Posted on 05-Nov-2014
October 21st, 2014
As far as I could recall, we started our second batch badge work classes on the 16th of August 2014. We were asked to choose between Physical Training, Safety, Drill and Communications for our first slot of badge work hour. All badge work classes are scheduled to have 10 classes altogether. Around 20 members took part in Communication badgework class. Our instructor is Mr. Yip Wei Jian.
On the first day of our class, we were given a short briefing about what we are going to learn in the 10 weeks. The schedule originally consisted of the learning of some knowledge related to communications such as phonetic alphabets, Morse code, telecommunication and basics of Internet, as the most advanced means of communication nowadays. We were also told that we would have some exams in between such as public speaking, debating session and PowerPoint presentation of what we’ve learnt.
It was the first time for those in the Communication class to learn about phonetic alphabets. Personally, I have heard pilots or any military forces using them in the movies. It was a new thing for me to learn as well. Its full name is International Radiotelephony Spelling Alphabet, but people know them as NATO phonetic alphabets. They are a list of words that are critical combinations of letters and numbers and can be pronounced and understood by those who transmit and receive voice messages by radio or telephone regardless of language barriers or the presence of transmission static. They are used by professional communicators, especially police, military and other emergency and armed forces. This system was created by International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) during the 1950s. This was the finalized phonetic alphabets as there were different versions of phonetic alphabets. After learning about some basics and history about this, we were given a challenge to remember the phonetic alphabets in 5 minutes. Some succeeded while some were stuck at an alphabet. Everyone was involved and we had a lot of fun.
The next week, the students were exposed to Morse code. Some were quite familiar with this as they have heard about it few times before. Morse code is a method of transmitting text information as a series of on-off tones, lights, or clicks that can be directly understood by a skilled listener or observer without special equipment. It was invented by an American artist Samuel F. B. Morse, when he and an American physicist Joseph Henry, and Alfred Vail developed the electrical telegraph system. It can be used to transmit by using lights, radio and etc. Each character is represented by a unique sequence of dots and dashes. A dash is three times of a dot. The duration of a space between letters is equals to 2 seconds, while the duration of a space between words is 5 seconds. It is still commonly used in U.S Navy to communicate between vessels. After the process of learning, Mr. Yip asked the learners to get into a group of three and use what we had just learnt in a game. Each group submitted a sentence while another group will attempt to translate it. Two people from a group used the flashlight of their phone while another person translated it. It was truly a nice experience. To many of us, it was an eye-opening experience.
So, to those readers out there, BB even teaches us as Brigadiers life skills such as public speaking and presentation which are crucial for our survival later as we move on to college or even when we enter workforce when we are of the age. It may be challenging now, but we are actually preparing ourselves for a better future – as our Officers told us. So, come join us in the BB as we learn many life skills through the Awards and Badges classes made available.