One of the most common toys of our childhood years is the walkie-talkie. It is nothing but ordinary to find kids playing in the backyard, pretending to be in a mission, walkie-talkies in hand, muttering and communicating some sort of high-level secrets with whoever he/she is communicating with.

As kids, talking in walkie-talkies in any language you want is acceptable. You can talk in gibberish or in as normal of a language as you can muster, and nobody raises an eyebrow. You’re kids. You’re just playing. Everybody would say that there’s nothing wrong with that.

As you grow up, you’d realize that aside from the usual way you communicate over walkie-talkies, there is actually a set of codes being used in communicating using these gadgets. In fact, you would really be amazed at how many walkie talkie codes there are that you can use to get your message across.

But let this no longer be a secret. Read on and learn about the walkie talkie lingo and sound like a pro on the radio.

Hopefully, after reading this article, you would know how to talk on walkie talkie confidently.

Walkie Talkie vector image

Walkie Talkie and its Language – A Brief History

The invention of the walkie-talkie is popularly attributed to Canadian Donald L Hings. Being an employee of a mining company, Hings’s aim in coming up with a walkie-talkie was to ensure there is communication between employees, specifically for those who are in the remote areas. At the time, though, it was not yet called a walkie-talkie; it was still referred to as a “pack set”.

And while there is Hings, there is also the Galvin Manufacturing Corporation (now Motorola), and the US Army, both of whom are sometimes given credit for coming up with the idea of what we now know as a walkie-talkie.

Whoever was first or had the most influence in coming up with the walkie talkie, we leave it to historians to debate.

Anyway, as communication can be most often complex, codes were created to simplify it. One such example of simplifying communication is the ten-codes (also 10-codes), each of which usually starts with the number ten (10) and a specific number. Each number represents a question or an order.

Over the years, however, these walkie-talkie language phrases have evolved, with different codes acquiring differing meanings. As such, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) discouraged its use and pushed for simple everyday language to be utilized for radio communications.

The 10-Codes

Over the years, the 10-codes have been used by authorities for various purposes, from asking a question to requesting for assistance. Below, you will find all 10-codes that are used to transmit your message:

  • 10-0: Caution
  • 10-1: Poor signal
  • 10-2: Good signal
  • 10-3: Stop transmitting
  • 10-4: Message received
  • 10-5: Relay
  • 10-6: Currently busy. Just stand by unless there is something urgent
  • 10-7: Out of service
  • 10-8: In service
  • 10-9: Repeat message
  • 10-10: Fight in progress
  • 10-11: Dog case
  • 10-12: Standby
  • 10-13: Advice on weather or road conditions
  • 10-14: Prowler report
  • 10-15: Civil disturbance
  • 10-16: Domestic disturbance
  • 10-17: Meet complainant
  • 10-18: Quickly
  • 10-19: Return to (location)
  • 10-21: Call (person) by telephone
  • 10-22: Please disregard
  • 10-23: Arrived at the scene
  • 10-24: Assignment completed
  • 10-25: Report in person
  • 10-26: Detaining subject, please expedite
  • 10-27: Drivers license information
  • 10-28: Vehicle registration information
  • 10-29: Check for wanted
  • 10-30: Unnecessary use of radio
  • 10-31: Crime in progress
  • 10-32: Man with gun
  • 10-33: Emergency
  • 10-34: There is trouble at this station
  • 10-35: Major crime alert
  • 10-36: Correct time
  • 10-37: (Investigate) suspicious vehicle
  • 10-38: Stopping a suspicious vehicle
  • 10-39: Urgent. Use light, siren
  • 10-40: Silent run. No light, siren
  • 10-41: Beginning tour of duty
  • 10-42: Ending tour of duty
  • 10-43: Information
  • 10-44: Permission to leave (location) for (purpose)
  • 10-45: Animal carcass at (location)
  • 10-46: Assist motorist
  • 10-47: Emergency road repairs at (location)
  • 10-48: Traffic standard repair at (location)
  • 10-49: Traffic light out at (location)
  • 10-50: Accident (fatal, personal injury, property damage)
  • 10-51: Wrecker needed
  • 10-52: Ambulance needed
  • 10-53: Road blocked at (location)
  • 10-54: Livestock on highway
  • 10-55: Suspected DUI
  • 10-56: Intoxicated pedestrian
  • 10-57: Hit and run (fatal, personal injury, property damage)
  • 10-58: Direct traffic
  • 10-59: Convoy or escort
  • 10-60: Squad in the vicinity
  • 10-61: Isolate self for message
  • 10-62: Reply to message
  • 10-63: Prepare to make a written copy
  • 10-64: Message for local delivery
  • 10-65: Net message assignment
  • 10-66: Message cancellation
  • 10-67: Clear for net message
  • 10-68: Dispatch information
  • 10-69: Message received
  • 10-70: Fire
  • 10-71: Advise nature of fire
  • 10-72: Report progress on the fire
  • 10-73: Smoke report
  • 10-74: Negative
  • 10-75: In contact with (name)
  • 10-76: En route (location)
  • 10-77: ETA (estimated time of arrival)
  • 10-78: Need assistance
  • 10-79: Notify coroner
  • 10-80: Chase in progress
  • 10-81: Breathalyzer
  • 10-82: Reserve lodging
  • 10-83: Work school xing at (location)
  • 10-84: If meeting (Advise ETA)
  • 10-85: Delayed due to (reason)
  • 10-86: Officer/Operator on duty
  • 10-87: Pick up/Distribute checks
  • 10-88: Present telephone number of (name)
  • 10-89: Bomb threat
  • 10-90: Bank alarm at (location)
  • 10-91: Pick up prisoner/subject
  • 10-92: Improperly parked vehicle
  • 10-93: Blockade
  • 10-94: Drag racing
  • 10-95: Prisoner/Subject in custody
  • 10-96: Mental subject
  • 10-97: Check (test) signal
  • 10-98: Prison/Jailbreak
  • 10-99: Wanted/Stolen indicated

Walkie Talkie Common Language

If the 10-codes are hard for you to familiarize with, you can perhaps try the following to communicate via the walkie-talkie:

  • Roger That – You can trace Roger’s origins to the years when the Morse code was still being used. In such code, “R” confirms to the sender that the message is received. When the telegraphs were replaced by verbal communication, the letter R played the same role. The code originated from the Joint Army/Navy Phonetic Alphabet where R stands for Roger. In walkie talkie language, “Roger that” simply means that the message has been received.
  • Wilco – This is just short for “Will Comply”. This simply means the message is understood and that you will eventually comply with orders.
  • Mayday – This is being used for life-threatening situations when the sender of the message asks for help. The code was created in 1923 and is inspired by the French term “m’aider” which means “Come help me.” When sending out this signal, Mayday should be repeated thrice.
  • Radio Check – This code is being used when you want to check radio signal strength.
  • Copy – This means that the message is understood.
  • Say Again – This is being used when you want the message to be sent again.
  • Break, Break, Break – This is being used when you would like to interrupt a communication. This is only used during emergency situations.
  • Over – This is being used when the transmission is finished.
  • Out – This is to end the communication.
  • Affirmative – This is used to say “Yes”
  • Negative – This is to say “No

Phonetics/Spelling Alphabets

In communicating, it is essential that you are able to convey your message correctly.

In cases when there is a need to spell out the word, there are some confusions, especially when using letters that sound alike. For example, a letter M can sometimes be misheard as the letter N. This is also the same with the letters S and F. And so when trying to spell out a word that has these letters; or if you are just trying to spell a word for clarity’s sake, you can use the standard phonetics which you can find below:

A – Alpha

B – Bravo

C – Charlie

D – Delta

E – Echo

F – Foxtrot

G – Golf

H – Hotel

I – India

J – Juliet

K – Kilo

L – Lima

M – Mike

N – November

O – Oscar

P – Papa

Q – Quebec

R – Romeo

S – Sierra

T – Tango

U – Uniform

V – Victor

W – Whiskey

X – Xray

Y – Yankee

Z – Zulu

Final Words

Make sure to familiarize yourself with the codes, phonetics, and the common terms when communicating using a walkie-talkie.

And once you already know the codes and language being used in walkie-talkie communication, you should already feel confident that what you are saying is something that is within the standards set.

Are you now ready to use your walkie-talkie?

If you are, conduct your radio check and as soon as you get a signal, make your first transmission.


Let me leave you here, then.

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