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Come Aboard, OM! - Radio Amateurs and the New Naval Reserve
October 1947 QST

October 1947 QST

October 1947 QST  Cover - RF CafeTable of Contents

Wax nostalgic about and learn from the history of early electronics. See articles from QST, published December 1915 - present (visit ARRL for info). 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

Come Aboard, OM! Naval Reserves, October 1947 QST - RF Cafe U.S. Naval Reserve Pin World War II- RF CafeBy D. S. Wicks,* W3JDK/W1IZO

The 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.

Naval Reserve electronics - RF Cafe

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 fields:

1) Technical Electronics (training of Electronics Technicians Mates, Fire Control Technicians, Electronics Officers)

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.

"K" amateur call signs assigned to Naval Reserve units - RF Cafe

Reservists who are licensed by FCC as amateurs - RF Cafe

"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.

U.S. Naval Reserve unit locations - RF Cafe

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, W3MYM.

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 Re-serve, are cordially invited to visit the head-quarters 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 5, 2022
(updated from original post on 7/8/2016)

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