Volunteering is a good retirement activity, which for technically oriented people could begin with assisting your local Emergency Measures Office (EMO) as a radio operator. This is simpler than the full blown Amateur Radio (HAM) operators who have special licenses and deeper technical knowledge.
In our city there is a JEM volunteer group which get pre-trained so that when “comfort centers” need to be put in place during disasters (forest fires, flooding, etc.) that many people can spring into action on short notice to provide this help. One key dimension of this requires a communications person who relays radio information between the various staff of the comfort center and out to the EMO central command center. Radio Communications related to the comfort center require a more formal structured approach.
Learning the Phonetic Alphabet for Radio Use
In my orientation training it was important to learn the standardized “phonetic alphabet” based on the NATO standards. Most of us lay people have heard or used the substitution of words to represent letters as clarification over bad phone lines etc. (Alpha = A, etc.). Although its fairly easy to just to make up and use random words on the fly, it works better for professionals if the standard NATO words are used.
|I||India||IN DEE AH|
|J||Juliet||JEW LEE ETT|
|N||November||NO VEM BER|
|R||Romeo||ROW ME OH|
|S||Sierra||SEE AIR RAH|
|U||Uniform||YOU NEE FORM|
|X||X-ray or Xray||ECKS RAY|
As I was memorizing these standard words, I came across a few techniques that make it easier to recall them quickly.
- Memorize chunks of them in groups: Names, Places, Dances, Automobile types
- Create and use simple story phrases as this sequential method outlines in a youTube video.
- Visual learners may appreciate photos which have associated phrases.
My Visual example:
The images below were created using BING AI, based on these two phrases which include the whole alphabet.
- Alpha man Charlie cheered Bravo when he flew over the Sierra mountains to Lima in November using Delta airlines to see Foxtrot and Tango dancing Uniforms by Romeo and Juliet on the Hotel.
- The Echo when he hit the Golf ball in India with Mike and Victor in November upset his Papa and made them go to Quebec to find some Yankee Whiskey and one Kilo of dogfood for Oscar because he needed a Zulu X-ray
Emergency – Command Control
When an emergency occurs, be it big or small, there are protocols used by the Police, Fire and Ambulance departments to decide how to manage the situation. The formal structure used in USA and Canada are called the “Incident Command System” (ICS). Its interesting that the first “official” arrival on the scene is assumed to be then incident commander, and they hold that role until they pass it to another party.
This YouTube gives some insight: Introduction to the Incident Command System (ICS) – YouTube
In order to be a sucessful radio operator in an emergency situation, you need to understand much more than just pressing the talk button on a radio.
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