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Day By Day© by Chris Muir.


Thursday, August 10, 2006

recycling seastories: Communications hijinks

more in the recycling series from the golden rivet

The engineroom had an X-1J sound powered phone. I know you t-hull and LA-la boys probably don't know how that system worked, so I'll give a mini-extra military instruction lecture here: the X-1J had around 16 stations that you could call by selecting the station and then turning a handle (the growler). the station being called would hear the growler, and thus would know to pick up the phone. the circuit was common, so that all stations could talk, and more importantly, listen to communications.

X-1J story #1: the handle on the growler was held on by the shaft being peened over the handle. a file, used most delicately, could file off the extra metal that held the handle on.....now all that is needed is to drill and tap a screw hole in the shaft so that the handle can be used as advertised, and still look like a normal growler. the skipper on the mid-watch would get an occasional growl from the phantom growler, and that was aggravating, because just a simple flick of the wrist yielded an obnoxious and loud whoop. now imagine what would happen if the handle was removed and a 10,000 RPM angle grinder was chucked to the growler shaft...Armageddon on a half shell?

X-1J story #2: For those of you who never served on boats, or worked in an engine room, there is a wonderful little compound called Prussian Blue. It's used for checking metal to metal fits, like valve disks to valve seat, and the like. Prussian Blue is a bitch to get out of your skin. Big time, no bout about it, a bitch. The below decks watch was an IC2 that the nucs had it in for either real or imagined cause. maybe it was just because he was a forward puke. i don't remember. he had the unfortunate luck to end up standing duty with the biggest bunch of jokers on the boat (coners were 5 section, and the nucs were of course in 3 section duty days). after the evening meal, during the flick, every X-1J phone except the skippers was blued in the earpiece and mouthpiece. of course, the shutdown roving watch aft had to get some readings from the below decks watch, with the expected results. After about 3 times, young p.o. jones finally gets a clue, and starts wiping off the earpieces and mouthpiece before putting the phone to his head. of course, he has gone to the weirdroom and sniveled as only a coner in 5 section duty can snivel, and threatened the nucs with dire and dastardly happenings. the OOD got so tired of hearing it, he came back aft, borrowed our tube of Prussian Blue, blued the phone in the weirdroom, and then went into control when the belowdecks watch went into the weirdroom on his rounds....and then he growled the phone next to the skippers seat at the table....it was great, we could hear him all of the way back in the engineroom.

Telephone hoho. a young MM1(SS) A-ganger stood watch a couple of times with us (section interface..3 section/5 section story again). One of the true jokers on the boat was a nuc MM named A____. he'd call the mess decks on the outside line, ask for a guy in the section, they'd growl aft to let that individual know he had a call on the outside line forward, and when he'd answer the phone, A____ would say that since "Joe" or whoever was forward, could he bring back a cup of fresh coffee? well, A____ would call the skippers landline on the midwatch, and ask for the C.O., letting the MM1 know that the caller was Admiral Rickover. Can you see what's coming? One night about 0330, the skippers line rings, Earl picks up the phone, the caller states that he is Admiral Rickover, and that he'd like to speak to the OOD or Captain if he's aboard.....the reply being "F*** YOU" with a prompt hangup. the captain didn't look too happy in his jammies and slippers when he stumbled on board about 5 minutes later to chew Earl a new one. ahhh...the good old days.


Blogger PigBoatSailor said...

Hey now, bo, us LA boys had a similar system - we just called it the XJ, although with the 2JV in the engineroom and the JA up forward, it wasn't used as much. But it had pretty much the same characteristics, along with one other bit that may or may not have been the same on y'all old farts' X-1J - To answer a growl on the XJ, you had to select station 16 - "Answer". If you did, anyone could select your station and listen in to your part of the converstation if you were using the XJ. Additionally, if they growled your station while you were in "Answer", it growled the beejebus out of your ear, so it was common courtesy to pick up the phone and announce "growling" prior to doing so.

Of course, if you were a disgruntled sailor, and your LPO or LCPO were standing COW, and you just happenned to know that they were on the XJ, and you just happenned to have a grinder or drill set up to power growl as you described in your story #1, well, let's just say I'm sure you would get a chuckle. Of course, having never witnessed it, and especially not assisted in such an attack, I could not say for sure. *grin*

8/15/06, 7:36 AM  

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