RIC-21 — Study Guide for the Restricted Operator Certificate With Aeronautical Qualification

5. Operating Procedures

5.1 Speech Transmission Techniques

The efficient use of radio depends to a large extent on the method of speaking and on the articulation of the operator. As the distinctive sounds of consonants are liable to become blurred in the transmission of speech and as words of similar length containing the same vowel sounds are apt to sound alike, special care is necessary to ensure their proper pronunciation.

When using radio, the operator should speak all words plainly and clearly to prevent words from running together. Avoid any tendency to shout, accent syllables, or to speak too rapidly. The following points should be kept in mind when using radio:

Speed:
Keep the rate of speech constant, neither too fast nor too slow. Remember that the operator receiving your message may have to write it down.
Rhythm:
Preserve the rhythm of ordinary conversation and word pronunciation. Also, avoid the introduction of unnecessary sounds such as "er" and "um" between words.

5.2 Time and Date

The twenty-four hour clock system should be used to express time during radiocommunications. Time should be expressed and transmitted by means of four figures, the first two denoting the hour past midnight and the last two the minutes past the hour.

Examples:
12:45 a.m.
is expressed as 0045
12:00 noon
is expressed as 1200
11:45 p.m
is expressed as 2345
12:00 midnight
is expressed as 2400 or 0000
1:30 a.m.
is expressed as 0130
1:45 p.m
is expressed as 1345
4:30 p.m.
is expressed as 1630

Time is usually referenced to one standard time zone, Coordinated Universal Time (UTC) (often referred to as Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) or zulu time (Z)) to avoid confusion between different time zones. When operations are conducted solely in one time zone, local time may be used.

Where the date, as well as the time of day, is required, a six-figure group should be used. The first two figures indicate the day of the month and the following four figures indicate the time.

Examples:
Noon (EST) of the 16th day of the month is expressed as..........161200 E
2:45 a.m. (PST) of the 24th day of the month is expressed as....240245 P

5.3 ITU Phonetic Alphabet

The phonetic alphabet adopted by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) is used to avoid confusion when transmitting difficult or unusual words. This internationally recognized alphabet should be learned so that it is readily available whenever isolated letters or groups of letters are pronounced separately, or when communication is difficult. Call signs should also be spelled phonetically.

The ITU phonetic alphabet is:

ITU phonetic alphabet
Letter Word Pronounced as
A Alfa AL FAH
B Bravo BRAH VOH
C Charlie CHAR LEE or SHAR LEE
D Delta DELL TAH
E Echo ECK OH
F Foxtrot FOKS TROT
G Golf GOLF
H Hotel HOH TELL
I India IN DEE AH
J Juliett JEW LEE ETT
K Kilo KEY LOH
L Lima LEE MAH
M Mike MIKE
N November NO VEM BER
O Oscar OSS CAH
P Papa PAH PAH
Q Quebec KEH BECK
R Romeo ROW ME OH
S Sierra SEE AIR RAH
T Tango TANG GO
U Uniform YOU NEE FORM or OO NEE FORM
V Victor VIK TAH
W Whiskey WISS KEY
X X-ray ECKS RAY
Y Yankee YANG KEY
Z Zulu ZOO LOO

Note: The syllables to be emphasized are in bold.

Numbers are pronounced as follows:

Pronounciation
Number Pronounced as
0 ZE-RO
1 WUN
2 TOO
3 TREE
4 FOW-er
5 FIFE
6 SIX
7 SEV-en
8 AIT
9 NIN-er

Decimal - DAY-SEE-MAL
Hundred - HUN-dred
Thousand - TOU-SAND

5.4 Transmission of Numbers

All numbers except whole thousands should be transmitted by pronouncing each digit separately. Whole thousands should be transmitted by pronouncing each digit in the number of thousands followed by the word "thousand".

Examples:
10 becomes
-
one zero
 
75 becomes
-
seven five
 
100 becomes
-
one zero zero
 
5,800 becomes
-
five eight zero zero
 
11,000 becomes
-
one one thousand
 
68,009 becomes
-
six eight zero zero nine

Numbers containing a decimal point shall be transmitted as above, with the decimal point indicated by the word "decimal".

Example:
121.5 becomes
-
one two one decimal five

Monetary denominations, when transmitted with groups of digits, should be transmitted in the sequence in which they are written.

Examples:
$17.25 becomes
-
dollars one seven decimal two five
 
$0.75 becomes
-
decimal seven five

Altitude above sea level should be expressed in thousands plus hundreds of feet. Separate digits shall be used to express flight levels.

Examples:
2700
-
Two thousand seven hundred
 
FL265
-
Flight level two six five

Aircraft type numbers, wind speed and cloud formation heights are expressed in group forms.

Examples:
Flight 320
-
Flight three twenty
 
DC10
-
DC ten
 
34BKN
-
Thirty Four Hundred Broken
 
Wind 270/10
-
Wind two seven zero degrees one zero knots

Time: Coordinated Universal Time (UTC)

Examples:
0920Z
-
Zero niner two zero zulu
09
-
Nine minutes past the hour

Aircraft headings are given in groups of three digits. If operating within the Southern Domestic Airspace, the heading is expressed in degrees "magnetic". If operating within the Northern Domestic Airspace, the heading is expressed in degrees "true".

Examples:
005 degrees
-
Heading zero zero five
 
350 degrees
-
Heading three five zero

Aerodrome elevations are expressed in feet, prefixed by the expression "field elevation".

Examples:
150
-
Field elevation one five zero
 
3500
-
Field elevation three thousand five zero zero

5.5 Procedural Words and Phrases

While it is not practical to set down precise phraseology for all radiotelephone procedures, slang expressions such as "OK", "REPEAT", "TEN-FOUR", "OVER AND OUT", "BREAKER BREAKER", "COME IN PLEASE", etc., should not be used. Appendix B contains a list of words and phrases that should be used where applicable.

5.6 Call Signs

A distinctive call sign is assigned to radio stations for identification purposes and should be used at least when initial contact is being established, and again when the communication is concluded. Aeronautical call signs should always be pronounced phonetically.

An aircraft's call sign can be the same as the aircraft's markings. The call sign and markings are assigned to the aircraft by Transport Canada.

5.6.1 Canadian Air Carriers

Canadian air carriers use their assigned company name as a call sign, followed by the flight number or the last three characters of the aircraft registration.

Example: AIR CANADA ONE FOUR NINE

5.6.2 Canadian Private Civil Registration

Canadian private aircraft use the manufacturer's name or their type of aircraft, followed by the last four letters of the registration.

Example: CESSNA-182 GFAC (spoken: CESSNA ONE EIGHT TWO GOLF FOXTROT ALFA CHARLIE)

5.6.3 Aeronautical Ground Stations

Aeronautical ground station identification comprises the name of the airport or its geographical location, followed if necessary, by a suitable word indicating the function of the station.

Examples:

Area control centre
-
Ottawa Centre
Surface movement control
-
Toronto Ground
Flight information service station
-
Ottawa Information
Clearance delivery
-
Edmonton Delivery
Approach control radar arrivals
-
Ottawa Arrival
Approach control radar departures
-
Winnipeg Departure
Precision approach radar
-
Montreal Precision
Community aerodrome radio station
-
Eskimo Tower
Private aeronautical station
-
Radio
Company Dispatch
-
Dispatch

5.7 Radiotelephone Calling Procedure

In general, it is up to the aircraft station to establish communication with the aeronautical ground station. For this purpose, the aircraft station may call the aeronautical ground station when it comes within the operational service area of the station. However, a ground station may also establish communication with an aircraft station within its operational service area.

When an aeronautical ground station receives calls from several aircraft stations at approximately the same time, it decides the order in which these stations may transmit their traffic. Its decision shall be based on the priority status of the messages.

5.7.1 Calling

Before transmitting, operators shall listen to the desired communication channel for a period long enough to satisfy themselves that their transmission will not cause harmful interference to communications already in progress. If such interference seems likely, operators shall wait for the first break in the transmission. A station which has distress, urgency or safety communications to transmit is entitled to interrupt, at any time, a transmission of lower priority that is in progress.

The call sign identifier of the station being called is ALWAYS spoken first, followed by the words "THIS IS" and the calling station's identifier.

Single Station Call

When an operator wishes to establish communication with a specific station, the following items shall be transmitted in the order indicated:

  1. The call sign of the station called (not more than three times, once if radio conditions are good).
  2. The words "THIS IS".
  3. The call sign of the station calling (not more than three times, once if radio conditions are good).
  4. The frequency on which the calling station is transmitting.
  5. The invitation to reply ("OVER").
Example:
TORONTO TOWER (repeated up to three times)
THIS IS
CESSNA ONE EIGHT FIVE - FOXTROT ALFA DELTA TANGO
ON FREQUENCY ONE ONE EIGHT DECIMAL SEVEN
OVER

All Stations General Call

When an operator wishes to establish communication with any station within range or in a certain area, the call should be made to "ALL STATIONS" using the same procedure as a single station call.

Example:
ALL STATIONS, ALL STATIONS, ALL STATIONS
THIS IS
TORONTO AIR RADIO (three times if necessary)

Multiple Station Call

If more than one station is to be called simultaneously, the call signs of the desired stations may be transmitted in any convenient sequence followed by the words "THIS IS" and the originating station's call sign. In general, operators replying to a multiple station call should answer in the order in which they have been called.

Example:
CESSNA FOXTROT NOVEMBER INDIA LIMA
PIPER FOXTROT X-RAY QUEBEC QUEBEC
PIPER GOLF LIMA LIMA DELTA
(All repeated three times if necessary) THIS IS
TORONTO TOWER (three times if necessary)
OVER

5.7.2 Replying

Operators hearing a call directed to their station shall reply as soon as possible and advise the calling station to proceed with the message with the words "GO AHEAD", or not to proceed with the message with the words "STAND BY", followed by the anticipated number of minutes of delay.

Examples:
PIPER FOXTROT X-RAY QUEBEC QUEBEC
THIS IS
TORONTO TOWER
GO AHEAD

PIPER FOXTROT X-RAY QUEBEC QUEBEC
THIS IS
TORONTO TOWER
STAND BY TWO MINUTES

When station operators hear a call but are uncertain that the call is intended for their station, they should not reply until the call has been repeated and understood. When station operators hear a call but are not sure of the identity of the calling station, they should reply immediately using the words "STATION CALLING", the called station's identification, and the words "SAY AGAIN" and "OVER".

Example:
STATION CALLING CESSNA FOXTROT NOVEMBER JULIETT INDIA
SAY AGAIN
OVER

To terminate communications, simply conclude the transmission with the word "OUT" (which means "conversation is ended and no response is expected").

Example:
TORONTO TOWER
THIS IS
PIPER FOXTROT X-RAY QUEBEC QUEBEC
RECEIVED RUNWAY CLEARANCE
OUT

5.7.3 Corrections and Repetitions

When an error has been made in transmission, the word "CORRECTION" should be spoken, followed by the last correct word or phrase and then by the corrected version of the transmission.

Examples:
OVER OTTAWA AT TWO SEVEN CORRECTION TWO EIGHT
PROCEED TO DOCK FOUR CORRECTION DOCK FIVE

If the receiving station requires the repetition of an entire message, the operator should use the words "SAY AGAIN". If repetition of only a portion of a message is required, the receiving station should use the following:

  1. SAY AGAIN ALL BEFORE ... (first word satisfactorily received); or
  2. SAY AGAIN ... (word before missing portion) TO ... (word after missing portion), or
  3. SAY AGAIN ALL AFTER ... (last word satisfactorily received).
Examples:

VANCOUVER RADIO
THIS IS
STINSON FOXTROT ALFA BRAVO CHARLIE
SAY AGAIN ALL BEFORE "HANGAR"
OVER

WINNIPEG TOWER
THIS IS
CESSNA FOXTROT PAPA DELTA QUEBEC
SAY AGAIN "ALTITUDE" TO "DESCEND"
OVER

MONTREAL CENTRE
THIS IS
CESSNA FOXTROT X-RAY QUEBEC TANGO
SAY AGAIN ALL AFTER "FLIGHT PLAN"
OVER

5.7.4 Message Handling Procedures

When transmitting a message, the radio station operator should:

  1. plan the content of the message before transmitting;
  2. listen briefly before transmitting to avoid interference with other transmissions;
  3. deliver the radio message clearly and concisely using standard phraseology whenever practical.

The message handling format generally consists of four parts:

  1. the call indicating the addressee and the originator;
  2. the addressee reply;
  3. the message;
  4. the acknowledgment or ending.

Examples:

Call-up by aircraft
SCHEFFERVILLE RADIO
THIS IS
PIPER FOXTROT ALFA BRAVO CHARLIE
OVER

Reply by ground station
PIPER FOXTROT ALFA BRAVO CHARLIE
THIS IS
SCHEFFERVILLE RADIO
GO AHEAD
OVER

Message - Aircraft
SCHEFFERVILLE RADIO
THIS IS
PIPER FOXTROT ALFA BRAVO CHARLIE
FOUR MILES AT ONE THOUSAND
LANDING SCHEFFERVILLE
OVER

Message - Ground
PIPER FOXTROT ALFA BRAVO CHARLIE
THIS IS
SCHEFFERVILLE RADIO ROGER
WIND - ONE SIX ZERO AT ONE FIVE
ALTIMETER - TWO NINER NINER SEVEN
OVER

Acknowledgment - Aircraft
SCHEFFERVILLE RADIO
THIS IS
PIPER FOXTROT ALFA BRAVO CHARLIE
ROGER

On subsequent calls, the words "THIS IS" and "OVER" may be omitted and, if no likelihood of interference exists, the call sign for the station being called may be abbreviated as follows:

"SCHEFFERVILLE RADIO BRAVO CHARLIE CONFIRM RIGHT ON SIERRA"

5.7.5 Signal (or Radio) Checks

When your radio station requires a signal (or radio) check, follow this procedure:

  1. Call another aircraft or aeronautical ground station on any appropriate frequency that will not interfere with the normal working of other aircraft or ground stations, and request a signal check.
  2. The signal check consists of "SIGNAL (or RADIO) CHECK 1, 2, 3, 4, 5. HOW DO YOU READ ME? OVER."
  3. Your station identification (call sign) should also be transmitted during such test transmissions.
  4. Signal checks should not last more than 10 seconds.
  5. When replying or receiving a reply to a signal check, the following readability scale should be used:
    1. Bad (unreadable)
    2. Poor (readable now and then)
    3. Fair (readable but with difficulty)
    4. Good (readable)
    5. Excellent (perfectly readable)

Communications checks are categorized as follows:

Signal check - If the test is made while the aircraft is airborne.

Preflight check - If the test is made prior to departure.

Maintenance check - If the test is made by ground maintenance.

Example:
WATSON LAKE RADIO
THIS IS
CESSNA FOXTROT ALFA BRAVO CHARLIE
REQUEST SIGNAL CHECK ON FIVE SIX EIGHT ZERO

CESSNA FOXTROT ALFA BRAVO CHARLIE
THIS IS
WATSON LAKE RADIO
READING YOU STRENGTH FIVE
OVER

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