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Memorizing Multiple Phonetic Alphabets - LEO and HAM (ITU/NATO)

  1. Jun 4, 2006 #1


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    Staff: Mentor

    Memorizing Multiple Phonetic Alphabets -- LEO and HAM (ITU/NATO)

    I memorized the law enforcement phonetic alphabet a while back because I work with law enforcement officers (LEOs) fairly frequently. But now I'm about to become a HAM radio operator (mostly for emergency preparedness reasons), and they have a phonetic alphabet that is almost totally different from the LEO alphabet. Sigh. It was a fair amount of work and practice to become natural with the LEO phonetic alphabet, and now that I'm about to learn another one, I'm wondering if you folks have any tips for learning and using multiple phonetic alphabets.

    One of the learning tricks that I used for the LEO alphabet was to look at license plates when I'm driving in traffic, and say out loud the letters on the plates (5QCV342 = "Queen Charles Victor"). But if I'm going to need to learn another phonetic alphabet, should I do the same, and recite the 2nd alphabet words after the first ones? Or should I maybe alternate on plates, first a LEO plate, and then a HAM/ITU plate? I'm pretty good at the LEO alphabet now (including some phone and radio reports under stress), so I can probably just try learning the HAM/ITU alphabet alone. But I'm thinking that I'm going to need to be able to switch between the two alphabets pretty seamlessly under some emergency situations, so maybe it's best to practice them together somehow?

    I'd love to hear from others who've had to use two phonetic alphabets, to get some advice to make this easier for me. Like MPs who have transitioned to LEOs, or LEOs who are HAMs, etc.

    Thanks for any tips you all can offer. -Mike-

    LEO/CHP Phonetic Alphabet
    HAM/Military/ITU Phonetic Alphabet
    Last edited: Jun 4, 2006
  2. jcsd
  3. Jun 5, 2006 #2


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    Gold Member

    Maybe you could use this somehow: http://www.codethatword.com/. It encodes the letters as you type. Perhaps you could race it. :tongue2:

    I also found some flashcards, but you have to install the flashcard program.
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