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Comunications Jargon

1. Simplex/Duplex

2. Procedural codes

3. Codes and ciphers


Presented for what it may be worth, with no claim for technical expertise, and not the slightest warranty!

Roger / Wilco / Over / Out / Read / Copy

In the early days when most two-way radio communication used "Morse" code (radiotelegraph), operators used very short 'procedural' signals to save time. One such signal was the letter "R", which was sent to indicate that a message had been received in full. As operators changed over to voice operation (radiotelephone), they kept the same letter, but pronounced it with a phonetic alphabet in which "R" was spoken as "roger", still indicating that a message had been received.

Sometimes the radio operator is also the person addressed (for instance, perhaps an aircraft pilot). That person might add the response "Wilco", which is short for "will comply".

The term "over" is used with radio (or even telephone) connections when only one person can speak (successfully) at a time. It means "I have finished speaking for the moment, but am expecting your reply - go ahead". "Out" means "I have finished speaking, and the conversation is finished; don't reply". They are not properly used together.

Read, as in 'Do you read me", refers to hearing a signal clearly enough to be understood. Copy probably originally referred to writing or typing a received message, but now has is essentially the same as 'Read'.

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