Radio Amateurs in Navy Radio
1945 QST Article
times of peace and times of war, Amateur radio operators are the first
in line to serve their countrymen and citizens all over the world. As
documented in the pages of the American Radio Relay League's QST magazines
throughout the years of World War II, Hams proved to be invaluable to
the effort. Even though probably none had previous radar system experience,
their practiced aptitude for electronics made them perfect candidates
for the task. In appreciation for their heroic efforts to help ultimately
win the war on all fronts, the U.S. military put a lot of effort into
preparing radiomen and radarmen for life in the civilian world. This
article from April 1945, nearing the end of the war, discusses the value
of military experience when returning to "the world." Even today, many
electronics companies - particularly defense electronics companies -
still prefer former military people for technician and even engineering
April 1945 QST
of Contents]These articles are scanned and OCRed from old editions of the
ARRL's QST magazine. Here is a list of the
QST articles I have already posted. All copyrights (if any) are hereby acknowledged.
See all available
vintage QST articles.
Radio Amateurs in Navy Radio
An Opportunity to Receive Valuable Radio Training While Serving
by LT.(jg) CHARLES LILLIE. . USNR. W1JTG
LEISURE conversation here at Radio Chicago turns again and again
to the postwar future of amateur radio. Those of us who used to work
DX on 5 meters are already dreaming up rigs capable of operating at
300 or 400 megacycles and higher, while the 10- and 20-meter gang are
arguing the pros and cons of the still hypothetical 21-Mc. band.
It would be interesting to know just how many hams are now serving with
the Navy. There must be several thousand in the radio technician bracket
alone, for every school in this training program can point to a sizable
group among its officers, instructors, students and graduates.
The Naval Reserve Armory at Michigan City, Ind., one of four schools
at which pre-radio courses are given under the Navy's radio technician
(radar) training program.
The author, W1JTG, shows Ensign George Dean, W7EAV, just what a
6L6 really looks like, while visual aids officer, Lt.(jg) Al Rogers,
W9OZE, looks on.
CRT Sindelar, W8OOF, chief radio instructor at Radio Chicago, demonstrates
the electronic voltmeter to students. Left to right: RT1c Langello;
RT2c Shaw, W1NEU; S2c Birch, W8SEN; CRM Arden, W6LPF, and RT1c Diegan,
A group of Radio Chicago instructors gathered around a giant working
model of a multivibrator. Left to right: ART1c Sanders, W9QUW; CRT
Sindelar, W8OOF; CRT Alexander, W8VQ; ART1c McIntyre, W8TSR, and
ART1c Dunlap, W9OGG.
Here at Radio Chicago, our visual aids officer is Lt. (jg) Al Rogers,
an ex-lawyer whose 350- watt rig on 28- and 14-Mc. phone was heard under
the call W9OZE, Waukegan. Lt. (jg) Arnold Schwemin, W7EWM, in charge
of barracks, pioneered on 112 Mc. and worked 10- and 20-meter phone
from Clarkston, Wash., while Ensign George Dean, W7EA V, pre-radio coordinator
of instruction, spent his evenings in Seattle, trying to push 35 watts
of 160-meter phone eastward over the Cascade Mountains.
Sindelar, W8OOF, in charge of radio theory classes, and CRT Lloyd Alexander,
W8VQ, in charge of laboratories, head the list of radio amateurs now
teaching at Radio Chicago's primary school. Among the students may be
found returned fleet men such as RT1c Victor Langello, formerly attached
to the cruiser Boise, and CRM Oliver Arden, W6LPF, Ii veteran of five
years of motor torpedo boat duty, together with recently enlisted men
such as S2c John Birch, WSSEN, of Elgin, Ohio.
It might prove
interesting to follow a typical student through the radio technician
training program and see just what he learns in ten to twelve months.
Upon qualification for RT by virtue of the Eddy Test, the new recruit
is sworn in as a seaman first class, two pay grades above the normal
entrance level. Four to eight weeks of indoctrination training at Great
Lakes follow immediately and, after boot leave, the embryo radio technician
goes directly to a pre-radio school in the Chicago area. These include
former city-owned high schools and junior colleges such as Wright Junior
College, Theodore Herzl School and Hugh Manley School, as well as the
Naval Armory in Michigan City, Ind.
The function of pre-radio training is to bring men of
widely varying background to a common level of knowledge in three and
one-half weeks' time. Assuming that all students have some mathematical
background, it is possible to provide a comprehensive review of high
school algebra in this short period. In addition, the basic theory of
electricity is introduced from the electron concept, and the student
then studies simple direct current circuits, Ohm's Law in all its phases,
power, voltage, and current measurements.
of all theoretical problems are demonstrated by visual aids and actual
laboratory experiments. The student must be able to hook up and analyze
each type of circuit himself and he will do just this in the lab. Proper
shop technique is taught in separate classes during this early phase
of the training program. Furthermore, the slide rule is introduced as
a mathematical short cut. Every man learns its operation thoroughly
as he watches his instructor manipulate a twelve-foot giant rule hanging
on the wall and follows along with his own Navy issue rule of standard
size. Such large scale models of all types of equipment, together with
the use of carefully selected motion pictures, form a most effective
method of presenting new material.
Pre-radio instructors are
graduate radio technicians, many of whom are also radio amateurs. These
men must successfully complete a specialized teacher training course
at Radio Chicago before they are considered qualified for platform or
Graduates of pre-radio school are assigned to
one of several primary training centers located at Radio Chicago, 190
N. State St., Chicago; Stillwater, Okla.: Gulfport, Miss.; Takoma Park,
Md.; Houston, Texas; Dearborn, Mich., and Great Lakes, Ill.
Radio Theory and Practice
is of three months' duration. The mathematics course stresses vector
analysis and formula solution as important tools for the practical engineer,
while the electricity course begins with Kirchhoff's Laws and goes into
a.c. from sine wave generation into a.c. power and a.c, circuits, finally
terminating on the threshold of radio theory. A practical course on
rotating machinery teaches the do's and don'ts of this type of power
supply, while daily laboratory classes again closely parallel theory
lectures. Radio theory itself is introduced by a detailed study of the
vacuum tube. Then follows a study of audio amplifiers, tuned circuits,
detectors, oscillators, rectifier power supplies, and finally the complete
superheterodyne receiver, together with Class-C amplifiers and the complete
transmitter. The laboratory course concludes with the construction of
a working superhet, while lab is further tied in with theory by means
of a third-month course in servicing techniques. Upon graduation from
primary school the student has received a complete education in general
radio theory and typical circuits. He is now ready to go on with the
study of specific types of Navy equipment at a secondary training school.
Secondary schools are located at Washington, D. C. (Bellevue); Treasure
Island, Calif.; Chicago (Navy Pier), and Corpus Christi, Texas. The
latter school is devoted exclusively to the study of aviation radio
materiel. The Corpus Christi graduate will be an aviation radio technician
and may expect a limited amount of flight time in Navy aircraft while
testing equipment under airborne conditions. The other schools are more
concerned with shipboard equipment, although aircraft gear is also taught
as a necessary part of the curriculum.
training great emphasis is placed on the need for a thorough understanding
of the theory and practice of all Navy electronic equipment including
radio receivers and transmitters, direction finders, and underwater
sound gear. Laboratories are completely equipped with all the latest
models of such equipment, and every student has the opportunity to perform
actual experiments on the same gear he will later maintain at sea. It
should be stressed that the graduate radio technician's duties are concerned
solely with maintenance and engineering. No operating is involved, for
men are trained in operating techniques at other schools far less technical
in their scope.
It is apparent that RT graduates will hold a
highly responsible position on the fighting team. Successful performance
of duty naturally will lead to advancement. Advancement from the start
of training is rapid and may be summarized as follows: Enlistment or
induction as seaman first class. Generally the RT reaches the rate of
third class petty officer in the early months of secondary school. Those
specially qualified students are then graduated as second class petty
officers. Further advancement to first class or chief petty officer
is contingent upon satisfactory performance of duty with the fleet.
Men with college background who display outstanding ability in secondary
school may also be considered as officer prospects.
for radio technicians in the Navy is still great, and I can assure every
amateur that the training he will receive in this program is second
to none in the field of practical radio engineering. What is more, by
serving in this capacity you will be adding one more page to the enviable
record of amateur radio's total contribution toward the winning of this
The Navy is still accepting men for radio technician
(radar) training and, in fact, the need for such men is great. Seventeen-year-old
high school seniors may take the written qualifying examination (Eddy
Test) at any time prior to their eighteenth birthday. In addition, all
inductees who pass their pre-induction physical examination and meet
Navy standards may take the Eddy Test, and those who pass are assured
of assignment to the Navy for radio technician training. A highly technical
background is not necessary to qualify, but a knowledge of high school
mathematics and physics is essential. Experience with amateur radio
will prove of extreme benefit, too. All Navy recruiting stations are
prepared to administer the Eddy Test and tell you more about Navy radar,
so here is a direct invitation to every amateur not currently engaged
in war work to visit his nearest Navy recruiting officer at once for
detailed information about the radio technician program.