Radio Amateurs in Navy Radio
April 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 positions.
April 1945 QST
Wax nostalgic about and learn from the history of early electronics. See articles
QST, published December 1915 - present. All copyrights hereby acknowledged.
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
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
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, 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.
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 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.
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.
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 laboratory duty.
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
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
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
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.
secondary 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
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.