Thursday, January 29, 2015

‘Careless Whispers’

Got this one off an ol’ Gun Forum from a salty bastard way back in 66’…

I was in the US Navy during the Vietnam War and served on a guided missile frigate as an electronics technician. They assigned me to maintain our UHF transceivers that we used to communicate with aircraft and other nearby ships. These transceivers had 19 channels and were in an electronics area away from the radio room. The radiomen used old telephone style handsets with a push button in the center of the handle that was push to talk (PTT). They could hear the other operator and themselves in the earpiece even when they pushed to talk.

The frigate I was on was stationed on the East coast. We made our way through the Canal Zone to Hawaii where we joined up with a New Zealand destroyer that accompanied us to the Philippines. In Hawaii, we received a order to make a ship modification to the handsets to cut off the earpiece when the operator hit the PTT switch. This was done to eliminate feedback due to the mic’ picking up sound from the earpiece. Well, this took several days to accomplish.

One night I was the technician on duty and received a call from a Chief Radioman. He called me to the radio room because he couldn't hear himself when he spoke into the handset. I reminded him the handsets were being modified. But, he insisted that one had not been. When I stepped through the door into the radio room, the Chief was across the room holding a handset. As soon as he saw me, he lifted the handset and blew into it 3 times and said…

"I can't hear myself!"

I again said the handset was probably not modified. He blew into it again and said…

"I still can't HEAR myself!"

He shook the handset at me and blew into it again. As soon as he unkeyed the mic’, this Kiwi voice comes over the loudspeaker…

"I SAY old man, ye've blown in my ear three times, would you like to kiss me now?"


  1. Durn those new fangled gadgets anyway.

  2. I used to spend a lot of quality time in the transmitter room working on the HF gear on a DDG. I can visualize that. LOL