Multiplayer Comms Guide - Pickle your Ripple, Splash your Mud, Spike your Bogey - ED Forums


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Old 03-06-2020, 10:57 PM   #1
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Default Multiplayer Comms Guide [v1.1] -Pickle your Ripple, Splash your Mud, Spike your Bogey

TL;DR - Here are some notes and a reference sheet to help beginners like me get started with some basic radio communication to use online in DCS multiplayer.
See attached; a simple two page cheatsheet 'reference card'.

Having only quite recently dipped my toe into the DCS multiplayer world I have put together a few 'quick' reference notes regarding the basic procedures and radio lingo to wet the feet and get started, based largely on my own limited online experience.
There are huge amounts of help and information out there already, far more comprehensive and eloquently documented than my scribbles, but I hope the short notes here can be useful to someone as they have been (and are) to me.

There are basically just two things I'm addressing here:
  1. 'Special' words to use over the radio (a.k.a. "Brevity Codes")
  2. Basic communication procedures for common situations
Note, this guide covers only what to say not what to do. So also ensure you have an understanding of the physical procedures to perform, such as airfield/carrier approaches and landing patterns. Then these notes can provide suggestions of what to say and help anticipate and interpret what other people may say.

Disclaimer: it's not unusual for me to be wrong, and what follows is a blend of some 'official' information, bits of what I've picked up from others and a dash of my own personal preferences and habits.
Always open to corrections and suggestions.

1 - Brevity Codes

First and foremost, I think most would agree it absolutely does NOT matter what words and expressions you use when talking over the radio so long as it is short, relevant/useful and understandable (and reasonably 'clean'; it's a family show kids).
Some brevity 'code' words have been invented to help with the '
short' but if you can't remember whether to tally-splash-bandit-spike or blind-bogey-mud-fox then just use plain language to at least keep it 'understandable'.

There is a LOT of military terminology and radio brevity 'code words'.
Here is just a few (a mere 43!) that I think are most likely to prove useful to amateurs such as myself within an informal multiplayer DCS environment.

Day 1
These are the 23 bare essentials to get started with, likely to come in useful from day one.

Misc Comms
Angels # - Altitude in 1000's feet ("Angels 7" is 7000ft). Some sources indicate this is mostly/only a Navy term and some even suggest it is no longer used, but is universally understood in DCS community.

Affirm - "Yes" (A positive response to a question)
Negative - "No" (A negative response to a question)

Roger - Simple acknowledgement of information/comments RECEIVED. (Legacy phonetic word representing the letter 'R', for "Received". Commonly used incorrectly to mean "Yes". Try to avoid this habit)
Copy - Details received and written/remembered. May not be 'official' but universally understood. Commonly abused in the same way as "Roger".

Situational Awareness
AO - Area of Operations

Bogey - Unknown aircraft
Bandit - Confirmed enemy aircraft

Spike - Air radar locked/tracking (could be friendly or enemy)
Mud - Ground radar threat (often used with "-spike" to indicate ground radar locked/tracking, but some argue that is not 'official')

Splash - Target hit, not necessarily destroyed (both air and ground targets, but seems common to use just for air targets)
Shack - Ground target hit/destroyed (not sure if this is 'official' by NATO standards, but is very commonly used)

Callouts made when releasing weapons:
GUNS - Gun/Cannon shot (both air and ground targets)

Fox ONE - Semi-active radar AA missile (e.g. AIM-7 Sparrow)
Fox TWO - Infrared-guided AA missile (e.g. AIM-9 Sidewinder)
Fox THREE - Active radar AA missile (e..g AIM-120 AMRAAM)
Maddog - A Fox 3 missile has been released 'independent' ('Visual' mode), with no initial guidance from launching aircraft

Not really necessary to call out air-to-ground weapon releases unless coordinating closely with JTAC, wingmen or other friendlies.
At most it is enough just to say "
<count> away", where <count> is simply how many bombs/missiles you've just released.
Bogey Dope - Request AWACS for some air targets to engage (Surely it should be "Bandit Dope"?!)
Request Picture - Request AWACS for complete 'picture' of all detected bandits in the theater of operations

Hot - Bandit moving towards you
Cold - Bandit moving away from you
Flanking - Bandit moving perpendicular to your heading

Popup - New bandits detected in AO
Day 2
Probably less frequent usage depending on what you do, who you do it with and how 'immersed' you like to get.

Misc Comms
Unable - Unable to comply with the request/instruction
Wilco - "Will comply". Will comply with the request/instruction
Situational Awareness
Blind - Friendly not in sight (air/ground)
Visual - Friendly in sight (air/ground)

No Joy - Enemy not in sight (air/ground)
Tally - Enemy in sight (air/ground)

Raygun - Radar lock on a bogey. Request for friendlies to reply if they believe they are the target of this lock.
Buddy Spike <HDG, ALT> - Response to 'Raygun' callout if believed you are the recipient of the friendly radar lock. Give your heading and altitude.

Nails - Air radar threat, searching not locked
Dirt - Ground radar threat, searching not locked (arguably no longer 'official')
Air-to-Ground Missiles
Rifle - Air-to-ground missile (e.g. AGM-64 maverick)
Magnum - Anti-SAM missile (e.g. AGM-88 HARM)
Bruiser - Anti-ship missile

Pickle - Single 'dumb' bomb
Ripple - Multiple bombs released in sequence
Paveway - Laser-guided bomb
[Anything for rockets?]
Declare - Request AWACS for identification (Is Friend or Foe IFF) of a specific target
Sunrise - AWACS Online
- AWACS offline
2 - Basic Comms Procedures

Not to let a lack of knowledge or ability stop me from blundering in, I've put together some common and simplified reference notes of basic communication for use online.

<WHO> = Who are you talking TO. E.g. "Sukhumi traffic", "Sochi tower"
<CALLSIGN> = Your callsign (Use the name you are signed onto the server with)
Green = Self
Red = Others (responses)
() Parenthesis = Not strictly necessary (but no harm if capacity allows), or depends on situation.

ATIS(If available): Get active runway(s) and altimeter settings from ATIS message
Tune radio(s): Ground/Tower ATC or common/Guard frequency
(Radio check: "Frequency <FREQUENCY>, <CALLSIGN>, Radio check" "5 by 5 on frequency <FREQUENCY>" or "Loud and Clear on frequency <FREQUENCY>")
(Good to break the ice and overcome the dreaded 'mic fright')

Take-off (No human ATC – Common Traffic Advisory Calls)
(Taxi: "<WHO>, <CALLSIGN>, Taxiing to runway <RWY>") - not so important on an average DCS server
Line up: "<WHO>, <CALLSIGN>, Lining up runway <RWY> for [N|E|S|W|Straight out] departure, (<WHO>)" or "…, Taking the active for …"
(Take off: "<WHO>, <CALLSIGN>, Wheels up, clear of the active, (<WHO>)")
Goodbye: "<WHO>, Last call for <CALLSIGN>, (<WHO>). Out."

Approach: "<CALLSIGN>, <#> miles [N|E|S|W] of AO at <LOCATION/REFERENCE>, inbound for [CAP|CAS|SEAD]"
…ad-hoc comms to liaise with friendlies…

Is Active?: "<CALLSIGN>, Is [GCI|AWACS] sunrise or midnight" "<CALLSIGN>, <AWACS> is sunrise", or from anyone: "Midnight"
Picture: "<AWACS>, <CALLSIGN>, Request picture" "<CALLSIGN>, <AWACS> <…DETAILS…>"
Tasking: "<AWACS>, <CALLSIGN>, [Bogey dope|Request tasking]" "<CALLSIGN>, <AWACS>, [Bandit|Group] BRAA <BEARING>, <RANGE> at <ALT>, [Hot|Cold|Flanking]"

Landing (No human ATC – Common Traffic Advisory Calls)
Approach: "<WHO>, <CALLSIGN>, <#> miles [out|N|E|S|W], inbound for the [pattern|overhead] runway <RWY>, (<WHO>)"
Pattern: "<WHO>, <CALLSIGN>, Entering [left|right] downwind runway <RWY>, (<WHO>)"
or Overhead: "<WHO>, <CALLSIGN>, Initial <RWY>, for the overhead, [left|right] break, (<WHO>)"
(Base: "<WHO>, <CALLSIGN>, [Left|Right] base runway <RWY>, (<WHO>)")
Final: "<WHO>, <CALLSIGN>, (Turning) (short) final runway <RWY>, [full stop|touch and go], (<WHO>)"
Clear: "<WHO>, <CALLSIGN>, Taxiing clear of the [active|runway], (<WHO>)"

Finally, I'll be amazed if I managed to write all these words without making any glaring mistakes, so cookies for the first person to spot them.
Attached Files
File Type: pdf DCS-BasicOnlineCommsRef-v1.1.pdf (951.6 KB, 94 views)

Last edited by MeerCaT; 03-10-2020 at 05:27 PM. Reason: Updates (v1.1)
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Old 03-07-2020, 06:57 AM   #2
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Very helpful, thanks!!!

Last edited by dimkl; 03-07-2020 at 10:24 AM.
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Old 03-08-2020, 12:12 PM   #3
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Roger never means yes.

Affirmative or yes means yes.

And if you think I am being pedantic, the ENTIRE point of comms brevity is tightly defined terminology in order to keep communications brief and easily understood.

If you answer "Roger" (I understand what you just said) to a "Yes" or "No" question, you have suddenly confused the situation and made further clarification necessary.

Last edited by pmiceli; 03-08-2020 at 12:25 PM.
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Old 03-08-2020, 12:43 PM   #4
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The entire purpose of Air Traffic Control is collision avoidance while maintaining efficient operations.

We, rarely, if ever need actual ATC in DCS. It just isn't busy enough.

Common Traffic Advisories (Air to Air Communication in the airport vicinity) are helpful to a certain extent but it is much more important to get folks flying in a fairly standardized fashion so that traffic is predictable.

So the first step is flying an appropriate traffic pattern.

We are all pretend fighter pilots. There are no transports or heavy bombers in DCS.

If you are not flying some version of the overhead pattern, you are doing it wrong and looking like a doofus.

The overhead pattern was invented long ago because the long nose in front of the pilot made it impossible to see directly forward. The solution was a continuously curved approach until touchdown.

The overhead pattern is fairly simple.

Fly to a point on the extended approach center line of your intended landing runway. From that point fly towards your landing point FAST. At or beyond your landing point, do a hard turn left or right to the downwind leg. The high G turn will help slow you down. By the time you complete your 180 degree BREAK, you should be able to fully configure for landing. Abeam your landing point, count to five and then start your turn back to the runway, flying a curved, descending path to touchdown.


1. It looks cool. This is of critical importance. Do not underestimate this.
2. It is fast. You do not clog up the pattern like a transport pilot hauling rubber dogshit.
3. It hones your skills in fighter pilot type stuff.

If you are part of a formation, fly in parade formation until the BREAK. Space the break turns appropriately. A couple seconds between breaks is plenty if everyone is competent.

Last edited by pmiceli; 03-08-2020 at 12:46 PM.
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Old 03-08-2020, 01:07 PM   #5
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Common Traffic Advisory Radio Calls (No controller, just pilots on frequency)

Remember. LESS is MORE.

Do not clutter the frequency with pointless radio calls.

No one outside your flight needs to know you are starting or taxying 99% of the time.

When you get to the runway and are ready to go, make one radio call, Who, What, Where

"SATAN, 2 F18's departing Three One Right, Tbilisi"

No more calls are necessary unless you abort the takeoff.

For Landing a few more calls are helpful.

10 miles out, state your intentions

"SATAN, 2 F18's, 10 miles out, Tbilisi for the overhead, Three One Right"

Call Initial

"SATAN, Initial Three One Right, for the Overhead, Left Break"

This tells everyone where you are and what you will be doing.

Call Base. Since you are flying a continuous turn from downwind you are not calling a base turn. Call when your nose is 90 degrees from runway heading.

"SATAN, Base, Gear Down, Full Stop"

To be honest, the gear down call is entirely unnecessary online except as a reminder to yourself to check that the wheels are down. If you are not a full stop landing, say so. Other traffic can fly a tighter pattern if you are doing touch and goes versus full stop landings.

Call clear of the runway. Its hard to see in VR.

"SATAN, Clear of the runway"

This is what we need online to manage to avoid hitting each other. It may not conform to real world procedure but it does not need to.
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Old 03-08-2020, 03:06 PM   #6
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Good posts here, gents!

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Old 03-08-2020, 08:49 PM   #7
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Thanks for the advice pmiceli. I'll look to update my notes to reflect some of your points.

The ability to keep communications to an absolute minimum is definitely a good skill to have in the toolbox, for when it's necessary.
I do quite like to hear a constant buzz of activity over the radio though. So if conditions allow it, and the server (or at least the comms channel) is not too busy, there's probably no harm in expanding the radio calls to include advisories such as taxiing and use a couple more words here and there.
Helps for an atmosphere that feels a little more alive.
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Old 03-10-2020, 03:52 PM   #8
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Very relevant and helpful information.

More information in detail would be appreciated as well.

Examples of situations and appropriate responses; for example.

Thanks for this.
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communication, multiplayer, online, radio

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