World War II Navy Radio
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NOTE - This is a re-creation of Rob Flory's original site which crashed some time ago - unfortunately some photos are still missing but most of the text is here - if you can help with any replacement photos, please send e-mail to Rob or to Nick K4NYW

Click here for Nick's 1950's-60's Navy Radio Pages -


Rob Flory in Radio Central, USS Massachusetts. Photo by Chris Nardi.



I am Rob Flory, the creator of this site. I have been an amateur radio operator since 1976, and I work at Howell Living History Farm where my colleagues and I show circa 1900 farming to school groups and other visitors.  Not only do we demonstrate, but we get our visitors involved in hands-on activities. When the USS New Jersey arrived in Camden to become a museum, I began to think about how to apply the living history concept to Navy Radio.

The living history concept to me means trying to learn about the past by reliving it.  For me, the idea of exploring the life of "everyman" is more interesting than focusing on a particular famous individual.  The process of doing this involves exploring the mindset(s) of the individual(s), studying and recreating the environment(spaces and equipment) they lived in, and the methods they used. 

I started out by asking myself, "What if I was graduating from high school in 1942?".  Since I was a ham for 4 years before I graduated from high school, I can picture myself wanting to be a radioman, naively thinking, "I should enlist in the Navy.  They have the best equipment, I can go into combat behind a foot of steel and I hear they have the best food."  I might be in for a surprise when I found myself on a tin can where in addition to my radio watch, I might be expected to be out on deck manning an AA battery, or assigned to drag a TBX ashore as part of a beach battalion.

My collection started with some of the equipment used aboard WWII Navy Ships:  RBB and RBC receivers.  Using them in my regular amateur radio activities has given me an intimate familiarity with their operation.  I have begun the process of learning how to type on a manual typewriter, which has involved undoing 25 years of bad habits on computer and electric typewriting.  Since every Navy Radioman is first a sailor, I have been studying books like The Bluejackets Manual. 

Come along with me on my study of World War II Navy Radiomen, the equipment they used, and their service to our country.