Tuesday, July 5, 2011

'B' as in Boy

"ABC, 123, baby, you and me girl"
-Michael Jackon (A B C song)
If you have ever tried to spell something over the telephone you quickly realize that many of our letters sound the same: b or v,  m or n? To compensate we substitute words for the letters, tfor example I, B as in Boy, M as in Mary, etc... for IBM.

There are many standards for alphabetic codewords. One of the best know and most common is used by HAM radio operators and is called the "International Radio Operators Alphabet". Wikipedia describes a variant called NATO phonetic alphabet which changes the spelling of codewords like Alfa instead of Alpha.

Here is the Radio Code:

Alpha

Michael Jackson

Bravo
Charlie
Delta
Echo
Foxtrot
Golf
Hotel
India
Juliet
Kilo
Lima
Mike
November
Oscar
Papa
Quebec
Romeo
Sierra
Tango
Uniform
Victor
Whiskey
X-Ray
Yankee
Zulu

This is a lot to memorize. So I employed the technique of making a story out of it. The first four I know cold so the story starts with Echo.
The Echo of people doing the Foxtrot and playing Golf fill the Hotels of India where Juliet puts on a few Kilos eating too many Lima beans. Meanwhile Mike, in the month of November, accepts the Oscar from his Papa in Quebec while Romeo in the Sierras dances the Tango in his Uniform. Victor takes a swig of Whiskey after seeing the X-Ray of Yankee loving Zulu.

Not a great story but it helps.

Bottom Line

Try making up your own story in the comments. I'd love to see it improved.

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