Radio Licensing

The Four Wheel Drive Club (Western Cape) uses VHF frequencies for two-way radio communication.

All VHF radio owners have to be licensed by ICASA (Independent Communications Authority of South Africa). This is obtained via the Off Road Radio Association (ORRA) who is authorised to issue licenses on behalf of ICASA.

To obtain a license the following steps need to be followed:

  1. Request a letter from the Club Radio Officer certifying that you are a member of the club (
  2. Complete ORRA’s application form available from ORRA’s website ( The Club Radio Officer can assist with that.
  3. Pay the requisite amount into the ORRA account.
  4. Email copies of the following documents to the Radio Officer who will submit the Application on your behalf:
    • club letter
    • the completed ORRA application form; and
    • proof of payment to ORRA

You will receive an email with your User Authorisation. Print the letter and cut out your User Authorisation Card and always keep it on you or in your vehicle.

These licenses are issued annually and are valid from the 1st of April of each year.

Radio procedures and Basic Radio Etiquette Rules

The international radio language is English, except in cases where you are licensed to speak in some other language.

When using a two-way radio, you cannot speak and listen at the same time, as you can with a phone.

Don’t interrupt if you hear other people talking. Wait until their conversation is finished unless it is an emergency. If it is an emergency, inform the other parties that you have an urgent emergency message (see “Emergency Calls” below).

Do not respond if you aren’t sure the call is for you. Wait until you hear your call sign to respond.

Perform radio checks to ensure your radio is in good working condition.

  • Ensure the battery is charged and the power is on.
  • Keep the volume high enough to be able to hear calls.
  • Regularly make radio checks to make sure everything is working and that you are still within range to receive signals.

In radio communication, you are not normally called by your name, however we do use individuals’ names.

  • Think before you speak.
  • Decide what you are going say and to whom it is meant for.
  • Make your conversations as concise, precise, and clear as possible.
  • Avoid long and complicated sentences. If your message is long, divide it into separate shorter messages.
  • Do not use abbreviations unless they are well understood by your group.

Golden Rules of Radio Communication

  1. Clarity: Your voice should be clear. Speak a little slower than normal. Speak in a normal tone, do not shout.
  2. Simplicity: Keep your message simple enough for intended listeners to understand.
  3. Brevity: Be precise and to the point.
  4. Security: Do not transmit confidential information unless you know the proper security technology is in place. Remember, frequencies are shared, you do not have exclusive use of the frequency.
  5. Swearing: Do NOT use any foul language. Everybody in the other vehicles and beyond can hear you!

General Terms & Meaning

Radio CheckWhat is my signal strength? Can you hear me?
Go AheadYou are ready to receive the transmission.
Stand-byYou acknowledge the other party, but I am unable to respond immediately.
Roger / Ten FourMessage received and understood.
NegativeSame as “No”
AffirmativeSame as “Yes”. Avoid “yup” or “nope” as they are difficult to hear.
Say AgainRe-transmit your message.
OverYour message is finished.
OutAll conversation is finished, the channel is clear for others to use.
Break, Break, BreakYou are interrupting in the middle of communication because you have an emergency.
Read you loud and clearResponse to “Radio Check”. Means your transmission signal is good. Also, use “Read you 5-by-5.”
Come inYou are asking the other party to acknowledge they hear you.
CopyYou understand what was said.
WilcoMeans “I will comply.”
I RepeatUsed before you repeat something. ex: “I require 9-5, repeat 9-5, gallons of diesel fuel. Over.”

Follow these easy steps to make a call

  1. First, listen to ensure the channel is clear for you.
  2. Press the PTT (Push-To-Talk) button.
  3. After 2 seconds:
  4. Say “recipient’s call sign or their name” twice
  5. followed by “THIS IS” and “your call sign or your name”.
  6. Once the person replies, convey your message.

Here’s a typical radio conversation:

YouPapa November One (or the name of the person you are trying to contact), Papa November One, this is Papa November Nine (or your name), Come in, Over (PN1 is their call sign, PN9 is your call sign)
RecipientPapa November Nine, this is Papa November One, Go Ahead, Over
YouSay your message and then say: “Over”
RecipientRoger Wilco, Over
YouThis is Papa November Nine (or your name), Over

Emergency Calls

If you have an emergency message and need to interrupt others’ conversations:

  • Wait and listen until you hear “Over”.
  • Press PTT and say “BREAK, BREAK, BREAK, your call sign or name, I have an emergency message for (recipient’s call sign or their name), Do you copy, Over”.