NATO Phonetic Alphabet

Discussion of non-phpBB related topics with other phpBB.com users.
Forum rules
General Discussion is a bonus forum for discussion of non-phpBB related topics with other phpBB.com users. All site rules apply.
Post Reply
User avatar
scooterbird
Registered User
Posts: 55
Joined: Tue Jul 07, 2020 8:40 am
Name: Steve
Contact:

NATO Phonetic Alphabet

Post by scooterbird »

When I'm providing support to customers, particularly over the phone, I often find myself having to relay detailed character-based information, such as passwords, serial numbers, designations, and the like. In such a case, I will fall back on the NATO alphabet, given that I have a little bit of background in professional and amateur radio broadcasting. (Some people assume that I was in the military -- nope, never was, it's a radio thing)

Now the idea behind the phonetic alphabet is supposed to be that it is easy to provide unambiguous information - but I'm continually amazed at how many people out in the "real world" can't understand it.

"Please ship it to our office on Creston Parkway."
"Alright, I spell 'Creston'...Charlie, Romeo, Echo --"
"Wait, wait -- what??"

Have you encountered this as much as I have? And what would be the best way to get actual information to such customers? I'm at a loss as to how they couldn't figure out what I'm saying.
User avatar
Brf
Support Team Member
Support Team Member
Posts: 52105
Joined: Tue May 10, 2005 7:47 pm
Location: {postrow.POSTER_FROM}
Contact:

Re: NATO Phonetic Alphabet

Post by Brf »

I always use the phonetic alphabet on the phone -- having a last name that begins with "F", which sounds like "S" on the phone.
"'F' as in Foxtrot" has never given me problems. Try giving a new auto VIN to your insurance agent without it.
User avatar
scooterbird
Registered User
Posts: 55
Joined: Tue Jul 07, 2020 8:40 am
Name: Steve
Contact:

Re: NATO Phonetic Alphabet

Post by scooterbird »

Brf wrote:
Fri Jul 31, 2020 7:14 pm
I always use the phonetic alphabet on the phone -- having a last name that begins with "F", which sounds like "S" on the phone.
"'F' as in Foxtrot" has never given me problems. Try giving a new auto VIN to your insurance agent without it.
I had a customer whose password I kept having to reset. As it turns out, every time I said "Foxtrot", he was typing in "FT". :roll:
User avatar
AmigoJack
Registered User
Posts: 5774
Joined: Tue Jun 15, 2010 11:33 am
Location: グリーン ヒル ゾーン
Contact:

Re: NATO Phonetic Alphabet

Post by AmigoJack »

scooterbird wrote:
Fri Jul 31, 2020 6:56 pm
what would be the best way to get actual information to such customers?
Given that we have the year 2020: not via phone/acuostics, but instead per text message, i.e. e-mail. Not the answer you wanted?

While not many people may know the https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/NATO_phonetic_alphabet I at least grew up with a similar thing: the "alphabet" just consisted of using well-known names, i.e.: "Meredith, Christopher, Alexander, Frederic...", preferably names as long as possible so the other side has a chance to process it and cannot misinterpret it. The names are random - thru their length they help to make their starting letter unambiguous. And chances are higher that people are aware of the names instead of a tango or a foxtrot.

As everything: sometimes you have to explain what you do and why you do it, along with giving an example. Look at my profile data here: when average people see my location their first idea is "Chinese" and I always ask them why "Japanese" wasn't their guess. At the end of the day everybody makes sooner or later random assumptions because he never dealt with anything - someone never having encountered a https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spelling_alphabet is totally possible.
User avatar
3Di
Former Team Member
Posts: 16032
Joined: Mon Apr 04, 2005 11:09 pm
Location: Milan (IT) Frankfurt (DE)
Name: Marco
Contact:

Re: NATO Phonetic Alphabet

Post by 3Di »

^^ Agreed.
User avatar
2600
I've Been Banned!
Posts: 2567
Joined: Fri Nov 14, 2014 5:14 pm
Location: Area-51

Re: NATO Phonetic Alphabet

Post by 2600 »

scooterbird wrote:
Fri Jul 31, 2020 6:56 pm
When I'm providing support to customers, particularly over the phone, I often find myself having to relay detailed character-based information, such as passwords, serial numbers, designations, and the like. In such a case, I will fall back on the NATO alphabet, given that I have a little bit of background in professional and amateur radio broadcasting. (Some people assume that I was in the military -- nope, never was, it's a radio thing)

Now the idea behind the phonetic alphabet is supposed to be that it is easy to provide unambiguous information - but I'm continually amazed at how many people out in the "real world" can't understand it.

"Please ship it to our office on Creston Parkway."
"Alright, I spell 'Creston'...Charlie, Romeo, Echo --"
"Wait, wait -- what??"

Have you encountered this as much as I have? And what would be the best way to get actual information to such customers? I'm at a loss as to how they couldn't figure out what I'm saying.
You're not alone from my experience. Though, it may be due to how you use it. If you're not using the phonetic alphabet for certain letters that can easily be mistaken for something else then it will confuse someone. Especially since using a phonetic letter for each letter of a word is entirely not necessary.Though, when I had a police officer encounter I was a little miffed about it (but respectful) and when he asked for my name I spelled the whole damn thing out in the stranded issue APCO phonetic alphabet (I know both). To his credit he wrote every single letter down correctly on his notepad and I'm sure it was easy for him to do since he himself as well as the dispatchers use it all damn day long. Like you with ham radio, I've been a police scanner enthusiast for 25 years now so know the basic APCO 10 codes, APCO phonetic alphabet and NATO phonetic alphabet and other radio related stuff. My last name is a very long Norwegian last name and it starts with V. So when I say to someone that requests my last name over the phone I first state it's long and I say V as in Victor, etc, etc. Since V can be head as B that's why I say Victor. For the rest of the name I don't use phonetic letters except a few other letters. By in large no one has messed up other than then the pronunciation of the name.

The other thing people can't seem to grasp is what a hyphen is. I have at least seven email addresses and one particular email address is used for junk stuff or stuff I know where I might get on a shit list of sorts for spam. So this particular email address has a hyphen in it. When I'm giving it out on the phone some people are like, "huh?" And I literally have to play teacher trying to describe what it is. :roll: Some still get it wrong. God only knows what they put in the computer in that prison cell they call a cubical. Could have been an underscore. :lol: :lol: :lol: I know because for one particular company I never did get an email so they more than likely typed it in wrong.

In another stupid person phone instance. I was talking to a PD dispatcher about the description of a car and I stated this car had a spoiler. She was like in a very confused and irritated voice, "what's a spoiler?" I had to describe how it was like this horizontal fin on the back of sports cars and what have you. Now mind you a PD dispatcher has to deal with car descriptions all damn day long. They SHOULD know what a damn spoiler is. And I can't think of any other word to describe it. In fact, the presence of a spoiler is a very good description for a car because not only does it stick out like a sore thumb, but many people simply don't have one. And it seems every time I call the non-emergency number for something or even 9-11 on the very rare occasion, I find myself met with repeating questions despite the fact I already stated it in clear English. And I'm not one to talk like a mouse on the phone either because I know when you're trying to convey information on a phone you speak up and be as clear as possible. On the other hand, it may be standard operating procedure for the dispatcher to have you clarify the information you are relaying over the phone. Not just for the dispatcher for her or him to type into the console, but for the tape as it records your conversation. It's just irritating sometimes having to repeat an address or what ever. Even though I know DAMN WELL you want to speak up and be concise on the phone. Bravo Sierra - 10-7 :lol:


scooterbird wrote:
Fri Jul 31, 2020 8:10 pm
Brf wrote:
Fri Jul 31, 2020 7:14 pm
I always use the phonetic alphabet on the phone -- having a last name that begins with "F", which sounds like "S" on the phone.
"'F' as in Foxtrot" has never given me problems. Try giving a new auto VIN to your insurance agent without it.
I had a customer whose password I kept having to reset. As it turns out, every time I said "Foxtrot", he was typing in "FT". :roll:
This may in fact be one reason why the flight attendant has to show you how to use a seat belt. :lol: :lol: :lol:

No, I bet it's to save their ass of the airline from litigation. Sad world we live in.
AmigoJack wrote:
Sat Aug 01, 2020 9:34 am
Look at my profile data here: when average people see my location their first idea is "Chinese" and I always ask them why "Japanese" wasn't their guess.
I Googled your location a long time ago and came to the conclusion I was talking to someone trapped in a Sega Genesis. :lol:

Interesting to note. I remember back in '99 at a game store in a mall they had some Nintendo 64 gear and I saw a keyboard and mouse and the ability to hook the 64 up to the Internet from what I gathered. Latter on I learned that in Japan the Nintendo 64 was used with all its capabilities besides what most used it for here in the U.S.. Which makes sense because the 64 had another port there I think on the bottom and even in the back that I never used for anything. So I often wondered what they were for. The only thing I did have to use with my 64 was the expansion pack in order to play the awesome Perfect Dark. Never needed it for Goldeneye though. To this day I don't even know what the expansion pack did other than to guess it may have been for memory use or something.
User avatar
stevemaury
Support Team Member
Support Team Member
Posts: 51545
Joined: Thu Nov 02, 2006 12:21 am
Location: The U.P.
Name: Steve
Contact:

Re: NATO Phonetic Alphabet

Post by stevemaury »

Most cops do not know the NATO alphabet.

I have had nine English setters, named Alfa (yes, that's the correct spelling), Bravo, Charlie, Echo, Foxtrot, Golf, Hotel and India. I still have Alfa and India, and Golf and Hotel were given new names by their buyers.

Now, for a free beer, why is "Alfa" spelled with an "F"? Hint - same reason Juliet is spelled Juliett.
For REALLY good and VERY inexpensive hosting CLICK HERE

I can stop all your spam. I can upgrade or update your Board. PM or email me. (Paid support)
User avatar
kinerity
Community Team Member
Community Team Member
Posts: 2822
Joined: Mon Sep 01, 2014 1:00 am
Location: sudo rm -rf /
Name: Kailey Truscott
Contact:

Re: NATO Phonetic Alphabet

Post by kinerity »

stevemaury wrote:
Sat Aug 01, 2020 5:10 pm
Now, for a free beer, why is "Alfa" spelled with an "F"? Hint - same reason Juliet is spelled Juliett.
Native speakers of other languages wouldn't properly pronounce "PH". As is the case with Juliett, French speakers may see the single "t" as silent. I'll wait for my free beer. :D
scooterbird wrote:
Fri Jul 31, 2020 8:10 pm
I had a customer whose password I kept having to reset. As it turns out, every time I said "Foxtrot", he was typing in "FT". :roll:
They don't happen to work for my company, do they? :lol:
Kailey Truscott - Community Team
GitHub repositories (including un-released extensions)
User avatar
stevemaury
Support Team Member
Support Team Member
Posts: 51545
Joined: Thu Nov 02, 2006 12:21 am
Location: The U.P.
Name: Steve
Contact:

Re: NATO Phonetic Alphabet

Post by stevemaury »

kinerity wrote:
Sat Aug 01, 2020 7:12 pm
I'll wait for my free beer. :D
click here
For REALLY good and VERY inexpensive hosting CLICK HERE

I can stop all your spam. I can upgrade or update your Board. PM or email me. (Paid support)
User avatar
AmigoJack
Registered User
Posts: 5774
Joined: Tue Jun 15, 2010 11:33 am
Location: グリーン ヒル ゾーン
Contact:

Re: NATO Phonetic Alphabet

Post by AmigoJack »

stevemaury wrote:
Sat Aug 01, 2020 10:46 pm
... &w=900&q=60
A beer of only 60% quality? A reward that might ignite a war!

Have more width and the original 95% quality thru URI juggling.
User avatar
scooterbird
Registered User
Posts: 55
Joined: Tue Jul 07, 2020 8:40 am
Name: Steve
Contact:

Re: NATO Phonetic Alphabet

Post by scooterbird »

AmigoJack wrote:
Sat Aug 01, 2020 9:34 am
Given that we have the year 2020: not via phone/acuostics, but instead per text message, i.e. e-mail. Not the answer you wanted?
Well, no, for two reasons. First, I'm concerned more about security in email than I am the possibility of the phone being tapped - though neither is as secure as I'd like it to be. Second, often I receive phone calls from customers because they're unable to get their computers working. My company has a number of senior users/customers, who tend to have a lower amount of life experience with technological devices.
AmigoJack wrote:
Sat Aug 01, 2020 9:34 am
While not many people may know the https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/NATO_phonetic_alphabet I at least grew up with a similar thing: the "alphabet" just consisted of using well-known names, i.e.: "Meredith, Christopher, Alexander, Frederic...", preferably names as long as possible so the other side has a chance to process it and cannot misinterpret it. The names are random - thru their length they help to make their starting letter unambiguous. And chances are higher that people are aware of the names instead of a tango or a foxtrot.

As everything: sometimes you have to explain what you do and why you do it, along with giving an example. Look at my profile data here: when average people see my location their first idea is "Chinese" and I always ask them why "Japanese" wasn't their guess. At the end of the day everybody makes sooner or later random assumptions because he never dealt with anything - someone never having encountered a https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spelling_alphabet is totally possible.
Unfortunately, I've found that to be a less-than-optimal solution, after hearing staff and co-workers blunder through, "B as in...errrr, boy..."

Then again, there likely isn't an absolutely unambiguous method, given that there are people out there such as those you describe.
User avatar
scooterbird
Registered User
Posts: 55
Joined: Tue Jul 07, 2020 8:40 am
Name: Steve
Contact:

Re: NATO Phonetic Alphabet

Post by scooterbird »

kinerity wrote:
Sat Aug 01, 2020 7:12 pm
Native speakers of other languages wouldn't properly pronounce "PH". As is the case with Juliett, French speakers may see the single "t" as silent. I'll wait for my free beer. :D
I'd rather have a free bottle in front of me than a pre-frontal lobotomy... :D
User avatar
scooterbird
Registered User
Posts: 55
Joined: Tue Jul 07, 2020 8:40 am
Name: Steve
Contact:

Re: NATO Phonetic Alphabet

Post by scooterbird »

kinerity wrote:
Sat Aug 01, 2020 7:12 pm
scooterbird wrote:
Fri Jul 31, 2020 8:10 pm
I had a customer whose password I kept having to reset. As it turns out, every time I said "Foxtrot", he was typing in "FT". :roll:
They don't happen to work for my company, do they? :lol:
And let's not get started on how the average 'Murrican interprets the actual pronunciation of "Québec"... :roll:
User avatar
2600
I've Been Banned!
Posts: 2567
Joined: Fri Nov 14, 2014 5:14 pm
Location: Area-51

Re: NATO Phonetic Alphabet

Post by 2600 »

stevemaury wrote:
Sat Aug 01, 2020 5:10 pm
Most cops do not know the NATO alphabet.
When I was talking about law enforcement I never once said they used the NATO alphabet. I said in black and white the APCO alphabet. Read it again.

Edit-

You might be surprised anyway. Most cops, at least here in the U.S. were former military. Unless of course you have some data there contrary to what I know to be fact and can cite your source/s.
Last edited by 2600 on Mon Aug 03, 2020 1:12 pm, edited 1 time in total.
User avatar
2600
I've Been Banned!
Posts: 2567
Joined: Fri Nov 14, 2014 5:14 pm
Location: Area-51

Re: NATO Phonetic Alphabet

Post by 2600 »

scooterbird wrote:
Sun Aug 02, 2020 1:35 am
I'm concerned more about security in email than I am the possibility of the phone being tapped

Since bets and beer were mentioned. I can bet you a fine cigar that you're not using your email right now as it pertains to security. Especially if you use PGP. Never mind how the email server may be set up without rotating DKIM. Just a guess. :D

BTW, that image of the beer -- I ran it past a scanner looking for alternative data streams and it seems to have a malware payload where it will mine for cryptocurrency when it's loaded and send the funds back to the brewer that made that beer in the first place. How do I know that? The cryptocurrency address is tracked in the blockchain leading it back to its owner.

I kid, I kid. :lol: :lol:

Edit-

As to the phone tap thing. If you're in the litigation business or something and think that may be a possibility, hire a good TSCM (technical surveillance counter-measures) business. But use a burner phone outside the establishment. One that you'd only pay some $35 for. These are often called pre-paid phones. Extra points if you use cash. And 10x bonus points if you wait to use it so the surveillance video is over written. But not entirely needed in this case. :lol:
Post Reply

Return to “General Discussion”