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VHF Ten (10) codes - Pass it Forward


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Some of the many advantages of using radio codes such as those used by fire and police departments are brevity and a lack of ambiguity. For example, according to my register of tables, the police ten code 10-38 means that an officer requires an ambulance at a certain location. To say “10-38 X (location)” on the radio is faster and more direct than using the narrative “I need an ambulance at this location, which is X”.

To this end, some of us are trying to standardize the use of police 10 codes on VHFs to facilitate rapid and unambiguous communication in rough conditions and in large groups. Here are the codes we are trying to make standard on our trips.

The drawback to codes is that they have to be memorized and are only useful if all VHF users in the group memorize the codes and have agreed to use them.


“We are 10-99 location X. You?” (My head count for my group at location X (put-in, take-out, beach, on-water and rafted up, etc.) is correct and no one is hurt. What is the status of your head count and group?)

“All paddlers 10-45.” (All paddlers return to put-in.)


“You’re 10-1.” (No copy because your signal is breaking up. Please switch to higher output.)

“You’re 10-92.” (No copy. You got stepped on.)

“I’m 10-65 channel X” (I will standby for you on channel X (9,16,68,72, etc.))

“10-41 channel X.” (I want you to switch to channel X (68, 72, etc.))

“10-27 channel X.” (I’m switching to channel X (9, 16, 68, 72, etc.))


“I’m 10-6. Standby channel X.” (I am occupied with other matters and cannot reply to you at this moment. Please stand by on this channel or on channel X (9,16,68,72, etc.)


“10-34 X (location).” (I (we) require immediate assistance at my (our) location, which is X.)

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