Cadets Combine for Communication Training

What does a communications course mean exactly, and how does it fit into the Air Training Corps (ATC)?

Well five cadets from 51(ORTON) Squadron, Cadets Amy Whitehead, Kieran Robinett, Marcus Subden, Adam Piezonca and Ryan Grist joined with Cadets from 115 (Peterborough) Squadron to find out.

The communications course offers every cadet the chance to learn how to operate radios not only on civilian frequencies but more importantly on a military one. Each cadet is taught about the dangers of interceptors on the network, the difference between a directed and free net. The course also teaches the cadets the basics of the phonetic alphabet and its importance in communications and the wider world as a whole.

This particular course was held at 51 (Orton) Squadron’s head quarter and delivered by Flight Sergeant Darren Smith, who is the Bedfordshire & Cambridgeshire Wings Sector Radio Communications Officer. Flt Sgt Smith said “The cadets learn a lot from the initial course, which is just the basic ground for them to then build on. Each cadet has the opportunity to take exams, teach and ultimately receive their own Call Sign.”

After an initial presentation on PowerPoint which teaches the cadets the discipline and accuracy in using radios, they are let loose into the field and carry out exercises know as Battleships and other practical team building activities using the Radios.

Comms TrainingHowever, the comments from Cadet Amy Whiteheads sums up the effect it has on the cadets “When the first communications course came up, I did it because it was something more to get involved with at cadets, but once I had been on the course for a couple of hours, I realised this is a lifelong skill which would only benefit me in the future and indeed, on top of it all, Radio Communications is fun!!” .

Some of the lessons are conducted under our own in house Cadet Communication Instructor, Cpl Patrick Wells who said “Teaching communications is just as important to me as learning communications is to the cadets. As I aid them to gain confidence through using the radio, learning its procedures and sending coded messages across the network”

These cadets will now go on to achieve their communicators badge which entails another eleven hours practical radio use, four hours listening and logging all of the words spoken over the radio to then obtain their communications badge.