Radio Operator 1st Class | Radio Operator 2nd Class

Radio Operator 1st Class

From March 15,1971 to November 30, 1971 I returned again to Leer/Ostfriesland and the Maritime School for Radio Officer 1'st Class. In the meantime, in contrast to the first school-time, my priorities had changed.  I had started a family, and the future was clear.  I visited the Deutsche Bundespost for Norddeich Radio with a view for employment as 1'st Class Radio Operator - a spring-board for a land job.

             The Marine School Leer (front view)

The test speed for 1'st Class was 110 characters per minute (22 wpm) for code groups, and 135 characters per minute (27 wpm) for text, also for five minutes without error.  We were the last school group in Leer to meet this relatively high test speed.  Later in 1977 it was reduced to 80 characters per minute (16 wpm) for code groups, and 100 characters per minute (25 wpm) for text for the General Certificate.  This was an impractical decision because much ship traffic; weather reports, nautical warnings, etc, is sent at 125 characters per minute, (25 wpm) which is a great difficulty for the newcomer.
The 1'st Class school group was actually only a continuation of the 2'nd class school group.  We all had a minimum of three years sea-time behind us, so the test speed was no problem.  A small problem for me was that shortly after going to sea, I converted to an electronic key, and must again become acquainted with the good old Junker hand key.

The young women and men in the parallel-running 2'nd Class peered at us with large eyes, in awe, which pleased us, and we, with condenscension, helped them with practical radio traffic practice. With pleasure we let them buy us beer in our favorite tavern, die Kleine Möwe, for stories of radio practice and the sea.

The appointment for the final test came quickly; the leader of the Test Commission was Herr Oberpostrat Hass.  I don't know if he understood the tension before the test, but he was full of good humor.  He said, "Good morning gentlemen, my name is Hass. (English - Hate!)  Reassure yourselves that it is not my inner desire to oppose you."

     Marine School Leer (side-view)

The clear-text test speed of 135 characters per minute (27 wpm) we had to copy on a typewriter, because in practice, it was hardly ever possible to copy at that speed in a legible hand.  I almost came to difficulty myself. My colleague, Hans-Joachim Grützner was sitting next to me, and we hammered out the text in exactly the same speed and rythm for a minimum of two minutes. That disturbed both our concentrations, and one of us deliberately changed speed to end this distraction.
So far as I can remember, we all passed.  We finally went our separate ways; one beginning with Norddeich Radio, one returning to sea, and another to a land job, or additional study.
On the day of the final test I called the Personnel man at Norddeich Radio, and asked if I could start working tomorrow, as the Christmas traffic had already started, and we agreed on December 6, 1971.  See more under Norddeich Radio.

The three former radio instructors of the Marine School Leer. This photo was taken July 20th 1984 during the official dismissal of H. Grums. Right: Hanswerner Grums (12.25.03) and his wife, Harm Hasbargen and Hans-Jürgen Wittfoht