Lack of Phonetics in SOTA QSO

I’ve just heard two experienced stations on 60m, having a SOTA QSO. The activator didn’t give his call phonetically and the chaser responded the same way. Net result was that the chaser never got the correct call and the activator never noticed throughout the QSO.

I only noticed because the activator had a spot on SOTAWatch. I couldn’t go back to them to let them know there was an issue with their exchange as my in-service rig is receive only on 60m.

Would it have been within the spirit of the rules to let them know there was an issue with the exchange?


Yes. Correct exchange of calls and reports is the fundamental basis of amateur radio contacts.


Hi Andrew,

I like when you calling in SSB on SOTA pileup :

Golf Zero Lima Whisky Uniform and again Whisky Uniform” sound great :+1:

Like me :
Fox Five Japan Kilowatt Kilowatt” working at 75% :rofl:

This is because I prefer CW :wink: but no phonetics in this mode

73, Éric


Hi Éric,

Whenever I have been operating as part of a DXpedition team and been the target of a pileup, I find I am listening for the last two letters when trying to copy a call. That is the main reason I operate in the manner you have identified.

No matter what I use for CQs or when replying to CQs, lots of QSO partners mix up my suffix.

I regularly get G0WLU instead of LWU.

73, Andrew


Most of us in this country use the NATO phonetic alphabet but there are many other countries that use other phonetic alphabets. I have no problem in using the NATO alphabet and then if not understood using words like Germany Four Ontario Ontario England!

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Our contest call was Golf One Tango - G1T (not sure how we got away with that, with OFCOM).

We found it was being heard as G4T until we changed the Golf to Germany.


I normally read callsigns back in NATO fromat even if they are received in annother format.Once it is written in the log the brain has a grove to play back in standard form.

e,g, Germany four Victoria Florida London will readback as Golf four Victor Foxtrot Lima.

Exeptions being Portable at the end. I would be confused if someone suffixed their call “Slash Papa” which is techically the correct suffix.

73 de

Andrew G4VFL (not G4VLF which is a common error)


I think many of us have to deal with specific problems regarding the phonetic pronunciation of our callsign and each of us have found solutions to overcome the issues.
I often get copied O instead of F when I say the F as Foxtrot on SSB and that’s why I tend to say Florida instead of Foxtrot, when I’m calling in English. If I call in Spanish, French or Portuguese, I often say Italia Francia, Italy France, Italia França respectively. In Italian, I often say Italia Firenze. In Russian Ivan Fiodor.
I’ve always found FOXTROT very unclear.
I’ve recently started to say just FOX and it seems to work better than FOXTROT.
Well, each one has to find the best solution.
I sometimes also get understood as EA3, instead of EA2. It must be the way I pronounce the number 2 in English, which sounds like three (3) to English language native people.




Even before I was licensed 8 years ago, I was able to choose my call - as possible in Germany. The suffix should contain the abbreviation Ch. of my first name, but only CR was still available.

Today I’m happy about it, because instead of Charly Tango I sometimes also say Christopher Radio.
73 Chris

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I guess since I was the only activator spotted for 60m around the time of your post you’re talking about me. Would I like to have known there was an issue with an exchange? Yes I of course I would. My “other” call, G6GGP, (or even worse GW6GGP/P as I was using today) is a right mouthful, I stumble over it myself at times never mind the poor chasers at the other end. Mis-hearing it is more than common, and when I am aware of someone mishearing it I do try to correct it, phonetically if necessary. If I failed to to do so today I can only apologise for the omission. In my defence I would say that I was operating on a band with S7-8 noise at my location, kneeling behind a tarpaulin shelter noisily flapping in the very stiff breeze that was blowing across the summit.

Those familiar with my SOTA operating MO will know I generally give my callsign phonetically and otherwise and also my summit reference with nearly every CQ call, and when working a pile-up try to do so every two or three contacts.

Will try and do better in future.

73 de Paul G6GGP/G4MD


The NATO phonetic alphabet is also used by the ICAO and just about everyone else. The difficulty we face is that while radio amateurs are taught the alphabet, few are taught how to pronounce the words properly and how to use them effectively.


Du junger Hüpfer! :rofl:
I had to take what they assigned me, a 2x3 callsign with a suffix starting with A for Hannover. However, it’s a total fit - Achtung! ChaotenFunk!


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When it comes to spelling, sometimes you have to be a little more imaginative.

I have also noticed that my
has not been correctly received on the other side, despite being repeated several times.

Then you should think about what the other person might understand…

With me it was then occasionally

Especially words with several syllables, which are very well known and where sometimes a syllable may be missing … and they are still recognised… are suitable.

73 Armin

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I got my call DL9SBM in 84, without a choice as well. When I moved to Switzerland, I asked if I could just change the prefix and get HB9SBM, unfortunately without success.

73 Jens HB9EKO

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Neither in the 70s when I got my DC4AK… nor in the 80s when I became DL6GCA, you could choose your callsign.

They were assigned. (Whereby it was tried that the last letter in the suffix corresponded to the first name).

By looking at the first letter after the number, you could tell which city you had taken the exam in.
A = Brunswick
O = Hanover
G = Freiburg

At that time, this had the advantage (especially for me on 2m SSB) that you roughly knew where the other station was and you could already align your antenna.

73 Armin


It’s always highly confusing when an operator changes from proper spelling to some fantasy phonetic alphabet.

Then you should think about what the other person might understand…

No, they should learn the worldwide-agreed ITU alphabet. I wouldn’t expect anybody to get “Die Glorreichen Sieben als Chiemsee-Fischer”, but they expect you to understand them if they tell you about a Baker in Canada being a dog? Or was it Panama instead of Canada? Sic! To me, that’s just bad operating style making things more difficult than they are.


PS: Don’t you dare to tell a Hannover guy he had a call sign from the forbidden city. :wink: Or vice versa. :sweat_smile:
Both, A and O, were assigned by the OPD/RegTP Hannover and BS.


Hi Paul,

I’m sorry, but I didn’t take note of your call or that of your QSO partner, so couldn’t get in touch to let you know. The issue was with the “GGP” which I think got copied as “GBP”. I seem to recall the other station was either a G3 or G4.

It has made me think about being consistent with my own use of phonetics. Whenever I have operated as part of a DX-pedition team, I try to copy the phonetics used by the call I am trying to work, especially in a pile-up.

Every day is a school day !

Many thanks for your reply, hope to catch you on a band I can transmit from !






I think that the radio amateurs have mastered this spelling alphabet.

But if you are asked for your callsign several times during a QSO, or if you get it confirmed incorrectly, you have to think of something so that the person opposite you finally gets it right.
This is not a case of ill will, but is due to the conditions.

It’s interesting that the letters in Brauschweig and Hannover are assigned together today… but it doesn’t matter if you can choose the call signs.

73 Armin


But if you are asked for your callsign several times during a QSO, or if you get it confirmed incorrectly, you have to think of something so that the person opposite you finally gets it right.

Yes Armin, to me, this means to repeat all over and over again using the spelling the other one is supposed to understand - the ITU alphabet.

I didn’t make this up, it happened to me on several occasions when the other operator changed their spelling and things got absolutely messed up then.
Did they say Baker or Delta, Alpha-Sierra or America…? Hard to say when the signal’s weak or there’s QSB or QRM/QRN on the frequency.

I don’t know when they started to mix up the A and O suffixes, must have been in the late 80s or early 90s. They stopped assigning them 2003’ish and from then on, everybody got their desired call sign (if still free). For some years after the Unification, Erfurt also assigned A suffixes. The first QSOs from my /a shack with the locals felt a bit odd, when call signs with a familiar A suffix had a Thuringian accent! :face_with_monocle:
Times are-a-changing. It’s a shame that Niedersachsen isn’t the A and O (Alpha and Omega) of DL amateur radio anymore. :wink:



Hi all,

A to Ω (a to ω) First letter to last letter in the Greek alphabet !!

Difficult for me to explain how can be make a mistake between this two letters :smiley: unless you speak Greek fluently

73 Éric