World War II Navy Radio
The Radioman's Job
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NOTE - This is a re-creation of Rob Flory's original site which crashed some time ago - unfortunately some photos are still missing but most of the text is here - if you can help with any replacement photos, please send e-mail to Rob or to Nick K4NYW

Click here for Nick's 1950's-60's Navy Radio Pages -

Day to Day Work of a Radioman
The work of a radioman naturally varied depending on whether on ship or shore, or even what kind of ship.  As an example, I'll use a battleship, whose radio system is set up much like a carrier or cruiser as well.  On smaller vessels, some of these duties were combined, or eliminated.
Radio Central (Radio I)
Radio central was the location where most radio traffic occurred.  A number of operating positions, consisting of two receivers and a typewriter(mill), were manned at the same time by rated men.  Their job for a 4-hour watch was to copy the signals heard on the receiver using the mill.  Most of the time, the messages were the Fox broadcasts sent by a network of powerful shore stations.  It was not possible to interrupt these broadcasts to ask for fills if fading or interference caused the radioman to miss something, so usually the broadcasts were monitored on more than one frequency or more than one station at a time.
The messages came in 5-character groups of numbers and letters.  The radioman had no idea what he was receiving.  His transcriptions would be passed to the supervisor, usually a Chief Radioman.  He would pass the messages to the adjacent code room for decoding and distribution.
Strikers, or apprentice radiomen, were usually responsible for keeping the coffee flowing, passing the messages, and cleaning up.  Listening in and copying messages would give them on-the-air practice.
As radio silence was important, the radiomen rarely used the keys at their operating positions.
Radio II (Transmitter Room)
Radio II had most of the ships transmitters, and a full set of receivers to cover VLF, LF, MF, and HF for monitoring or casualty use.  Stan Bryn, Seaman 1st Class/Radioman Striker on battleship ALABAMA, reported that he shared Radio II duty with one other man, and they both bunked right there to facilitate manning it 24 hours a day.  His daily job was to set the transmitters on frequency.  Norm Dalling, CWO on escort carrier KITKUN BAY reported that he gave informal classes for strikers in Radio II.
Radio III (Casualty)
Battleship Massachusetts has enough equipment in Radio III to provide back-up communications in case of failures in Radio I or II.  It is also arranged for Morse code classes for strikers.
Combat Information Center (CIC)
CIC was the site of most tactical communications, especially voice circuits to other ships and aircraft.  A radioman here spent most of his time transcribing the voice communications on the various channels.  This must have taken some very good typing skills.