Advanced Electronics School Treasure Island
San Francisco, California
November 1959 to June 1960
I really felt like I had lucked out getting the school. I had been told that the chances of getting it were less than 50%. I had reenlisted on pure faith and came up a winner.
The class was huge. It was a huge class in a huge class room and there was no space to spare. That was how it started. One of the first things we learned was how to use a slide rule. It would be absolutely vital to success in the course. After the first big test we moved into a much smaller classroom and there was plenty of space to spare! The PT errors got a huge proportion of the class. PT errors was a term often heard throughout the whole course... even while we were taking a test. The instructor would walk around saying "Watch out for PT errors!"
PT errors are mistakes in the power of ten' in computing with the slide rule. They are very easy errors to make. Fortunately I was among the ones who avoided PT errors and completed the course.
The text was a book written by one Frederick Emmons Terman, a genius in electronics. Some extremely hard to understand principal began with "As is obvious to the most casual observer..." and proceeded to present something that was anything but obvious. Guess we were not "casual observers".
While I was in the school I sat for the First Class exam. The next weeks class provided the answers to three of the questions on the exam! I found a slight disadvantage to taking the test while at Advanced Electronics school. I knew too much! One question asked for the definition of resonant frequency. From Basic Electronics school I knew that it was the frequency at which three conditions coincided. In Advanced Electronics I found that was not quite the case. The three conditions occurred very close to each other but not together. The choices on the exam didn't allow for that answer and I had to remind myself the test was not written for graduates of the Advanced course.
There were no calculators with or without memory. We used slide rules and pencil and paper. I really worked long and hard making my library of notes consisting of six notebooks with carefully detailed notes and drawings as well as technical materials I collected and added to my notes. The notes were cross indexed in a seventh Index volume.
Eventually the school came to an end. It seemed it never would. I received my orders to the USS Teaberry AN-34 and found that it's Home Port was San Francisco and it's berth was at Treasure Island... just down the street from the school! I walked down the street, out on the pier and crossed the Mine Sweeper inboard of the two and reported for duty. And so, my next adventure began aboard the...
I built a projector at home so that I could put the book into the projector and an image of the page was projected onto a glass screen on top of the device. I could put my page for finished notes on the glass and trace the illustration accurately. I created seven notebooks from the school. Six of them were notes the seventh was an index which allowed me to quickly find almost anything in the notes. They came in handy for years after the school... I still have them in my library.
Keeping notes was difficult. Scribbling notes did not work well for me. I devised my own shorthand system and was able to keep fairly accurate and complete notes. But, I had to transcribe each evening. Left for any time the shorthand became almost impossible for me to read and get an accurate transcription. Even with a sheet with the meaning of each shorthand symbol. I have a couple of examples of my shorthand notes and the sheet explaining the symbols but can no longer transcribe the meaning of the notes.
There were few things to break the routine of lectures, study, study, and study some more and taking tests. It was a hard course, at least for me. I don't know of any in the class that found it easy.