Alpha, Bravo, ... oh dear, how unimaginative we have all become!
In days of yore call signs were personalised and preferably only three letters. For example, mine for the seasons I was sledging with the Mobsters was "GEF". Some base radio-ops were sticklers for the call signs only having three letters and if someone did not want his name reduced to a mere three letters a compromise had to be reached and one of the politer ones was Alan Johnston's call sign "BAG". The radio-op of the day did not realise when he refused "ALAN" and agreed to "BAG" that he was sentencing himself to a season of intoning "sledgebag" over and over again because, if radio conditions were bad and contact could not be made, base would call sometimes for up to 30 minutes on sked nights before giving up. All this could be heard in the field of course and provided a certain amount of amusement to those listening.
[31 July 2005]