The RNZN Communicators Reunion will be held at the Wairakei Resort in TAUPO over the period 16 – 18 March 2018.  So click the button now and ensure you are registered.  Your committee has gone to great lengths to keep the price of this reunion in line with previous reunions.

Check out who is coming to the Reunion by clicking HERE .

Information on the reunion can be viewed on the associations blog at and by selecting REUNION 2018 from the main menu.



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A Blast from the Past

This is a real blast from the past.  Who can tell me what this was called and what it was used for and even the process of how it was used..  Good question for the younger Communicators amongst you.   Thanks Frank L for the image.

The PENELOPE cryptosystem was designed for the encryption of call signs and address groups used on radio circuits, both CW and Voice. System components included keying materials and two associated devices designed for encrypting call signs and address groups in the form of four character groups, which were composed of any combination of letters and digits.

Encryption produced another four character group, consisting in this case of any combination of letters, digits and slant V signs. The call signs and address groups which could be encrypted by the system could be found in separate publications.

The PENELOPE keying material consisted of two parts:

(a) A substitution table for changing plain four character address groups or call signs into intermediate groups, which could be further encrypted.

(b) Key cards for use with one of the cryptodevices in encrypting and decrypting the intermediate groups obtained through the substitution table. INTERMEDIATE GROUPS WERE NEVER TO BE TRANSMITTED WITHOUT FIRST BEING ENCRYPTED. Substitution squares and key cards, being complementary, were together known as PENELOPE Key Lists.

The cryptodevices used in the PENELOPE system were:

(a) CSP 1750 (KA-2) A manually operated mechanical device, used in conjunction with key cards to encrypt and decrypt intermediate groups.

(b) CSP 1756 (KA-3) – A device which used sliding strips, for the same purpose as the CSP 1750 (KA-2), and intended for use whenever the CSP 1750 (KA-2) was inoperable.


Any encrypted call sign, address group or other group could be transmitted phonetically on voice circuits. Furthermore, if desired, encrypted call signs and address groups could be changed to a pair of words for voice transmission by use of a “word square”
This was included with the appropriate PENELOPE keying material.

Procedure for Retarding Voice Call Sign Changes:

A procedure known as MISFIT was devised for retarding voice call sign changes when a force was engaged in action at a time scheduled for a call sign change. Implementation of MISFIT Procedure merely continued the use of voice call signs already in effect past the time scheduled for their supersession; it had no effect on the supersession of RATT/CW call signs. Thus, when MISFIT was declared and the time scheduled for normal call sign change was reached, AMSP 298 key card supersession took place, new call signs (CW/RATT and voice) were derived, and all but the newly derived voice call signs were put in use. As long as MISFIT was in effect, the voice call signs already in use, derived by means of the superseded key card, remained in effect.

EXAMPLE: A force is engaged by the enemy at 233OZ, and has a call sign change scheduled for OOO1Z. The Force OTC feels that conducting the call sign change as scheduled on the Force’s voice radio circuits will be deleterious to his tactical control. AMSP 298 key card “DH” is in use by the units of his Force. The OTC orders the following transmission made to all Force units concerned:

“MISFIT DELTA HOTEL” . As transmitted, this order meant “continue using voice call signs encrypted by means of AMSP 298 daily-changing key card “DH” until further notice.”

CHARTER – When the situation requiring retardation of the voice call signs change had passed, replacement of the superseded voice call sign was effected as soon as possible. The OTC may have accomplished this by ordering transmission to units concerned by the use of the term “CHARTER”, followed by the designation of the effective AMSP 298 key card by which the new voice call signs would be derived, and a time indicating when that key card was to be put in use.

EXAMPLE: The action which caused the OTC to order MISFIT has ended at 0700Z. The OTC wishes to allow time for regrouping before changing call signs, so decides to wait until 0800Z to put the deferred key card (e.g”DZ”) into effect. The OTC orders the
following transmission made to all Force units concerned:


As transmitted, this order meant “Change to call signs encrypted by means of AMSP 298 daily-changing key card “DZ” at O8OOZ”.

The OTC ensured simultaneous promulgation of MISFIT procedure on all voice radio circuits under his control. Ordering MISFIT procedure into effect in the manner described above before engagement in action had occurred could betray to opposing forces that an operation is impending. Therefore, any orders issued prior to engagement in action which indicate that MISFIT procedure is to be implemented will be afforded physical or cryptographic security in their transmission.


csp_1750_a_687_2.jpg The CSP 1750 (KA-2) was a manually operated cipher device which was employed in enciphering and deciphering four character groups for which intermediate groups have been substituted. The cipher device is of metal construction. On its surface are four columns of characters with a movable chain beside each column. Below the four columns of characters are four windows in which appear the counter numbers for each column. A metal stylus is attached in brackets on the side of the device for use in moving the chains.

Before beginning encipherment or decipherment the cipher device must be zeroized, i.e., each of the four counters must read zero. Zeroizing is performed by holding down the lever at the lower left corner of the device and by turning the knob on the lower right side counterclockwise. When the knob locks and zero (00) appears on the counters, the cipher device is correctly zeroized. To register a character, the stylus was inserted in the chain link opposite the desired character and perpendicular to the face of the device. The stylus was pulled downward until it reached the metal bar below the columns of characters; the total will appear on the counter below the column used. An example of the machine in the photo is on display at the MARCOM Museum, Halifax. (Photo courtesy John Alexander, G7GCK Leicester, England)

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Jack Passings – February 2018

The following Sailors ‘Crossed the Bar’ during the month of February 2018. Details of funerals etc can be found by clicking HERE.

HOHAIA, Raymond Joseph ME
HARKER John Derek (Buster) Seaman
NUTTALL Murray Alfred
O’KEEFE, John Francis Cook
BACON Brian  CPO Stoker

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Another Waitangi

Click HERE to view this years (2018) Naval participation at Waitangi.  The guard looked very smart but I am a little confused as to why we continue to refer to the Guard as a Royal Guard when neither the Governor General nor a member of the Royal Family were present.

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No one was more surprised to be judged the winner of the Royal New Zealand Navy’s (RNZN) badge competition for its newest and largest ship, HMNZS Aotearoa, than Steven Knight, a Chief Petty Officer with the RNZN.   Click HERE for the video.

“I was stoked just to be selected in the top 10 to be honest,” Chief Petty Officer Knight said after being given the news of his win by the Chief of Navy, Rear Admiral John Martin. “I just tried to produce something that contained all the elements that were important for a Navy ship that carried the name of our country.

“I’ve always had an interest in art, right back to my school days. And in my spare time I pull out my sketch book — a lot of my designs have a naval influence.”

The sheer number and quality of entries for the new ship, which will be commissioned into service in early 2020, were the things that impressed Rear Admiral Martin.

“It was wonderful that so many New Zealanders cared so much about our new ship that they wanted to submit a design,” he said.

The RNZN Ships’, Names and Badges Committee convened to review the more than 250 designs received. They had no details of the designers so their selection was impartial. The panel reduced the submissions to a top 10, which were given to the Chief of Navy in December to make the final decision.

“My design criteria were very clear,” Rear Admiral Martin said. “I asked for designs that were simple yet striking, reflective of the role of the ship and uniquely New Zealand.

“While I had no idea who submitted the designs, Steven’s immediately stood out. The fish hook elegantly blended the Maori legend of Aotearoa’s origin with the replenishment role that the ship will be responsible for.

“Dividing the sea and sky, I saw the white band representing both a long white cloud and an ice shelf — very appropriate given the importance of the Southern Ocean and Antarctica to New Zealand.”

For a number of reasons, the winning design was an obvious choice for him, Rear Admiral Martin said.

“I was surprised and proud that the winner was one of Navy’s own and I’m thrilled for him.”

Chief Petty Officer Knight’s winning badge design will form the basis of the formal ship badge.

When HMNZS Aotearoa is commissioned in early 2020 it will not only be the new maritime sustainment vessel and fleet tanker but will also enhance combat operational capability, provide humanitarian aid and disaster relief and support monitoring operations in the Southern Ocean.

“I know New Zealanders will be as proud of her as the whole of the New Zealand Defence Force will be when she arrives,” Rear Admiral Martin said.

Chief Petty Officer Knight works at the Devonport Naval Base as Project Manager responsible for the Inshore Patrol Vessels upkeep and maintenance.

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The Volunteers

This is a great video of one of New Zealand memorable events surrounding the ramming of a Japanese submarine by HMNZS KIWI.  Click HERE to view

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“What will tomorrow bring?”

The following was written by WO GI Jack Donnelly and has been re-promulgated on this blog for all to consider.

“I want to share with you all the importance of Reunions. What has prompted me to write this post is the sad loss of Trevor Kingi who sadly passed away just days after the “Long time no see” Reunion. Those who attended were so lucky to have seen him before he passed. It also brought back sad memories of one of the few reunions that I attended, the Gunners one several years ago when “Hans” McRoberts dropped dead during that evening.

As we age, mature and approach the “Twilight” of our lives, we have more opportunities now to attend reunions. There are the Ship, Class, Branch, Intakes and other occasions to meet, reflect and remember the times when we were young fit and robust sailors. We are life time friends with a unique back ground and life in the Navy, we have created that special mateship, and bond that “civvies” have never experienced. Who knows what tomorrow will bring, So next time you see a fellow matelot cherish the time you have with them. If you can make a reunion go for it”.
Jack Donnelly Ex WO GI

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Memories from Norma Duncan Nee Rowe- 4

A Waouru Poem penned in 1944

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