When America was drawn into World War II after the attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, the country snapped into action and our citizens were ready, willing, and able to help. One big immediate need was knowledgeable electronics technicians and engineers, particularly people with experience in radio communications. Amateur radio operators were the natural reserve source for just that need. The FCC shut down Ham radio transmissions in January 1942 ostensibly for security reasons, but some suspect the reason was at least partly to motivate Hams to enter the armed services or work at government research laboratories. Still feeling the lingering effects of The Great Depression that began with the Wall Street collapse in October 1929, many long-out-of-work citizens welcomed the chance to be gainfully employed once again - especially doing something they loved.
According to this article from the January 1942 edition of QST magazine, pay at some military posts was around $1,620 a year which, according to the BLS' Inflation Calculator, is equivalent to $23,514.75 in 2015 money.
Unlike with the September 11, 2001 attack on the homeland by Muslim extremists when many people told us we need to understand the motivations of the terrorists, in 1941 the spontaneous reaction was to wipe out the enemy regardless of his declared motivations.
"Radar" in the Navy
The Navy is going in for radiolocation in a big way and needs 5000 men as technicians and Radar maintenance men. To obtain applicants with radio experience who can be trained in the secret new work in the shortest possible time, the Navy wants amateurs! Naval recruiting officers have the details.
Applicants must be high-school graduates; must hold or have held an Amateur Class A or B license; or, if no ham experience, must be engaged in radio repair work or have had experience of h.f. communication. Enlistment is as radioman second class, USNR, with immediate orders to active duty for the purpose of receiving six to eight months schooling in the new technique. A new Radio Material School for this purpose will soon be opened on Treasure Island in San Francisco Bay. Until it is completed, students will go to the naval radio training school at either Los Angeles or Noroton, Conn. Upon successful completion of the course, men will be candidates for promotion up to and including chief radioman, depending upon qualifications.
These high ratings and the creation of the special schooling indicate the great importance of this service and give point to the Navy's desire for skilled amateurs to man it. It is a field in which you'll meet many ham buddies.
War Department Operators
There is a continuing and urgent need for high-speed radio-equipment operators in the fixed service of the War Department. Over 200 positions paying $1,620 a year are now open at various Army posts throughout the United States and territories. These are Civil Service jobs called Junior Communications Operator, High-Speed Radio Equipment, and are covered by Announcement No. 20 and an amendment thereto. Particulars and forms may be had from major post offices or the Civil Service district offices: see page 28 of November QST.
The requirements for JCO have just been relaxed. Applicants must be citizens not over 48 years old; must have had at least one year of experience as radiotelegraph operator in commercial or government systems, which must have included at least three months' experience in the operation of high-speed equipment. Training at a service school may be substituted month-for-month for the operator experience except the three months required in the high-speed field. Candidates must be capable of reading, and transcribing to typewriter, syphon-recorder tape at a sustained speed of 40 w.p.m.; operate perforators at 40; copy audio English to typewriter at 30 and code groups at 20; be capable of "touch" typing at a sustained speed of 50. Unassembled examination, open until further notice.
On page 28 of our November issue, we gave some details of the Civil Service's solicitation of radio mechanic-technicians now needed in large number for a variety of positions in numerous government agencies, as per Announcement No. 134. At that time the offer was open only until November 6th, but an inadequate number of applications were received and the closing date has been removed - applications will now be accepted until further notice.
Originally in five pay grades from $1440 to $2300, a new grade of Chief Radio Mechanic-Technician has been added at $2600. At the same time, the experience requirements have been modified somewhat downward, and education may be substituted for part of the required experience. Details may be found at your post office or local Civil Service office. Ask to see both Announcement 134 and its amendment.
Free Radio Engineering Training
In our last issue, page 26, and in the November number, page 29, we reported the availability of free technical schooling in a large number of educational institutions in cooperation with the U. S. Office of Education. An announcement from the University of Maryland brings to hand a specific example.
There is urgent need of radio engineers and other technical radio men in defense work. If a sufficient number of applicants can be found, the university plans to convene on January 5th a full-time day course in radio engineering, continuing through August 7th. The course will deal with advanced theory and practical radio engineering, the student spending a minimum of forty hours a week in lecture room and laboratory. Tuition expenses are borne by the government, the student paying his own living expenses. Requirements for admission include a degree in electrical engineering or a minimum of three years' E.E. training at a recognized college. The appearances are that all students completing the training will receive good offers of employment. Application forms and an outline of the proposed curriculum may be had from Dean S. S. Steinberg, College of Engineering, University of Maryland, College Park, Md.
January 1942 QST
Posted May 25, 2015