Antennas

Neal Rabinowitz (Electronics Tech-65-67)

The ULQ6B was something they put on when we were in the Boston Naval Shipyard (1967).  It came with a 9-band spectrum analyzer that allowed us to duplicate enough of the transmission characteristics of a Soviet radar so we could inject a receiver killing pulse of energy into their 'recieve' mode and render that radar blind.  Radars emit an enormous amount of energy for a ery short period of time, then they go in to receive mode and look for a return echo that can be tiny.  The Spa-6B on Norris would transmit about 175KW, but for only about 6 microseconds.  When we were in the Black Sea (did I ever tell you about the bar-b-qued steaks on that trip?) we even used it to navigate by the echo off the Ural Mountains which were about 400 miles away.  Unfortunately, we couldn't see a large aircraft at much closer rage when it turned sideways to our radar, and fighter jets...forget it, but not to worry, we were an anti-sub squadron, right?  The Spa-6 was an old, very old radar, probably from shortly after WW2.  We also used the ULQ6B to identify ships because so many never changed the transmit frequency of their air search.  We had a shelf that was about seven feet long filled with books of pulse characteristics of Soviet radars, so we could fill in the blanks if we couldn't quite get an accurate determination of the pulse characteristics we needed by listening.  While in the Med, and after the Six Day War, we also escorted one of those intelligence ships (like the Pueblo named the General Shoup, which the Navy had a DD escort each time while in a position to be attacked or boarded as the North Koreans did to the Pueblo) up and down the coast of Israel.  We should have had twin 50cal guns on the signal bridge for that one, but didn't.  The CIA wanted to know what the Israelis had done with all the Russian radars they had captured from the Egyptians, and we both sailed in a grid pattern about thirty miles off the coast.  A Soviet intelligence ship, unescorted, was shadowing us and I took a picture of it from about five miles away.  I had a Pentax camera I bought in Naples and a 3x lens extender, so I borrowed a 700mm telephoto lens and carefully tried to compensate for the roll of the ship while shooting the picture, which came out dark, but was surprisingly clear for the distance.  I think I have it in my other computer, so if you're interested, I'll send it to you.   After we fixed the air search on the Norris (it hadn't worked for quite awhile before I got there, but I think it was mainly Ken Adams who fixed it), and after most of those guys left, I used to change the frequency randomly.  I also got pretty good at keeping it in tune by listening to the sound of the magnetron.  It had a particular hum it made while on, and I have always had very good ears, and still do.  I would listen to it and call up to combat to see if they were doing anything with it.  If not, I would ask them to stop the rotation on a good target and would max out the return by looking at an "A" presentation I had rigged up along side the transmitter (an oscilloscope).  I used to turn off the lights while I was using that small scope when the XO came by noticing the lights off.  He must have thought something weird was going on because he poked his head in and asked me what was going on.  I offered to explain it, but he wan't interested (I could also tell you a kind of funny story about something that happened with him at the shipyard).  Once when we were about to cross the Atlantic we had a contest with the quartermasters as to who could plot a more accurate interception course to the Independence (although it might have been the Forrestal) who we were supposed to meet 700NM SE of Ambrose light.  We won with a plot that was only about 3 degrees off over the entire 700NM distance.  Those carriers had a huge SPA-30 airsearch radar that we could hear and it had a very characteristic sound. 

When they put that ULQ6B gear on they had to also construct an aluminum structure over the DASH deck to house some of the power supplies and switching gear.  I was standing a fire watch with a yard guy who was welding on one side of this rather dark room while a guy was splicing wires that ran down from combat, along the main passage, and up to this little room that measured about the size of a 10x15 shed.  On the floor was a large  brass terminal box with two rows of connection points to which he was supposed to measure, strip, and connect each of the color coded wires according to little cards he was given.  There was only one small bulb for light hanging from the center of the space, so it wasn't too bright where he was working.  Every once in awhile he would hold up a wire and say, "hey Red, does that look like brown or purple to you?"  After a few times I said, "I have a drop light in the shop; I'll go get it if you want."  He said, "aw, I have enough light; I told them not to put me on this job--I'm color blind."  Well, that cable was about 2.5 inches in diameter, and at the time, as I was told, cost about $14 a foot, and he only got about half of the several hundred connections right.  Naval requirements forbid splicing wires, so they spent about three days removing that cable, and about four days installing a new one.  Needless to say, someone else made the connections to the terminal box.  That's why when we entered the shipyard we had an inop report with about three items on it (we would always keep a few things on it so we didn't have to chip paint), and when we left for Gitmo the inop report was about three pages long.  Great fun down there at Gitmo, I still don't know how anyone had the energy to go over to the EM Club on the weekends. 

Vistors since 08/21/12