Hotel Echo Lima Lima Oscar #JusJoJan

Today’s prompt is brought to us by Lady Lee Manila from the blog of the same name. Her prompt for today is echo.

Echo is the NATO phonetic alphabet‘s word for the letter “e.” When you spell something out for another person, especially when it’s over the phone or Skype or the radio, it’s usually useful to use a word for each letter. On the phone, if I spell my name “aych oh ell tee oh en,” the “tee” could sound like “dee” and the “en” could sound like “em,” and my name would show up as Holdom. On the other hand, if I spell it “hotel oscar lima tango oscar november,” there’s no mistake, unless the person doesn’t know the NATO spelling alphabet, in which case it’s better to say “h as in hotel, o as in oscar, l as in lima, t as in tango, o as in oscar, n as in november.” Technical folk like me would read addresses and values off of hexadecimal listings (better known as “dumps,” which I think I called “computer vomit” yesterday) that way, e.g. “what’s the value at 1-alpha-6-9-bravo-foxtrot?” for the value at machine location 1A69BF.

The NATO phonetic alphabet is officially called the International Radiotelephony Spelling Alphabet, and is also called the ICAO phonetic alphabet. It was the basis for my first A to Z Challenge in April 2012. This year is the tenth year of the Challenge, which most of you probably already know. I’ve been a co-host for the Challenge for a few years now (I think this is my 4th year) and it’s the highlight of my blogging year. A lot of you take part in this abecedarian challenge every April, and I encourage all of you to join us.

And now here’s Dick Van Dyke with a word about the Kodak Handle camera.

An idea stolen borrowed from Polaroid…

21 thoughts on “Hotel Echo Lima Lima Oscar #JusJoJan

    1. I used to work in support, and I can’t tell you how often it helped when I was trying to debug something over the phone. A lot of times it was someone I worked with who was stuck at a client site. This is almost something they should teach kids in school.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. I didn’t realize it was called NATO system but I have heard of it before. Looking forward to the A2Z. I think I have my theme but I better get a move on!


  2. I always liked the phonetic alphabet. We heard it a lot in the military, and then sometimes on my shortwave & police scanner. Mine’s easy = Bravo Alpha Romeo Bravo Alpha Romeo Alpha.
    Still trying to think of something for A to Z this year…it’s getting closer every day to start time! Yay 🙂


  3. I love that alphabet! I wish everyone used it. Someone at my work says “L, like licorice.” Licorice? Really?

    Sincerely yours,
    Tango Alpha Romeo Alpha


  4. Any idea whether they’ll make the challenge easier to navigate this year? I’d like to join in, but it’s become so confusing! I may do so unofficially again, if not.


  5. I’m reading about the Coast Guard weather stations the operated through a bunch of changes in the way they were designated (numerically, by name, etc.) they finally ended up with alpha, bravo, charlie.


  6. I still remember being pulled over one day for speeding and the police officer saying, “that is Yankee Boy Easy 738” as my plate was numbered YBE-738.


  7. I didn’t know there was a NATO phonetic alphabet. I was trained as a radio operator in the army back in the ’50’s and we were taught the alpha, bravo, charlie system. How many times have I said this? – God you’re smart!


    1. I think the alpha-bravo-charlie system became the NATO system. There was another, the able-baker-charlie one. It does make life easier on the phone…


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