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  • Brian Willey

KERN Update 10 Dec 2023 - Subject - Test calls, call signs and training


This update is to announce that beginning Fri 15 Dec 23, the Killabakh Rural Fire Brigade UHF Base Station will be on air between 17:30 and 18:30 (5.30PM to 6.30PM) each Friday afternoon to enable members of KERN to test their radios and make calls to the station.  Having said that, we will not be on air on Friday 22nd or 29th of December but we will be back on air every Friday commencing 5th January, 2024.

Please use the Friday afternoon sessions to practice your use of the radio and to become familiar with it.  I recommend that you call in every Friday afternoon or as often as you can so that you get used to hearing different voices.  Practice makes perfect.

If the Friday afternoon time slot is just impossible for you to fit in, please make contact with me to make alternative arrangements.  Having said that, your brigade members are all volunteers so our time is as equally valuable as yours.  Please make the effort to fit in with the arrangements we are putting in place.


  • Refer to KERN Update 2 of 2023 if you want to purchase a radio.  Payment must be done by Fri15Dec23

  • If you don't yet have a radio, the brigade can lend you one to enable you to participate in a test call.

  • If you wish to borrow a radio for a test call, please come to the station on a Friday afternoon, collect a UHF radio, take it home, conduct the test call and then return the radio to the station;


  • You must follow these procedures to make a call:

  • switch on your radio, turn the volume up

  • select or switch to channel 9 (this will be the channel used by KERN unless we advise you otherwise)

  • Before speaking, listen out to ensure that no one else is using the channel (you do not want to interrupt a call on this emergency channel)

  • If no one is using the channel, press your transmit button, pause for a split-second (to make sure you do not speak before the radio is ready), and then call the station as follows:

  • "Killabakh Base THIS IS (your callsign) RADIO CHECK, OVER".

  • Wait for a response from the station and follow instructions from the base operator.  The base operator will answer as follows:

  • (Your callsign) THIS IS Killabakh Base, LOUD AND CLEAR, OVER"

  • If Killabakh Base does not hear you loud and clear, the operator will advise you of the status by indicating strength and intelligibility on a scale of 1-5; eg.

  • On a scale of 1 to 5, how strong is the signal? (How well can you hear it?)

  • On a scale of 1 to 5, how intelligible is the message? (How well can you understand it?)

  • If it’s a 5 on the strength scale and a 5 on the intelligibility scale, then it’s 5 by 5: Loud and clear.

  • When saying your call sign, please use the PHONETIC ALPHABET.  A copy of the Phonetic Alphabet is attached to this email.

  • Before making your first test call:

  • Please print out the Phonetic Alphabet and keep a copy with your radio.

  • Please write down your callsign by use of the PHONETIC ALPHABET

  • Please practice saying your callsign (out loud, just to yourself, so that you are comfortable with how to say it)

  • Your callsign is your street/property address.  For example, my address is 1256 Comboyne Road so my call sign will be as follows:


  • So, when I call in, I will say:  "Killabakh Base, this is wun too fife six comboyne road, radio check, over."

  • If you wish to spell a word during an emergency call, then use the PHONETIC ALPHABET to spell out the word.  For example, if I wanted to spell the word "WATER" during a report to the radio base, my report would be something like this:

  • "Killabakh Base, this is wun too fife six comboyne road, I have no water, I spell whiskey, alpha, tango, echo, romeo, Over"


If you would like some training or practice on how to use your radio, how to speak on the radio, or just practice with procedures, then please tell me.  I will arrange with you to provide training and practice to suit your needs.

Yours in teamwork

Brian Willey

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