This week we spotlight John V. Parker, WH6DQU.
JOHN V. PARKER, RMCS(SS) USN, RET.
MY PREVIOUS LIFE IN NAVAL COMMUNICATIONS (AFLOAT & ASHORE)
AND CURRENT LIFE IN AMATEUR RADIO
A CONTINUOUS WORK IN PROGRESS!!!
Aloha! Oukou e komo mai!!
Welcome and come in!
I joined the Navy in 1972, attended boot camp and Radioman “A” School at the Naval Training Center, Recruit Training Command in San Diego, California.
I reported aboard my first command, USS Ogden LPD-5 in Subic Bay, Philippines. I was onboard for about two weeks and off we went to the Gulf of Tonkin, off the coast of Hanoi. Twelve hour watches, watching the HF broadcast (KWR-37) Crypto, operating Ship-to-Ship, Ship-to-Shore (KW-7) HF long haul communications Radio Teletype circuits.
From 1975-1976, I was attending Radioman “C” School in San DIego, California. After graduation, I was on my way to the Naval Communications Station (NavCommSta), Harold E. Holt in Exmouth, Western Australia.
NavCommSta HEH primary purpose was to provide support to Submarines as sea. There were three areas; Area A=VLF Transmitter site, Area B=NavCommSta base and HF Transmitting Site, Area C=High Frequency Receiver Site.
At area A the VLF site transmitted between 1-1.8 million watts on a frequency of 22.3 khz. Want to talk antenna farm, the vlf antenna was huge! The VLF antenna system consisted of 13 towers, tower 0 through tower 12. Tower 0 was 1,270 feet high. A few people re-enlisted at the top of the tower.
I spent two wonderful years there and my daughter was born in Exmouth, WA. I worked at the High Frequency Receiver Site and was responsible for keeping communicatons trunks open and also providing support for ships at sea. My supervisor was a chief in the Royal Australian Navy. It was so much fun! I really loved my job, being a radioman!!
While I was working at the the receiver site, we usually had a radioman who sat in the back of the room, copying morse code and passing traffic from naval and merchant ships. This is where I was introduced to Submarine Radiomen. The best of the best!
Needless to say, I evaluated my career at that point wanted a better education and more of a challenge in my life. So, I went through the process and volunteered for submarines. After leaving Australia, I was on my way to New London, Connecticut. Submarine Captiol of the US. I attended Submarine school and two years worth of electronic schools. I was stationed onboard the USS Alexander Hamilton SSBN-617.
After spending two years on the A. Hamilton, I decided I needed some time on shore duty. I volunteered again for the new Trident Program that was under development in Bangor, Washington. I was on a strategic deterrant patrol on the USS Alexander Hamilton SSBN-617 in 1980 when I heard about Mount Saint Helens.
I had orders to the new Trident Submarine Program and arrived at the Trident Submarine Base (Trident Training Facility) in July of 1980
This was a great place to be as you could rotate from Sea to Shore and back to Sea and never leave the state. So, I spent the rest of my Navy Career going from the Trident Training Facility (as an Instructor) to various Trident submarines. Uss Florida, Uss Michigan, Uss Henry M Jackson. I also attended an additional two years worth of electronic schools in direct support of the Trident Integrated Radio Room.
I retired from the U.S. Navy in January 1993 as a Senior Chief Radioman (E-8) (Submarines). I was stationed onboard the USS Henry M. Jackson, SSBN-730 at the time of my retirement. Having worked in radio for 20 plus years, I wasn’t interested in it as a hobby. After a period of time, I missed radio and decided to study and take my Technician exam. I passed with flying colors and was given the call sign KD7KFT in 2000.
I moved to the island of Oahu in August of 2009 for a job that I’m at currently. I’m a programmer analyst in the Center for Health Research for Kaiser Permanente. I updated my callsign to reflect my new QTH.
It is the best job in the world and the QTH isn’t bad either!
USS OGDEN (LPD-5)
1973 – 1975
The year 1973. I just returned from Viet-Nam. I’m an Radioman Seaman Apprentice (RMSA) attending Fleet Training School, 32nd Street, San DIego, California
After I graduated from Boot Camp and Radioman A School, this was my very first command. USS OGDEN (LPD-5)
It was a great ship! I made two west-pacs and one tour in Vietnam with Task Force 78 in Operation Endsweep.
It has been stricken and sits somewhere at the bottom of the pacific not far from Hawaii. Sad Day 😦
NAVAL COMMUNICATIONS STATION
HAROLD E. HOLD
EXMOUTH, WESTERN AUSTRALIA
1976 – 1978
I was stationed at the High Frequency Receiver Site on the Northwest Cape, Exmouth, Western Australia.
This picture give you an idea of how flat it was in some areas. This particular area was an air field in World War II.
It was used by the RAF and Americans. Sadly, NavCommSta HEH is no longer supported by the USN.
457 Lyon Street
Exmouth, Western Australia.
I spent two years commuting from this QTH to the High Frequency Receiver site that was about 40 miles down the road in the outback.
The best two years of my life. Rotating shifts of
12 hours on,
12 hours off,
12 hours on,
24 hours off,
12 hours on,
12 hours off,
12 hour on and
96 hours off!
This is the shire of Exmouth. It is located 850 miles North of Perth, WA. Very Small. You knew everyone!
This is a Google Earth view of the Northwest Cape that I obtained off the internet. It is actually miss-labeled.
Area A is correct, Area B is correct but Exmouth and the High Frequency Receiver site are reversed.
HFR was the last stop on your way off the cape.
This is a Google Earth view of Area A. The VLF site and the amount of land that it took up.
This is the VLF antenna arrangement. Tower zero is in the center with supporting towers located at the end of each
diamond shape. A total of 13 towers all together.
Tower 0 1,270 ft
Tower 1 997 ft
Tower 2 997 ft
Tower 3 997 ft
Tower 4 997 ft
Tower 5 997 ft
Tower 6 997 ft
Tower 7 1,194 ft
Tower 8 1,194 ft
Tower 9 1,194 ft
Tower 10 1,194 ft
Tower 11 1,194 ft
Tower 12 1,194 ft
This is a Google Earth view of Area B. It consisted of the Naval Communications Station (Navy Base) and the
HF Antenna Farm you can see in the lower right for the huge FRT (Fixed Radio Transmitters) used in support of HF Communication Systems.
This is a Google Earth view of Area C. This is the High Frequency receiver site. This is where I spent two years of my life. It was called
“The Farm”! Our full watch compliament consisted of; 2 USN CeeBee’s (Construction Batallion) usually a diesel mechanic and an electrician to
support the equipment used for generating power. Several radioman; a supervisor and one to two watch standers, one radioman to copy Morse Code
in support of USN and Merchant Ships.
During the Day (Day workers) we had our Site Officer, Site Radioman Chief, Cook, two Electronic Technicians and a Supply Support person.
We had our own Receiver spares in a large warehouse. Man! Tubes everywhere!
The HFR building is in the center of the circle. The inner and outer circles are where our Rotating Log Periodic Antennas (RLPAs) were
located. We could remotely select any of the antennas and rotate them in any direction. Way Cool!!
This was our command patch (unofficial)! You can see the large tower, spark for radio, Submarine support and of course a Roo!
Here is another view of the VLF Antennas. Life on the Cape was really wonderful!
Sunset at the VLF Site!
This is a link to a you tube video that someone took in 2007 which shows the area and VLF towers.
SUBMARINE’S AND COMMUNICATIONS
BASIC ENLISTED SUBMARINE SCHOOL (BESS) JUN-JUL 1978
USS ALEXANDER HAMILTON (SSBN-617) (BLUE CREW) JUL 1978 – JUL 1980
This is my first submarine. USS Alexander Hamilton SSBN-617. We were homeported out of New London, Conn but had to travel to Scotland in order to change crews. Atlantic runs in the winter were rough! This boat was decommissioned and as they say, turned into razor blades. I must be getting old. Up to this point, all of my Naval Commands have been decommissioned! 😦
Oh, the life of a submarine sailor! Swim Call!!
Oh what to do when your out at sea! Rig for Red, there is a fire somewhere. Don those EAB (Emergency Air Breathing)
Go to periscope depth and prepare to snorkel!
The real reason we go to sea! Strategic Deterrant!
This is the Trident Submarine that I was on when I retired in Jan 1993. The USS H.M. Jackson (SSBN-730) Ex USS Rhode Island.
I spent a total of 6 years of my life submerged under the ocean. The longest deployment was about 120 days. The Integrated Radio Room (IRR) was developed by RCA. It was computer controlled and contained a vast array of communications equipment. R-1051, R-390, URT-23, SatComm Transceiver, ELF/VLF Receivers and multiple Antennas. All communications circuits were configured through a main console. Once you selected the equipment/antenna. You pushed a button and BAM!
Your circuit was configured and ready to use.
It was a real adventure! The Trident Radio Room is located just forward of the white circle in front of the Sail.
The challenges that you are faced with when you are in the Submarine Service are vast. You are a changed person at some point in your life. You learn about your self, your strengths, weaknesses, what motivates you. How to handle situations and deal with emergencies quickly.
The process of qualifying in submarines starts after you have graduated from Basic Enlisted Submarine School (BESS). This school is about 7-8 weeks long but believe me when I tell you, it’s a tough 7-8 weeks. It’s only after you graduate and report aboard your first submarine do you really start to learn what it takes to be a submarine sailor. You are given one year to qualify once you report onbard. This qualifying process is very long and I lost countless hours of sleep at sea, going through technical manuals, piping tabs, drawings and tracing pipes hand over hand. You had to learn about damage control equipment and locations, all electrical and mechanical systems onboard. including; Ventilation, hydraulic, seawater, freshwater, high and low pressure air systems, diesel systems and be able torig (set up) a compartment at any location on the boat for any type of emergency. As well as be able to draw from memory all of the systemsI mentioned above. You are given a qualification card and you go through and see system experts who after a lengthy questionand answer period, sign you off. When your entire card is signed off, you have to have your Department Head give you a walk-though the entire submarine. He is asking you millions of questions and you have your little book to write down “look-ups” and you need to get the answers. Once he signs you off, then you are scheduled for a board interview. My board consisted of One Officer, One senior enlisted and four submarine qualified crew members. The interview took about 4 hours. After that, you still had look-ups and once you finished answering those, you were presented the following submarine dolphins that you wore on your uniform designating you as “Qualified in Submarines”
In the early 1980’s, I was stationed at the Trident Training Facility as an Instructor for the Trident Integrated Radio Room (IRR). I became involved with the Submarine Veterans of World War II. It’s a great organization and those men who served in Harm’s Way during the war, have my utmost respect. I befriended a gentleman by the name of Tudor Davis. He was a Torpedoman on diesel boats in the Pacific in WWII. Tudor introduced me to yet another amazing man, Mr. Harry Hoffman. Harry was a submarine veteran of World War I. Harry served onboard the USS N-1 (SS-53) out of New London, Connecticut in 1918. His primary duty was that of an electrician. His secondary role was the boats Radioman. When Harry was a Radioman, the sparks emblem was worn on the cuff of your uniform. His primary emblem, that of an electrician was worn on the upper sleeve.
Back in those days, the submarine qualificatioin pin (Submarine Dolphins) did not exist. They came about in the 1920’s. I thought that it was important for someone such as Harry to have a set of Dolphins he could wear proudly. So, one day, Tudor, Harry and I got together for a meeting and Tudor presented Harry with a set of Dolphins that I received when I first qualified. It was a very special day!!
This is a photo of the USS N-1 (SS-53). The 53rd submarine built for the US Navy since 1900.
This is the Radio Shack onboard the USS N-1. Somewhat crude by today’s standards but very effective for the time. Harry didn’t have any problems with Morse Code as he was a Telegrapher for the Railroad prior to the war. After the war, Harry returned to being a Telegrapher for the Railroads.
Sadly, Harry passed away while I was on Patrol in the Pacific. He was a great man and I’m truely humbled by having known him.
Sailor Rest your Oar!!
This is the AN/URC-32. LOCATED IN THE SEC RADIO ROOM, USS OGDEN LPD-5.
I remember this from Radioman A school, it was a little daunting at 18 years old.
This is Brownsholme Hall in England. My ancestors have been living in this estate since the 15 century.
It’s not Browsholme Hall, but it’s my QTH in paradise.
My old QSL Card: (This is the HM Jackson)
My new QSL Card:
I’m currerntly in the process of setting up my radio shack:
My Ham related interests:
Morse Code (I’m really bad but trying to improve)
I have the following equipment:
*** OHR ***
- OHR 500 Transceiver
- OHR WM-2 Wattmeter
- OHR DD-1 Digital Dial
- OHR 100W Dummy Load
*** HEATHKIT ***
- Heathkit HFT-9 Antenna Tuner
- Heathktit HM-9 QRP Wattmeter
- Heathkit HW-9 Transceiver with WARC Band Kit
- Heathkit PSA-9 Power Supply
- Heathkit SP-99 Speaker
- Heathkit GC-1000 Most Accurate Clock
- Heathkit HD-1410 Electronic Keyer
- Heathkit HD-1416 Code Oscillator (Original Owner from the 1970’s)
- Heathkit HD-1418 Active Audio Filter (4)
- Heathkit HD-1422-A Antenna Noise Bridge
- Heathkit HD-1424A Active Antenna
- Heathkit HD-8999 Ultra Pro CW Keyboard
- Heathkit AT-1 Transmitter (3)
- Heathkit VF-1 VFO (2)
- Heathkit AC-1 Antenna Coupler (2)
- Heathkit B-1 Balun Coil Set (4)
- Heathkit AR-2 Receiver
- Heathkit AR-3 Receiver (2)
- Heathkit QF-1 Q-Multiplier used with AR-3
- Heathkit DX-20 Transmitter
*** KENWOOD ***
- Kenwood TS-850 SAT
- Kenwood TS-870 SAT
- Kenwood DSP-100 (2)
- Kenwood SM-220 Station Monitor with BS-8 Band Scope Unit
- Kenwood BS-8 Band Scope Unit (extra), NOS in original Box and Instructions
- Kenwood SM-230 Station Monitor
- Kenwood PS-52 Power Supply
- Kenwood SP-31 Speaker
- Kenwood MC-60A Microphone
- Kenwood MC-47 Hand Mic
- Kenwood PC-1A Phone Patch Controller
- Kenwood Interface IF-232C
- Kenwood SW-2000 SWR and Power Meter
- Lookiing for SW-1
- Kenwood SWC-2
- Kenwood SWC-3
- Looking for SW-4
- Kenwood HC-10 World Clock
- Kenwood Vox-3
- Kenwood QR-666 Receiver
- Kenwood TS-130V (QRP Transceiver)
- Kenwood SP-120 Speaker
- Kenwood PS-20 Power Supply
- Kenwood VFO-120
- Kenwood AT-130 Antennt Tuner
- Kenwood MC-50 Microphone
- Kenwood TS-790A with UT-10
- Kenwood SP-31 Speaker
- Kenwood PS-30Power Supply
*** YAESU ***
- FL-7000, 3-button Linear Amplifier
*** MISC ***
- MJF 784 DSP
- J-38 Keyer
- MFJ Deluxe Versa Tunner II, Model 949D
- AEA Model PK-232MBX -Pakratt 232
- Knight Star Roamer Receiver
- 1950’s USN Fire Proof Straight Key
- Nye Viking Master straight key
- Tigertronics Signalink USB
- MorseMatic Model MM-1
- RF Power Components Maxi-Tuner
- J-Com Transceiver Control Computer Interface for TS-850 (used in place of Kenwood IF-232C)
- GAP Titan Dx
- Palstar LA-30 Ferrite Loopstick Antenna
- AIM 4170C Antenna Analyzer
- Heathkit AM-1 Antenna Impedence Meter
- Heathkit GD-1A Grid Dip Meter with full set of coils
- Heathkit GD-1B Grid Dip Meter
- Heathkit IG-72 Audio Generator
- Heathkit IG-102 RF Signal Generator
- Heathkit IG-5218 Sine Square Audio Generator
- Heathkit IM-2260 Digital Multimeter
- Heathkit IM-2420 Digital Frequency Counter
- Heathkit IT-12 Signal Tracer
- Heathkit IT-28 Capicator Checker
- Heathkit PM-1 Field Strength Meter
- Heathkit PM-2 Field Strength Meter
- Heathkit SG-7 RF Signal Generator
- Heathkit TC-1 Dynamic Tube Checker
- Heathkit TT-1 Mutual Conductance Tube Tester
- Heathkit VC-1 Voltage Calibrator
- Heathkit IM-5284 Multimeter
- Heathkit IB-5281 RLC Bridge
- Heathkit IG-5282 Audio Generator
- Heathkit IT-5283 Signal Tracer
- Tektronix 2225 50hz dual trace o-scope
- Clean RF Systems, RF Demodulator/Splatter combination
- Tektronix TM-504 4-bay power module
- Tektronix DM-501A Digital Multimeter
- Fluke 8600A Digital Multimeter
- Fluke Model 87 True RMS Multimeter
- Pyramid PS-26KX Regulated Power Supply
- Hickok Model 256 – CB RF Signal Generator
- Simpson 260 series 4 – Analog Multimeter
- Simpson 260 Adapter Transistor Beta Tester Model 650
- Bird Thruline Wattmeter, Model 43
You can visit John’s QRZ page at https://www.qrz.com/db/wh6dqu