Now, tnx much OM for a great story, and a really great lesson. As a former Navy RM, and also a holder of that wonderful piece of paper allowing one to use "Ye Olde Vibroplexe Bugge" on USN circuits (#CLF-23) I consider myself fortunate that I never was caught up like that.
I was, however caught up another way.... whilst stationed at NAVCOMMUNIT (later NAVCOMMSTA Argentia, NFLD (NWP) I was, literally, in CW heaven, since, at that time, the USCG Intl Ice Patrol HQ was there (NIK/NJN) and was co-located with our operating positions. As a result, I, unlike a lot of Navy RM's, got experienced with MF and merchant operating, and we had a Chief who demanded that we work CW EVERY watch, regardless if we had actual traffic or not, he wanted us to copy press, or fleet bcst from NSS or NAA, or any comml stations. Well, we had a CW ASW Air/Gnd ckt that was only occasionally used, but happened to be on a freq (I recall it to be 9001Khz) that was great at night for hitting the Azores, and also Asmara, Ethiopia, where, at the time, we also had Commsta's.
I had a bunch of guys who had graduated from RM "A" school who were stationed at those places, along with some other places around the world, and sometimes condx would be just rite for some DX ragchewing..the approved method, then was INT QTR as an innocent request to start the ball rolling, and the ragchew would kind of just take off.... well next thing, you would have INT OP, etc, and of course, I would reply with my sine (GW) and we would have a good ole chew, taking up an hour or so of watch, or until the freq went bad.... we deliberately were using that freq because it was rarely (read never, or only when I, or another CW addict was flying as radio op in the patrol aircraft)... Those were fun times, and, as you probably recall, at that point (mid-60's) in our history, ASW was real serious biz, we were on a "go to war" footing at all times, and the frequencies were monitored by our "big brother".
OK, well, as luck would have it, NAVSECGRU picked one of the nites we were having a ragchew to monitor 9001, and let me tell you, they had me dead to rights, sine and all, no wiggle room.... the Chief called me into his office, and I figured, "Well, GW, you just made RM2, and now its gonna be mast for you and the crow is gone, I also, in the way of the Navy, also figured that one takes all that comes at one, good or bad, without complaining, for that, is the way of the world"....
Anyhow, the Chief picks up the yellow flimsies, and does the Chief thing of looking at them for a long time and looking at me a long time, etc, etc (The usual discomfort thing, "makem sweat,then drop the axe")..well, all of a sudden he bursts out laughing and says "Moore, did you enjoy your code practice?" I said the only thing I could, under the circumstances "Hell Yes, Chief", and he replies, "well, look at this, you burned the (expletive deleteds) at NAVSECGRU, how fast were you sending" I said " Chief, I don't know, we were just ragchewing, ya know, we all know eachother's fists, it was a lot of Q&Z sigs for brevity, and a lot of shorthand....." Well he just laughs to beat the band, and says, "Moore, Keep up the good work, just don't get caught the next time...why don't ya get the 'mitter site to bring up a ham freq, you guys are all hams too aren't you? Set it up with those guys over the orderwire, but stay off of 9001 because those guys are mad as hell that they couldn't keep up with you ."
Well, that's my QRQ/QRS story, but I gotta tell you, I have been burned more than once, and it is a truly humbling experience, and once burned, the meaning of QRS, and the golden rule of "always call, or reply at a comfortable operating speed" has been burned into my mind permanently..
If you are interested in such things, a pix of my speed key cert, the memo of the test given to me by the USCG RM, and some pix of the last voyage of the USS America when they towed her out to be used for live fire exercises are located at http://www.moorefelines.com/19_APR_05
73 es tnx for a great story...
de Greg "GW" Moore