In the Air Cadets we are lucky enough to have our own nationwide radio network with frequencies allocated to us from the RAF. Using many different types of equipment, our cadets engage in a broad training syllabus complete with exercises and more.
All of our cadets are taught basic radio voice procedures and hands-on operating as part of initial training. Upon further training it allows them to gain a provisional radio operators award. They then have the option of continuing on to the full award, learning more radio theory, expanding their voice procedure and discovering the more practical side of the subject.
In addition to this there are other avenues of exploration to follow, from the principles of radar and satellite communications to hands-on technical skills and the internet. There is even the possibility of gaining an amateur licence, a world wide recognised qualification.
The ATC Radio Communicators Badge scheme allows a Cadet to progress along a structure route, proving that they are competent with using radios unsupervised, in our case with VHF radios, and are conversant with the basics of radio and communication principles. The Sqn is also kitted out with an HF radio which will shortly be brought into use for the Cadets.
As the Cadets will mainly use frequencies set aside for the military, there are a set of rules and operating conditions that must be adhered to so the Cadets follow a logical sequence of training over a period of time. This starts with an introduction to radio theory, the procedures to be followed and a number of practical exercises to be undertaken to ensure that the Cadets have become confident enough to be classified as Provisional Radio Operators.
Before the Communicator Badge is awarded, the Cadet must first pass 2 compulsory and four optional phases. Some of these phases are formally examined, being part of the Junior Cadet and Senior/Staff subjects. The other phases are assessed to the standards expected by the Squadron Communications Officer (SCO) and ultimately by the Wing Radio Officer (WRO). Previous radio experience and exam results can be accredited on entry to the scheme.