Submitted by: Luck Hurder WA4STO, Training Department Chief
Radio Relay International’s Training and Recognition Department has begun identifying both amateur radio traffic handling trainers and trainees on a nationwide basis.
As of Jan 17, we have seven trainers and four trainees. We are presently focused on training the trainers, so as to ensure a similarity of instructional procedures as well as a comparability of operational results among those who have accepted our training efforts.
RRI’s training concentrates primarily on operator–to–operator radio transmissions. We feel that there is an enormous amount of printed training material available but very little peer to peer endeavors in place.
For some decades now, we have known that actual on the air training produces the best results. There are some areas of the country where such instruction has worked very well. But that success has not enjoyed a wide audience, nor does it have a nationally based training perspective.
One area of traffic handling that we have identified as being problematic just about everywhere is that of manual multi-mode networking. Many of our best operators are quite adept at formal message handling on CW for example but don’t realize how many errors are introduced when traffic is manually input into RRI’s Digital Traffic Network. Or when a VHF voice net operator is asked to send a message on CW. How does punctuation in a radiogram, such as the word ‘break’, translate into the only punctuation that a CW or digital operator understands and will be willing to relay?
There is great need for multi-mode operators. We feel that we can double our outlet capabilities if people were trained to bring their long-lingering traffic to outlets that happen to use a different mode.
RRI can provide that training. Our initial instructional messages were sent on the RRI East CW net to a trainee who then sent them via digital modes back to me directly for grading. That way, a number of possible errors could be detected and future messaging can be crafted that utilizes the very same instructional ploys, but to a much wider trainee audience.
As one might imagine, the Net Managers and other well-experienced ops are proving to be a wonderful source of not only new trainees but also the actual on-air mentoring. We are counting on those with a long period of administrative traffic handling under their belts to provide us with the callsigns of those who might appreciate our training possibilities. Yes, we have eleven people who are training at the moment. Eleven thousand would be much better.
We are finding that it is understood that training has been set by the wayside for many years and regardless of previous affiliations, a mild sigh of relief can be heard that someone is finally making the effort.
We are Radio Relay International and we can do that.