Saturday, January 12, 2013

Learn the code

I own a cell phone. It sits in my sock drawer most of the time, because there is no cell coverage where I live. When I travel, I usually remember to take it with me, and I find it to be a very handy item at glider contests. I am not into texting.

That phone doesn't work in Argentina, of course, but the Organisers have given me one that does. I use it to stay in touch with the US pilots, crews, other Team Captains, and the Organisers.  Surprisingly little of this communication takes place by voice. It's all texting, or "SMS," as they call it here.

Before I arrived in Argentina my total lifetime experience in texting amounted to about a dozen messages. Now I send about 70 messages a day, and receive about 50.

It all works pretty well, but today I started receiving complaints from the Team that I don't use the proper abbreviations in my text messages. Suddenly, I realized that I am the oldest member of the Team, and I haven't got a clue about the accepted conventions when it comes to shortening words and phrases in my digital expectorations.

I fully accept the need for brief messages. After all, life is short, and I have better things to do than to worry about spelling with my thumb.

I have a background in radiotelegraphy, and I naively assumed that the international Morse shorthand (in use for over a hundred years) would be understandable by my correspondents on the Team. Imagine my surprise when I learned that the abbreviation for "message received" is 'k,' not 'R,' and that the shorthand for "thanks" is 'ty,' not 'tnx.' Nobody here understands what 'iff' means, and of the dozens of useful Q-signals available, the only ones understood by my Team are 'QFE' and 'QNH,' and those only barely.

What's a Team Captain to do? Capitulate, of course. I hereby commit myself to learn the new code. Tomorrow, I'll let LG Crew know that he has some new instructional duties.

73 es QRT

P.S. The only person here less skilled in texting than I am is John Good.

1 comment:

  1. Since I wrote this, I've been getting SMS messages from my Team in Spanish.


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