Radio Operations Aboard Submarines

By Robert E. Straub - KC2AIO <>

     At the age of seventeen I enlisted into the Regular U. S. Navy in the fall of 1942. My first assignment aboard a submarine was the USS GUAVINA, SS362.

    The information below comes from my recollections of service and information from other submariners.


     The radio room is located at the aft end of the Control Room and is accessed through a sliding door. All the transmitters and receivers are in this area.

     The submarines were equipped with what was, during World War II, state of the art radio equipment. Considered primitive by today's standards, the equipment was rugged and reliable. The submarine carried a TBL transmitter, designed and constructed by the Westinghouse Electric Co.

     Actually, the transmitter was two transmitters housed in one cabinet that measured six feet high by almost three feet wide and weighed over 804 pounds. Power for the transmitter was provided by a motor-generator usually located in the pump room. The generator was powered directly from the submarine's 250 volt direct current power buss. Generator outputs were 2,000 volts DC, 1,000 volts DC, 250 volts DC and 220 volts, 60 cycle alternating current (AC). The latter for the filaments of the TBL.

     The TBL used two types of vacuum tubes - the 860 and 803 - both tetrodes. The 860 was used as a master oscillator, doublers, and driver amplifiers. The two 803 tubes were used as final amplifiers.

Frequency CoverageModePower
175 - 600 kcs.cw200 watts
175 - 600 kcs.mcw100 watts
175 - 600 kcs.phone50 watts
2000 - 18000 kcs.cw200 watts
2000 - 18000 kcs.mcw100 watts
2000 - 18000 kcs.phone50 watts

NOTE: Old terminology


     Later on in WWII SCR522 and SCR624 VHF transceivers were added to the Radio Room. These were multi channel crystal controlled transceivers used primarily to communicate with aircraft, particularly during Life Guard operations.

Next Page Comments for Robert E. Straub Zerobeat.Net

Layout and Design Copyright © 2000 by K3HRN
All Rights Reserved

Powered BytlchostAs Low as $3.49 per month