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Day By Day© by Chris Muir.


Tuesday, May 31, 2005

submarine memories triggered by a post

the seawolf had a voice activated alarm system called the EY circuit, or as it was affectionately called, "the bitch in the box". to listen to the alarm, follow the link to scotty jacklin's website. he has a recording of a test of the system with all 40 channels sounded.
a couple of folks have posted about the ey circuit, linked in the blog roundup post below. they got me thinking about the circuit, and some of the foolishness generated by having a female voice available while underway for nefarious purposes.

there are more stories than i can tell about things happening with that female voice in the background announcing the end of the world.

here are a couple of memories.

feed station had a flood and a fire alarm, mounted side by side, on the feed gageboard. it was a convenient place to kick back, stretch out in the chair, and put your feed up next to. if the boat was rocking, or you started to get drowsy, the chances of your foot slipping and activating one or both of those alarms went way up. many is the feed station watch that had to explain to the engineer AND the captain why the alarm was triggered on his watchstation.

bilge level alarms were eventually disabled when we started going into places where a 1MC announcement would not be appropriate. until then, one of my favorite tricks was to take a 3 foot piece of brazing rod, and bend a little hook in the end. then, lying on the deck, using the rod to reach down into the bilge area to lift the float on the level probe. this was tricky, because if you got it right, what the crew heard was "hi". "hi bill" "hi" "hi bill". the engineroom upper level watch on my section was named bill, and i would do it to jerk his chain. nothing like the dulcet tones of a female saying hi when you've been out to see long enough that the driver's tan on your left arm is completely gone.
tricky. i screwed up once, and everyone, including the engineer AND the skipper knew who was doing the deed. "hi" "hi bill" "high bilge level in the engineroom" "high bilge level in the engineroom". followed almost immediately by "petty officer bothenook, report to the captain's stateroom". the skipper thought that since i was so fascinated with the bilges, i should spend a lot more time in them than looking at them. oh well. it was fun while it lasted.

submarines with seawater valves have chicken switches, located in maneuvering to allow the watchstanders to actuate to close all hydraulically operated seawater valves in the event of a casualty. on seawolf, these switches resulted in the ey circuit alarm "valve closure action taken". each of the sets of hull and backup valves also had relays that would trigger an alarm such as "port sstg circulating water valve shut".
the worst thing to hear is the following sequence. "hi bilge level in the engineroom" "flooding flooding in the engineroom" "port main circulating water valves shut" "starboard main circulating water valves shut" "sstg port circulating water valves shut" "sstg starboard circulating water valves shut" "port auxiliary circulating water valves shut" "starboard auxiliary circulating water valves shut" followed by "engineering casualty assistance team to the engineroom"
we used to get about 8 guys together to trip relays in the correct sequence to make it sound like we had real flooding for drills. when your rack is in the torpedo room, and you hear the whole sequence, the first thing you think is not "hmmmm wonder if this is a drill". the first thought is "hmm, wonder if we're going to die."


Blogger WillyShake said...

"having a female voice available while underway for nefarious purposes." -- sounds like something from Hitchcock, no? ;)

6/1/05, 5:14 AM  
Blogger . said...


7/3/06, 2:31 PM  

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