April 1945 QST
Wax nostalgic about and learn from the history of early electronics. See articles
QST, published December 1915 - present (visit ARRL
for info). All copyrights hereby acknowledged.
In 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 positions.
An Opportunity to Receive Valuable Radio Training While Serving Your Country
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
The Naval Reserve Armory at Michigan City, Ind., one of four
schools at which pre-radio courses are given un-der 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
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, W8BTU·W6EAF.
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.
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.
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.
CRT Ernest 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
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
Practical examples 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 special-ized teacher training course
at Radio Chicago before they are considered qualified for platform or laboratory
Graduates of pre-radio school are assigned to one of several primary training
centers located at Radio Chicago, 190 N. State St., Chicago; Still-water, Okla.:
Gulfport, Miss.; Takoma Park, Md.; Houston, Texas; Dearborn, Mich., and Great Lakes,
Radio Theory and Practice
Primary training 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 pri-mary 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.
Throughout secondary training great emphasis is placed on the need for a thorough
understand-ing of the theory and practice of all Navy elec-tronic 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 oper-ating 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 stu-dents 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.
The need 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 war.
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.
Posted September 27, 2019
(updated from original post on 4/25/2011)