October 1947 QST
Table of Contents
Wax nostalgic about and learn from the history of early electronics. See articles
QST, published December 1915 - present. All copyrights hereby acknowledged.
Electronic warfare (EW) is a familiar term today, but in
1947 its use was a relatively new concept. As you know, great advancements in electronics occurred
during the War years - from all the major Allied and Axis countries involved. Transmitters and
receivers, modulation techniques, antenna designs, transmission lines, component introductions and
improvements, ruggedness and portability features (packaging), reliability, serviceability,
operational techniques, and other aspects of electronics benefitted from that oft-credited 'mother
of invention' named 'necessity.' Along with electronic communication improvements came the need to
thwart the enemy's efforts to exploit those new methods; hence, the term 'electronic warfare' (aka
electronic counter-measures, ECM). Now we also have electronic counter-counter-measures (ECCM) to
thwart the thwarting of the enemy. Can ECCCM be far behind?
Contributing mightily to the effort were amateur radio operators, whose service was enlisted
during the war and afterwards. In appreciation of the sacrifice made by the amateur radio community,
the Navy created special programs to accommodate them in its post-war operations.
Come Aboard, OM!
Radio Amateurs and the New Naval Reserve
By D. S. Wicks,* W3JDK/W1IZO
Navy's plan for the Electronic Warfare component of the new Naval Reserve has been realized to date
by an active and fast-growing organization throughout the U.S.A.
Backing up this training plan, the Navy is providing each of its more than 300 Reserve Armories with
a radio station, complete with radioteletype facilities, radars, direction finders and a well-equipped
electronics laboratory. In addition to the large stocks of gear set aside from war surplus the Navy
has purchased test equipment, television kits, tools and other items necessary for complete electronics
training. For localities where no armory is to be established, similar equipment installations are being
provided for some 400 Electronic Warfare Drill Quarters, which are facilities smaller than the armories
and exclusively for electronic-warfare training. Approximately 175 seagoing Navy ships, including destroyer
escorts, submarines and smaller craft, have been stationed on both coasts, in the Great Lakes and along
the Mississippi River to augment the Reserve training facilities ashore. A maximum of 5000 small radio
stations are planned for Electronic Warfare platoons in towns too small to support either an armory
or an Electronic Warfare drill quarters.
In the new Naval Reserve, particular emphasis is placed on instruction in the use
of new electronic devices. Here a chief explains the workings of a mobile air-search radar.
All personnel of the Reserve whose naval duties will involve research, design, production, installation,
maintenance, and operation of the equipment and techniques of modern electronics are included in the
Electronic Warfare component of the Reserve. The training program has been broken into three general
1) Technical Electronics (training of Electronics Technicians Mates, Fire Control Technicians, Electronics
2) Combat Information Center (training includes Radarmen, Sonarmen, Telemen, CIC Officers)
3) Operational Communications (training of Radiomen, Signalmen, Communications Officers)
At the present time, Naval reservists who come under the Electronic Warfare program are either enrolled
as members of the divisions of the Organized Reserve using the armories as meeting places, or are assigned
to Electronic Warfare companies and platoons of the Volunteer Reserve, and in the latter event they
may use either the armories or the Electronic Warfare drill quarters. In very small communities even
the home of a reservist may occasionally be utilized as a temporary meeting place.
As was expected, some of the most interested and enthusiastic members of the Electronic Warfare component
of the new Naval Reserve are amateurs. A considerable number of amateurs who were members of the prewar
Naval Communication Reserve are now enrolled in Organized or Volunteer Reserve Electronic Warfare units
and usually form the active nucleus of such units.
"The continuing cooperation of radio amateurs with the United States Naval Reserve is gratifying
to the Navy Department. Geared as it is to the many advances in the electronics field, the Electronic
Warfare component of the new Naval Reserve merits the interest being shown by the skilled operators
and technicians of whom amateur radio is comprised. The U.S. Navy is indebted to the thousands of licensed
amateurs, who, as Naval Reservists, served faithfully in the prewar Naval Communication Reserve and
as technicians, operators and officers during the past war."
T. L. Sprague
Rear Admiral, USN
Chief of Naval Personnel
One of the outstanding operating activities is the Naval Reserve Communication Network, which is
a comprehensive network of armory, drill quarters and individual reservists' radio stations throughout
each Naval district, Several hundred such radio stations are now in operation, and true to Navy and
amateur tradition have already served the public on many occasions by providing emergency communications,
the Texas City and Texas-Oklahoma tornado disasters being notable in this connection. To facilitate
emergency communications, in addition to the transceivers and gas-engine generators supplied to all
radio stations, more than 50 mobile radio stations complete with five kw. of independent power have
been strategically placed throughout the continental U.S.A.
Realizing that Naval Reserve radio drills might cause undesirable congestion on the ham bands, it
has been directed that only Navy frequencies may be used for such purposes. A recent letter signed by
the Chief of Naval Communications allocated these Navy frequencies for the Naval Reserve Communication
Network and set forth the conditions under which Naval Reserve radio stations would operate, as follows:
"... Amateur radio call signs, frequencies and operating techniques will be used for the usual amateur
radio type operations as well as to provide emergency communications to localities in the event of disasters
such as storms, floods and fires, including practicing therefore. When operating on amateur frequencies,
FCC amateur radio rules and regulations will be complied with. Only those reservists who are also licensed
by the FCC as amateur radio operators may operate Naval Reserve radio equipment on amateur radio frequencies.
Amateur frequencies will not be used for Naval Reserve communications drills or regular Naval Reserve
traffic ... " The Navy Department assures amateurs that the amateur bands will be used for amateur radio
purposes only and never encroached upon for official Naval Reserve usage.
"Only those Reservists who are licensed by FCC as amateurs may operate Navy gear on amateur frequencies."
This installation participated in the recent Texas-Oklahoma disasters.
In addition to the Navy call signs which are used when drilling on the Naval Reserve Communication
Network, arrangements have been made with the FCC to issue amateur call signs to all Reserve radio stations,
About 300 of these amateur calls will be of distinctive letter combinations with the prefix "K." QSL
cards are being procured for use of these stations when working in the amateur bands.
Naval Reserve facilities are nationwide. This map shows the approximate locations of present and
planned armory and supplementary facilities. There is one near you.
To assist the Planning Officer for this Naval Reserve program, a number of reservists are maintained
on active duty in the various Naval districts. Their job is to organize and administer the Electronic
Warfare program at the district level of command. There follows a list of the amateurs presently filling
such positions throughout the country: Boston: Cmdr. Kaulback, ex-W1LV; Cmdr. Coleman, W1NK; Lt. Cmdr,
Slavin, W1FGC; RM1/c Gagnon, W1LQQ; ETM1/c Ajootian, W1QIE. New York: Lt. Cmdr. Fischer, W2LA; CETM
Philactos, W2IWH; Philadelphia: Cmdr. Martin, W3QV; Cmdr. Williams, W3ZAE; NOIfolk: Cmdr. Colbert, W6ADG;
Charleston: Cmdr. Dean, W4DAW; Cmdr. Stewart, W4CE; Lt. Cmdr. Bowden, W1AVG; Jacksonville: Lt. (jg)
Fletcher, W4AEF; CETM Cunningham, W4SQ; CRM Wilson, ex-W4AT; New Orleans: Cmdr. Binford, W5MBC; Cmdr.
McCoy, W4OI; Lt. Cmdr. Zammit, W5HKP; Lt. Cmdr. Powell, W5IZJ; CRM Edmiston, W5GRG; ACETM Schleiff,
W5JKT; ACETM Lee, W5GCJ; Chicago: Cmdr. Wahl, W0FED; Lt. Cmdr. Tucker, W9HF; Lt. Cmdr. Larkin, W9RKV;
ACETM Bobo, W8PYZ; ETM2/c Baney, W0ZZA; San Diego: Cmdr. Lowe, ex-W9NP; Lt. Cmdr, Estep, W6DEQ; Lt.
Cmdr. Wagar, ex-W2AQ; CRM Starge, W6HKX; San Francisco: Cmdr. Shields, W9PWO; Lt. Cmdr. Gibson, W6HTY;
Lt. (jg) Twomey, W2TBF; Ens. Ashe, W7OVQ; CETM Huckaby, W6VWF; Seattle: Lt. Cmdr. Tatro, W7EKW; Lt.
(jg) Smith, W7BKW; ACETM Leonard, W7DPU; Washington: Lt. Rigor, W3QL; CETM Carreras, W3EC; RM1/c Warner,
The Electronic Warfare Plan specifies the maintenance of close liaison between the Planning Officer
and the ARRL and Institute of Radio Engineers. Currently, this liaison is maintained for cooperation
in the many phases of Naval Reserve activities with Mr. George Bailey, W2KH, who is executive secretary
of IRE as well as president of ARRL.
Amateurs, both those who are now Naval reservists and those interested in the Naval Reserve, are
cordially invited to visit the headquarters of a nearby Electronic Warfare unit. The services of amateurs
are useful in coordinating local civil emergency communications plans. The assistance of amateurs who
volunteer as training advisors, instructors and lecturers to Reserve units will be appreciated,
Those amateurs desiring more information on the Naval Reserve Electronic Warfare program are invited
to write to the commandant of the Naval district in which they reside (see map). Addresses are:1ND,
495 Summer St., Boston: 3ND, 90 Church St., N.Y.C.; 4ND, Navy Yard, Phila.; 5ND, Naval Operating Base,
Norfolk; 6ND, Naval Base, Charleston; 7ND, Naval Air Station, Jacksonville; 8ND, New Federal Bldg.,
New Orleans; 9ND, Naval Training Center, Great Lakes, Ill.: 11ND, Naval Operating Base, San Diego; 12ND,
Civic Center, San Francisco: 13ND, Naval Station, Seattle.
About the Author
Commander Delbert S. Wicks, USN, is a native of Providence, R.I., where he held the call W1IZO. He
received his A.B. and M.Sc. degrees from Brown University for work in mathematics and electronics. An
officer in NCR, he was ordered to duty in 1940, serving first as instructor in math and navigation at
the Academy, later at Radiation Labs of M.I.T., and finally as assistant head of radar design in the
BuShips, Washington. Soon after V-J Day, Cmdr. Wicks was ordered to the office of the Assistant Chief
of Naval Personnel (Naval Reserve) where he developed and placed in operation the Naval Reserve Electronic
Warfare Plan. Commander Wicks has been a member of ARRL and the Providence Radio Association since 1933
and is also a member of IRE. He is the proud father of three children, the younger two being leap-year
twins born February 29, 1944.
* Commander, USN, Naval Reserve Planning Officer (Electronic Warfare); Room
3062, Arlington Annex, Navy Dept., Washington 25, D. C.
Posted July 8, 2016