It's been a while since I last wrote, but what a busy few weeks I've had.
First off was another satellite dish course but this time looking at fully motorised systems, that we use at Halley to download images from weather satellites. These dishes are much easier to maneuver (no spanner required!) but are much more complex so can go wrong. This was the main focus of the course, what could go wrong and how to fix it.
Next up was a two week “holiday” completing the YHA day skipper course. I use the double quotes because this was a holiday involving lots of learning and full 9 to 5 days, if not longer. My favorite experience of the two weeks was the night passage from Cadiz to Ceuta, a full 12 hours of sailing but all the learning came together and it clicked.
Straight up after sailing was the air ground communications course. I really wasn't sure to expect from the course. I had skimmed over the course notes two weeks previous and thought there was quite a bit to learn in fours days and I was right.
The morning of the first day focused on how airfields operate, describing the maneuvers that planes make around an airfield and the services that airfields provide. As radio operators we provide the air ground communication services which allows us to talk to aircraft and provide information to aircraft. In the afternoon we moved on to the RT (Radio Telegraphy) section of the course.
The RT training consists of our instructor, Paul, talking to us over a simulated radio impersonating various aircraft. At first I found it difficult to pick up all the information being relayed, but on the second day I was improving. The most difficult element for me was responding in a timely matter but engaging my brain before speaking to use the correct phraseology, rather that using maritime terminology I'm used to or inventing my own phrases.
As the course progressed more elements where added to exercises to include several aircraft in different stages of flight, vehicles crossing the runway, and even a distress mayday call. With practice I was eventually ready for the RT exam. I managed to pass, although fumbling my way through a little as I was nervous.
The final stage of the course was the written examination which drew on all the things learnt throughout the week. The exam was taken on Friday afternoon with the results released on Monday. Over the weekend I tried to relax, but was anxious to know if I'd passed. Thankfully I did.
So with the CAA course finished and passed, the next stage is to get packed for my trip down to Antarctica.