Go ahead the George One Texico Mango Station – John Ridd G8BQX

It is necessary, now and then, to point out such ‘orrible examples.

It is reported that, during the war, it was of vital importance to deceive the German Army Signal Intelligence Service. The Americans, on one vital radio link, employed a pair of Choctaw Indian soldiers, one at each end. Speaking their own language, absolute security was achieved, for nobody else could understand their traffic.

Squaddies of the British Army in the Desert, being no respecters of persons, nor of officialdom, decided that no official system of code making would suit the case, since most code/decode systems required officers (horrible thought ) to do the donkeywork (how appropriate ) and it was taking too long, so that events often took place before the vital info was decoded.

So, the lads devised a phonetic alphabet which completely confused the Krauts, an alphabet demonstrating the typical British Army sense of humour. The cabbage heads in the Jerry intelligence, being well known for their absolute and terminal condition of humour decease, were completely at a loss how to decode.

The start of the Squaddie Phonetic Alphabet was:-

A for ‘orses.
B for mutton.
C for yourself.
D for glory.
K for brick.
F for vescent.
G for police, etc., etc.,———- Work the rest out for yourself!

Use of this made messages completely obscure to anyone not steeped in Squaddie speak. The only disadvantage was that the Yanks and our other allies couldn’t understand either

Which leads to my point. All of us Amateurs are supposed to be on the same side. More than that, we are supposed to be communicators, and all should be able to understand us

An international group of occupational psychologists, cybernetists, and other mind benders were employed at vast expense, at the end of Hitler’s War, to work a phonetic alphabet. This alphabet was to be the most effective for use in different languages. The result was the familiar ICAO/NATO alfa bravo charlie alphabet. I won’t bore you with the whole of it, shame on you if you don’t know it. It is in the Radio Agency BR68 booklet that all UK licensed amateurs have.

This alphabet was not designed to be immediately 100 per cent effective for beginners. Training and practice is necessary — receiving as well as sending— to get the maximum advantage in communication. Well practiced, the alphabet was found to be the most effective communication aid possible between people of different linguistic traditions.

So, why abuse it? Why do some amateurs pervert this carefully chosen alphabet by mixing it with other alphabets specifically designed for native English speakers? It leads to cock ups like the unfortunate Estonian operator on 50 MHz the other night, with his ‘Go ahead, the George One Texico Mango …..

So, we are Amateurs. This does not mean being inferior to Professionals. Let”s get it right.
Using the proper means, we will do a superior job of communication to theirs, given that there are more amateur stations per kilohertz in our few megahertz of bandwidth than there are stations per kilohertz in the professional spectrum.

And my qualifications? A Six Metres and Down Supreme Certificate. I have made WAC with ten watts p.e.p. of phone on 50 MHz without the use of repeaters terrestrial or celestial, and the QSL cards are in front of me. No professional has! None have tried I am not alone, but those of us who have succeeded have used proper phonetics, not some bastard system.

One last consideration Professionals built the Titanic, Amateurs the Ark. Which was fit for its purpose ? Discuss.

John Ridd G8BQX – July 1992

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Popular pages

Get your amateur radio licence - Find out more about amateur radio licence training.
Month on the Air - G3MGQ's popular monthly DX contest/expedition list.
Wilf Gaye Memorial Cup - The clubs annual operating event in the memory of Wilf Gaye M0GYE.
St. Richard's College Buildathon/STEM/ARISS - HERC attends St. Richard's Catholic College for their various events surrounding the Tim Peake ARISS contact.
G3BDQ - John Hey's Rare QSL Cards.
Sussex Electronics Radio Fair - SERF Sussex Electronics Radio Fair 2016.
Vital Spark - A selection of articles re-published from the Vital Spark.
RSGB News - Find out how to get RSGB news on your mobile or PC.
Experimenters Corner - A selection of Proteus projects by Bob Gornal (G7DME)
BBADL - Bath Based Distance Learning Course.
Conquest Hospital Radio - Presented by HERC member Antony (G4CUS).
Radio Rallies 2016 - An up to date list of radio rallies scheduled for 2016.
Club QSL Cards - A selection of QSL cards the club has received over the years.
Other Newsletters - Excellent newsletters and magazines from other clubs.
TX Factor episodes - Take a look at the TX Factors YouTube videos.
John Taplin - A bio of the late John Taplin.

Amateur Radio Resources

Other Radio Clubs & RAYNET

BSARS - Brede Steam Amateur Radio Society

RAYNET - The Hastings and Rother RAYNET Group.

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