Tuesday, 2 December 2008

VHF course

OK, I'll try and do some updating from the last few days now. It's been a very busy few days trying to get as much of the paperwork and making of resources done as possible so I could take the day off on Sunday to do my VHF course.

Friday we were back in uni for our day on campus. It was good to see everyone again but it all felt like a huge rush from lecture to tutor meetings to lunch and then on to hand in our GTCS forms. Most folk rushed straight off afterwards as everyone had a lot of writing up and lesson planning to do. We got the results of our group assessments back - I was quite pleased with ours, which forms part of our final mark for the course.

Sunday I had a lovely drive up to Largs - early. Left the house at 7.30am - it was a beautiful, still day, cold but clear. Luckily the roads were very quiet at that time so I was able to take in the scenery - lots of beautiful, frosty trees - it's been a long time since I've seen trees like that! There was a big bank of fog off Ardrossan so I couldn't see a lot of Arran.

It was beautiful and still in Largs with clear views all around.

By the end of the course (at 5.30pm) it was very frosty again and the car was all iced up.

The VHF short wave radio course (with 1st Scotsail Training) was excellent. I really enjoyed it! I had been looking on it as a necessary evil as you need to be licenced to use a VHF radio legally, and I knew a lot of the course would be relevant to small boats and not to handheld sets for kayaks, so I was surprised at how enjoyable I found it all. There was a huge amount to take in - I made 10 pages of notes! And there was a practical exam as well as a written one at the end. Virtually the whole course was to do with DSC (digital selective channel) which is not a function of my handheld VHF, but it was fascinating stuff. I was extremely pleased not only to pass (so I can now apply to OFCOM for my lifetime licence for a mere £25), but to get 100% in the written exam!!! Now if I ever take a school trip on a yachting trip, I'll feel confident that if the skipper and crew were unable to, I could call for help on the VHF and would know how to go about it all, the correct things to say, the information required, etc.

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