Regardless of what radio band you are transmitting on, there are a few unwritten rules you should follow (thanks Chandler Papas - azhpa.org)
ONE: You must have something over your mic to eliminate wind noise. This is a must. No matter how good you think it sounds no one can understand you and even if we can it’s pretty unbearable to do so. The best bet is the Microphone noise cancelling foam deals you get at guitar center. They’re 5 bucks a piece or 6 for like 12 bucks. I always have a couple extra in my truck. These work well. I’m sure there will be a gazillion posts about the plethora of other remedies that work as well. Please do one that works.
TWO: Keying sucks for everyone and can be a safety issue if it goes on long enough. PLEASE make sure your set up is dialed in so there is no chance you are keying your talk button before, during or after flight. When this happens no one can communicate and it can be quite annoying so pilots just power off their radios. Make sure when you’re flying you are not keying. Make sure when you’re done flying if you don’t want your radio on anymore yank the battery before stowing your radio. Numerous times we’ve listened to the mush mush of a pilots backpack hiking back to the saddle or to their ride on the radio. (This is also why you want to be able to be able to access your volume/power button and be able to switch freqs IN AIR) So pilots that use hands free devices please know them intimately because they are known to do this quite frequently.
At best someone Keying makes everyone power off their radios and no one can talk to help each other fly, figure out logistics, etc etc. At worst, we have an emergency and rescue is severely slowed due to no one being able to switch to the emergency frequency and coordinate the rescue effort via our radios. .
THREE: Do a radio check. Then be quiet. If we instructors forgot to switch to a different frequency we will, just ask. If you’re mentoring your buddy/girlfriend/boyfriend or talking about who’s gonna hike to where to drive so and so’s car to pick up so and so….please do it with the least amount of words as possible so pilots flying don’t have to power off their radios to concentrate on flying. Better yet, figure out logistics before flying. We all like it nice and quite when we’re flying right?
But please remember, that does NOT mean don’t use the radios for their intended purpose. If you’re standing on launch or in the LZ and the wind does a 180 degree switch get on the radio with a quick..”wind is 10 to 12 from the North on launch..wind is 10 to 12 from the north on launch.” Or if you’re in the air and you see a plane or a drastic change with the dusties, wx or a newer pilot doing something just plain goofy you can’t help. Please do. Just always be clear, concise and objective. When someone is setting up a top landing and a pilot on launch says…”8 to 12 base wind gusting to 15 80 degrees cross on launch.”…that’s cool. We didn’t lug ten pounds of age old technology around with us and fly with it for nothing. We want to use them for what they are needed for. When a couple of pilots are trying to stay up and the few that are down are yaking about who’s gonna drive who and where they’re gonna meet for Mexican food….it gets kinda old so please figure it out beforehand and or be brief.
Four: This shoulda been number one. Have the USHPA emergency frequency programmed in your memory and know how to get to it.