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  • Signals Exam

    Hi All,

    On the 27th of March I passed my Orals exam in Belfast. Unfortunately, three days previous to the exam, my signals certificate expired.

    I'm now told I have to resit the signals exam before I can apply for my CoC.

    The exam is going to be held at a different college from where I did my cadetship, and since it has been three years since I sat it, I am a little unsure of what the exam contains.

    I have a basic syllabus which I have copy and pasted in below.

    Signal Exam Syllabus


    Flag requirement;
    Identify Number and Letter phonetics

    Single letter meaning e.g Alpha = I have a diver down

    Single letter with complement meaning e.g S18 = Speed is 18 Knots

    Use of substitute flags



    Use of International Code of Signals book (Code and Decode), using Indexes and contents.

    Communicating to a vessel using Morse lamp, initial calling, exchange of identity and message etc.

    Reading morse from light 20 characters sent in two minutes (18 or more = pass), no morse to be written and no reference to the morse code.

    Transmit by morse light 10 characters of code




    I am ok with the first part of it, i.e. using the flags and substitutes etc. I'm also ok with my morse code.

    The part I am having confusion with is the part that states 'Use of International Code of Signals book (Code and Decode), using Indexes and contents.' This may be a stupid question, but I just want to make sure I am 100% clear on what is being asked of me. Am I right in thinking that they will show me a message with the flags (e.g. PD1) and I have to use the book to 'decode' it and tell the examiner it means 'My navigation lights are not functioning'?

    Would the 'coding' then be they tell me the message I want to give and I would use the book to find out the Flags to show?

    One last question, I had to order my own copy of the International Code of Signals for this exam, which I ordered from Amazon. I have noticed that the copy I bought is the United States Edition. I assume there will be no major differences in this than the UK Edition?

    Sorry if this was a bit long winded, any help on this would be hugely appreciated.

    Thank you,

    JT

  • #2
    Originally posted by Mantaforce View Post
    On the 27th of March I passed my Orals exam in Belfast.
    Congratulations!

    Am I right in thinking that they will show me a message with the flags (e.g. PD1) and I have to use the book to 'decode' it and tell the examiner it means 'My navigation lights are not functioning'?
    Not sure if they will show you flags or just give you the code group in written or spoken letters and then you use the book to decode, but you have the gist.

    Would the 'coding' then be they tell me the message I want to give and I would use the book to find out the Flags to show?
    The code group as letters/numbers, rather than flags.

    I assume there will be no major differences in this than the UK Edition?
    Nothing significant. You used to be able to download a PDF version of it from the USCG website.

    Edit - you still can: http://msi.nga.mil/MSISiteContent/St...COS/pub102.zip

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by Steve View Post
      Congratulations!
      Thank you, I'll be able to relax and celebrate properly once I get this exam out of the way.

      Thank you for your reply. In the syllabus I pasted above it states 'using indexes and contents'. Would this be a case of for example, they give me a three letter signal beginning with M and they would want to see me identify this as a medical signal and then use the contents to find the medical signal section?

      And with the coding of a message, they would tell me the content of the signal to be given and I would use the index to find the appropriate page to code the message?

      Thanks again for the reply.

      Comment


      • #4
        I shouldn't gloat, but I'm so glad that I never have to do that seriously stupid waste of space pointless exam EVER AGAIN :-)

        Good luck, you'll be fine.

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by YoungMariner View Post
          I shouldn't gloat, but I'm so glad that I never have to do that seriously stupid waste of space pointless exam EVER AGAIN :-)

          Good luck, you'll be fine.
          Agree with you there.

          Out of all the pointless stuff you learn at college on the Deck side, of which there is an awful lot, the signals exam has to be one of the most pointless.

          One of the last times signal flags were used in a proper serious situation, was to send messages in the Battle of Jutland in 1916. Only flags really used now are Alfa, Bravo and Quebec. Know these three and you will know all the flags that will ever come in practically useful for the rest of your sea going career.

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          • #6
            i have some past exam papers from signals exams in pdf if you wish

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by yeti9389 View Post
              i have some past exam papers from signals exams in pdf if you wish
              That would be amazing. I will PM you my email address.

              seriously stupid waste of space pointless exam
              the signals exam has to be one of the most pointless.
              Haha, I completely agree with both of you. Just one of the many hoops I have to jump through to get my ticket. It seems so daft that I have passed I have passed my HND, all my short courses (that matter) and now my Orals and the thing standing in my way is my signals certificate. Why it expires in the first place is a mystery to me.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by Mantaforce View Post
                Would this be a case of for example, they give me a three letter signal beginning with M and they would want to see me identify this as a medical signal and then use the contents to find the medical signal section?
                In the particular case of medical signal groups I would expect you to go straight to the medical section without thought or hesitation - that is why the pages are a different colour. Otherwise, I think for decoding you would leaf through to the appropriate section, I doubt using the contents to go by page number would be any faster. The contents and/or index are more useful for coding.

                Originally posted by pignutpilot View Post
                One of the last times signal flags were used in a proper serious situation, was to send messages in the Battle of Jutland in 1916.
                Nonsense. Signal flags are used every day by the world's navies, both for compact single letter groups and longer multi-character groups. EMCON is one of the reasons, but they are also very convenient for certain messages and indications.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Steve View Post
                  Nonsense. Signal flags are used every day by the world's navies, both for compact single letter groups and longer multi-character groups. EMCON is one of the reasons, but they are also very convenient for certain messages and indications.
                  Which is why we need it in the merchant navy....

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    In the particular case of medical signal groups I would expect you to go straight to the medical section without thought or hesitation -that is why the pages are a different colour.
                    The pages in the copy I bought online are all the same colour. But I know what you mean, if he gives me a three-character message beginning with M then he would want me to correctly identify it as a medical message and go to the medical section. Incidentally, my exam is tomorrow.. so fingers crossed!

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by pignutpilot View Post
                      Which is why we need it in the merchant navy....
                      You could get STUFT.

                      But I was rubbishing your point about the last serious use, not about its relevance to the Merchant service.


                      Originally posted by Mantaforce View Post
                      Incidentally, my exam is tomorrow.. so fingers crossed!
                      Good luck!

                      Comment

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