Ever been in radio contact with another pilot who asks: ‘How do you read?’. You know that this relates to the radio transmission, but do you know how to answer this question?

Test procedures exist so that we can check both the functionality and audio quality of the aircraft’s radio equipment. We all know that the radio, and communication it allows, are our key to the world outside of the cockpit, which is why it is very necessary that we check that all is well before we manoeuvre around the aerodrome or take off. This is especially important if you are taking off from an unmanned aerodrome or if you suspect that other pilots are having trouble communicating with you.

So what is the correct procedure for a radio check? According to the AIC 41.3.09-11-19, it should be done as follows:

If you wish to check your radio:

  • Address the station being called, for example: ‘Grand Central Tower’
  • State your aircraft identification – ‘ZU-ABC’
  • State the words – ‘Radio check’
  • Frequency being used

How to reply to a pilot requesting a radio check:

  • State the aircraft identification of the aircraft calling you
  • State your aircraft identification
  • Readability according to the scale below
Unreadable 1
Readable now and then 2
Readable with difficulty 3
Readable 4
Perfectly readable 5