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 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
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."
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