9
$\begingroup$

In Russia hams use two phonetic alphabets - the regular one (Alpha, Beta, Charlie, ...) and a localized one (Анна, Борис, Цапля, ...). When a ham calls CQ in Russian (which by the way is pronounced not "CQ" but "Всем-всем") she uses Russian phonetic alphabet. For instance, my call sign R2AUK is pronounced as Роман-Два-Анна-Ульяна-Константин.

The tricky part about the localized phonetic alphabet is how it maps to the regular one. For instance, since in Russian language there is no Q letter, and W and V both sound like В (Виктор), Q is mapped to Щ (Щука) and V is mapped to Ж (Жук).

Long story short - if you live in Russia you have to learn not only the international phonetic alphabet, but also the local one. The test for the amateur radio license includes corresponding questions.

I would like to know, whether there is a similar situation in other countries. For some reason I doubt that Europe uses two alphabets. But maybe there are alternative phonetic alphabets, for instance, in Japan or maybe Oman?

$\endgroup$
  • $\begingroup$ By the way, do you have a link which goes into details of the Russian phonetic alphabet? I did spend some time looking for it, but it seems that there are several versions in circulation, and I was unable to figure out which is the official one. $\endgroup$ – AndrejaKo Jan 20 at 13:14
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ It varies a little from one source to another. For instance you can use Roman or Radio for R and Konstantin or Kilowatt for K. All these options are acceptable. I believe a Wikipedia article has quite an accurate description ru.wikipedia.org/wiki/… The free book "Основы любительской радиосвязи" by UAØC is another good source on the subject cqmrk.ru/articles/3.html $\endgroup$ – Aleksander Alekseev - R2AUK Jan 21 at 11:38
4
$\begingroup$

I enjoyed your description of phonetics and the Russian language. Thank you for sharing that.

I have a friend in Japan that mentioned this. A quick check on Wikipedia yielded:

The Japanese radiotelephony alphabet (和文通話表 wabuntsūwahyō, literally "Japanese character telecommunication chart") is a radiotelephony spelling alphabet, similar in purpose to the NATO/ICAO radiotelephony alphabet, but designed to communicate Japanese kana rather than Latin letters. The alphabet was sponsored by the now-defunct Ministry for Posts and Telecommunications.

$\endgroup$
1
$\begingroup$

I'm from Serbia, and we have our own phonetic alphabet here.

As far as I can see, the early version of that phonetic alphabet was developed/used by the Yugoslav People's Army, and covered letters used in the Serbo-Croatian language, as well as the English letters which we didn't have. The local letters were mapped to mostly geographic names, while the foreign letters were mapped to their local pronunciation. This alphabet can still be heard on the waves.

A-А-Avala, B-Б-Beograd, C-Ц-Cetinje, Ć-Ћ-Ćuprija, Č-Ч-Čačak, D-Д-Drvar, Đ-Ђ-Đakovica, DŽ-Џ-Džep, E-Е-Evropa, F-Ф-Foča, G-Г-Gorica, H-Х-Heroj, I-И-Istra, J-Ј-Jadran, K-К-Kosovo, L-Л-Lika, LJ-Љ-Ljubljana, M-М-Mostar, N-Н-Niš, NJ-Њ-Njegoš, O-О-Osijek, P-П-Pirot, Q-/-Kvorum, R-Р-Ruma, S-С-Skopje, Š-Ш-Šibenik,T-Т-Tetovo, U-У-Užice, V-В-Valjevo, W-/-Duplove, X-/-Iks, Y-/-Ipsilon, Z-З-Zagreb, Ž-Ж-Žabljak, 1-Jedinica, 2-Dva, 3-Tri, 4-Četiri, 5-Petica, 6-Šest, 7-Sedam, 8-Osam, 9-Devet, 0-Nula

After the civil war, the alphabet was split into several local versions. The usual change was that the now foreign geographic names were replaced with local ones.

The current Serbian one (official for amateur radio in Serbia, also used Serbian parts of Bosnia and Herzegovina) is:

A-А-Avala, B-Б-Beograd, C-Ц-Cetinje, Ć-Ћ-Ćuprija, Č-Ч-Čačak, D-Д-Drina, Đ-Ђ-Đakovica, DŽ-Џ-Džep, E-Е-Evropa, F-Ф-Futog, G-Г-Golija, H-Х-Heroj, I-И-Igalo, J-Ј-Jadran, K-К-Kosovo, L-Л-Lovćen, LJ-Љ-Ljubovija, M-М-Morava, N-Н-Niš, NJ-Њ-Njegoš, O-О-Obilić, P-П-Pirot, Q-/-Kvorum, R-Р-Ruma, S-С-Sava, Š-Ш-Šabac,T-Т-Timok, U-У-Užice, V-В-Valjevo, W-/-Duplove, X-/-Iks, Y-/-Ipsilon, Z-З-Zemun, Ž-Ж-Žabljak, 1-Jedinica, 2-Dva, 3-Tri, 4-Četiri, 5-Petica, 6-Šest, 7-Sedam, 8-Osam, 9-Devet, 0-Nula

The upcoming (expected to come into use in 2019, and be shared with other services) Serbian one is:

A-А-Avala, B-Б-Beograd, C-Ц-Cer, Ć-Ћ-Ćuprija, Č-Ч-Čačak, D-Д-Drina, Đ-Ђ-Đakovica, DŽ-Џ-Džep, E-Е-Evropa, F-Ф-Futog, G-Г-Golija, H-Х-Heroj, I-И-Ivanjica, J-Ј-Jadar, K-К-Kosovo, L-Л-Leskovac, LJ-Љ-Ljubovija, M-М-Morava, N-Н-Niš, NJ-Њ-Njegoš, O-О-Obilić, P-П-Pirot, Q-/-Kvorum, R-Р-Ruma, S-С-Sava, Š-Ш-Šabac, T-Т-Timok, U-У-Užice, V-В-Valjevo, W-/-Duplove, X-/-Iks, Y-/-Ipsilon, Z-З-Zemun, Ž-Ж-Žabalj, 1-Jedinica, 2-Dva, 3-Tri, 4-Četiri, 5-Petica, 6-Šest, 7-Sedam, 8-Osam, 9-Devet, 0-Nula

Pronunciation background: C is always pronounced like say tz in English, or Z in German, and is never hard like k. The Ć and Č are similar to the ch in Charlie. DŽ and Đ are similar to j in Juliet. I is basically English ee. The J is like y in Yankee. U is always like English oo. E is like e in Echo. The Š is the sh in ship. The LJ and NJ don't have good English equivalents, and are pronounced something like combination of L or N followed by y as in yes. The Ž is something like Zh in English.

Political background notes: Some Yugoslav successor states have switched to the international phonetic alphabet completely, some retain their own, while others seem not to have a clear guidance on which phonetic alphabet should be used.
Although amateur radio is supposed to be apolitical, in some areas selection of the phonetic alphabet (including wether or not to use the international one) is seen as a political statement, so using the inappropriate alphabet can result in less than friendly responses. So we not only have to know several versions of local alphabet, plus international, but also when to use which.

$\endgroup$

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.