Victors dictate the terms…peers negotiate the terms…losers bear the terms. You have a choice now, you won’t later.
I recently had the privilege to attend one of NC Scout’s radio courses, and thought it a worthy exercise to relay an abbreviated version of it to the general public. My background is not a radio guy, by any stretch of the imagination. The only familiarity I had with the field prior to a few years ago was what was discussed in university physics classes. I have no interest in it as a hobby or an intellectual exercise, but I do understand the serious need for a working knowledge of how to utilize radios.
The first day we discussed basic report formats, the reason for them, and several types of field expedient antennas. The general reason for their use and their capabilities were discussed, proceeded by building and then using them. I cannot understate how much of a difference this makes in the learning process, going out and building/using what you are being taught has a tremendous impact on the retention of the knowledge. Paper and illustrations become something usable and if you can do it once, more often than not you can replicate it. The focus was on easily available materials that can be used to greatly increase the range on 5W handheld radios and wringing the most use out of them as possible. In a word, precisely the primer a person needs who is not interested in talking to people in a locality and not three states away.
The second day focused primarily on using the antennas created in a role-playing exercise to communicate with a patrol. It incorporated the material and skills that we had gone over the previous day and illustrated the various report formats to convey information reliably and in an organized fashion. As an aside note, if one took the time to notice, it was an excellent illustration on the minimum amount of manpower one would need to even send a small group of people out to investigate suspicious activity of any kind even on your own property. Those harboring the fantasy of some type of traditional SUT or militaristic style patrols…even assuming every one of your friends has a CIB…are living in fantasy land, absent far more friends than I suspect most internet basement dwellers have ever had. Then again, I’m a slave to my lying eyes. Finally, there was an AAR and a brief discussion about what we found most helpful and what aspects of the course could be improved.
The facilities were more than adequate, there being more than enough chairs and tables to comfortably listen and take notes. The classroom time was indoors, which greatly helped with the wind and chill we experienced that week. However, the portions outdoors involved some walking, so I would recommend wearing decent footwear and clothes suitable to be outdoors for several hours. I think perhaps one of my biggest takeaway was summed up by someone else on the ride home. ‘He likes to teach, he’s good at it, and knows the subject…that makes all the difference.’ Truer words could not be spoken. I have spent the vast majority of my life around academia of one sort or another, and I would dare say have spent a few more hours in a classroom than your average person. Mastery of a subject is the foundation for a good teacher, but equally important is the ability to communicate that knowledge to someone else. An all too common problem is the inability of the right side of the bell curve in a particular field to communicate in a way the median and left side will understand. Often times we have difficulty even communicating to our peers. Understand this is not the case here. That fact alone means those with the willingness to be studious and attentive will receive far more value than the money they parted with.
Lastly, while perhaps not directly related to the actual class itself, the quality of the people present was on par with the instruction. I am rather jaded at this point about events or classes involving people within this sphere of interest. I have generally found the instructors to be hit or miss, and the behavior of the students to be a mix between the White House Correspondent’s dinner and Jerry Springer outtakes. The instruction was not interrupted by ignorant and snide remarks, as I have witnessed in other settings, but there was a willingness to answer relevant questions before moving on to the next subject. The attendees were not the right’s version of Antifa, social rejects looking to offload personal and professional failures on a bogeyman, but rather normal, well-adjusted men with families and jobs. It was refreshing to see this shift, and I dearly hope it is indicative of the minority of us who have drifted away from the internet harping and toward more productive action. On the whole, these people were relevant. Not because of some magic knowledge imparted during the class, but because of a willingness to do more than simply sit on the couch and whine. I doubt many of us agreed on everything and there were varying backgrounds and politics present, but the people present were doing something to be relevant and valuable to their kin and community. I would have traded a thousand articles or memes and a million comments on the internet for one of them. The patriot movement is irrelevant to any foreseeable future event in this country, but you control whether you fit into that stereotype or not. The class will not make you Radio Rambo, but it will make you a little more relevant to the discussion. I’ll trade that for petrodollars any day of the week.
– Jesse James