Radar

R651400
21st August 2007, 07:05
I recently inputted on another thread that my first ship Melampus/GMBZ 1923-57 carried no radar during her entire life.
Looking at photographs in Clarkson's "Blue Funnel Line" I'm amazed that this appeared to be the norm including BF's post-war liberty purchases.
Up to the arrival of the new "A" Class in 1947 and post-war renovations I cannot make out any of the earlier builds carrying radar.
Are my eyes deceiving me?

sparkie2182
21st August 2007, 22:29
i remember seeing pics of the blue funnel radar sitings which placed the aerial on the funnel casing looking, not unreasonably, forward.

given the proportions of the average blue funnel ships funnel......
there must have been a hell of a blind spot astern.....and on both port and starboard quarters.

anyone provide first hand recollections????

R651400
22nd August 2007, 06:31
i remember seeing pics of the blue funnel radar sitings which placed the aerial on the funnel casing looking, not unreasonably, forward.
given the proportions of the average blue funnel ships funnel......
there must have been a hell of a blind spot astern.....and on both port and starboard quarters.
anyone provide first hand recollections????

At the outset, postwar builds, had the radar mounted on a short triangular lattice steel tower between funnel and monkey island.
In later years scanners were mounted on I've been told, reconstituted samson posts, or on the funnel itself which must have made a big improvement in coverage and efficiency.
Another BF quirk in my time, R/O's even with a radar ticket were not given the responsibility of radar maintenance, this was the duty of the ship's Electrician.

MikeK
22nd August 2007, 10:41
Don't know about BF, but on the Cardiff tramp I served my apprenticeship on the radar was the sole property of the Old Man, also whenever it was to be used an extra genny had to be put on the board !! One time a ceramic rod thingy that triggered a relay, snapped and I spent a quiet watch whittling a piece of wood down to the right diameter for Sparkie. Did the job and lasted the trip out (Thumb)

Mike

Ron Stringer
22nd August 2007, 15:34
[QUOTE=sparkie2182;147083]i remember seeing pics of the blue funnel radar sitings which placed the aerial on the funnel casing looking, not unreasonably, forward.QUOTE]

Never mind the blind spots, sparkie, for a maintainer funnel-mounted radars were the absolute pits. The heat transferred to the equipment and its cables caused more rapid degradation and increased unreliability. Then when the damned thing failed, the funnel gases would almost choke the poor guy that was trying to carry out repairs. Only a few of such locations had external ladders, access to most included climbing up through the funnel itself. Not recommended in the tropics and not beneficial to electronic bits and pieces that were exposed to the resultant fumes and soot. Thank the Lord that the fashion for funnel-mounting was fairly short-lived.

sparkie2182
22nd August 2007, 22:47
not recommended for sure..............:(

an old friend of mine......ex b.f. ch. electrician often told me of his first radar........as mentioned above.........the r/o was not initially involved with radar.
the p.p.i was tiny.....and the transciever room was always sauna like.

on one occasion, however, on the chinese coast.....the ship was required to negotiate a small gap between breakwaters in dense fog. the radar onboard was a bit of an unknown quantity, but the master relied 100% on its accuracy, and she found her seaway without mishap.

for the rest of the voyage back to liverpool, the ch. electrician could do no wrong in the eyes of the master...........

:)

Peter Martin
23rd August 2007, 23:39
I think you're right. I seem to remember the A Class carried Kelvin Hughs 2C radars!

Keith Adams
24th August 2007, 05:52
My first ship P.S.N.C. mv "Losada" 1921 -1952 did not have Gyro or Radar and entered many a west coast South American anchor port using a hand lead from the chains. Snowy,

R651400
24th August 2007, 07:22
I think you're right. I seem to remember the A Class carried Kelvin Hughs 2C radars!
I'm sure all postwar builds had radar including the reconstructed wartime Glens 'artney 'earn 'gyle 'garry 'orchy 'roy, Denbighshire and Breconshire.

R651400
24th August 2007, 12:58
An old friend of mine......ex b.f. ch. electrician often told me of his first radar........as mentioned above.........the r/o was not initially involved with radar.
the p.p.i was tiny.....and the transciever room was always sauna like.
on one occasion, however, on the chinese coast.....the ship was required to negotiate a small gap between breakwaters in dense fog. the radar onboard was a bit of an unknown quantity, but the master relied 100% on its accuracy, and she found her seaway without mishap.
for the rest of the voyage back to liverpool, the ch. electrician could do no wrong in the eyes of the master...........
:)

Your friend must have been one in a million S2182.
When it came to radar the BF leckies I sailed with didn't know the difference between a klystron and a klytoris!

sparkie2182
24th August 2007, 21:15
he retired as chief electical engineer at the pioneer research plant of british steel.

as you say he was........ one in a million.

R651400
25th August 2007, 10:42
he retired as chief electical engineer at the pioneer research plant of british steel.
as you say he was........ one in a million.

...and more power to his elbow S2182!
British Steel another UK "Jack and the Beanstalk"...
Perhaps BF, Glen and Shire and other companies not kitting out their ships with radar was very much either parsimony, naivety with a heavy dependency on the excellence of their sea-going personnel?
My first ship, George Gibson of Leith's 1938 built "Ronan," seems to take a different outlook on safety at sea...

trotterdotpom
25th August 2007, 11:54
Your friend must have been one in a million S2182.
When it came to radar the BF leckies I sailed with didn't know the difference between a klystron and a klytoris!

They would have found out quick enough when they connected a few hundred volts to a klytoris! Tuning the resonant cavity, on the other hand, could be quite pleasant.

John T.

Sorry folks, this was all the stuff that was going on while you were in the bar having deep and meaningfuls about piston liners.

railroadbill
25th August 2007, 17:22
The radar used was indeed the Kelvin Hughes 2C radar. All of the earlier B/F ships had them eg. the 'A' class ships.
B/F had its own radar training school at Odyssey works, Birkenhead situated opposite their berthing sheds at Vittoria dock. Gordon Kidman was the chap who did the training for the ships Senior Electricians like myself and also did training on other radars right up to the Digital type such as Raytheon Parhfinder.
The Kelvin Hughes 2C radar used for the training at Odyssey school ended up at the National Maritime museum at Greenwich. In their later life, these radars would suffer badly from tuning drift and was a great annoyance to the navigators. This problem was caused by the ageing of a stack of selenium rectifiers, used for the 'stabilavolt rectificaton'. Due to the nature of using selenium, these rectifiers would 'age' and cause a gradual voltage drop in their output and thus the result was this annoying tuning drift.
Some Elder Dempster boats had them too.
I remember joining a ship in Brisbane and the ship, the Rhexenor had this problem of tuning drift for about 2 years and a technician was onboard trying to solve this problem.
I suggested checking the output from the stabilavolt rectifier after checking with an Avo, it was half of what it shoud have been. He said you obviously know more than me and left promptly.
A spare was airfreighted to the ship and after fitting, the radar was back to working condition. Unfortunatey, the ship was sent to the breakers yard in Taiwan soon after,.............ah well!

sparkie2182
25th August 2007, 21:51
i think most sparkies have had experience of shoreside technicians.....

"leaving promptly".

Tai Pan
1st September 2007, 11:15
We sparks had to have our night sleep. that is why leckies look after the radar.

mikeg
1st September 2007, 13:36
Shell didn't have leckies so we sparks had to forgo the occasional nights sleep. I just thought of it as an extra contribution to safety of life at sea (SOLAS).

Mike

K urgess
1st September 2007, 14:02
Unfortunately I left college with a radar ticket so my first trip as junior was the only one where I wasn't responsible for the radar.
Even then, once the Old Man found out I had a radar ticket it suddenly became my job for a very small consideration.
It was Hungry Hogarth's after all.[=P]

Kris

John Campbell
2nd September 2007, 18:56
Was it a fact that Blue Star ships were about the last of UK vessels to be fitted with Radar. ?
JC

jaigee
3rd September 2007, 10:03
Was it a fact that Blue Star ships were about the last of UK vessels to be fitted with Radar. ?
JC

I think that was true of the whole Vestey group. I was on L&H's Debrett in 1959/60 and it had no radar, many a 'happy' hour was spent on fo'c's'le lookout at night!

An (unsubstantiated) explanation is that the radar was taken out of the ships after too many 'radar assisted' collisions, the most notable being the Australia Star, which was fitted with radar during the war and was involved in a collision in the Caribbean. The other ship was without radar. The Court of Enquiry held the radar equipped Australia Star responsible for the collision which resulted in substantial damages payable by the Vestey Group.


They believed that their ships were being navigated in bad visibility by radar by masters and mates who did not properly know how to plot movement observed on a radar set and they were getting into situations that they would not have got into without radar.

Perhaps someone can confirm or debunk this?

sparkie2182
3rd September 2007, 12:55
yes jaigee............

happy memories of the w a o triangle.

Tai Pan
3rd September 2007, 15:35
Who remembers 268 radar. ithink something like 150 switches to be made etc before it was switched on.

Bill Davies
9th September 2007, 09:00
I recently inputted on another thread that my first ship Melampus/GMBZ 1923-57 carried no radar during her entire life.
Looking at photographs in Clarkson's "Blue Funnel Line" I'm amazed that this appeared to be the norm including BF's post-war liberty purchases.
Up to the arrival of the new "A" Class in 1947 and post-war renovations I cannot make out any of the earlier builds carrying radar.
Are my eyes deceiving me?

I was in the 'Memnon' in 55 and I do not recall her having Radar although I concede I was Deck Boy and it was not something prioritised in my mind.

mikeg
9th September 2007, 11:52
Who remembers 268 radar. ithink something like 150 switches to be made etc before it was switched on.

Wasn't the 286 originally designed to spot submarines on the surface? I understand it was highly unreliable and soon superceded.
My recollections of valve ('tube' for folk in the US) based radars was that they needed to be checked frequently because of the dozens of valves ulilised, all varying in emission life. Could have been a full time job....

Mike

Binnacle
9th September 2007, 21:08
John Campbell;148915]Was it a fact that Blue Star ships were about the last of UK vessels to be fitted with Radar. ?

In Wellington about Jan 1952, Wellington Star arrived on maiden voyage, dressed overall. A very fine looking ship. Looked and looked again, unbelievable, no radar. Later heard that after a collision, a company director, an ex army type, ordered all radars to be removed.

Tai Pan
10th September 2007, 08:59
my first outing with 268 radar was on my first ship, Isle of Jersey, channel ferry, having been instructed on how to switch it on by Tommy Stubbs the 1st R/O. I was asked by bridge to switch it on as we approached Guernsey in fog. when at last I got it going and reported to bridge, we were already alongside and discharging passengers. very unreliable radar was ex royal navy and came with its own metal hut which was bolted onto the deck in a convienient place.

Oceanspan
11th September 2007, 03:12
I was on Blue Star Line's "Empire Star" for two magical trips. One out to Aussie in 1968 and then again when she went to scrap in Kaohsiung in 1971. She was never fitted with radar. We almost managed to pile her up right at the end of her career as a result. Nearing the end of the passage to Kaohsiung, we approached the Sunda Strait on a pitch black night in driving rain. The lookout thought he made out a light briefly but wasn't sure. The Old Man decided not to take a chance and we stood off out to sea until daybreak.

R651400
11th September 2007, 06:06
I was in the 'Memnon' in 55 and I do not recall her having Radar although I concede I was Deck Boy and it was not something prioritised in my mind.
Memnon in 55 would have been a wartime Victory all of which had radar. Later to become Glaucus when the 1960's M class were built, the last of the straight stack BF's. The wartime Sam liberties didn't appear to have radar fitted.

Bill Davies
11th September 2007, 14:08
Memnon in 55 would have been a wartime Victory all of which had radar. Later to become Glaucus when the 1960's M class were built, the last of the straight stack BF's. The wartime Sam liberties didn't appear to have radar fitted.


The Victory bit I remember as I was on several. Also sailed in a few of the new 'M' class in 60/61. It was just the radar I was not sure of.

Bill Davies
12th September 2007, 11:20
Memnon in 55 would have been a wartime Victory all of which had radar. Later to become Glaucus when the 1960's M class were built, the last of the straight stack BF's. The wartime Sam liberties didn't appear to have radar fitted.

I have susequently located a photograph of the 'Memnon' on this site and sure enough she had a radar. But then, would you expect anything else from AHs.

Cisco
13th September 2007, 12:01
John Campbell;148915]Was it a fact that Blue Star ships were about the last of UK vessels to be fitted with Radar. ?


I was told by someone in the early sixties that the only Blue Star ships with radar at that time were the ones running to west coast US as the pilots refused to handle the ships if they didn't have em.

My little radar story...I was on Vianna when she was new in 1971, 101,000t obo....Ditlev Simenson (No) owned but UK flag...had bridge control, 2 Trondheim university computer techs on board all the time setting up engine monitoring stuff ( one spare cabin was the home of a v big mainframe HP computer...I reckon it was the full 8k...) etc etc etc and what I believe was at the time the world's largest vp prop. All very fancy.

On the bridge a raytheon 3cm and a raytheon 10cm Pathfinder, bonzer radar which had this real fun feature which was a switch that let you reverse rotation of the scanner and do sector sweeps....

Anyway...both radars were only ship's head up....raised this with the company man when he visited once...he was a plumber....' but this is what we have always fitted...it is good enough........

bert thompson
15th September 2007, 15:11
Did my Radar Ticket on the 268 at Leith Nautical College. Was a Friday 13th. in 1950. Actually found a mistake on a drawing which impressed the Examiner. My lucky day. Fortunately that was my last association with the 268

john jones
20th September 2007, 16:33
Ships nostalgiaBlue Funnel Radar
I did my first voyage to sea on the m.v. Priam (later to become the ( Glenorchy).sailing from Birkenhead on 18th Dec 1943.She was equiped with both "Rader"( called R.D.F.) and "Astic".which was under the control of Naval D.E.M.S. When in port the R D F . tower was always covered with canvas and had always an armed guard in attendance.I wonder if she was the first b.f. ship to have Radar?
When I was 3rd mate of the GlenRoy in Dec 1949,a Kelvin Hughes Rader was fitted on board.The Kelvin Hughes technicians sailed with us as far as Dover and dissembarked leaving the Rader running.The 2nd mate asked the Old Man (Capt Simmonds ) if he sholud turn it off as we were in clear weather?The reply was an emphatic "No" ! We were nearing Gib a few days later when there was a" puff " of smoke coming out of the chartroom which spelt the end of our Rader ! Kelvin hughes had to fly their technitians out to Port Said to carry out repairs but the Old Man wanted nothing more to do with it !!!!!!!
I was told that Lawrence Holt ,when meeting a 3rd mate called Shorty Bainton in India Buildings said to him-"Remember Mr Bainton,Radar is an Aid to navigation and not a means"to which Shorty replyed-"When is an Aid a means ais a means an Aid Sir "? i'm told there was no reply!
J R Jones

kevinseery
15th October 2007, 21:57
In the early eighties there was a Blue Star boat in Avonmouth that had been sold, but there was a dispute with the buyer when he discovered that Kelvin Hughes wanted their RENTED radar installation back before the ship sailed, unless the new owner would agree to carry on with the rental agreement!

I well remember the culture shock going from an ED 'F' boat with a Marconi true motion radar to a Blue Flue 'M' with a less than basic KH set.(Frogger)

Bill Davies
15th October 2007, 22:04
In the early eighties there was a Blue Star boat in Avonmouth that had been sold, but there was a dispute with the buyer when he discovered that Kelvin Hughes wanted their RENTED radar installation back before the ship sailed, unless the new owner would agree to carry on with the rental agreement!

I well remember the culture shock going from an ED 'F' boat with a Marconi true motion radar to a Blue Flue 'M' with a less than basic KH set.(Frogger)

I am surprised that the issue was not highlighted in the NSF 66 which was probably the form used for the tranaction.

kevinseery
15th October 2007, 22:08
You don't want to take everything you read as Gospel(A)

Bill Davies
16th October 2007, 22:37
You don't want to take everything you read as Gospel(A)

I am sure the signatories to the contract would like to treat it like the Gospel.

John Briggs
17th October 2007, 01:03
On joining the ex Koromiko (first command) in 1968 I found to my horror, no gyro, no radar and a very basic wet paper echo sounder. We had to proceed through the Great Barrier Reef on the way back to Hong Kong where we were due to have radar fitted.

The magnetic compass was very dicy also (had it adjusted in Singapore as my efforts were not too good) so the Reef pilot suggested that we anchored each night and I readily agreed. Best trip through the reef I have ever had thanks to the lack of radar.

ernhelenbarrett
18th October 2007, 13:37
Like John Garner I remember the Admiralty Pattern 268 A-scan radar with its very many associatedf switches. That blip you saw could have been a ship , low flying aircraft or a palm tree!!. On the Indian Coast with BI who can remember the Gulf D's Mark 1, Mark 2 and Mark 2 (modified) with their 400 or so valves. We made out a fault finding chart to help out R/O's on the Dumra
Daressa and Dwarka... and Mr Carron took all the credit!!. Lucky enough I was transferred from the Dara to the Karanja...Ern Barrett