ALLIED COMMUNICATION PROCEDURES
In addition to operating equipment and
constructing messages, you must use correct
communication procedures to provide concise and
definite language so that communications may be
conducted accurately and rapidly. The method of
communicating may depend on a number of
considerations, ranging from security to required
speed of transmission. Whatever the condition, you as
a Signalman must be able to perform to the best of your
Although Signalmen normally use only three
methods to communicate visually (flashing light,
flaghoist, and semaphore) other methods such as
sound and pyrotechnics are available. This chapter
explains communication procedures used by
communication personnel. Flaghoist procedures are
covered in chapter 5.
LEARNING OBJECTIVES: Explain the use of
general procedures to eliminate lengthy
transmissions, to maintain proper signaling
discipline, and to determine the rule of visual
Visual communications procedures may be
subdivided into Allied, international, and special
Allied procedures are those used by the United
States with its Allies and between Allied Nations.
International procedures, discussed in chapter 6,
are those designed for nonmilitary communications
between civil stations, but may be adapted for military
Special signal procedures are those not included
under Allied or international procedures, such as those
described in ATP 2, volume II. Other special signals
include the following:
Ship-shore movement signals
Harbor tug control signals
Signals for various foreign ports
U.S. Navy and Allied fleet exercise signals
The foundation for these signal procedures is
contained in ACP 129, Communication Instructions,
visual Signaling procedures; ATP 2, volume II, Allied
Naval Control of Shipping Manual Guide to Masters;
ATP 1, volume II, Allied Maritime Tactical Signal and
Maneuvering Book; and Pub 102, International Code
Operating signals provide a brevity code for
passing information pertaining to communication,
aircraft operation, search and rescue, and so on.
Although the signals eliminate the need for plain
language transmissions between operators, they have
no security and are in fact the equivalent of plain
language. Operating signals are contained in ACP
131, Communication Instructions Operating Signals.
Operating signals consist of three letters that start
with either the letter Z or Q and may have figures,
letters, abbreviations, or call signs following them.
Most operating signals have complete meanings, but
some require information to complete their meanings.
The following rules apply:
1. Where a
appears, it must be filled in.
2. Where a (
) appears, it is optional to
Numbered alternatives, if used, will be followed
Numeral flags must be used between Allied units.
Numeral pennants must be used for the Q codes for
non-Allied military stations and merchants.
Allocations of operating signals are as follows:
QAA-QNZ: Allocated to the International Civil
Aviation Organization (ICAO). The only civil stations
that will have a copy of this series are those of the
aeronautical service. Therefore, this series is not used