A Conversation for Airline Call Signs

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Post 1

Dan

That's about as dull as it gets. Are we running out of new subject matter here then?


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Post 2

eska

Oh boy ! I love positive and constructive comments ! smiley - smiley


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Post 3

Researcher PSG

Dan, h2g2 is a guide on everything for everyone, as I understand it. So although this may be very boring to you, it might be useful to a writer or a plane enthusiast. And at least it goes a step closer to a complete guide.

Researcher PSG


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Post 4

Nightowl

Well, I found this piece very interesting and useful, and I commend the folks who researched it and put it together. I would even have preferred having the more obvious entries included in the list. Callsigns, like trade names, are facinating, because they are identities that can be rich with connotative [suggestive] meaning. They become aliases, alter egos, "handles", etc. One might well wonder what "Dan" means, for example: short for Danish?, a title of respect and deference, perhaps?, a martial arts or game enthusiast, even? ? ? What does Delta Alpha November evoke for you? ?
With everyone's heightened awareness of what is flying around up there since you-know-when, this piece provides topical information that does interest people. And, as has been pointed out, h2g2 is supposed to be inclusive. Maybe Dan should be sorting his socks.


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Post 5

Dan

Gosh. I'm as enthusiastic about the diversity and comprehensiveness of H2G2 as anyone. I've written two extremely obscure articles myself. However, a list of airline call signs, seemingly copied from some old reference book somewhere (as a couple of the airlines listed are long defunct one must assume the source to be out-of-date too), just doesn't grab me and I have very strong suspicions about the responses here saying "I really enjoyed the article". Are you sure you didn't just enjoy the feeling of defending an H2G2 article just for the hell of it?

Perhaps a little history of radio communication, and of devices for clarifying messages would have justified this list a little (e.g. the Alpha-Zulu phoenetic alphabet, the deliberately introduced static burst on space radio communication etc). But the article as it stands just doesn't seem to me to have any value. Sorry. Personal view I know.


That's better...

Post 6

eska

Well, you should have said all that in you first post, no ? smiley - smiley
I actually agree with you on some points, and I *was* expecting something about the "Alpha-Zulu" alphabet when I saw the entry's title...
And could you enlighten me (us ?) about the deliberate introduction if static ?


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Post 7

sidsaucer

I think your implication that the list was copied from an old reference book both impolite and inaccurate; I would not infringe copyright. It is extracted from a database I have maintained for about nine years. By all means advise us of those entries that you consider to be obsolete. However, I think that airlines with a substantial history, such as Pan-Am, should be kept on the list for reference purposes.

I did not realise that contributors were required to avoid dullness, this would seem to be a strange and difficult principle to apply to the Guide. It certainly didn't seem to inhibit Ford Prefect when he explored a small blue/green planet in this corner of the galaxy. If you think call signs are dull, you should read a little more Vogon poetry!


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Post 8

sidsaucer

There is already an entry in the guide on the Phonetic Alphabet(A364042). If you know how to create a link, please do so.


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Post 9

Dan

I apologise for being impolite and I wasn't aware that this information came from a database maintained by you (how could I be?). Perhaps the bit about Pan-Am being kept in the list for historical reasons might have been mentioned in the original article.

Now, as for fleshing it out a bit with other information about radio communications...

The Alpha-Zulu military phoenetic alphabet also has a dedicated article on H2G2 as noted above. It simply lists the alphabet! No history, no mention of why those words were selected (perhaps it's obvious, they have been found to be the most understandable over the air) and no mention of alternative alphabets (US law enforcement uses a different one - Adam, Boy, Charles, David etc). What could be an entertaining article just becomes a reference list.

I've been hunting around for a reference to the deliberate introduction of static in space communications, but I can't find anything. However, I remember hearing that the burst of static that you hear when an astronaut talking to 'Houston Control' releases his transmit button is deliberately introduced as a signal to go ahead (as an alternative to saying 'over'). As I say, I can't find confirmation of this.

It is true, however, that noise is deliberately introduced in international telephone communications. The transmission methods used allow for the fact that, during a phone conversation, only one person at a time is talking. This is detected by the telecom equipment and only the speaking person's direction is actually connected to the other end, thus freeing a channel for use by another user. The problem with this method was that the speaker wouldn't be able to hear anything at all in his earpiece (no breathing or background music etc as the level detector would cut that out). So, the speaker would keep saying, "are you still there?" to the listener, thinking they'd been cut off because it was so quiet. The listener would keep replying, "yeah, yeah, I'm here, go on", and that would require the use of a channel to transmit. So, the comms companies actually introduce noise onto the line so that the speaker is aware of some sort of connection.

Now you're really really bored aren't you??!!


well...

Post 10

eska

*yawns*
*goes to sleep*


well...

Post 11

Nightowl

The posting referred to above gives, with the exception of 'P-Piper', the international phonetic alphabet that is meant to be used in all radio communications. P is represented by 'Papa', but there is variation in pronunciation (English or French). The understanding is that these phonetic representations will cause the least confusion between radio operators of different languages. All formal radio traffic is to be conducted using this alphabet, which all pilots, hams, and other licenced operators are required to learn. Consequently, someone who's first language is not English learns alpha, bravo, charlie, etc., and may not know other, unofficial and hence confusing, terms. Consider, for example, another phonetic for 'C', that could be mistaken for 'K', or 'S'. Remember also that when radio operators resort to phonetics the reception is probably pretty bad (ie. noisy and/or congested).
Here is the h2g2 posting as I copied it:

The Phonetic Alphabet

As used by the Police:

A - Alpha
B - Bravo
C - Charlie
D - Delta
E - Echo
F - Foxtrot
G - Golf
H - Hotel
I - India
J - Juliet
K - Kilo
L - Lima
M - Mike
N - November
O - Oscar
P - Piper
Q - Quebec
R - Romeo
S - Sierra
T - Tango
U - Uniform
V - Victor
W - Whisky
X - X-Ray
Y - Yankee
Z - Zulu

As far as I know, this alphabet was internationally agreed upon, as a replacement for the older military communications alphabet which I list here now in hopes of entertainig eska, Born To Be Mild, and Dan, and thereby keeping them awake a little longer:
Able, Baker, Charlie, Dog, Easy, Fox, George, How, Item, Jig, King, Love, Mike, Nan, Oboe, Peter, Queen, Roger, Sugar, Tare, Uncle, Victor, William, X-ray, Yoke, Zebra.

Well, I hope that is all Q5.
over. . .


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Post 12

sidsaucer

As if to highlight how difficult it is to know whether airlines are dormant or deceased, Pan American Airways have just expanded their fleet once again by buying 24 Boeings from United Airlines. Ansett Airlines and British World have also bounced back following periods of financial difficulty.


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Post 13

spimcoot


You lot have the makings of an excellent article in here (but you'll have to keep the air of polite bitchery). Nightowl, thanks for sharing the older, camper, military alphabet with us; it's hilarious.


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Post 14

Researcher PSG

Actually, all we need is some more call signs from world war 2 or something and we have enough for an entry on "The Phonetic Alphabet and call signs"

Researcher PSG


Re-naming

Post 15

sidsaucer

Airtours International have rebranded themselves as MyTravel but continue to use the call-sign "Kestrel". If any researcher can modify the entry accordingly, that would be just fine.


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Post 16

U218534

Researcher PSG wants a phonetic alphabet from World War Two, eh? Well, I can't help you there, but i have got one for World War One. Here goes...

"ESSES-INK-GEE-NUTS-ACK-LONDON TOC-ACK-LONDON-KING!
A= Ack
B= Beer
C= Charlie
D= Don
E= Edward
F= Freddie
G= Gee
H= Harry
I= Ink
J= Johnnie
K= King
L= London
M= Emma
N= Nuts
O= Oranges
P= Pip
Q= Queen
R= Robert
S= Esses
T= Toc
U= Uncle
V= Vic
W= William
X= X-ray
Y= Yorker
Z= Zebra"

Of course, I will have to quote my source, the remarkably useful Frightful First World War by Terry Deary.

Joe C.


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Post 17

spimcoot

Thanks Me, that explains where pip emma comes from for pm. As in: see you this pip emma. Been wondering about that for ages. Some of these names are beautiful. Does the book give their provenance or etymology? Toc, for instance.


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Post 18

U218534

No, sorry - it just says the list, plus it makes that point about pip emma.

Joe C.


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Post 19

spimcoot

Strange that you never hear of ack emma, though.


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