Early PT Radar Installations
After his experiences in the Phillipines, Lt. John Bulkeley saw the need for radar installations on PT boats, and he lobbied hard for twelve aircraft sets to be mounted on the boats of his new Squadron Seven before it sailed to the Southwest Pacific in 1943. By all indications, this stop-gap measure was by no means successful--the power supply was often faulty, causing the sets to fail at any given moment. Reliable radar sets for the PT's were still some time off, but even before Ron Seven arrived in New Guinea, a few PT men in the field were doing their own radar tests, with somewhat mixed results. PT 28 was one of two Squadron One boats given aircraft radar while in the Aleutians; meanwhile in the Solomons, the PT 109 was temporarily fitted with a set taken from a wrecked PBY in December 1942. Unfortunately no photos exist of 109 in this configuration...or if they do, they just have not surfaced yet. It is unknown how long the boat kept this rig, but it was long gone before Lt. j/g John Kennedy took command of the 109 in April 1943...and I'd be willing to bet a year's salary he wished he'd had it aboard his boat a few fateful months later...
Top and bottom: photos of PT 28's radar installation, October 1942. PT 109's radar mod was similar, except the antennas were mounted on the foredeck. (both pictures courtesy of PT Boats, Inc.)
Below is a much-seen photo of four PT's moored at the Morobe River in New Guinea in July 1943. If you look close, the second boat in line (from the left) appears to sport a different mast than what is normally associated with Elco 80-footers...
...and here is a close-up view. Wether or not  this is the same boat as in the photo above is unknown, but note the A-frame supports, and the sweeper antenna at top. After closely examining the original of this photo, I think this may be Ron Seven's PT 137.
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