The Coast Guard Cutter McLane had two transmitters on board for CW operations. The transmitter for MF operations (mostly for 500 KHz) was a TDE a big black box, max DC input power 125 watts, frequency range 300 KHz to 18 MHz, and had a VFO. We also had an AN/FRT23 for HF operation but it was crystal controlled. So the only transmitter that would allow ham radio operations was the TDE but I had been given direct orders from the XO not to use any of the ship’s transmitters for amateur radio purposes.

About 9 months after reporting aboard the McLane I was married and then one year and one day that my oldest daughter was born. My wife had her novice class amateur radio license at that time and her call was WN5NEP.  Her doctor was also a ham W5MSQ.

The local ham radio club had a SSB net every Sunday afternoon on 80 Meters. One Sunday while I was on duty (that means staying aboard to protect the cutter while it is in port) I wanted to check into the net but using the TDE on CW was my only option. Even though I was on CW the net welcomed me in and after the net was over Doc (W5MSQ) and I shifted down to the CW portion of the band and had a lengthy QSO.

During our QSO the OD (officer of the day), a boatswain’s mate who knew nothing about radios, stopped by the radio room when he saw there was some activity. He asked me what I was doing.

I knew I was had. Violation of a direct order from the XO was sure to bring serious consequences. I may have gotten by with it if I told him I was testing out the transmitter but that would be a lie.

I looked up at him and simply said, “I am talking to my wife’s doctor.”

At that he started laughing so hard he could hardly contain himself. He walked off the bridge laughing and repeating, “I am talking to my wife’s doctor.”

He didn’t believe me, he didn’t tell anyone, and I didn’t get into trouble. That was the first and last time I used the ship’s transmitter for amateur radio use.


<?php facebook_ilike(); ?>


See information on the McLane at http://www.silversides.org/mclane.html

Share on Facebook

This entry was posted in Ham Radio and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *