All Things Amateur Radio
All Things Amateur Radio

International Radiotelephony Spelling Alphabet

Sometimes it is difficult to get a message across the circuit correctly and you need to resort to spelling the words of the message. This is where the ‘International Radiotelephony Spelling Alphabet’ comes in. This alphabet was originally used by the International Civil Aeronautical Organization (ICAO) and called the ICAO Phonetic Alphabet. It used standard words and pronunciations of those words to allow airplane pilots and air traffic control operators from around the world to understand each other. The alphabet has since been adopted by the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) where it is called the NATO Phonetic Alphabet, by the International Telecommunications Union (ITU), and by the American Radio Relay League (ARRL) as well as several other international organizations.

The alphabet covers the twenty-six letters of the English alphabet and the numbers from one to zero. Most of the letters and numbers are pronounced as in common English usage, however, some are distinctly different. It is important to pronounce all of the letters and numbers in the specified manner in order to insure maximum understanding. The syllables in boldface type are emphasized in the pronunciation of the code word.

Letter Code Word Pronunciation
A Alfa AL-FAH
B

Bravo

BRAH-VOH
C

Charlie

CHAR-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

OS-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
V

Victor

VIK-TAH
W

Whiskey

WISS-KEY
X

Xray

ECKS-RAY
Y

Yankee

YANG-KEY
Z

Zulu

ZOO-LOO
1

one

WUN
2

two

TOO
3

three

TREE
4 four FOW-ER
5 five FIFE
6 six SIX
7 seven SEV-EN
8 eight AIT
9 nine NINE-ER
0 zero ZEE-RO

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