Radio Central and Secure Teletype (TTY)

Aboard a Destroyer of the Gearing class, this space is the main radio location for tranceivers and receivers that allow the ship to communicate at both long and short ranges via voice or Morse Code. Navy receivers are precision instruments, designed to bring in messages under the most adverse conditions. Some of the models are used daily and others only occasionally for special purposes.

A Radioman would sit at one of the local operating positions (LOP) and could send out transmissions via a Morse Code key or would type on a typewriter any messages that came in over a headset. This message would then be decoded if required and transmitted to the ship's commend for attention. Both messages for the specific ship and fleet wide would be received in Radio Central. To help distinguish each ship, every ship had a voice call sign that was used to identify the ship during voice radio communications. In the case of USS Joseph P. Kennedy Jr DD850 in the 1960s to 1970s, it was "Elmyra".

Secure communications of a confidential or secret matter would be received via message by a teletype machine in the Secure TTY room just to the starboard side of Radio Central. Secure messages could also be patched from Secure TTY into the ship's secure communication phone system which is in CIC and the Pilot House. During the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis, the Pentagon's situation room and, rumors prevail that the White House, were in voice communication with JPK when her crew boarded Marcula.

Lastly, aft of the Secure TTY room was the Coding Room in which a officer would decode secret messages that came over via a special coding machine. When not in use, this machine was locked in a safe.


Radio Room in 1970


Looking at LOP station on Port bulkhead


Looking into Radio Central