Radio Operator training is taught at multiple levels.
The ATC has around 23 HF, 15 VHF and 7 UHF radio channels allocated to it by the MOD and radios can be used on these channels for training and to supervise Cadets events.
Radio operating is one of the few Corps activities that can directly support any of the others. It is especially good for safety communication during adventure training and other outdoor exercises.
The best radio operators can be selected for Wing, Regional and National events.
This year six cadets will be controlling the ground support operations for the Royal International Air Tattoo, two of these operators are from the Warwickshire and Birmingham Wing, with training you could be next.
You start your radio training when you are studying to become a 1st Class Cadet. At this level you just lean the basics of what radio operating is about and where it can be used in cadet activities.
Provisional VHF/UHF Operator
This is like a learners licence, it allows you to operate radio transceivers on your Squadron under the supervision of a fully qualified radio operator.
Full VHF/UHF Operator
This level allows you to operate radios on your own and supervise Provisional Operators. You can also start teaching other cadets under the supervision of the Squadron Radio Officer.
HF Radio Operator
Following on from the Full VHF/UHF operator this qualification allows you to use the 20 HF radio channels that can send signals all over the world rather than just locally.
This is the first of the three Radio Amateur Exams that are nationally recognised engineering qualifications. You get to use about 300,000 radio channels for both cadet activity use and for your private use with a power limit of 5 Watts, this is about the power of a handheld radio. The Wing usually runs two courses each year. You can also take part in any of the RAF Amateur Radio Society (RAFARS) operator contests.
This is an upgrade of the Foundation Licence that allows you to transmit on the same amount of channels but with 50Watts of power; this is about the power of a mobile radio fitted into a car or on a backpack.
This qualification allows you to use transmitter up to a power of 400Watts which is enough power to get signals around the world or to the moon.
See the following News items for further information relating to
Wing Radio News February 2009
Wing Radio News December 2008
Wing Radio operators RIAT 2006