SPS-40 Stories

A discussion about your favorite shipboard equipment. Tell stories about your experiences with shipboard technology.
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SPS-40 Stories

#1 Post by rogerdonnay »

The SPS-40 Air Search Radar system impacted my life in several ways.

It started when I went to AN/SPS-40 School in November, 1963 at Great Lakes.

Our president, JFK, was assassinated while I was in school.
Maybe that was a bad omen for me.

Six years later, I was working on the SPS-40 on the Kyes, trying to figure out why it kept tripping overload relays. We had to run it at 2/3 power for nearly 2 weeks while at sea to keep it operating. After arriving in Subic, I took on the task to find the problem. It turned out to be a defective cable that routed a 5000 volt pulse from the modulator cabinet to the final amplifier cabinet.

I touched the connector on the end of the cable. It should have been grounded, but it wasn't due to a defect. Because I was leaning against the air conditioner at the time, the current found a way through my body to ground. It burned a hole in the seat of my pants where my butt was touching the air conditioner. That burn on my ass took a month to heal. My arm was completely numb for several hours. Not long after that accident, I started having seizures while at sea. My shipmates saved my life because I swallowed my tongue on the first seizure. It happened while we were at battle stations. The last thing I remembered was that we were firing on coastal targets along South Vietnam. I woke up on the floor in sickbay, and my first thought is that we had taken a hit, so I reached for my legs to see if they were still there.

That incident ended my Navy career. I had taken, and passed, the E7 test but never got to put on the uniform.

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