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History of Communications branch within the SM service

Hi all.

First time poster. Currently serving and looking to gain as much info as possible from the old and bold regarding the SM Comms branch specifically - looking at dates, change of role (ie Sparker, OM, CISSM), changes from Mercury to Dolphin to Raleigh, equipment and routines. Using this for a presentation I am due to give. Any or as much info would be greatly appreciated!
 
Hi all. First time poster. Currently serving and looking to gain as much info as possible from the old and bold regarding the SM Comms branch specifically - looking at dates, change of role (ie Sparker, OM, CISSM), changes from Mercury to Dolphin to Raleigh, equipment and routines. Using this for a presentation I am due to give. Any or as much info would be greatly appreciated!
 

WreckerL

War Hero
Super Moderator
I think it was late 70's when RO(SM) split between RO and TSM. There was a lot of unhappy RO(SM)'s on my boat at the time.
 
Slight different Headings but OP has doubled up same same post subject here & at History Forum.

Suggest History might be more appropriate, perhaps a Moderator like the friendly @Seadog could judge & combine with his usual ermm courtesy, goodwill and impartiality...?
 
@schiaffini - Hi,

The early nucs of Reso & VALIANT* class had an initial Comms fit (poss D'nought, too? IDNK) which included a cut-down Gen Svc ICS Outfit with the xtal FAS Freq Standard as it's core.

ATT, late sixties/early 70's, SM VLF/LF Bcast Skeds were just starting to alternate between:

a.) Hi Speed CW encrypted Morse Txns which were received & Tape recorded PDQ at Peri depth. Then, at depth, that Morse B'cast tape was played back @ slow speed for handraulic KL7 entry & de-cryption. Except for Speed/Tape recording v. little had changed since WW2.

b.) For the only, or just a pair of, Nuc Boats at sea, Duplicated S/M B'casts switched from CW Morse to 5 letter groups of BID encrypted Messages hidden within constant streams of seemingly gobbledegook RATT (Initially at 45 then at 50 Baud speed) This was a revolutionary change from the dark ages. It enabled real time Rxn/decryption with much shorter exposure time at PD having labourless RATT decryption on receIpt through early BID eqpt.

It also offered a fall-back to a) if RATT Rxn was poor.
[NB Not unknown for Ops & Maintainer to combine their knowledge & cobble together a result from distorted Messages received from different Skeds taken from both a) b) methods - Especially useful when 'Up North'...]



Back then, a) Was still the Modus Op for the convential boats & relied heavily on Operator skills. Although b) eased the sparkers role consirably on the early Nucs it shifted the workload onto the poor R Mech/REA maintainer/planesman/panel watchkeeper (especially as the nasty Creed TPs often required rebuilding at sea after shaking themselves to bits, scattering heaps of rods, linkages fasteners every pigging where - don't ask!)

'70's & '80's saw a gradual transition from thermionic valve driven electronics to transistorised then solid state devices. As the SM flotilla carried a mix of all 3 equipments aboard it was an interesting & challenging time for any Greenie. Around pre-Corporate time the advent of the early SSIX outfits (at Baud Speeds in the K's) plus newer UHF Peri-Aerials for SatComm Rxn & Txns revolutionised SM Comms even further and not before time either IMO...

Besides the constraints of EQUIPSEC (I'd be here all b*****y day recalling all the Equipment variants & the problems they created, Grrr!) but I hope you'll manage to perhaps fit a few of these odd scraps from way back then into your presentation - Best of luck anyhow.

Bob L - (A one time humble S/M Pinkie)

PS IIRC our SSN Comms Dept ATT was lead by an RS, later became a CRS, plus an experienced LRO plus two ROs and a TO - All of whom had other SM roles on either fore or after Planes. I believe the TO/RO were pretty much interchangeable inside the W/T Office.

Earlier still (during the late 50's/60's (in both Gens & Boats) there were still a few old S/R former Telegraphists around who had operated & maintained their own equipment before the dedicated REl/REA/Rmech newcomers arrived to usurp their position.)

@janner might remember a few of that previous Op/Mtr cadre?
 

janner

MIA
Book Reviewer
I posted this of t'other thread earlier

Today at 3:45 PM
#3

Joined 3rd Feb 1960, JRO2, 2nd August 1960 promoted to the dizzzy heights of JRO1, 3rd of April 1961 RO3, 3rd June 1962 I became an RO2(G) so it must have been around this time that G and T's started. went to Boats 20th Oct 1963 no mention of SM in the rank right through until I demobbed as an LRO(G) Oct 1970. I do remember that for the promotion exams we didn't have to do Teleprinter type things as Diesel Boats didn't have them at that time. Normal Sparker type duty on Boats including Trot sentry. One Sparker would be detailed to do Signalmans duties and would do control watches at sea.

During my time in Boats A, P and O classes carried 1 CRS/RS, 1 LRO and 3 RO.s (later reduced to 2). The CRS/RS did control room duties at sea.
If you have any specific questions I'll try to answer them.

janner
 
Last edited:

SONAR-BENDER

War Hero
schiaffini - as you know, in any presentation, you need a dit! I was on an S Boat when 'The Hunt For Red October' was published. With many other things, it mentioned SSIX and Whisky 3, which up to then had been 'unmentionable'!
 
schiaffini - as you know, in any presentation, you need a dit! I was on an S Boat when 'The Hunt For Red October' was published. With many other things, it mentioned SSIX and Whisky 3, which up to then had been 'unmentionable'!

Worth adding for the record that yon 'The Hunt For Red October' novel was first published on Oct 1st 1984

Fillum later - was released on March 2, 1990

From wiki
 

repoman

War Hero
Killick Gollie on Renown(P) here. Far too technical for me. I was only trusted to go the commcen at Neptune to collect hand messages...and that was only when I was duty watch.
 
I heard quite a few ROs snuffed it trialling underwater semaphore ??


Ho ho :)

Trialling? Back in the day*: We, on SSN 03, achieved a first by jury rigging a RATT link with AN Other boat via UW Tel. establishing 2-way secure comms whilst deep. [IIRC Similar Boat to Skimmer links were also trialled with good results]

*circa 50 yrs ago yet Ticked an empty Box. Low operational value ATT due to limited range & blatantly obvious use of active sonars
:cool:
 
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