Radio Protocol

Radio Protocol: How to Operate Park Radios

As a volunteer at Cabrillo National Monument, you will often need to check out a radio in order to be able to communicate with staff and other volunteers during your shifts. It is especially important to have a radio when your shift takes you away from the administrative offices (e.g., to the tidepool table, the tidepools, any of the trails, to the old lighthouse, etc.).

There are banks of radios available for checkout in the admin building. Please put your name and the radio number on the sign out/in sheet along with the time you check out the radio and then the time when you return it. When returning a radio, please make sure it is turned off and placed securely in the bank (otherwise it will not recharge).

When you check out a radio, turn it on and turn it to the proper channel (channel 2, CABR REPEAT-D). You should always do a ‘radio check’ before you leave the admin building. Use the instructions below for initiating a call, and say: “799 (pause), 540 (your name) radio check”. 799 should respond to let you know your radio is working.

To make/initiate a call:

  • Make sure your radio is on and turned to the proper channel. Think about what you want to say before you transmit. And if you are outside, please shield the microphone from the wind so you can be heard.
  • Listen before you transmit, to make sure there is no other radio traffic. If the air is clear, make sure you press the radio button for one second before you begin speaking.
  • Say the call number of the person you are trying to reach (e.g. “799”, Visitor Center), and then say your own call number and name (volunteers are assigned the number “540”, so you would say “540 (your name here)”. Example of transmission: “799 (pause), 540 (your name)”. Then release the button and wait 10 to 15 seconds for a response. If you get no response, repeat your original transmission.
  • For transmissions other than the radio check: once you get a response, then make your message as brief as possible, use clear language and speak clearly into the radio.
  • If you are told to stand by, please do so unless you have an emergency, in which case say, “799-break for emergency traffic”.

To receive a call:

  • When someone calls your number, respond with your number and name, and with your location. For example: The caller would say, “540 (your name)-pause-799”. You, as 540, would respond, “540 (your name) lighthouse”.
  • Once you have received a message, always say “Copy” so the sender knows you have heard and understood the communication (for instance, if 799 says that you are needed at the Visitor Center, you respond by saying, “Copy. Heading to the Visitor Center”.

To end a transmission/call:

  • Once your conversation is finished, sign off by repeating your number and name (e.g., “540 (your name”). Please do not say roger, over and out, 10-4, clear, or any other message.

Safety first: As a volunteer, your safety should always come first. Though rare, you may encounter a person or situation that requires the aid of law enforcement. Do not hesitate to call a park law enforcement ranger should you encounter a medical or safety situation. Each ranger has a radio call number, or you can always ask for “any law enforcement ranger” if you need help.

Possible emergencies include injuries, code violations, criminal activity, medical emergencies, hazardous materials, vessel accidents, motor vehicle accidents, natural disasters, wildlife emergencies, threats, firearms violations, etc.

Last revised 22-Jan-16