.

Let’s get you started!

Roger That

When used in radio communication, “Roger that” means “message received and understood.” This phrase is commonly used to acknowledge that you have heard and understood the message being transmitted. Among the many radio communication terms, this is one of the most widely used and recognized.

Over and Out

This phrase may sound familiar from movies or TV shows, but it’s not commonly used in real-life radio communication. “Over” is used to indicate that the speaker has finished their transmission and is waiting for a response. “Out” is used to indicate the end of a conversation or when someone is signing off for the day.


“10-4” is another way of saying “message received and understood.” This term is derived from the ten-code or ten signals system used in radio communication.

Each number has a specific meaning, and “10-4” indicates a positive response. Those who are using KNG P-25 portables may be more familiar with this term, as it is commonly used in public safety and emergency services communication.


“Mayday” is an internationally recognized distress signal used in emergencies. It comes from the French phrase “m’aidez,” which means “help me.” This term should only be used when there is immediate danger to life or property. Among the many essential radio phrases, “mayday” is one you hope to never have to use.


These terms are used to indicate a yes or no response to a question. “Affirmative” means yes, while “negative” means no. These terms are used to avoid confusion and ensure clear communication.


Similar to “10-4,” “copy” is another way of saying “message received and understood.” This term is commonly used in military and emergency services but can also be used in other fields as well.

Say Again

If you didn’t hear or understand a message, you can ask the speaker to repeat themselves by using the phrase “say again.” This helps avoid miscommunication and ensures that all parties have the correct information.

Go Ahead

This phrase is used to indicate that the speaker is ready for the recipient to transmit their message. It is used when there is a need for back-and-forth communication and helps maintain a smooth flow of conversation.


“Break” or “breaker” is used as a signal to interrupt an ongoing transmission of important information. This term is commonly used in emergencies or when there is critical information that needs to be communicated immediately.

Decipher Some Commonly Used Radio Lingo

Understanding radio lingo is essential for effective communication in various fields. By familiarizing yourself with these commonly used terms, you can improve your communication skills and ensure clear and efficient conversations over the radio.

Whether you’re a beginner or looking to refresh your knowledge, this guide has provided you with the necessary tools to confidently navigate through radio communication. So remember, when in doubt, don’t hesitate to ask for clarifications and always use proper etiquette when communicating over the airwaves.

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