Radio Room equipment

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niggle
23rd February 2008, 22:35
Here's one for all the ex sparkies ... can you recall all the equipment in the Radio Room of the ship's you worked on, i.e. Main Tx, Main Rx, Recerve Rx, Reserve Tx and the auxilliary equipment etc.

New Zealand Star callsign GXOZ

Main Tx Marconi Commander

Main Rx Marconi Nebula ( not sure)

Telex receiver Marconi Apollo

Maconi sitor telex unit

Reserve Tx Salvor 3

Reserve Rx Eddystone

Marconi Autoalarm N

Marconi Autokey N

ITT Creed 2300 teleprinter

I am looking at a photo of the radio room to identify the above from my albums of my time at sea so come on guys dig out yours and lets see which ships had what gear.

Niggle

Trevorw
24th February 2008, 00:07
Depends which ship you were on. Most archaic, (1955) "Corfleet"/ GWTD, Northeast coast collier.
Main TX:- Marconi Reliance - M/F only.
Emergency TX:- Spark Transmitter (Type B waves!)
Main Receiver:- CR300
No Emergency Rx, but Marconi "Alert" - 500Kc/s pretuned - absolute crap; no BFO therefore if anyone transmited in CW it shut down!
Auto Alarm:- Can't remember name, but it had a "Selector Device" and had to be started by hand!
Lifeboat Emergency:- Salvita (Marconi)

Incedentally, I actually used the emergency Spark TX once - we were QTO Seaham Harbour and the Reliance wouldn't work, so I called GCC on the Spark TX - what a bollocking I got from him!
The fault on the Reliance proved to be coal dust on the aerial insulators!

K urgess
24th February 2008, 00:11
Do you want all the assigned frequencies as well? [=P]

Ron Stringer
24th February 2008, 00:34
Depends which ship you were on. Most archaic, (1955) "Corfleet"/ GWTD, Northeast coast collier.
Auto Alarm:- Can't remember name, but it had a "Selector Device" and had to be started by hand!

Originally called the 'Type M' Auto Alarm, later versions of which were named 'Vigilant'. Had a sprung bar (reed) which you had to start vibrating by banging on the cabinet of the device, then pushing in a knob on the front panel to engage a bevel gear and spinning it to start the motor running. Good trick when showing passengers round the radio room. Give a brief demo of the procedure and then ask them to start the motor. Watch them repeatedly spin the knob in vain. Then casually knock on the side of the case and spin the knob with immediate success. Probably what started people off with the idea that to make electronic equipment (TV sets, radars etc.) work you had to bang on the cabinet.

K urgess
24th February 2008, 00:55
Baron Wemyss/GCQE
5th July 1966 to 27th February 1967
220 volts DC supply
Oceanspan VI DC Main Transmitter
A1 A2 M/f 410, 468, 480, 500, 512kc/s
Power 0.1kW
A1 H/F 4183.5, 4203.5, 4228, 6275.26, 6308.2, 6342, 8367, 8407, 8546, 12550.5, 12610.4, 12684, 16734, 16814, 16912, 22252.4, 22287.6, 22350kc/s.
Salvor Em.Tx.
500kc/s A2 25 watts
Salvita III Lifeboat Tx.
500, 8364kc/s A2 5 watts
Atalanta Main Rx.
Alert Em.Rx.
Seaguard Auto Alarm
Lodestone III D/F
Davall II Autokey
MimCo/Dynatron Broadcast Rx.
Seagraph III Recording Echo-sounder
Seavisa 841A Visual Echo-Sounder
Argonaut VHF
Ch 1 to 14, 16, 18 to 28, F3 20 watts
Main Aerial 230 feet long and 79 feet high
Em Ae. 200 feet long and 55 feet high

And a Decca radar that wasn't under contract to RAMAC but I got paid ovies for fixing it 'cos I had a radar ticket and the chief sparks didn't.

A lovely introduction to a ship station. The main transmitter being DC it had a rotary converter in the bottom rack that made a lot of noise. There was no sidetone and it was virtually impossible to hear the key clicks over the transmitter motor. I learned to key by feel.

mikeg
24th February 2008, 13:01
And a Decca radar that wasn't under contract to RAMAC but I got paid ovies for fixing it 'cos I had a radar ticket and the chief sparks didn't.



Did a training course of Decca Radar in Croydon, when I sailed with it, the two sets proved to be extremely reliable and apart of routine checks and a couple of usual parts replacements it was as doddle - unlike some Marconi stuff (Stands back away from flames..)(Cloud)

trotterdotpom
24th February 2008, 13:14
"No Emergency Rx, but Marconi "Alert" - 500Kc/s pretuned - absolute crap; no BFO therefore if anyone transmited in CW it shut down!"

I loved the Alert because the diagram was so easy to remember for the exam, even though I wasn't asked for it! It deserves a place in history because it was the only bit of gear in that era's Marconi station that had a semiconductor - a diode detector, which turned sine waves into the Loch Ness Monster.

For the benefit of any engineers still listening, a BFO is a boiler feedpump
operator.

John T.

K urgess
24th February 2008, 13:20
Don't worry, Mike, the only radars I remember working on apart from the new useless Decca on that ship, were Marconi jobs.
From PPIs that wouldn't rotate, through scanners I had to stick back on using araldite, to using chewing gum as feed through capacitors.

Trevorw
24th February 2008, 17:06
"No Emergency Rx, but Marconi "Alert" - 500Kc/s pretuned - absolute crap; no BFO therefore if anyone transmited in CW it shut down!"

I loved the Alert because the diagram was so easy to remember for the exam, even though I wasn't asked for it! It deserves a place in history because it was the only bit of gear in that era's Marconi station that had a semiconductor - a diode detector, which turned sine waves into the Loch Ness Monster.

For the benefit of any engineers still listening, a BFO is a boiler feedpump
operator.

John T.Try Beat Frequency Oscillator - it was an integral part of a good Super-het. Without one, if somebody transmitted in CW the thing went dead!

K urgess
24th February 2008, 17:36
Marconi Alert
Courtesy of "Marine Radio Manual", Danielson & Mayoh, 1st Edn, 1966.

R651400
24th February 2008, 19:28
It deserves a place in history because it was the only bit of gear in that era's Marconi station that had a semiconductor - a diode detector, which turned sine waves into the Loch Ness Monster.

MIMCO's Alert design minus bfo was because solas regs stated all emergency transmissions had to be in MCW (modulated carrier wave) A2 or spark B.
Fair enough but I found the Alert's sensitivity was zilch.

Re quotes, you must have been too late to have been trained on the MIMC CR300 receiver which had an integral 500kc/s crystal set as the emergency receiver.
As early diode detection as you can find..

sparkie2182
24th February 2008, 21:11
i think the engineers have long since given up on this thread, trotterdot.

my fave piece of kit for the finals exam was the marconi "sentinel" watchkeeper.

it had a switchable set of "test points" which utilised a meter on the front panel, and the specimen voltages clearly listed in the manual......covering the cardinal sections of the circuitry.
after a short time on the sentinel, fault finding could be done in seconds.

sadly, as you might expect, i never sailed with it..........:(

Binnacle
24th February 2008, 22:36
[QUOTE=sparkie2182;191722]i think the engineers have long since given up on this thread, trotterdot.

Can't speak for the engineers but I'm enjoying the chat. My preference was for Decca Radars. The Decca 45 was a fine set. Had an old 7" Decca on one ship, never failed. Marconi Quo Vadis was a disaster working in the fiords in darkness or poor vis. If the service engineer tuned it up to give a fine picture then you could expect a fuse to blow. I believe a whale factory sparks came up with the trouble shooting guide for the Marconi Mark IV. Probably honed his skills repairing radar on catchers.

sparkie2182
24th February 2008, 22:44
i always enjoyed radar work, the results were literally, "there for all to see".

i rarely, if ever, found a radar correctly set -up, however......."screen brilliance/video gain"..... which was the root cause of many "problems"

K urgess
24th February 2008, 22:51
Second one
Raphael/GQKF Lamport & Holts
2 trips 27th March to 28th June 1967 and 13th July to 5th October 1967
220 volts DC supply
Oceanspan VI DC Main Transmitter (no R/T)
A1 A2 M/F 410, 425, 480, 500, 512 kc/s
Power 0.1kW
A1 H/F 4178.5, 4188, 4212.5, 6267.75, 6282, 6318, 8357, 8376, 8425, 12535.5, 12564, 12637.5, 16714, 16752, 16850, 22227.5, 22272, 22335 kc/s.
Reliance Em.Tx.
410, 425, 454, 480, 500, 512 kc/s A2 25 watts
Salvita (Prototype) Lifeboat Tx.
500, 8364 kc/s A2 5 watts
Electr/Mercury Main Rxs.
Alert Em.Rx.
Vigilant Auto Alarm
Lodestone D/F
Marconi Autokey
MimCo/Dynatron Broadcast Rx.
Seagraph wet paper Recording Echo-sounder
Storno Southern VHF
6 channels
Marconi Raymarc radar
Main Aerial 165 feet long and 90 feet high
Em Ae. ? feet long and 65 feet high

The radar display was fastened to the forrard bulkhead in the wheelhouse at the starboard and had shaken itself to pieces by the time we got to Montevideo. It had been fitted new in Liverpool. From old photographs it looks like there was no radar fitted when she was built in 1952 so this may have been the first. I spent an entertaining day at anchor with the pieces spread all over the wheelhouse. Got it back together with the help of Evo-stik and Araldite.

Another lovely introduction to a ship station. Although the main transmitter was DC it didn't have a rotary converter in the bottom rack it had inverters instead and I spent my first evening on board trying to figure out how to start it. Panic level steadily increasing. Luckily the technicians arrived from Liverpool depot next morning and gave me some instruction. At least it didn't make a lot of noise so keying was a bit easier.

trotterdotpom
24th February 2008, 23:24
Try Beat Frequency Oscillator - it was an integral part of a good Super-het. Without one, if somebody transmitted in CW the thing went dead!

Really?

John T.

sparkie2182
24th February 2008, 23:33
you must have been looking out of the window, when it was mentioned in college , john.

:)

trotterdotpom
24th February 2008, 23:50
Thanks for the Alert circuit diagram, Marconi - see that cute little MR1 in there. Have to admit, I'd forgotten about MR2, the power supply rectifier.

R65...., You're right, I am to young to have sailed with crystal sets, but I wasn't claiming that MR1 was the first diode detector ever, merely that it was the only semi-conductor in that whole Marconi radio station set up of transmitters, receivers, auto alarm, AKD, etc of that time. A couple of Marconi generations later (that's equipment not people) the equipment was bristling with transistors and what not - I hated not being able to pull them out and replace them like a valve!

I don't recall the "Vigilant" auto alarm, but the "Seaguard" had to be started by spinning a little knob on the front. Always a relief when the gear kept on going - sometimes the cams began to pawl.

I hope the Engineers haven't abandoned this thread, Sparkie. One of the reasons I'm an alcoholic is because of listening to all those mind numbing lectures about piston liners, etc. Revenge is sweet.

Is it time for someone to start a thread about custard pies being thrown about?

John T.

sparkie2182
25th February 2008, 00:01
i remember the "seaguard", with its strange gyro style exciter.
it seemed to have a special susceptability to qrn......... when there was more than a modicum of qrn, the alarms always activated.
i noticed this on more than one vessel.

sparkie2182
25th February 2008, 00:09
the "custard pie" thread, as requested...............

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MFeKzIwc7A4

the tenuous link being.........

when i was in digs in blackpool studying for my radar ticket, charlie and i shared the same local pub, the sherbourne, just off the north shore prom.
i was always a bit disappointed that he didnt wear his red nose , or bowler.

:)

Robinj
25th February 2008, 00:22
Don't know where all you guys remember all the gear you sailed with, mine was IMR, except for the SA Huguenot which was Japan Marine Radio, but can't remember their numbers. Somebody might recall.:confused: Also did the Decca radar course in Croydon found their gear great and reliable.

R651400
25th February 2008, 08:06
Blue Funnel post war builds were kitted out with Marconi's cutting edge technology. Oceanspan Mk1 C300 receiver which I've already mentioned had a 500 kc/s emergency crystal receiver and Type M or Vigilant auto alarm.
Liberty ships were MF only RCA 3U and Victories had american Mackay consoles.
As solas regs tightened up older ships were rekitted with a mixture of Redifon and Marconi.
My first ship Melampus/GMBZ
Redifon transmitters whose numbers I forget probably RMT135 main and RMT75 emergency. Two R50M Redifon receivers, one for emergency, Redifon clockwork autokey and Marconi Type M auto alarm.
My last, Adrastus/GQZN was entirely Marconi see thumbnail.

Here's one for the old timers. How many detectors did the Type M auto alarm have, what were they and why?

Bizarre how one remembers all of this and yet I cannot remember after five minutes where I put my car keys!!

BA204259
25th February 2008, 09:30
Don't know where all you guys remember all the gear you sailed with, mine was IMR, except for the SA Huguenot which was Japan Marine Radio, but can't remember their numbers. Somebody might recall.:confused: Also did the Decca radar course in Croydon found their gear great and reliable.

I sailed with IMR and can remember some of the numbers but not all. The main Rx was a huge thing called the IMR54, built by Eddystone if I remember correctly. On some ships they issued the Redifon R50M, which was a joke.

Main Transmitters. The commonest was the IMR81/83, together in one rack. The 81 was the MF Tx and the 83 the HF Tx. On my last ship, when transmitting on 12 mc/s (but not any other freq) the rack handles on the IMR83 were redhot with R/F, soon learned to make sure you didn't accidentally brush against them with a sweaty arm. Never did sort it out. The next commonest installation was the IMR51 MF and IMR53 HF, which stood separately and looked quite impressive but were still only the same nominal 100W as the smaller 81/83.

One thing in common with all IMR transmitters was their dreadful warbling note, caused by the fact that the MO was keyed. Marconi tx's sounded much sweeter.

As an aside to this and because of this keying the MO, I once contacted GKI on 22 mc/s from mid Indian Ocean. He said he couldnt work me as I was QSA 1/0 QRK 1/0. I looked at the IMR83 and saw that I didn't have the HT switched on. I put it on and nearly deafened the poor beggar.

Sadly I can't remember the numbers of the emergency tx/rx, or the auto-alarm. Somebody else may.

IMR had one more older MF tx, can't remember the name, but for 500 there were two positions. The first was the normal xtal controlled one but the scond was an LC circuit. It was wonderful for sailing down the channel as it had a bandwidth about three football fields wide and was easily picked up by the coast stations.

bert thompson
25th February 2008, 09:49
Chelwood/ GSNT
Main Transmitter Marconi 381
Direction Finder 11G
Receiver 750
Spark Transmitter Contained in what looked like a cage
Decca Navigator MK4
Decca Radar 159.
Often told that France Fenwick ordered Radar for their total fleet and were the first all Radar fleet but never had this confirmed.
Discs on the Spark Transmitter had to have coal dust removed occasionally. During a Post Office Survey the Inspector got a load of coal dust over his face when testing the voice pipe up to the bridge.
Happy days.
Bert.

Ron Stringer
25th February 2008, 10:22
On my last ship, when transmitting on 12 mc/s (but not any other freq) the rack handles on the IMR83 were redhot with R/F, soon learned to make sure you didn't accidentally brush against them with a sweaty arm. Never did sort it out.

Nor did many other sparks or installation engineers. Originally equipment in the radio room was 'earthed' to the ship's hull or superstructure using tinned copper wire (7/.029" was the favourite) attached at one end to a convenient or designated screw on the equipment case and at the other to a screw into the deck or bulkhead. This was fine as a safety grounding for the ship's electrical supply but, at radio frequencies, offered a very high impedance to the high voltages and currents circulating in the transmitting antenna system (of which the transmitter earth was an important series component). As a result the transmitter case (and other things connected to it - metal covers of morse keys, screening braid of headphones etc.) were not at 'earth' potential at all, they were the equivalent of several metres up the antenna. This effect tended to be most pronounced at the higher frequencies.

So if you were in the sweaty tropics (pre air-con) sitting in a virtually unventilated radio room wearing only a pair of shorts plus a towel draped round your neck, it came as a sudden and unwanted surprise to find that the lead of the headphones had just burned a track down your chest and filled the air with a smell of buring pork crackling! It was easy to get severe shocks and burns from the 400W and 800W transmitters of the 1950s and '60s (let alone the 1200W and 1500W sets of the '70s) that had been installed with the ubiquitous 7/.029 wire.

Eventually it was realised what was causing the problems and it became standard to start the installation by securing sheets of 300mm wide copper (0.4mm thick) between purpose-built grounding connections on the transmitter cabinet and the deck of the ship, to which it was connected by brazing or large-diameter brass screws. This 'tamed' even the open wire installations of 1500W transmitters. Later developments removed the RF from the radio room by fitting antenna tuners at the base of the transmitting antennas, got rid of the problem completely. Unfortunately by this time, changes to regulations had signalled that ships were also getting rid of the R/O. Two solutions to a single problem.

Robinj
25th February 2008, 23:40
I sailed with IMR and can remember some of the numbers but not all. The main Rx was a huge thing called the IMR54, built by Eddystone if I remember correctly. On some ships they issued the Redifon R50M, which was a joke.

Main Transmitters. The commonest was the IMR81/83, together in one rack. The 81 was the MF Tx and the 83 the HF Tx. On my last ship, when transmitting on 12 mc/s (but not any other freq) the rack handles on the IMR83 were redhot with R/F, soon learned to make sure you didn't accidentally brush against them with a sweaty arm. Never did sort it out. The next commonest installation was the IMR51 MF and IMR53 HF, which stood separately and looked quite impressive but were still only the same nominal 100W as the smaller 81/83.

One thing in common with all IMR transmitters was their dreadful warbling note, caused by the fact that the MO was keyed. Marconi tx's sounded much sweeter.

As an aside to this and because of this keying the MO, I once contacted GKI on 22 mc/s from mid Indian Ocean. He said he couldnt work me as I was QSA 1/0 QRK 1/0. I looked at the IMR83 and saw that I didn't have the HT switched on. I put it on and nearly deafened the poor beggar.

Sadly I can't remember the numbers of the emergency tx/rx, or the auto-alarm. Somebody else may.

IMR had one more older MF tx, can't remember the name, but for 500 there were two positions. The first was the normal xtal controlled one but the scond was an LC circuit. It was wonderful for sailing down the channel as it had a bandwidth about three football fields wide and was easily picked up by the coast stations.


Many thanks.
The IMR54 rings a bell, but the others no. Your right about the sound you could tell the old QE just by it.

R651400
26th February 2008, 08:27
Many thanks.
The IMR54 rings a bell, but the others no. Your right about the sound you could tell the old QE just by it.

In or around '56 when solas dictated all transmitters had to be crystal controlled, MF and HF.
Blue Funnel installed on their Liberty ships an IMR transmitter MF only, the type number I cannot remember, but certainly intended as an emergency transmitter on other ships.
It had one single 813 and the white knobs were similar to the porcelain types found on early electric cookers.
IMR transmitters were never renowned for the quality of their MF note. All the big Cunarders, Queens and Caronia were awful.
This transmitter was no exception having such a poor note coupled with very soft keying it was almost impossible to clear traffic at any distance in heavy static conditions in the Far East.

shipmate17
26th February 2008, 10:36
Hi,
Lot of old radio's(not working ) on display at Perch Rock Museum.New Brighton.Wirral.
cheers.

King Ratt
26th February 2008, 12:41
One of the nicest sounding MCW transmissions came from the Marconi Reliance-a clean 400 Hertz tone was used to modulate the carrier.

athinai
26th February 2008, 17:22
My First Bug Key was made by the 3rd Engineer on the Ship, All went well with the base, Paddle and connection mounts etc., All we needed was something to swing over and back for the dots and dashes, Thats when the Type M came in Handy, The Vibrating Reed from same was just the Business. ( From the Spares ) I Later got a ''Vibroplex'' Stateside (Then the Rolls Royce Key) in a Ham-Radio Outlet and can say that the 3rd Engineer's Home-Brew model was better.
Cheers

R651400
27th February 2008, 07:06
One of the nicest sounding MCW transmissions came from the Marconi Reliance-a clean 400 Hertz tone was used to modulate the carrier.
As was the MK1 Oceanspan though I think the modulated frequency was a bit higher KR, close to 1000 c/s.
Both transmitters had LC oscillators and more to the point every stage was keyed giving a very crisp output. Remember the counter to give the exact frequency?

http://iancoombe.tripod.com/id21.html

When the powers that be deemed all transmitters should be crystal controlled, I don't think the oscillator was keyed or the crystals if keyed never gave the same clear cut signal.
Crossing the Pacific I was astonished to hear a Glen boat maybe Glenroy/GPPN fitted with Oceanspan MK1, calling Shanghai/XSG at a phenomenal distance.
I called Glenroy using 400W and drew a blank.

King Ratt
27th February 2008, 10:57
For R651400. That is an interesting URl you posted. first time I have seen it.
Yes, Oceanspan used 1000 Hz mod for its MCW. First ships I sailed on had Oceanspan Mk VI feeding a big PA and the set-up then was called Worldspan. It was a noisy beast as it used a rotary converter in the base for provision of HT. I reckon it made little difference on HF whether it was on full power or not, certainly when the path was right.

R651400
27th February 2008, 17:44
For R651400. That is an interesting URl you posted. first time I have seen it.
Yes, Oceanspan used 1000 Hz mod for its MCW. First ships I sailed on had Oceanspan Mk VI feeding a big PA and the set-up then was called Worldspan. It was a noisy beast as it used a rotary converter in the base for provision of HT. I reckon it made little difference on HF whether it was on full power or not, certainly when the path was right.

I mentioned the Worldspan earlier or on another thread. Interesting to hear from someone who actually operated the beast.

Re the URL. Ian has done a great job on his site. He is also a member of SN.

K urgess
27th February 2008, 20:38
Third one
Sprucebank/GMHX Andrew Weir & Co
2 trips 14th November 1967 to 5th June 1968 and 13th October 1971 to 19th June 1972
220 volts DC supply
Oceanspan VII DC Main Transmitter (with R/T) 1135C
A1 A2 M/F 410, 425, 454, 500, 512 kc/s Power 0.1kW
IF RT 2009, 2182, 2246, 2301, 2381, 2527, 2534, 2548, 2555, 2104 kc/s
A1 H/F 4184.5, 4206.5, 4231, 6276.75, 6309.75, 6346.5, 8369, 8413, 8462, 12553.5, 12619.5, 12693, 16738, 16826, 16924, 22277.504, 22302, 22365 kc/s.
HF RT 4072.4, 4123.6, 8204.4, 8255.6, 12340.5, 12389.5, 16470.5, 16519.5, 22010.496, 22049.496 kc/s
Salvor I Em.Tx. 2222A
Lifeline RN500 Lifeboat Tx.
Atalanta Main Rx. + Rejector Unit 2207C + 2451FZ
Alert Em.Rx. 1119
Seaguard III Auto Alarm 2348A
Lodestone IV D/F 758E
Marconi Autokey 1097A
Type 365B Morse Key
MimCo/Dynatron Broadcast Rx. 2235A
Seagraph III Echo-sounder (Pierced hull)
Auxiliary Rack Type 2224D 220VDC
Argonaut VHF
Marconi Hermes radar
Main Aerial 128 feet long and 74.5 feet high
Em Ae. 128 feet long and 70 feet high

The radar display was a monster and could be tilted from horizontal to vertical. Very good for keeping your tea warm courtesy of the 49 thermionic (glass) valves it contained. Wouldn't stay tuned but when it worked it was a great set. Unfortunately that wasn't too often. It was replaced with a Raymarc after my 2nd trip.

First time I got sidetone so the noise from the main tx could be ignored.

Q29, who sailed on her while I was on the Weirbank has posted a picture of the radio gear here (http://www.shipsnostalgia.com/gallery/showphoto.php?photo=94895).
Aft is to the left.
I even have a plan, attached.

Ron Stringer
28th February 2008, 16:13
Posh, what? A chronometer (Item K)! I always had to make do with a radio room clock.(Hippy)

K urgess
28th February 2008, 16:33
Technically a clock tells the time. [=P]
In other words it indicates by striking a gong or some such.
A radio room clock had to meet certain criteria for timekeeping and temperature variation so could be termed a chronometer. [=D]
Anything that doesn't strike is a timepiece.(Smoke)

Gareth Jones
28th February 2008, 17:05
The lodestone was a very good D/F which got me buckets of brownie points on 2 occasions.
1/. Approaching Rangoon, there was a hazy fog for about two/three days which obscured the horizon and the mate coudnt get the stars etc. However the pilot boat was fitted with W/T and I was able to guide us directly to the pilot boat by D/F bearings taken while he was working other ships. When in radar range, he was dead ahead and we could see he had a transponder so we ballocked straight up to him. When the pilot came aboard he asked us how we found him cause nobody else could ! the old man (bullshitter extaordinaire!) said "Oh, this mates a wonderful navigator! best I ever sailed with! "
2/. Same ship, coming up through Biscay a nasty westerly gale sprung up late one evening - The old man and the mate had a squabble over how much to lay off to port to allow for us being blown to starboard. The mate figured we needed much more than the om wanted. Anyway we had a very uncomfortable night - at first light the mate called me and asked me to see if I could get any D/F bearings to give a position ( Sky was completely cloudy).
I went all round the coast of the bay and got the lot. The plotted results were spectacularly accurate all coming together to show us right in the middle of the bay! (sharp left hand turn called for!) the old man sensing the change in the ships motion was up on the bridge like a shot, but never said a word !
Interstingly as soon as we passed Ushant the gale dropped as though someone had thrown a switch.

Trevorw
29th February 2008, 16:28
I'll second that as far as the Lodestone was concerned. Approaching Jeddah the terrain is flat and sandy and doesn't show up on radar. We used to turn on the D/F and tune in the radio beacon at the airport in Jeddah. As soon as the "zero" was at ninety degrees we went hard over and tracked the zero on the ships head until we got visual contact. It never failed!

Andy
1st March 2008, 22:35
Just to let subscribers of this thread know, we have now moved this to our new forum 'The Radio Room'... a new forum for wireless ops and those interested.
cheers,
Andy

lagerstedt
2nd March 2008, 07:26
An interesting threat guys. Some questions for you.

In the many photos of radio rooms (shacks, where did that word come from) (1) I have noticed the connections from the Tx's to the ant switching unit is a copper tube/pipe - the question is - what was the rf in the room like? At the freq's you had - all are low - the sig would be around the middle of the copper pipe ie proximity effect against going down the outside at higher freq's - ie skin effect. I may have have answered my own question - the answer being low rf because of the low power output - but at 1kw and above what was it like? When did they use coax for the connections?

(2) SWR - what was that like given the ant coupling unit seems to be just that a coupling unit and not a tuning unit. Given the freq's you used what was the common wavelength you used and what type of ant did you use ie centre feed longwire or a type of windom. Long wire would give a problem on ships with accom aft so what was the configeration there?

(3) Why were the rigs cystal controlled?

Regards
Blair
NZ

trotterdotpom
2nd March 2008, 10:27
Long time no hear, Blair, welcome back.

I believe the origin of the term "shack" comes from when the radio room was a new addition to the ship and many of them were simply built and bolted onto the deck. Some of the old hands in BHP told me they still had ships like that in the '60s. In some cases, to facilitate cargo operations, the "shack" was lifted off the ship and placed ashore. More than once, it was left there (with the Sparks asleep inside) and they had to go back and retrieve it! Gentler times.

As far as I know, you're right about the copper tubes. The copper is a very good conductor so electrical resistance is low and the tube is used because "skin effect" at high frequencies makes the inside unnecessary - therefore it is more economical, ie less copper.

The aerial switching unit is as you say, just a switching unit - tuning is accomplished inside the transmitter.

I think!

John T.

Tai Pan
2nd March 2008, 11:11
I hope all you sparkies are members of the Radio Officers Association. if not see me.

Tai Pan
2nd March 2008, 11:19
Better still see ROASS.org. and join

K urgess
2nd March 2008, 15:04
Anywhere between 410Kc/s and 25Mc/s, Blair.
Mostly crystal controlled but not in an oven until later when synthesisers came in.
Only ever used an SWR meter on a VHF. Standing Wave Ratio for our non sparkies. And that was only as a shore side techie.
Such technicalities were beyond the standing requirements for radio stations.
Unless you had a radar to look after all you had was an AVO Minor simple test meter. With a radar you might get an AVO8 big multimeter.
Mostly chewing gum and string operations with your ballpein hammer and big screwdriver being the handiest tools.[=P]

sparkie2182
2nd March 2008, 21:57
to referesh the memory of trotterdotpom................


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Skin_effect


of course, i could recall it all by heart.............hee hee

K urgess
2nd March 2008, 22:02
Simple stuff, Sparkie. (Whaaa)

K urgess
2nd March 2008, 22:48
Fourth one
Cotopaxi/GQNX Furness Withy/PSNC Liverpool
1 trip 9th July to 15th September 1968
220 volts DC supply
Oceanspan VI DC Main Transmitter (with R/T) 1135C
A1 A2 M/F
410, 468, 480, 500, 512 kc/s Power 0.1kW
IF RT
2009, 2016, 2104, 2182, 2246, 2301, 2381, 2527, 2548, 2555, 2846 kc/s
A1 H/F
4186, 4210, 4235,
6279, 6315, 6352,
8372, 8421, 8470,
12558, 12631, 12705,
16744, 16842, 16940,
22265, 22322, 22385 kc/s.
HF RT
8234 kc/s only. Seem to remember this was a private R/T link to the office direct.
Reliance Em.Tx.
410, 468, 480, 500, 512 kc/s
Salvita Lifeboat Tx.
500, 8364 kc/s
Mercury & Electra Main Rxs.
Alert Em.Rx.
Lifeguard Auto Alarm
Lodestone D/F
Marconi Autokey
Type 365B Morse Key
MimCo/Dynatron Broadcast Rx.
Argonaut VHF
Marconi Raymarc 12 radar

The radar tower was the open girder Mk4 radar type lovingly chipped and repainted by the Old Man while he bronzied on the monkey island. I think the Raymarc 12 had been fitted very recently, like just before I joined.

Shortest deep sea trip I ever did I think. Usual west coast South America run with passengers out and back.

Radio room picture here (http://www.shipsnostalgia.com/gallery/showphoto.php/photo/34027/ppuser/8196). And yes, that was the ONLY place to park the headphones.[=P]
Main Tx aerial run looks very close to the ventilator trunking.(EEK)
Obligatory neon hanging from the main aerial run in place of sidetone.
I can still here the rotary transformer groaning whenever the key was pressed.

Ron Stringer
2nd March 2008, 23:24
Kris,

Don't take it as gospel, but I always thought that the difference between the 'Span VI and 'Span VII was that the former didn't have R/T, whilst the latter did.

trotterdotpom
2nd March 2008, 23:35
to referesh the memory of trotterdotpom................


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Skin_effect


of course, i could recall it all by heart.............hee hee

I knew that!
John T.

K urgess
3rd March 2008, 00:18
Got me thinking there, Ron.
If I remember right the 'Span VII was a table top job whereas the 'Span VI was normally floor standing.
You can see the difference of you look at the pictures in my third and fourth lists.
The colour was different with the VI being grey and the VII hammerite silver.
If you look at the one in the GQNX radio room you can see the modulator unit with the plug for the handset between the two rotary switches. It's definitely different to the modulator on the Sprucebank picture.
If you ignore the poser and look here (http://www.shipsnostalgia.com/gallery/showphoto.php?photo=32047) you can see the handset on top of the Electra with the cable running along the front of the receiver toward the Tx.
I have some sort of dim memory of this being a special and the R/T only being used rarely.
Three rather dim pictures of the Cotopaxi radio room attached.
The crystal in the external slot on the Tx was the 8Mc/s R/T frequency.
Bearing in mind that all this was 40 years ago this year I have to stir the grey cells continually for this stuff to surface and pad out the notes I made at the time, usually taking details from the ship's licence.
Cheers
Kris

lagerstedt
3rd March 2008, 04:46
Thanks guys. One other question was about the auto keyer - Is it a coupler between the rx and tx or was it for the auto alarms etc.

Regards
Blair
NZ

trotterdotpom
3rd March 2008, 05:05
The auto-key was used in distress situations. It could be connected to either main or emergency transmitter to key the auto-alarm signal (12 x 4 second dashes which activated other ships' auto alarms). This signal could be used to test your own auto alarm too. The auto-key could also be switched to send out a distress signal: SOS SOS SOS de ship's callsign (which was cut into a rotating cam). After three repetitions of the distress signal, two long dashes were transmitted for Direction Finders to home in to. This sequence would be repeated over and over until power was lost.

There were instructions in the radio room for unskilled personnel, telling them how to send and auto-key signal with the emergency transmitter (when going off watch, the RO was supposed to leave the equipment tuned to 500 kcs, the distress frequency).

If the ship was abandoned, the station was supposed to be left with the Auto-Key operating the Emergency Transmitter which ran on battery power. That's why the emergency batteries were kept as high as possible, often on the monkey island.

In the case of abandoment, Marconi ROs were also expected to take the Radio Accounts with them!

John T.

Ron Stringer
3rd March 2008, 10:09
Kris,

I must confess that I sailed with several Oceanspans, from I to VII but can no longer remember the differences. I do remember we did an Oceanspan VIIE emergency transmitter which ran from 24V dc. This was offered to the more discerning owner that was prepared to pay a little more to get a genuine, back-up, reserve transmitter rather than one of the 'Salvor' series of emergency transmitters to comply with the minumum regulatory requirements and provided only MF Morse and/or 2182 kHz telephony.

Always puzzled me how someone could send a multimillion pound asset away to sea, plus its valuable cargo and then rely on a single piece of equipment for all communications. Failure of a few radio components (not uncommon in tropical areas where lightning is very prevalent), value a few pence, could disable the lot.

Then they would be shouting over the 'phone to the supplier insisting that it was essential that the equipment be fixed at the next port of call or the vessel would be delayed and cause them to incur crippling financial penalties. Never heard of forward and contingency planning?

Had the same view about owners that fitted a single radar.

K urgess
3rd March 2008, 11:51
It could've been a Globespan modulator welded on! I wish I'd paid more attention at the time.
Up until about 1973 or 74 I only ever saw one radar per ship apart from tankers and they usually had a 3cm and a 10cm.
I know what you mean about the radio gear though, Ron.
Relying on a single main installation was ludicrous. My last trip, Big Geordie, was a real chewing gum and string job doing things to the "Crusader" that the manual said you should never do under any circumstances.
Didn't have any choice if I wanted to clear traffic.[=P]

lagerstedt
4th March 2008, 05:53
Once again thanks, great thread. If you keep it going I just might get my 1 or 2 class ticket to add to may amateur licence. Talking about electronics what did they teach you - electron theory or conventional flow?

Regards
Blair
NZ

trotterdotpom
4th March 2008, 06:43
Blair, you needed a knowledge of Conventional Flow in order to understand basic electricity and such things as motor and generator theory, Fleming's Left and Right Hand Rules come to mind (particularly useful in Danny's Bar in Antwerp). Electron theory came into its own with valves, semi-conductors, etc. I have fond memories of flip-flopping multi-vibrators (also popular in Danny's Bar).

In answer to your question, it helped to be bi-polar.

John T.

PS I wonder what they learn now? Maxwell's corkscrew rule, while equally well loved in Danny's Bar, is a bit irrelevant when stuff enters one end of a tiny bit of plastic and other stuff exits it.

BA204259
4th March 2008, 08:06
...(particularly useful in Danny's Bar in Antwerp)... (also popular in Danny's Bar)...
...equally well loved in Danny's Bar...

Ah, now that brings back memories, last bus from the docks in the evening and first bus back at dawn, most of the intervening time spent in Danny's Bar and another equally salubrious establishment called the Texas Bar. I saw some strange things happen in there, I can tell you. If I remember correctly, Skipper (or Schipper?) Straat. I never went in there in my life and I never will again (as I say to my wife). (==D)

R651400
4th March 2008, 08:22
I saw some strange things happen in there, I can tell you.(==D)
I see this thread has taken a right hand turn on the coil.
Danny's Bar Antwerp?
Today you'd be well warned not to enter as it would be known as...."series aiding."

trotterdotpom
4th March 2008, 10:35
I forgot to mention, Danny's Bar - birthplace of the Trans-sister - was a sort of Tandy shop which also sold the famous Belgian beer Stan Artois (later to become known as "Stella").

Hope you're writing all this down, Blair, there will be a test later.

John T.

K urgess
4th March 2008, 11:16
Are we talking holes and electrons here? [=P]

BA204259
4th March 2008, 11:37
Are we talking holes and electrons here? [=P]

It's all true I tell you, all true. Fond (?) memories of Gaston, the Parisian ballet dancer who took a shine to our lot and would entertain us by dancing in front of the juke-box..(EEK) You could spot Gaston immediately as apart from the punters he was the only one who wore men's clothing, albeit a very chic, haute-couture Italian suit (all the rage in the early sixties) and winkle-picker shoes.

trotterdotpom
4th March 2008, 14:10
After dancing in front of the juke box Gaston would have had a really resonant cavity.

John T.

BA204259
4th March 2008, 14:33
Mmmmm... going back to radio theory, what's the length of a dipole cut for 156 mHz?

K urgess
4th March 2008, 16:45
Half wave dipole?
About a metre but then I wouldn't need to know that.
Just get a new one from Marconi stores. [=P]
But then most Marconi aerials were quarter wave because of the ease of matching to the cable (40 ohms to 50 ohms cable) which makes it about 50cms.

King Ratt
4th March 2008, 16:54
Try dividing 300 by the freq in Mhz and that gives the wave length in metres. so 300 div by 156 = 1.92 metres and the dipole will be half that again = 0.961 metres. No doubt slight adjustments needed for the characteristics of the feeders, end effects etc but that is too technical for me.
Hope this helps.

K urgess
4th March 2008, 21:11
Fifth one
Port Townsville/MGCV Port Line/Cunard
1 trip 25th September 1968 to 28th January 1969
220 volts DC supply
Oceanspan VII DC Main Transmitter (with R/T)
A1 A2 M/F
410, 425, 454, 468, 480, 500, 512 kc/s Power 0.1kW
IF RT
2016, 2104, 2162, 2182, 2241, 2381, 2527, 2534, 2548, 2555, 2638, 2846 kc/s
A1 H/F
4179, 4198, 4223,
6268, 6297, 6334,
8358, 8397, 8446,
12537, 12595, 12669,
16716, 16794, 16892,
22230, 22325, 22387 kc/s.
Salvor Em.Tx.
Salvita II Lifeboat Tx.
Mercury & Electra Main Rxs.
Alert Em.Rx.
Lifeguard Auto Alarm
Lodestone D/F
Marconi Autokey
MimCo Tapedeck
Argonaut VHF
Marconi Raymarc 12 radar
Seagraph echo-sounder

The radar scanner was mounted on the forrard goal post at the break of the focsle. Very nerve wracking when it went wrong and you had to climb up in bad weather.

No pictures of this one that I can find.
All these are pretty standard Marconi installations for ships built in the late 40s and the 50s. Mostly well-proven reliable kit.
I must admit to liking the Mercury/Electra combination of receivers. You normally could leave the Mercury on 500 and work H/F on the Electra. Or was it the other way round? Grey matter needs stirring again.

Ron Stringer
5th March 2008, 00:39
I must admit to liking the Mercury/Electra combination of receivers. You normally could leave the Mercury on 500 and work H/F on the Electra.

You have it right, Kris. Mercury had frequencies below 4MHz and the Electra went from MF on up to 30MHz (or a little lower).

K urgess
5th March 2008, 00:48
Thanks, Ron. (Thumb)
I suppose I could've looked it up but I relied on memory.
Even handier was that you could keep watch on 500 and listen to the MN programme at the same time. [=P]

Ron Stringer
5th March 2008, 00:57
The radar scanner was mounted on the forrard goal post at the break of the focsle. Very nerve wracking when it went wrong and you had to climb up in bad weather.

Have a look at the scanner location on my first ship. The scanner was in the cross trees of the foremast, the transceiver in the tween deck below the mast and there was no raised fo'c'sle. The run was UK-Caribbean via Biscay and Azores, returning Great Circle via Grand Banks.

Hard enough in bad weather to make it onto the foredeck let alone the access hatch to get down to the radar transceiver. Going up to the scanner in rough weather (and I had to do it several times - Oh the joys of the door-knob transformer) was something else. But it was expected of you, so you did it.

K urgess
5th March 2008, 01:03
That looks horrendous, Ron.
This is where mine was on the Port Townsville.
Sitting astride that girder in either a Biscay gale or the long slow Indian Ocean swell didn't give you a spare hand for yourself.(EEK)

sparkie2182
5th March 2008, 01:03
is that the golfito ron?

lagerstedt
5th March 2008, 07:16
In your photo Kris the radar is connected or appears connected to a rod that extends down towards the deck. If that is correct what is its purpose.

Never been to Dannies Bar either

Regards
Blair

R651400
5th March 2008, 08:43
In your photo Kris the radar is connected or appears connected to a rod that extends down towards the deck. If that is correct what is its purpose.

I'd guess it is protection for the waveguide running from the scanner to the transceiver.

Ron Stringer
5th March 2008, 10:26
is that the golfito ron?

Yes that's right Sparkie. Her (later) sister ship, Camito, kept the same ridiculous arrangement. They seemed to have the idea that it was essential that there should be no risk of any blind arcs forward of the beam.

K urgess
5th March 2008, 11:15
I'd guess it is protection for the waveguide running from the scanner to the transceiver.

That's right.
The transceiver unit was in the focsle (lovely dry atmosphere [=P])
The trunking covered the connections for power and heading marker etc. plus waveguide.

Salaams
Kris

R651400
5th March 2008, 11:20
Well sited radar on the forard mast and DF on the funnel of Eurygenes sister ship to my last Eurylochus.
Radar was either KH or Decca true motion and in practice very poor, probably due to losses on the long run from the transceiver to the display unit on the bridge.

K urgess
5th March 2008, 11:31
Going back to my third one, Sprucebank/GMHX.
The attached is where they put the Hermes radar scanner and the VHF aerial.
Excellent, not. (Cloud)The vibration up there was horrendous especially maneouvring.
The radar started acting up one day. It did most days but this was different. When observed from the bridge wing it was seen to have a distinct "wobble".
Luckily we were on our way in to port so I only had to contend with generator exhaust not Doxford when I went up after we'd tied up.
Great bit of help from the engine room to "glue" it back on with a combination of nuts bolts and Araldite. [=P]

Ron Stringer
5th March 2008, 12:24
The Bridge of the 'Regent Pembroke' was a pretty massive affair. In plan it was a sort of flattened egg shape - imagine the broad end of the egg facing forward and slightly flattened to form the bridge front. There were large windows all round the structure and the wheelhouse section was relatively shallow (extending only 5 or 6 metres aft from the wheelhouse windows). On the other side of the after bulkhead was the 'chartroom' which was absolutely enormous, extending aft for about two-thirds of the overall 'egg'. The chart table and drawers were mounted against the bulkhead but the rest of the area was just space, completely empty.

The monkey island above was similarly vast and carried only the usual binnacle and signal mast (which also carried the 12ft scanner for the 'Hermes' radar). The remaining huge, flat, area of steel deck used to resonate at certain propeller revs and it also acted as a sounding board. Some plates flexed when walked on and when the radar scanner was turning, it sounded like a bucket of screws were being rolled about the deck. The radio room was one deck down.

One afternoon in the Red Sea, heading south near Perim, the wind was strong but the sea was nothing to speak of. I was on watch when the 2nd Mate rang down and asked me to come up to the Bridge because he thought that there was something wrong with the radar and it was making 'a funny noise'. I went up and listened - yes there was the usual graunching sound but in my opinion it was no different than usual. Went out onto the port bridge wing and observed the scanner rotating steadily. Nothing out of the ordinary there!

I had just told the 2nd Mate that he was imagining things when the 12ft long scanner detached itself from the gearbox and sailed over our heads and plummeted into the sea. Oh, well, perhaps he did have some grounds for thinking that something was wrong.

jaydeeare
5th March 2008, 13:18
Readiing through this thread, noticed a number of referencess to 'Bug Keys'. Not hearing of these before, I did a Google and found this website (http://www.morsemad.com/).

Now I know what you're talking about. I think this was referred to as a 'side key'? Or something like that.

K urgess
5th March 2008, 14:09
Well, at least you didn't have to try and fix it, Ron. [=P]
Not the sort of thing that came in the spares cupboard.
Must've been a design fault with those 12 foot Hermes scanners.
Never saw it happen on any other unit.
Don't know how true it was but I was told the Hermes/Argus was an air traffic control radar that had been "Marinised" for use at sea.

Called bug key because of the trademark of the company, Johnny.
But then applied generically to almost all keys that were not up and down pounders.

Salaams
Kris

Ron Stringer
5th March 2008, 17:00
Kris,

No, the Hermes and Argus were designed by the Marine section of MWT (Marconi's Wireless Telegraph Company) and not by the Radar section, which was responsible for military and ATC radars. The guy that led the design team (and went on to glory with the 'Predictor') died only a few years back.

The loss of the antenna was caused by the 6 half-inch bolts that secured the scanner to the drive gearbox shearing through at the face of the two flanges (one on the antenna and the other on the drive gearbox). At the time the set failed, it had already been discovered that during normal operation at sea, under typical vibration levels, the bolts would ease (in spite of spring washers etc.) and loosen slightly. Then each time the radar was started, the gearbox would start turning, so the bolts would be accelerated against the static edges of the antenna flange. Over time this acted as a guillotine and chopped the bolts through.

The cure, already prepared, was to increase the number of bolts to 8, to use fitted bolts which were almost an interference fit in the flange holes, and to wire the boltheads together. Once corrected there was never any recurrence. By the time our set failed several months after we had sailed on our maiden voyage, replacement kits were available in the UK. One was reserved for the guarantee drydocking but the owners didn't want the trouble and cost of sending it out to us. We hadn't been back to the UK so hadn't collected it.

After it failed we sailed radarless (63,000 dwt - only one radar) to Ras Tanura and then round the Cape to Rio, where the replacement scanner was waiting for us. But that is another story altogether.

K urgess
5th March 2008, 22:54
Sixth one
Rialto/GBLV Wilson Line/Royal Mail charter (with the luxury goodies to Bermuda and the West Indies [=P])
1 trip 18th February to 9th May,1969
110 volts DC supply
Oceanspan VI DC Main Transmitter
A1 A2 M/F
410, 425, 468, 500, 512 kc/s Power 0.1kW
A1 H/F
4178, 4188, 4212,
6267, 6282, 6318,
8357, 8376, 8425,
12535, 12564, 12637,
16714, 16752, 16850,
22227.5, 22272.5, 22335 kc/s.
Fulmar R/T Transmitter
I/F R/T
2182, 2009,2016, 2118, 2246, 2381, 2534, 2527, 2738 kc/s
Salvor II Em.Tx.
Salvita Lifeboat Tx.
Atalanta Main Rx.
Alert Em.Rx.
Seaguard Auto Alarm
Guardian II
Lodestone III D/F
Marconi Autokey
Decca Navigator
Argonaut VHF
Dynatron 2230 Broadcast Rx.
Marconi Mark IV radar
Seagraph III echo-sounder

I don't remember the Mark IV radar at all so it must've behaved itself. Didn't think I'd ever sailed with one until I looked at this list.

No pictures of this one that I can find. She was built in 1948 and I think the Atalanta was a recent replacement for a CR300.
I have a feeling that the Fulmar R/T Tx and Guardian Rx were mounted in the wheelhouse.

This was the oldest ship I sailed on. Triple expansion steam job and a lovely sea ship.

jaydeeare
5th March 2008, 23:41
Thanks for the info Kris ;) Wondered why they were called 'bug keys'. Were they easier to use?

K urgess
5th March 2008, 23:49
Much easier, Johnny.
Side to side keying with one way for dashes and the other for dots.
The semi-automatic type were mechanical and vibrated to give dots and you keyed the dashes.
A bit like twanging a ruler on the edge of your desk.
Moving a weight changed the speed of the dots.
The electronic ones produced dots and dashes automatically at any speed at the turn of a control pot.
Definitely cheating. [=P]
A normal up and downer was quite tiring to use.
I found it difficult not to grip the key knob. You were supposed to just rest your fingers on the top and touch it lightly but some of them were so stiff or over sprung. After a few years of pounding by a lot of different sparkies they could be well past it.

jaydeeare
5th March 2008, 23:58
Thanks!

At College, I found it easier to tap the top of the key with my finger tips, but told off by the Instructors for doing this with words like "This is NOT the Royal Navy! You grip the key, not tap it!"

The problem with the College morse keys was that it took me a while to set it up for my preference gap. Some preferred a big gap, I'll never know why! All you could hear was their keys clattering!

K urgess
6th March 2008, 00:06
A big gap was good.
Especially with no sidetone and the rotary transformer drowning everything out.

Our college taught us exactly the opposite but there was a subtle way of applying slight sideways pressure against the side of the key without actually hanging on to it.
Even after all these years I still have a callous on my middle finger from gripping the key too tight.

jaydeeare
6th March 2008, 00:33
For us it was thy thumb under the lip, the middle finger on the top and the fingers either side of the knob on top of the lip. I hope the terms are OK, but I guess you know what I mean.

The action was to use the wrist and rest the forearm on the desk.

I preferred a narrow gap as this seemed to increase my speed and I had a 'light' touch. If my memory serves me correct, I could manage about 23 - 25 wpm. I found sending a passage from a book quite relaxing. Something I could do without having to think.

In another thread, ex-sparks mentioned about writing without thinking about the characters coming in. It was the rhythm and sequence you subconsciously wrote down, plus a bit of anticipation. I enjoyed it, except when we had to listen to the damned machine! Perfect mechanical morse was awful. I always preferred a manual and personal morse. Got to know who was sending it sometimes.

There again, this was all at College, not 'real life'.

sparkie2182
6th March 2008, 00:45
hi jay.......

remember the white morse tape on the spools.........:) at f.n.c. ?

was it bob abrams teaching basic morse.......... or steve musgrave?

:)

ian fears
6th March 2008, 10:56
for those of us still interested in radar take a look at Kelvin Hughes site and the SharpEye radar you may have to register but its free ,

mikeg
6th March 2008, 12:58
For us it was thy thumb under the lip, the middle finger on the top and the fingers either side of the knob on top of the lip. I hope the terms are OK, but I guess you know what I mean.

The action was to use the wrist and rest the forearm on the desk.

I preferred a narrow gap as this seemed to increase my speed and I had a 'light' touch. If my memory serves me correct, I could manage about 23 - 25 wpm. I found sending a passage from a book quite relaxing. Something I could do without having to think.

In another thread, ex-sparks mentioned about writing without thinking about the characters coming in. It was the rhythm and sequence you subconsciously wrote down, plus a bit of anticipation. I enjoyed it, except when we had to listen to the damned machine! Perfect mechanical morse was awful. I always preferred a manual and personal morse. Got to know who was sending it sometimes.

There again, this was all at College, not 'real life'.

At Southampton I was taught to bend at the wrist (ducky?) which was supposed to ensure even timing but after time/getting ticket I guess we all adopt our own styles of sending. I do agree about auto sending though, preferring to hear an original sending 'fist' to auto Creed type tape machines - with a combination of 'fist' and a distinctive tone or rasp it became almost like a calling card - you knew who it was even before the callsign was sent. Even some bugs were distinctive because the spaces between code varied from sender to sender i.e. rapid code with elongated spaces or vice versa. Ah, happy days :D

Tai Pan
6th March 2008, 13:57
Princes Rd Liverpool. The morse instructor Mr Webber, ruler in hand, crashing it down on your wrist with the immortal words "wrist Laddie,Wrist"

jaydeeare
6th March 2008, 14:09
Sparkie, yes, I certainly DO remember those infernal white paper tapes!

We had that infernal machine tapping out continuous '"E's" during touch typing classes in the evening. Then we had to type messages direct from the machine - very slowly I might add! it was like water torture... dit....dit.....dit.....dit.....

It was Steve Musgrave who taught us, and occasionally others stood in.

I remember one Open Day a group of us came back late (we'd broken College Rules and had been down to a pub). We were greeted by the Head of the Radio Dept. (Mr. Laughlin?) and he sent us to our locations ready for the visitors. I and 2 others were sent into one of the Morse Rooms. The machine was running, and only the three of us in there. Well, we could hardly write the message down, when one said, "One do plain language, another do code and another figures, then we could put down anything, the visitors wouldn't know."

That was OK, until one bright spark came in and asked if we were receiving from the same machine. He was told, "Yes". Then he wanted to know why we were all writing something different. "We're operating on different frequencies." came the swift reply. Boy did we laugh when that visitor left!

I think the other two may have been John Kynaston and Tom Smith, but can't be sure, but certainly sounds like it may have been - we were always up for some form of fun.

sparkie2182
6th March 2008, 17:07
john laughland.......... for it was he. :)

jaydeeare
6th March 2008, 18:59
Yep! We were all terrified of him! And the lecturer who took the Mates - big bloke he was, can't remember his name.

Roger Scholes did it for us as Nav Cadets!

Trevorw
7th March 2008, 00:36
I was on a BP tanker, "British Endurance". The radar was on a mast atop the monkey island - a good site you may think. There was one problem! The heading marker switch used to work loose on lots of occasions. 4am, and I was put on the shake. Climb up the ladder to the scanner unit and unfasten 144 bolts to get to it and then adjust the switch! Climb all the way down the ladder and check it out on the bridge - sh** 2 degrees too far! After a while, we used to post a person on the wing of the bridge and I remained aloft, ducking my head whilst the scaner rotated! Two or three goes like this and we had the ships head spot on! Having achieved this, I made a pencil mark, and whenever it happened again I could hit the target first time!!

lagerstedt
8th March 2008, 08:40
Interested in the location of the scanners you guys have mention. Some seem low which then brings on the question what are the arc/s (up and down as well as sideways) of the beam from the scanner. The one shown on the Port Townsville seems low enough for the beam to reflect into the accomodation and bridge. Some of the rays would or could go through the windows while other would be reflected off the steel. With ranges anywhere from 5 to 60 n/miles the power of the beam would be very high.

Regards
Blair
NZ

K urgess
8th March 2008, 12:05
Because of the lack of decent test equipment one test for transmitted power was to tape a small neon lamp to a twelve inch ruler. The waveguide above the transceiver unit would be disconnected and the radar powered up.
The ruler was run up the remaining waveguide from the transceiver until the lamp went out. This was an indication of power output.[=P]
Of course, all this went on in a sealed steel room usually with the door closed. (EEK)
The other test was to disconnect as above and draw a spark off the edge of the waveguide with a forefinger.
I did notice that if one stood on a radar platform the scanner was invariably at crotch height.
The only thing I was taught at college was "Don't look into the scanner while the radar is working"!
There was invariably a blind spot dead astern because of the after mast on cargo ships but all those problems went away when all aft accomodation came in.
Have you noticed the positions of radar scanners on some modern cruise ships? Especially the docking radar on the bow!

Cheers
Kris

jaydeeare
8th March 2008, 14:08
If you're talking of radars, here are ones I worked on when I was in the RAF:

http://www.radarpages.co.uk/mob/linesman/type85.htm

http://www.radarpages.co.uk/mob/mrs/type80.htm

Big b*****s they were as well!

On the T80, the final Tx parts and head amps were in the rotating cabin. plenty of 'techies' used to suffer from motion sickness working in there as the cabin rotated with the radar head.

K urgess
8th March 2008, 17:12
Bit on the big side for ships, Johnny. [=P]
At Hull Tech we had a smaller "Mekon" in the shape of a 3 phase mercury arc power rectifier in the morse room on top of a store. It produced DC for the radio gear next door.
I thought that was impressive until I saw your T80 12 phase version.
Salaams
Kris

Ron Stringer
8th March 2008, 19:00
what are the arc/s (up and down as well as sideways) of the beam from the scanner.

For merchant ship's radars the vertical aspect of the transmitted beam had to be not less than +/- 20 degrees. This was to keep the horizon in view when the ship was rolling/pitching in a seaway.

The horizontal beam width had to be as narrow as practicable so as to allow for discrimination in azimuth between small targets that were close together. From memory the horizontal beamwidth could not exceed 2 degrees. In practice most 3cm X-band (9GHz) radars had 1.5 degree beamwidth for the smaller antennas (6ft) and 0.75 degrees for the larger (12ft) antennas. The 10cm S-band (3GHz) radars, even with their 12ft antennas could not achieve such narrow beamwidths.

As you can see, the beamwidth was a function of wavelength and antenna aperture. To simplify; the shorter the wavelength and the wider the antenna, the narrower the beam produced.

Roger Bentley
8th March 2008, 20:24
Backtracking my first ship was the Bibby Line troopship Lancashire GLZC. I joined her in Seotember 1950. It was a shock to enter the radio room as apart from the emergency spark transmitter none of the other equipment was familiar to me - fresh from wireless college. The MF transmitter was a Marconi 381, the HF was a Marconi 376, main MF/LF receiver a Marconi 352A, with an Eddystone model for HF reception. There was also a broadcast receiver for shipboard broadcasting and this was type MN100A. The Radar was the good old 268, and the DF set was a Marconi 579. The Chief R/O called our MF transmitter and MF receiver, the Riverspan and the Reluctant receiver. It all worked well and I don't ever recall any problems. Regards, Roger

niggle
8th March 2008, 21:17
Well little did I expect such a mine of info and comment when I started this thread but in response to Sparkie 2182 and Jaydeeare, do you remember "Cheesey Howarth " for morse practice? Last saw Steve Musgrave at Blackpool and Fylde College Blackpool where he is in the IT dept in 2006. I had a great lecturer for fundamentals and radio theory by the name of Dave Larter, sadly no longer with us but did he know his stuff and he could teach it so that it was understood by all. I remember Johny Laughland he was head of radio department, others include Arthur Bill, Ray Bisby and ****** Watson. Anybody remember more during 70's ?

K urgess
8th March 2008, 21:42
Seventh one and now for something completely different.
Lord Mountstephen/ZCVO Canadian Pacific Steamships, Hamilton Bermuda.
1 trip 16th May to 3rd November, 1969. My first tanker.
230 volts AC supply. My first AC ship.
AEI Triton T80 MIH Main Transmitter
A1 A2 M/F
410, 425, 454, 500, 512 kc/s Power 0.25kW (wow a whole 250 Watts)
I/F A3 R/T
2182, 2381, 2009, 2527, 2366, 2534, 2309, 2241, 2198, 2166, 2142, 2118 kc/s
A1 H/F
4185, 4209, 4234,
6278, 6314, 6351,
8371, 8419, 8468,
12556, 12629, 12702,
16742, 16838, 16936,
22262, 22317, 22380 kc/s.
A3 H/F R/T
4098, 4104, 4110, 4123, 4129
8210, 8217, 8223, 8255, 8261
12301, 12368, 12382, 12389, 12396
16498, 16505, 16512, 16519, 16526
22010, 22031, 22038, 22059, 22066
And for some reason extra crystals for
4066, 4072, 4091, 8198, 8204
12333, 12340, 12347, 12354, 16470, 16491
AEI T.64 Emergency Tx.
A1 A2 M/F
410, 425, 454, 500, 512 kc/s
Survivor Lifeboat Tx.
500, 2182, 8364 kc/s A2, A3
Atalanta Main Rx.
AEI Q29 Em.Rx.
AEI Q29 Auto Alarm
Lodestar D/F
AEI A1 Autokey
Decca Navigator Mk12
Loran 102c
Redifon 650F VHF + G286A Scrambler Unit
AEI Escort 504 (10cm) and Escort 654 (3cm) radars
Kelvin Hughes MS32F echo-sounder
Mitsubishi engine room data logger
Main aerial 53 metres long and 30 metres high
Em aerial 60 metres long and 25 metres high

This was in the days before they decided that sparkie's aerials might be causing all the tanker explosions so they ran from the accomodation to the samson posts at the manifolds.

The radio room gear was pretty reliable and because it wasn't originally a Marconi station there was a bit better test gear. Probably because of the monster radars.

The engine room data logger was mostly an alarm panel but had a facility to print out figures at the end of the watch. The alarms consisted of flashing lights and a Japanese female voice telling you what was wrong. Some joker had swapped all the cassettes around so you never believed the voice.

A bit of a deep end job for me bearing in mind the gear I'd sailed with before and this was way before my electronics ticket.

The attached are all I could find. The second one shows the VHF unit that was in a corner of the radio room

sparkie2182
8th March 2008, 21:55
hello niggle.........

there is an existing thread initiated by jaydeeare which deals with the staff at f.n.c. in the 1970's

fred howarth sailed during w.w.2 as a young r/o.........and later had a tv/radio repair shop in bispham.

......... a lovely man.......... known as "cheesy" because of his permanant "cheesy" smile.

best regards...........

jaydeeare
8th March 2008, 22:15
Yes Kris, they were big. The T85 head weighed in at around 75 tonnes!

I admit this has nothing to do with the sea, but thought I'd include it for interest. Show you some things that I worked on over the years. Admittedly, I didn't do that much with the T80 as I wasn't fully qualified to work on it, but was qualified to work on a Watch on the T85.

A few times we had a fault on one of the T85 Tx EHT units and one of the best ways to locate the problem was to put the lights out and look for any arcing. If this was the cause, then the unit would be removed and taken to the washroom and thoroughly washed and scrubbed. It was then taken down into the workshops for a thorough drying - we called it 'giving the EHT a wash and blow dry'. that usually fixed most of those problems.

niggle, the link to the FNC is HERE (http://www.shipsnostalgia.com/showthread.php?t=12438&highlight=Fleetwood+Nautical+college) initiated by sparkie, not me - I just kept adding to it :)

Trevorw
8th March 2008, 23:11
On the subject of Marconi radars; does anyone remember what a Miller rundown valve was?

K urgess
8th March 2008, 23:38
Miller or Transitron feed-back timebase.
Amazing what you remember. (K)
Courtesy of Danielson and Mayoh's Marine Radio Manual

mikeg
9th March 2008, 01:20
That circuit brings all the memories back... the Miller also reminded me of 'Miller Effect' the stray capacitance between valve electrodes. Keep 'em coming :-)

Mike

mikeg
9th March 2008, 01:25
Seventh one and now for something completely different.
Lord Mountstephen/ZCVO Canadian Pacific Steamships, Hamilton Bermuda.


I was on the CP Voyageur, used to race other CP ships across the Atlantic to be the first into Quebec to claim the only ship loaned television..happy days.

Mike

lagerstedt
9th March 2008, 09:05
Thanks Ron for the reply on the beam angles etc.

Regards
Blair

Ron Stringer
9th March 2008, 10:47
On the subject of Marconi radars; does anyone remember what a Miller rundown valve was?

Yes and I can still remember the position of the associated valves, V406 and V410 in the MkIV timebase. One was a common failure and its location, down between other components, meant that you could only reach it with forefinger and thumb. That meant that the remaining fingers of the right hand had to be stretched out of the way so that the operative digits could reach down the narrow gap, release and remove the valve cover and then again to remove the valve (tube).

It just so happened that a big RF choke (or transformer, can't remember which) was nearby, with bare terminals on top carrying 600V dc, just where your extended middle finger went as you reached for the valve. Sudden pain, smell of burning flesh and you had your first RF puncture burn of the day! Very slow to heal and a damned nuisance therafter since everything you used (until it healed) seemed to involve contact with the soft pad of that finger (Morse key, screwdriver etc). No matter how careful you tried to be, the position of that damn valve was such that sooner or later you would forget (or the ship would move) and phtttt.. there it goes again. If you were lucky you didn't bring your hand out so quickly that you banged it on the upper tray of the transceiver.

Speaking with other R/Os (while on courses on later radars) almost every one of them had a little round white scar burned into the tip of their middle finger. Mine is still visible nearly 50 years later.

PS For those that ask "Why the hell didn't you turn the set off before changing valves (tubes) and so avoid the electric shock/RF burn?" the reason was that the set took so damned long to warm up after heaving been stopped and you might have to replace a number of valves to get the set operational again. Further more the radar transceiver was often far away from the radar display (the only place that you could see the results of your intervention) that you would have taken all day to fix a fault had you been elfin safety conscious,

jaydeeare
9th March 2008, 13:21
I was once told that "You can't be considered an Electronics Engineer until, 1. You've welded an AVO probe onto the valve base, 2. you've had a good belt!"

Well, I've done both - No.2 many times! (No comments on my toilet practices, PLEASE!!)

The advantage of the old valve electronics, was that it taught you to be very careful!

K urgess
9th March 2008, 13:26
Nothing quite like a good belt through the fingers to make your blood sing! (==D)
Always a good idea to take your watch off before exploring the innards of your equipment, especially if it has a metal strap. (Whaaa)

jaydeeare
9th March 2008, 15:02
So did I, plus rings and sleeves rolled up. Still got belts though.

One stupid one was when I was changing a fuse and talking to someone. I had my fingers touching on the metal part of the cap. Soon as I inserted the fuse - WHAM! My arm didn't stop shaking for quite a while.

Things you get 'used to', eh?

mikeg
9th March 2008, 16:36
PS For those that ask "Why the hell didn't you turn the set off before changing valves (tubes) and so avoid the electric shock/RF burn?" the reason was that the set took so damned long to warm up after heaving been stopped and you might have to replace a number of valves to get the set operational again. Further more the radar transceiver was often far away from the radar display (the only place that you could see the results of your intervention) that you would have taken all day to fix a fault had you been elfin safety conscious,

Yes, especially if there's a six in-line of valves in the rx strip - switching off would have taken forever and a day(EEK)

Ron Stringer
9th March 2008, 16:54
In 1966, soon after coming ashore to work in South Shields for Marconi Marine as a TMTA (Temporary Marine Technical Assistant - how low on the scale can you get?), I was sent with a much older technician to dismantle the radio stations from some laid-up BP tankers in Tyne Dock. We were taken out in a boat to where the ships lay at the buoys and climbed aboard the first ship to begin our work. The vessel was 'dead' and had been for some years, so there was no need to isolate the electrical mains supply.

The plan was for the older guy to remove the Oceanspan I transmitter, while I was delegated to the lesser bits and pieces on the other side of the radio room. I helped get the RF unit out of the transmitter cabinet and the 'boss' got on with sorting out all the 'gubbins' that lay in the bottom of the unit - power supplies, battery chargers, etc. Before I got started on the main receiver, I asked if I should find the battery locker and disconnect the batteries. My suggestion received very short shrift and it was indicated that jumped-up greenhorns like me should mind their own business and get on with the jobs they are given, not try to bunk off looking for easy jobs.

Suitably chastised, I got on with disconnecting and removing equipment from the benches and stacking them out on deck to be taken ashore.

Now the connections between the emergency batteries (two banks of four, large, 6-volt lead acid accumulators) were made with 7/064" lead-sheathed, copper cable. This was pretty rigid and difficult to handle and at each end, the cable was terminated in a brass eye, drilled to take a 0BA bolt and soldered to the cable. At one end of the cable the eye was attached to the terminal of the battery and at the other end it was attached to a long, 0BA brass screw in the base of the Oceanspan transmitter. There were four of these long bolts, one pair, Positive and Negative for each bank of batteries.

Having removed the various power units and the relatively thin cables providing the various mains and ancillary connections, it was only left for him to disconnect the battery cables from the long terminals. Then he could remove the cabinet and his part of the job would be done. Of course the installers had placed the eye terminals (soldered onto the cable) and secured them with brass washers and nuts onto the 0BS screws before pushing the cabinet into position and fixing it to the deck and bulkhead. The result was a tight-fit arrangement, leaving little or no play in the connections.

Nothing daunted, my bold colleague removed the nuts and washers, got a good grip of the first cable and pulled. The brass eye moved maybe half way up the threaded brass screw before it jammed. I offered to help but was told to mind my own business. By this time I had done what I could elsewhere and was nothing more than an interested spectator.

He shuffled into position to get a better purchase and pulled again.

There was a sudden brilliant light in the Oceanspan cabinet, as if the king of all welding machines was in there. The 'boss' reeled back and revealed a blinding arc as the cable eye (and the cable) quickly travelled down the brass screw adjacent to the one that it had been attached to. Having been pulled off its own screw, it had sprung onto the opposite terminal of the battery and the resultant short-circuit was discharging the battery. It took only 2 or 3 seconds for the arc to completely disperse about 5 inches of 0BA threaded brass rod, leaving only a cloud of smoke and a nasty smell where it had been. It was several minutes before we could see clearly again as our eyes adjusted to the normal light in the radio room.

When I asked if I should now go and disconnect the batteries, he shakenly agreed that it might be a good idea.

After that unforgettable demonstration of just what power there is in a big battery, I treated them with a respect that I never had when I was at sea, where in truth they were regarded as just another chore.

K urgess
9th March 2008, 18:20
Nice one, Ron.
One of the reasons I got out of Marine Tech with SAIT was batteries.
It would appear that some sparkies did indeed think they were a chore and just about every ship I went on board to do a job needed the batteries sorting out after long periods of neglect.
I used to hate the job myself while at sea but knew the lives might depend on them.
Having to do it for someone else who couldn't be bothered was just one step too far.
The other thing was aerials. They must've stopped teaching copper aerial wire splicing by 1978. [=P]

Salaams
Kris

Ron Stringer
9th March 2008, 22:57
One of the reasons I got out of Marine Tech with SAIT was batteries. It would appear that some sparkies did indeed think they were a chore and just about every ship I went on board to do a job needed the batteries sorting out after long periods of neglect.
I used to hate the job myself while at sea but knew the lives might depend on them.

Kris,

They were always a chore but a very necessary one, about which I was very particular. Sunday mornings were for battery maintenance and the monthly S.G. readings were accurately and faithfully recorded, never flogged. Mind you I don't think anyone ever looked at that part of the Radiotelegraph Log. Somewhere in the UK there must have been a massive store of tables reading '1250' - that is all I ever saw as a shore technician when I was readying ships for the radio surveys that I was going to attend.

As an R/O, in Avonmouth I relieved the regular R/O on a small 12-passenger vessel trading on a regular, circular, run around the Western Med. It was back in the UK every 6 - 8 weeks where it spent a further 2 - 3 weeks on the UK West Coast discharging and reloading for the next trip around the Med. After settling in and checking out the radio room equipment and the radar, I went to check the batteries.

The battery room was alongside the radio room but could only be accessed from outside, via a steel door on the bridge deck, which was locked. But, after some searching in radio room drawers and cupboards, I eventually found a big rusty key with a tag 'BATTERIES'. This fitted the mortise lock on the door of the battery room and with careful pressure, I unlocked it. The door would not budge. I spoke to the Mate (just arrived on board, his first ship after leaving Lamport & Holt) who told me not to worry, he would get Chippy to sort it.

Chippy arrived and tried various lubricants on the hinges but no joy. He had to resort to a cold chisel and a big hammer to remove the hinges. The old man was having a duck fit at the likely expense of having new hinges made and welded on. The door was lifted away and I got my first view of the batteries.

There were three shelves, the lower two each containing one of the sets of batteries. The top shelf was not used for batteries and contained a few thimbles and shackles. The shelves were set about 2ft apart so that above each set of batteries had been a gap of a little over 1ft. I say 'had' because the gaps were now completely filled with a solid mass of white crystals, having the consistency of rock salt. I presume this was lead sulphate but whatever it was it took me over two hours to get it out and remove the batteries. Marconi's were less than pleased with me when they got my request for a new set of batteries to be delivered post haste as we were sailing that evening (only for Cardiff).

Of course the battery log was complete, right up to the week before I joined her and (you will have guessed this already) every cell had a S.G of 1250. You couldn't have got in the cells with a bloody Black and Decker, let alone a hydrometer!

sparkie2182
9th March 2008, 23:10
during the mid 70s...... any ship putting into a South African port was almost certain to be paid a visit by a radio surveyor.
i remember being warned by the radio superintendant in the Cunard Building prior to a Port Line run to Cape Town, and found it to be true.
often they turned up in pairs, one checked the radio office while the other made a deep study of the batteries,aerials and associated paperwork.
i was once left with the "chitty" of examination which stated the installation was of the highest order EXCEPT ............

the radio office chair was not secured to the deck...........................:(

during the survey, i had to flash up the emergency salvor tx, and closed the mains switch in order to do so.
in doing this, i had to move the chair, thereby unbolting it in full view of the surveyor.
i mentioned this to him. he said........"well son.........we have to find something wrong, or people will think we haven't been doing a thorough survey."

furr enuff...............


a couple of castle beers later.........off they went.

:)

K urgess
9th March 2008, 23:27
I never saw batteries quite that bad, Ron.
Quite a few were dry and had badly corroded terminals covered in the lead oxide crystals.

I experience that in SA, Sparkie.
But being a conscientious SOB I never had any problems.

Cheers
Kris

Ron Stringer
9th March 2008, 23:44
Harry Gilder was an infamous GPO radio surveyor in the London river. I was doing some job aboard a tanker at Shelhaven or Coryton when he failed the ship on survey because the spares were not in order. The regulations said that there had to be a certain amount (maybe 2 ozs.) of petroleum jelly for smearing on battery terminals.

The ship had a 2 oz. tin but someone had taken a smear out (probably making sure the batteries were in order ready for the survey), so Harry claimed that there could not have been 2 oz. in there. The ship had barrels of grease in the engine room that would do the job but Harry couldn't be budged. Colleagues from East Ham depot who were assisting with the survey were livid but they could do nothing about it; any complaint would have resulted in bigger problems on other ships. Some radio surveyors behaved as little Hitlers in those days.

Gareth Jones
10th March 2008, 00:23
I remember being inspected by an american "inspector" in Anacortes USA.
He came aboard with a huge resistor (complete with ammeter) which he clipped across the batteries to calculate their capacity. The batteries were only a few months old ( 4 X heavy duty 6 volt) and were fully charged so I knew they were OK.

The examination of the radio room was cursory to say the least - he then looked at the aerials and instantly said that the main aerial had to be replaced because there was a splice in it. Now I was under the impression that up to 2 splices was acceptable so long as the wire was in good condition ( which ours was). He then left the ship and came back in about 5 minutes with another guy and a coil of aerial wire - they then proceeded to make another aerial which turned out to be too short, so guess what, fetched another coil of wire and spliced them together, the splice was in the same place as the splice on the original aerial so we were back where we started - I asked him what he was going to do about the splice which was obviously unacceptable ? He had no comprehensible answer.

Returning to the batteries ( which were still discharging at the original rate) we had another squabble because he wanted to replace them. This time I won. While I was reporting all this to the Captain the inspector and his crony had left the ship and taken the "old" aerial with them (removing the proof!).

When I complained to the agent later (just prior to sailing) The agent explained that the "inspector" was genuine, there was no official inspectorate and people from shoreside repair companies were used to carry out inspections, and that the "inspector" was the owner of the company which would be paid for replacing the aerial ( and batteries if he'd got away with it!)

The crooked bugger had driven up from Seattle to conduct the survey and obviously had brought the aerial wire and his crony with him in the van, I presume he would also have had two sets of batteries in there as well!

I was furious and begged to captain to instruct the agent not to pay the bastrd. I also wrote an explanitory letter to the owners (Niarchos) advising them not to arrange any radio surveys in the USA due to the unscrupulous nature of the so called surveyors. I also pointed out the inadvisability of using shoreside repair companies to carry out these surveys due to the obvious conflict of interest which would occur.

sparkie2182
10th March 2008, 00:49
an interesting post gareth.

which begs the question...............

who carries out the radio surveys in the u.k. now???

i must admit to not knowing.

Gareth Jones
10th March 2008, 03:47
an interesting post gareth.

which begs the question...............

who carries out the radio surveys in the u.k. now???

i must admit to not knowing.

neither do I - do ships have some kind of licensing like the old radio station licenses ? I imagine these no longer exist so what has replaced them ?
I try to avoid finding out what communication devices ships use now, spoils my memories ! but whatever emergency gear they use now must be inspected by someone.

surfaceblow
10th March 2008, 05:02
Life after R/O
The marine radio equipment listed below may be used aboard a ship. If your ship must be licensed, all equipment is authorized under a single ship radio station license.

VHF Radiotelephone (156-162 MHz) - Used for voice communications with other ships and coast stations over short distances.

Radar - Used for navigating, direction-finding, locating positions, and ship traffic control.

EPIRB - Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacons, or EPIRBs, are used when a ship is in distress, to emit a radio signal marking the ship's location. Extreme care must be taken to prevent inadvertent activation and batteries should be replaced prior to expiration date.

Single sideband Radiotelephone (2-27.5 MHz) - Used to communicate over medium and long distances (hundreds, sometime thousands of nautical miles).

Sitor computerized radio telex.

Satellite Radio - Used to communicate by means of voice, data or direct printing via satellites.

Survival Craft Radio - Used for survival purposes only from lifeboats and rafts.

On Board Radio - These are low-powered radios used for internal voice communications on board a ship or for authorized short range communications directly associated with ship operations.

In addition, ships may use GPS or LORAN receivers, depth finders, citizens band (CB) radios, or amateur radios (an amateur license from the FCC is required).

ABS certifies the results of the private contractor doing the shore based maintenance and inspections.

The Mates have taken test to become the operators and limited maintenance. When we first lost the R/O on coast wise runs they do not handle the battery maintenance very well I got their monthly log sheet from the Second Mate she logged 0 volts for the last two weeks from the automatic battery charger. The on off switch was in the off position the instructions given to the mates was to turn off the charger when taking the readings but failed to tell them to turn on the charger after taking the readings taking SG were above them.

The worst problem was the radar the Captain replaced every spare in the radar while out at sea before I found out of the problem from the company. I found out the radar worked fine if the cadet was using the console to lean on while on watch. After I put all of the orginal parts back in. I found that the cabinet interlock was not making contact because the mates did not tighten the console doors tight enough.

On another ship I send a few messages to the company using the SITOR and I was getting upset because the messages were not being answered. The new first trip Captain came to my office a week later with a bunch of messages for a chinese crew member named Cheng. The messages at the time were in company code and the newbe did not understand the messages.

lagerstedt
10th March 2008, 07:12
Batteries! Know them well. I though I did 20 something years ago.
I spent part of my 15 years with the NZ Post Office as a Technical Instructor at their National Training School near Upper Hutt which is North Wellington and during the selection process we had to select a subject, prepare a lecture and deliver it to senior instructors. I choose batteries - wish like hell I had not. S--T happens and I dug a hole so deep I could have climbed into it and filled the hole in behind me. All to do with the chemical reaction between the Anode and Cathode. Enough said.

Anyway what was the AH ratings of the batteries you had as a backup suppy? Would have though they would be high given the intendered use.

Regards

Blair
NZ

K urgess
10th March 2008, 12:47
144 ampere hours springs to mind but that may just be the rating of my car battery. [=P]
I used to know the H2SO4 H2O PBO2 etc etc off by heart.
Can't even think of the first line now.
Must be in my notes somewhere. (Whaaa)

Tai Pan
10th March 2008, 12:57
On Empire Medway we had banks of glass cased batteries suppling the D.F HT. I think each cell was about 2volts, had only two plates in each cell about quarter inch thick. pain in the neck.

K urgess
10th March 2008, 13:11
Possibly Leclanché cells. The dry version was the basis for torch batteries before the latest type came out.
I remember some ships having nickel-iron alkaline cells rather than the normal lead acid type.
During discharge
Pb + H2SO4 ---> PbSO4 + H2 at the negative plate
PbO2 + H2SO4 + H2 ---> PbSO4 + 2H2O at the positive plate
During charge
PbSO4 + H2 ---> Pb + H2 SO4 at the negative plate
PbSO4 + SO4 + 2H20 ---> PbO2 + 2H2SO4 at the positive plate

Thank goodness for Danielson & Mayoh [=P]

trotterdotpom
10th March 2008, 13:47
I was reasonably consciensious about emergency batteries and was a dab hand at a Post Office splice, but none of that compares with the maintenance of a chlorinator cell for a saltwater swimming pool - especially when the only beneficiaries are the odd snake and a cane toad or two!

John T.

Ron Stringer
10th March 2008, 16:18
When the GPO ceased to exist, the responsibility for radio surveys (and the staff who carried them out) was transferred to BT. They had it for a number of years and then, in the late 1990s, it was put out to competitive tender, along with a contract for performing radio inspections for Port State Control purposes. The two contracts were won by Marconi Marine. We operated the first contracts for their 5 year life, and then went on to win a further 3 year term with optional 1-year additions.

Although I retired soon after we won the second tranche of contracts, I believe that Selex Marine, (the name given to the former Marconi Marine after it was sold off to Finmeccanica) is still operating both survey and inspection contracts for the UK.

http://www.selexmarine.com/home/index.htm

Ron Stringer
10th March 2008, 16:40
Anyway what was the AH ratings of the batteries you had as a backup suppy?

All through my time at sea and ashore with Marconi, on deep sea ships we fitted Exide 3DLZ batteries that were 144 A-H capacity. They were designed as emergency lighting batteries for traction (trains, buses, etc.) which made them ideal for use as ships' emergency supplies; they could withstand long periods of inactivity (beginning to sound like some R/Os I knew) and were resistant to the vibration aboard ship.

On fishing vessels with R/T only, we supplied a similar type with 85 A-H capacity.

When the 3DLZ product ceased production we moved to a similar 150 A-H battery and later to a sealed lead-acid type, also 150 A-H.

With the coming of GMDSS the demands on the emergency battery were much reduced. All ships had to have an automatic-starting emergency generator to which the radio communication equipment was connected. The alerting function became a brief digital transmission, activated on MF or HF DSC or over a satellite link by the alerting beacon (EPIRB) that contained its own batteries. The emergency radio batteries only had to support short/medium range communications associated with co-ordinating the rescue.

sparkie2182
10th March 2008, 21:48
thanks forthe update ron.

i didnt have many "shocking" times with the equipment......... but i recall some trepidation when removing/replacing the c.r.t. tube on the radar........never my favourite job.
also the fiddling with the e.h.t. connection on the neck of the tube was fraught......:) :)

K urgess
10th March 2008, 23:01
Eighth one and back to normal.
Weirbank/GHKR Andrew Weir & Co.
2 trips 25th November 1969 to 7th July 1970 and 7th July 1970 to 18th February 1971. Yes I signed straight back on again!
220 volts DC supply. Back to an inverter to run my tape deck.
Oceanspan VI Main Transmitter
A1 A2 M/F
410, 425, 454, 500, 512 kc/s Power 0.1kW
A1 H/F
4180, 4194, 4219,
6270, 6291, 6328,
8361, 8389, 8438,
12541, 12583, 12658,
16722, 16778, 16876,
22237, 22305, 22367 kc/s.
Reliance Emergency Tx.
A1 A2 M/F
410, 425, 454, 500, 512 kc/s
Salvita Lifeboat Tx.
500, 8364 kc/s A2
Atalanta Main Rx.
Alert Em.Rx.
Seaguard Auto Alarm
Lodestone IV D/F
Davall Autokey (the clockwork one)
Argonaut VHF
Dynatron Broadcast Rx
Bush TV & MiMCo Aerial Amp
Raymarc 12 radar
Seagraph III echo-sounder

Not much to say.
I can't remember any big problems with anything probably because this was a party ship on the (infamous) Bankline copra run.
Only thing I wasn't keen on was all the M/F frequencies being down below 454. Much easier when you had 468 or 480 thrown in.

Plenty of hours spent in rooms like this staring at the view in the second one. [=P]

mikeg
10th March 2008, 23:51
thanks forthe update ron.

i didnt have many "shocking" times with the equipment......... but i recall some trepidation when removing/replacing the c.r.t. tube on the radar........never my favourite job.
also the fiddling with the e.h.t. connection on the neck of the tube was fraught......:) :)

A fun job if the ship is rolling, trying not to snap the neck off the tube or getting a belt from the EHT connection..(==D)

sparkie2182
11th March 2008, 00:08
at college we were told by the lecturer when changing a tube..........

"watch this........"

and we all watched closely as he assiduously used an insulated screwdriver to earth the tube after releasing the E.H.T. cap.
time and again he connected the innards of the tube to the chassis and again and again we saw the spark discharge.

"these bloody things never do discharge fully"........ be carefull with them.

i made sure i always was.

jaydeeare
11th March 2008, 00:26
Whilst on Watch and heading up the Display and Anciliaries group, whenever we had a tube change, I always asked 'my lads' "Who's never done a tube change before?" the job was then given to him - time to learn.

I told them, that if you get a belt, under NO circumstance drop the f*****g tube! Just grin and bear it.

One morning our new Wing Commander (Engineering) came around the building and inspected all the displays. One after another, he declared, "tube change....tube change... tube change..." He wanted virtually every soddin' tube changed! Took us hours! Even then we totally emptied the store.

Another time, I was servicing a display and adjusting the video amp (for this the CRT unit had to be fully withdrawn - anyone familiar with T64 consoles?). As I was doing this, I heard a little slap noise. I looked up, and the WRAF Operator was standing by the console I was working on. I asked what that noise was, and she replied it was her. I asked what had she done. she told me she had just closed the flap. As I walked round, I asked her what flap. She pointed to the one at the side of the display. I asked her what happened, and she told me she opened it to see what was inside. I asked her what she saw. She replied a wire with a 'sucker' on the end. I told her that under that 'sucker' was 15.000V! She went very very pale. then she went very very red as I really let rip at her for being so f*****g stupid to touch things she knew nothing about and for her not to EVER go near a live unit again!

Hell! Just think of all the paperwork I'd have to complete just because of her sheer stupidity!

trotterdotpom
11th March 2008, 03:37
On Anna von Bargen, rolling gently along in the Mediterranean, my main transmitter (Debeg) suddenly wouldn't work. It seemed there was no aerial connection so I switched the equipment off and pulled out the top unit, a large heavy steel box. Resting the unit on my chest, I looked inside and saw that the connection - a cheap nasty flexible coil of wire with a large jack plug had fallen out of the aerial connector section. I reached inside, got hold of the jack and plugged it into its hole then ZAPPO! A line of sparks arced between the top of the Final Stage valves and my forearm! I sprang back and the unit dropped to the deck missing my big toe by a millimeter and gouging an inch deep scar into the composition deck. The commotion brought the Mate into the radio room. He observed the situation calmly and pointed to a small sign at the base of the transmitter: "HOCHSPANNUNG," he said slowly as if to an idiot. After my hair had stopped standing on end I would have given the witty rejoinder: "Get f****d", but the moment was gone. The scars of this experience can still be seen if I get a suntan, a permanent reminder to always "Read the Manual".

On another occasion, on a large tanker, I was soldering inside the power unit of a Decca radar. The power unit was in the gyro room behind the bridge and everything was going well until the 2nd Mate decided to switch the radar on - KAPOW!!! I hit the back of the gyro room with a crash then went out and spoke sternly to the 2nd Mate. I was being a bit unfair because, although I'd told him I was working on it, I should have tagged and disabled the display, and he was from Fleetwood, so it was my own fault. Fortunately these days, I never touch anything more lethal than a 1.5v battery.

John T.

sparkie2182
11th March 2008, 03:45
you didnt remove the fuses and keep them in your pocket, as well as tagging the display units (s) and informing the o.o.w. and making a log entry?

twas first thing we were taught.........

at Fleetwood

:)

nite nite sweet prince :)

trotterdotpom
11th March 2008, 03:50
OK, you win, but don't rub it in - I'd expect a Barrow Boy to have more Furness.

John T.

mikeg
11th March 2008, 11:33
John,
Someone may use your experiences in a H&S lecture ;-)

Mike

trotterdotpom
11th March 2008, 11:39
Mike, I did tend to short circuit (pardon the pun)the health and safety stuff, but I'm still here - luckily!

John T.

gwzm
11th March 2008, 22:21
Entering Antwerp on, I think, Mahronda/GDNB. Called up the local coast station to give him a closing TR and check for traffic. I sent the TR then asked QRU? (have you any traffic for me?). He replied with AS (wait) while he checked the message rack. He replied with QRU (I have nothing for you) and when I tried to reply there was nothing. In that exact space of time the deck crew had disconnected the main aerial to rig derricks. I got the serang into the radio room and touched the aerial connection with a neon tube taped on to the end of a ruler and connected to earth while I held down the key. It drew out an arc about a foot long before it extinguished! they never disconnected the aerial again without checking, wonder why!

On the subject of tube changes: my favourite job - not - was changing trigatron tubes on Marconi Radiolocator Mk IV radars. You had to pull out the transmitter drawer from the "filing cabinet" then lie on the floor and grope about the innards via a small trap door on the underside to remove the tube. Always great fun when the ship was rolling and the drawer was trying to slide in and out of its own volition because the drawer locks were broken.

Happy days.

John/gwzm

sparkie2182
12th March 2008, 01:06
the "communual aerial" one on ship was never of the best quality, and was so old it was more of a museum piece........the company always promised a replacement at the next dry docking etc etc etc......................

so the crew naturally took to streaming lines out of their portholes, making the ship look as though it has sailed through a new york tickertape parade.

one enterprising lad connected his brand new Grundig Yachtboy receiver onto one of my aerials ( i love not having to use the antennae term......always makes me think of ants).......hoping for good reception.

he got great reception, as it was my main Tx aerial that he had latched onto, and his brand new (jeddah) receiver turned into a molten pool of plastic before his very eyes.

fortunately he had the sense not to touch it............

Robinj
12th March 2008, 14:11
Going back to batteries the only time I had any trouble was on the Orelia. The surveyor scrapped them not because they were knackered, but they were five years old. Had them replaced, kept the old ones and flogged them in Vitoria Brazil.(Apparently they ran their trucks on them) Kept us going for our stay there.

K urgess
15th March 2008, 15:07
Ninth one and some more modern kit.
Orcoma/GRYX Nile SS Co/Furness Withy
1 trip 29th March to 16th June 1971. I actually managed to get over a month's leave in!
220 volts AC 60c/s supply. Luxury!
Crusader Main Transmitter (one of the only Marconi product courses I did, 2 days in Glasgow depot)
A1 A2 M/F
410, 425, 454, 468, 500, 512 kc/s I think power was about 250 watts
A3 I/F R/T
2182, 2381, 2003, 2009, 2016, 2118, 2206, 2301, 2527, 2738, 2534kc/s
A1 H/F
4184, 4207, 4231,
6276, 6310, 6347,
8369, 8414, 8463,
12553, 12621, 12694,
16738, 16828, 16926,
22257, 22305, 22367 kc/s.
H/F R/T
4072.4, 4091.6, 4104, 4123, 4129.9
8204, 8223, 8235, 8242, 8255.6, 8264, 8789
12340, 12354, 12361, 12389, 12396, 12421
16470.5, 16491, 1651905, 16526
22010.5, 22031, 22059.5kc/s
Salvor II Emergency Tx.
A1 A2 M/F
410, 425, 448, 454, 468, 480, 500, 512 kc/s
Survivor Lifeboat Tx.
500, 2182, 8364 kc/s A2, A3
Atalanta Main Rx. + rejector unit.
Pennant SSB Rx
Monitor Em.Rx.
Lifeguard Auto Alarm
Lodestar D/F
Davall Autokey (the clockwork one)
Argonaut VHF
Dynatron Broadcast Rx
Pantennae Aerial Amp
Argus radar with true motion

Again no major problems that I can remember. Thank goodness. The idea of an Argus with TM unit going wrong is the stuff of nightmares even 37 years later.[=P]
I don't actually remember using the Pennant.
The attached are probably familiar to a lot of us.

lagerstedt
17th March 2008, 08:21
I have seen one or two photos of R/O's at a keyboard of what looks like a Telex. How many of you had that and the what I think was called ticker tape ie long thin tapes with the message in the form of holes in the tape. Had to be read through a printer although I understand some of the wiz kids could read the message straight off the tape.
Cannot remember the format but used binary codes ie 2,4,6,8,16,32 etc or I's or O's ie off or on.
And for thoses of you who have completed the course on microprossers what does the following read:
00101 10100 00110 10110 00101 01100 11000 00101 10000 00011 10010 11010 00110 00011

Regards
Blair
NZ

mikeg
17th March 2008, 11:19
Ships Nostalgia

mikeg
17th March 2008, 11:50
Ships Nostalgia

Actually I'm slightly wrong, it should read SHIPSNOSTALGIA as there is no Baudot Code space between the words (00100).
Do I win a coconut?(K)

Mike

trotterdotpom
17th March 2008, 12:19
I did learn all that binary-schminary once but can't remember it now. I do recall keeping a clean rosie for the tape (sometimes 100s of feet) to fall into. Afterwards you had to feed the tape into a printer to get it onto a piece of paper - you tell the kids today.....!

The machine did make a very pleasant clunkety-clunk noise as it was through its paces though.

John T.

K urgess
17th March 2008, 13:12
When I started as a computer engineer quite a few of our machines had tape readers, usually on the side of a teletype.
Some of them had a simple binary reader on the front panel through which you had to pull the tape.
All my diagnostics were on punched tape. (EEK)
No such thing as RAM so you had to run a tape through it to program it first thing in the morning.
While doing electronics at South Shields we had to write a basic program to solve a quadratic equation.
This we then transferred to punched tape and fed down a dedicated line to Newcastle University where their computer the size of a small house chewed on it for a few seconds before sending the solution back to our teletype.
Cutting edge technology. [=P]

mikeg
17th March 2008, 13:26
Does anyone from Shell remember the transmission of engine room data through to Shell Centre via punched tape. Can't remember all the parameters now - it was various point temperatures, vibration analysis etc. I may be wrong but I seem to recall some of the ships figures being 'massaged' to avoid those dissasemble to investigate telegrams .. or was that just talk??

Mike

jaydeeare
17th March 2008, 14:11
Talking of 'tickertape, on the Morse machines we used at college, they had two holes set up for 'dits' and 'dahs'.

For a 'dit' the two holes were directly above each other, and the 'dah' the holes were displaced

o
a 'dit'
o

. o
a 'dah'
o

We could readily read these once we learnt this.

sorry, but I had to put a dot in front of the upper 'O' for the 'dah' as the system didn't accept a space before the 'o'.

Ron Stringer
17th March 2008, 22:33
Does anyone from Shell remember the transmission of engine room data through to Shell Centre via punched tape.

Yes Mike. It started in the mid-1960s and the gear was produced by Elliott Automation (part of English Electric, later - like Marconi and AEI - to be swallowed up by GEC) and was known as 'Editor'. In MIMco we could never understand what Shell did with the masses of data that they must have collected. It was all sent to Shell Centre in London but had to be read out of context. If a bearing temperature rose by 0.5 degs Celsius, was that because the bearing was running hot, or because the seawater temperature had gone up 3 degrees?

It went on for a long time (several years) and MIMco fitted quite a few ships and trained a lot of R/Os. Was the beginnings of the Radio/Electronics Officer.

mikeg
18th March 2008, 01:38
Thanks Ron, I'd forgotten all about the name 'Editor', I sailed with it but wasn't employed by Shell at that time - I signed a company service contract much later with Shell in '74, I only recall now it was on one of their 'A' boats. That huge mass of data must have employed dozens of folk in Shell Centre and generated quite a bit of radio traffic to keep the R/O busy.

Mike

lagerstedt
18th March 2008, 07:02
Dam, I thought I had you guys, should have run all those 0 and 1 together as they should be. The only problems I have had with telex's was at East Cape Lighthouse. (many of you would have rounded the cap) The telex was connected to a land line and the cattle belonging to the local farms used to break the cable joins which in those days were above ground. When the telex went down it was a radio call every 4 hours to either ZLW or ZLD for the keepers. They could not go to the local pub which was about 3/4 of a hour away.

Regards
Blair
NZ

K urgess
23rd March 2008, 01:59
Tenth one and some more modern kit.
Esso Northumbria/GZJE Esso Petroleum Co. Ltd.
2 trips
29th June to 1st October 1971. Big Geordie, my first VLCC
7th March to 9th July 1977. Big Geordie, my last VLCC. In fact my last ship. Went home and resigned from Marconi's.
220/440 volts AC 60c/s supply.
Crusader Main Transmitter
A1 A2 M/F
410, 425, 454, 468, 480, 500, 512 kc/s
A3 I/F R/T
2182, 2009, 2016, 2104, 2241, 2301, 2381, 2527, 2534, 2548, 2555 kc/s
A1 H/F
4181, 4195, 4220,
6271, 6293, 6330,
8362, 8391, 8440,
12543, 12586, 12660,
16724, 16782, 16880,
22240, 22310, 22360 kc/s.
H/F R/T
4066, 4072, 4091, 4104, 4123, 4129
8198, 8204, 8210, 8217, 8223, 8255, 8261
12333, 12340, 12361, 12389, 12396
16470, 16491, 16512, 16519, 16526
22010, 22031, 22038, 22059, 22066 kc/s
Salvor II Emergency Tx.
A1 A2 M/F
410, 425, 448, 454, 468, 480, 500, 512 kc/s
Survivor Lifeboat Tx.
500, 2182, 8364 kc/s A2, A3
Redifon R408 Main Rx. + rejector unit.
Warden 2182 watch Rx
Monitor Em.Rx.
Lifeguard Auto Alarm
Lodestar D/F
Marconi Autokey (the clockwork one)
Argonaut VHF
SRE Rack Tape deck, record deck, Eddyston broadcast Rx and amplifier
Pantennae Aerial Amp fed to cabins. TVs in crew and officer bars
Kelvin Hughes MS32 Echo SOunder and digital repeaters
Decca Transar TM826 and RM426 radars
MimCo Talkback system to focsle, manifolds, poop, pump room and engine room
Decca Isis engine room computer system
Marconi CCTV system
MimCo Bantam and ITT Starphone VHF walkie talkies

1st trip I relieved the regular guy (Pat Barrett from Dublin) so the station was very well maintained. It was also quite new so I didn't have many problems that I can remember. Which is probably a good job because I was still an ordinary sparkie.

2nd trip was a completely different story. From what I could make out nobody had bothered looking after anything after Pat had retired a couple of years before I joined. My predecessor had apparently spent a lot of time conversing with number one lifeboat. It was a good job I'd wangled overtime out of Marconi's.
It appeared that no routine maintenance had been done on anything, spares had been used in the usual "used but good" fashion and half the tools were missing. I still have my fault/work record that I used to argue my overtime case with Marconi. Eleven pages containing 102 instances of work having to be carried out outside watchkeeping hours.
Every time I tried to use the Crusader something else went wrong with it. The most interesting was when I was ordered to cease transmitting because of sparks from the monkey island. The emergency aerial halyard was metal, ran through wooden blocks and was about the same length as the main aerial. It had rubbed against the mast to bare metal and when I transmitted on 4 megs there was a lovely fireworks display. Not guaranteed to win friends and influence people on a tanker. Went away when I earthed the halyard properly at one end but didn't change the main tx intermittent output power problems.
On top of all this we were bound for drydock and we had a complete navigation gear change out coming up with all the capital gear having to be found listed and stored. From radars to echo sounders.
Good job I was a supersparkie by this time.
To top it all off I had to hang around for a couple of weeks in drydock because they couldn't find another supersparkie to relieve me. The guy they sent out in the end wasn't and was completely lost so I had to stay and help him.
Talk about the straw that broke the camel's back. [=P]

The attached picture is one of the only ones I've got of this station. Even that morse key was nakkered. How do you nakker a morse key? (Cloud)

trotterdotpom
23rd March 2008, 09:16
I haven't got any photos of myself in radio rooms. Is that the difference between ordinary and super-sparkies?

John T.

K urgess
23rd March 2008, 16:25
Since most of my pictures showing me in radio rooms are from pre-electronic ticket days the argument doesn't hold up, JT.
The main difference was that Marconi actually paid a salary worth having.[=P]
Salaams
Kris

Ron Stringer
23rd March 2008, 20:23
Kris,
I know that I tend to go on about this, but it should be remembered that Marconi employed and paid their R/Os, but charged the costs on to the shipping company. Marconi could only pay out and charge on, on the basis of the NMB scale rates. Marconi's customer (the shipowner) was fully aware of how much they were being charged and how much Marconi were paying their R/Os; i.e. they were fully aware of the margins involved. (Rather different than a customer in a supermarket.) So if the wages paid to R/Os were crap, it was due to the shipowner's meanness and no one else's.

Marconi's tried for years to upgrade the job of the R/O and to increase their qualifications and usefulness. They were opposed by most of the (UK) shipowners and the ROU. The majority of the former saw the R/O as an unnecessary overhead forced on them by legislation, so wanted to keep their costs at a minimum and so avoid any additional payments. The latter viewed any widening of the R/Os job, away from the 500 kHz distress-only watchkeeping requirement, as a potential weakening of the mandatory requirement to carry an R/O, so they objected to additional duties, or expansion of the role of the R/O. That was regardless of whether or not there was extra pay involved.

So both opposing parties viewed the compulsory 500 kHz watchkeeping regulations as the prime reason for the presence of an R/O on ships. Marconi had a decidedly uphill struggle to persuade any shipowners to consider paying more for people with skills and training above and beyond the basic ITU/GPO qualifications. To give them their due, they stuck at it and eventually a few owners saw the light and took on Radio/Electronics Officers to look after the entire suite of electronics-based equipment that were adopted by ships.

Unfortunately, this took so long that the more forward-looking nations recognised the possibilities of developing for maritime use those digital communications techniques and services being introduced in the business world and began developing what became the GMDSS. This itself took almost 30 years to introduce (against determined opposition from both shipowners and unions) but the mere presence of something new over the horizon gave the shipowner an excuse not to take action then and there to adopt the carriage of someone capable of providing more than a simple morse-tapper.

And so the opportunity was lost and as the GMDSS developed, the owners saw the way to get rid of the man altogether, replacing him with a satellite phone and some alerting beacons. As with all political changes made with a justification of improved safety, or cost reductions, there has been no attempt to carry out a full accounting of the results. Does the GMDSS save more lives than the manual 500 kHz watchkeeping system that was adopted as a result of the 'Titanic' and other disasters? What is the relative cost of the two systems? Would there have been safety or cost benefits from the carriage of a trained maintainer for the electronic control, navigational and communications equipment aboard ships? We shall never know and no one will be bothered to even carry out the necessary analysis.

K urgess
24th March 2008, 01:30
Ron, I really should have been paying Marconi to allow me to cruise around the world.[=P]
No matter how bad the salary was I was a lot better off than my mates ashore.
When I left Marconi in 1977 I was on about £9,000 pa (all found plus good leave) whereas my best paid shoreside mate was on less than half of that.
I know that won't compare with some of our FOC and direct employed members but it was enough to buy a nice little 3 bed semi in a good area of town.
None of the multiple annual salaries you need for a mortgage these days.
I came ashore to a job as a marine technician for the princely sum of £2,800 p.a.
It took about 10 years to catch back up by which time inflation had removed any benefit.
After I left I totally ignored what happened at sea. Felt sad when R/Os were removed from ships but by then I'd moved on to computers and beyond.
I'm sure that had I stayed at sea I would have made sure that I wasn't the sort of R/O or REO that ran out of job just because GMDSS came in.
Just like some of our SN members who are just retiring after having moved on to the technical side.
I never had any time for the union and agree that they aided the demise by refusing to compromise.
Having had my shot at the adventurous life, and seeing the writing on the wall for the seagoing life I had enjoyed, I left. It was never a matter of money.
Some shipowners, always on the lookout for cutting costs, compensated for the extra an REO cost by removing the electrician from the ship's complement.
Made the job a bit more interesting having to assist the 4th Engineer.
Some shipowners couldn't have enough coverage for the electrical and electronic equipment on board and had a constant upgrade procedure. Just like Esso who regularly upgraded their capital navigating equipment and expected it to be well maintained.
I suppose that my biggest complaint about Marconi's was that if you'd sailed with it you were an expert.
Courses on other company's equipment didn't figure in their plans.
Neither did courses on their own after you'd done the electronics ticket.
Cheers
Kris

sparkie2182
24th March 2008, 01:52
on the topic of pay.........

i had the full works....... PMG 1/2 ....... dti radar.... mar.electronics dip.......c.g.l.i. full tech cert (in later life)....manufacturers courses to last a lifetime........but............

the lads on the "north sea rigs" with the old "specials" ticket were beating me by far............ pay wise

that having been said............

they were welcome to it.


i may as well own spent bus tickets for all the good they are to me now.............:( totally unrecognised by anyone

mikeg
24th March 2008, 02:23
on the topic of pay.........

i had the full works....... PMG 1/2 ....... dti radar.... mar.electronics dip.......c.g.l.i. full tech cert (in later life)....manufacturers courses to last a lifetime........but............

the lads on the "north sea rigs" with the old "specials" ticket were beating me by far............ pay wise

that having been said............

they were welcome to it.


i may as well own spent bus tickets for all the good they are to me now.............:( totally unrecognised by anyone

Leaving a radio company to go direct employ with a shipping company was the best thing I ever did paywise and otherwise.

Mike

sparkie2182
24th March 2008, 02:27
im sure Mike.........

best regards.....................

R651400
24th March 2008, 10:25
One would think that the worst aspect in the history of marine radio was the hiring out of R/O's and equipment by radio companies instead of direct employ to a company of one's choice.
Imagine how people like "Hungry Hogarth" would have struggled to get their ships to sea without that one necessary person on board!
Who knows it may even have helped to improve some of the conditions suffered by the rigid adherence of some outfits to the pound and pint.
Personally, I would have liked a bit of radio company experience before direct-employ but the stories of GTZM "pocket money" and Indian coast "shanghaing" my entire '56 class pass rate (five in all) opted for Blue Funnel.

Tai Pan
24th March 2008, 11:42
Have to agree. I did 18 months with Marconi, never had a days leave, 4 different ships, in end told them I was off. Went to Blue Flue, never looked back. best company in my opinion, really looked after the staff, any home problems they were 100% helpful. When I decided to leave, I spent the last 6 months ashore with Jimmy Shuttleworth, whilst I looked round for shore employment, gave me time off to attend interviews, and as a last request the week before leaving, sent me to Rotterdam because I had never bought a coocoo clock. thats man management.

Ron Stringer
24th March 2008, 11:46
Hi all,

I'm not sure that I could add much to any debate on 'radio company versus self-employed' because I only experienced the former (and not for very long, at that). Very few organisations (by definition, only one) can possibly provide the best of any category of working/living experience; there had to be trade-offs in one way or another.

There were pluses and minuses for both - not many shipping companies employing their own R/Os could offer the broad range of ship types that were available to the radio company men. The radio companies could not match the salaries of the FOC and self-employ companies. The majority of the British self-employ companies seemed to provide the bare minimum of radio equipment and navaids, and operated a policy that the radio installation should last the life of the ship - never an upgrade shall cross my deck! You could sail a lifetime with a company and only meet up with one type of HF transmitter or radar.

In six short years I experienced passenger ships, small (1689 grt) passenger/cargo ships, tramps, cargo liners, small tankers and large tankers. The choice not to sail on bulk carriers was mine. I hardly sailed with the same equipment twice, meeting both the very old and the very latest. When I wanted additional training I asked for, and received, it and was paid in full throughout.

So I have no complaints. What was there to complain about? Whether or not I might have received better pay, conditions, experience or lifestyle elsewhere, I shall never know and won't bother worrying about. I was happy and I still am happy with what life delivered, with or without my efforts.

I do find it odd though that people are so ready to blame Company A, or Company B, for failing to provide what they wanted, or what they believed they deserved. Different companies provided widely different experiences and it was necessary to select one as your first employer. After that it was up to you. Who made the choices?

mikeg
24th March 2008, 12:12
Being employed by a radio company did give me a large variety of ships and consequential experience but there came a time where a shipping company (Shell) offered so much more, not only an over 100% salary increase but far more manufacturers courses. Shell even paid fully for the electronics course and I was amply rewarded by the responsibility of six brand new vessels in various parts of the world that included vessel standby, sea trials and trip time. Those experiences in my book far outweighed the choice of a larger variety of ships. I must take issue with lack of equipment, for example Shell were always well equipped and you generally had the tools required for satisfactory equipment maintenance and repair.
Changes in equipment due to modernisation was always happening and generally we got to receive a technical course on the relative gear - which mean't we had a fighting chance of looking after the equipment correctly.
Add to all this the opportunity to take your wife with you and Shell paying all the flights, taxi's required.
On shore we had the use of their excellent Lensbury Club and other Shell benefits. I am certainly content with their company pension scheme and other benefits they offer.
I'm one contented ex SRO/E

Mike

K urgess
24th March 2008, 14:47
Amazing how you can agree with everybody.
I was happy with Marconi.
When they lost Shell they suddenly realised they had to pay better to keep people working for them. At least that's how it appeared at the time.
Whether they did this by charging the shipowners more or making less profits didn't bother me.
Friend of mine took the Shell offer and another one went direct with BP straight after college. Neither of them seemed better off than me, except maybe for salary, whenever we were on leave together. I didn't want to sail only on tankers or for one shipowner.
Maybe someone from Shell remembers Wolf Huer and knows what happened to him. I don't blame him for accepting the offer. I would have done exactly the same after doing two years on a Bankboat the way he described it.
Marconi paid in full for my electronics ticket at South Shields. There were about 5 of us Marconi sparkies on the course and everyone else seemed to be envious of our allowances, expenses and freedom of movement.
I aborted my first electronics course because of a car crash and sick leave and Marconi slotted me in to the next available one. They also made sure I was home in good time for the second one so I got a Christmas at home. The only one I got.
After 6 months ashore I wasn't particularly anxious to go back so I wangled a few coasting jobs to keep my hand in before giving in and accepting a deep sea job.
All the oil companies were very good as far as equipment was concerned. As I explained in my earlier post Esso were always at the leading edge.
Three of the majors used Marconi sparkies while I was at sea. I sailed with Esso, Texaco and Mobil.
My very first trip was with Hungry Hogarth and I wouldn't change that for the world. A bit of kudos with your shipmates when they learnt that you'd sailed with what was perceived as the worst company out there.
Didn't get much leave as you can see from the dates of my trips so far but then I didn't want much leave. Wanted to be back out there in those days. It was only later when contemplating and enjoying marriage that it was important to take all my leave if possible.
I would work the Marconi system until they caught on. I asked for and got the Sprucebank when I spotted her in Hull docks and that put me on Hull's books. So my next one was a Blue Star out of Hull. All my coasting jobs after the electronics ticket were arranged by Hull. You only had to remember to say no to trawlers.
All the shipping companies I sailed with treated me as just another employee.
My wife joining and leaving a Texaco tanker never cost me a penny despite the fact that they didn't know me from Adam.
A lot of the tanker companies using Marconi liked to have their own regular sparkies. I had to go to London for an interview and medical at Texaco in Knightsbridge before joining. I sometimes wonder what would have happened if I'd accepted Texaco's offer when I finished the trip. According to Steve Woodward I would have regretted it but a permanent job on a small products tanker like the Satucket could maybe have persuaded me to stay at sea a bit longer.
The Old Man on a Dalgleish bulkie even offered to sign on my financial when she joined the ship in Bordeaux so that she could travel to Hamburg with us. It didn't happen because we all paid off there but I only had to pay the minimum airfare for her back to the UK.
Unfortunately I have no records of salary because Marconi took back my paybook when I left. I've since learned that they were all dumped when the company changed hands.
When I did come ashore and saw some of the other radio company ships when I did surveys and inspections and some of the FOC ships I was really shown how lucky I had been.

Cheers
Kris

Tai Pan
24th March 2008, 15:21
Nice to read about the fancy equipment and the remarks about MIMC keeping it up to date against the company ships kleeping it to the minimum.
My 4 MIMC ships in 1950, one had a worldspan (oceanspan MK1 with a linear) all the others had 381/527. 3 had CR300, one had a 730, thats the one with the changable coils in a wooden box.
one had a 379 DF all had the quarter kilwatt spark tx in the wooden case as emergency. type M autoalarms
In Holts at least we had Oceanspans, CR300 or Mercury/electra. Redifon TX and emergency tx
In the ten years I only had one fault at sea, the aerial decoupling condenser on the oceanspan packed up.

K urgess
24th March 2008, 16:21
I'm surprised to hear that spark transmitters were still fitted in 1950 even as emergencies. That must have concentrated the coast stations attention when they were used.
I was never sure about how much upgrading happened on Marconi stations. I was still sailing with Oceanspan/Atalanta combinations in the mid 70s.
I suppose the shipowner's were largely to blame, only upgrading when the old stuff became boyond economical repair.
Does anyone know if the initial cost of the equipment was borne by Marconi or the shipowner? Was the equipment purely rented from MimCo? I used to know from my days with SAIT but the grey cells are not giving up the information at the moment.[=P]
Today's extended warranties and industrial equipment agreements seem to be somewhat different.

mikeg
24th March 2008, 17:06
AFAIK the intial cost and future upgrades were borne by MimCo and the package including R/O was charged on a monthly rate to the ship owner. The R/O obviously reported to Mimco regards the equipment etc.
This rental was expensive for the shipowner, I remember once seeing Redifons charges to shipowners and R/O costs hardly factored in the total.

Mike

Tai Pan
24th March 2008, 18:00
Had spark txs in Lifeboats as well on Asturias. It was a very effective emergency TX the quarter KW spark. wo betide anybody testing it around the UK coast, just a couple of dits and GLD would go bananas

R651400
24th March 2008, 19:05
I spent the last 6 months ashore with Jimmy Shuttleworth, whilst I looked round for shore employment, gave me time off to attend interviews, and as a last request the week before leaving, sent me to Rotterdam because I had never bought a coocoo clock. thats man management.

Is it that cuckoo clock or is my RAM malfunctioning John. I remember a Bob Shuttleworth? If I'm correct will give you an update in my next posting.

Ron Stringer
24th March 2008, 20:27
Nice to read about the fancy equipment and the remarks about MIMC keeping it up to date against the company ships kleeping it to the minimum.

Sorry, John, I failed to make my meaning clear. What I meant to say was that most shipping companies tended to keep the original gear to the end of the ship's life. Therefore, as most British shipping companies (the oil majors are really outside this) had a very limited newbuilding programme, there were lots of old ships with old radio/navaid packages and only a few new ones. So as an R/O with a shipping company that employed its own R/Os, your chances of choosing something with the latest gear were pretty slight. Your choice of run was restricted to those provided by that one owner.

With a radio company there was a whole spectrum of possible ships, from WW2 (and before) to newbuilds still on the stocks, covering every type of vessel and run that there was. In my experience you asked for what you wanted and as long as you were reasonable, in general the staff clerks tried to match your expectations to the ships available. I was never disappointed (but then I never asked to be Chief R/O of a major transatlantic passenger liner) in my time at sea and always was accommodated as regards training courses and types of ship or run that I asked for. But as I said, whether direct-employ was better than working for a radio company depended on the companies concerned and what you wanted from the deal.

To answer the questions raised:

Marconi* (* for this also read the other radio companies) had no say in what gear was purchased/rented and fitted aboard ship, or when/if it was to be replaced. Refits were very limited and, in my experience (both as a R/O and a shore technician) only came about when new legislation made the existing fitted equipment obsolete and non-compliant with the carriage requirements. I saw some horrors in my time but never was so unfortunate as to have to sail with them.

The shipowner had the options of:
buying the equipment outright and employing his own R/Os;
buying the equipment outright and renting an R/O from Marconi*; or
renting the equipment and the R/O, from Marconi* (who also provided the parts to maintain the equipment).

On ships that had to carry an R/O, I don't believe that the shipowner could rent only the equipment and provide his own R/O. On other vessels (e.g. coaster and fishing vessels that did not carry an R/O) it was common to rent the equipment, which could either be maintained by Marconi* or (at a lower rental charge) be maintained by the owner of the vessel.

The shipowner made his choices and paid his money.

Hope that this makes things clearer.

Tai Pan
25th March 2008, 15:54
Jimmy shuttleworth and Van Der Meer where the shore crew at Odyssey works. I helped for 6 months, mainly as a gofor, but it served its purpose

Tai Pan
25th March 2008, 15:59
Ron, things must have changed a lot with MIMC. I lived in Liverpool, joined MIMC and was posted to Southampton depot, good start, nasty little man called Varley in charge. had 4 different ships in 18 months without a days leave. I sent a letter of resignation, which they received, when we docked at Fawley, his side kick came down, no releif man, said they thought I was joking. I just picked up my bags and went home, never to return. They only had a young man with a 1st class ticket available, this was a single
operatotr small tanker. what a waste.

R651400
25th March 2008, 16:04
Jimmy shuttleworth and Van Der Meer where the shore crew at Odyssey works. I helped for 6 months, mainly as a gofor, but it served its purpose
QSL John. Bob Shuttleworth was ex 1st R/O GTZB and a mutual friend still maintains contact. Thought this may be the Shuttleworth you were referring..

R651400
25th March 2008, 16:27
What I meant to say was that most shipping companies tended to keep the original gear to the end of the ship's life. Therefore, as most British shipping companies (the oil majors are really outside this) had a very limited newbuilding programme, there were lots of old ships with old radio/navaid packages and only a few new ones. So as an R/O with a shipping company that employed its own R/Os, your chances of choosing something with the latest gear were pretty slight. Your choice of run was restricted to those provided by that one owner..
I can't agree entirely with above. Blue Funnel never stopped building from 1946 to the bitter end and kitted their new builds with the latest equipment, showing a preference toward Redifon. Pre-war ships that survived the war were all re-fitted with up to date Redifon and occasionally Marconi equipment. The only exception was the Sam class liberties, bought as an interim measure and refurbished to the limit of Solas requirements and no more.

Ron Stringer
25th March 2008, 19:50
[QUOTE=R651400;201777]I can't agree entirely with above. Blue Funnel never stopped building from 1946 to the bitter end and kitted their new builds with the latest equipmentQUOTE]

Sorry R651400 but I have no experience of A Holts (for obvious reasons, since they were direct employed and maintained their own equipment) and cannot comment on them, but in my 42 years with Marcon I visited several hundred ships and examined the radio inspection and survey records of many more. I assure you that many ships were floating radio museums. Furthermore, when owners did refit a radio station, it was usually an enforced up-dating as a result of the original equipment no longer being compliant with the carriage requirements. I use the term 'up-dating' intentionally, not 'up-grading', since the new gear fitted was usually the cheapest equipment available, to the minimum spec that was compliant with the current regulations). 'Why waste money on an old ship?'

While Scandinavian and Dutch owners were fitting radiotelex, we still had British owners questioning why our transmitters had HF radiotelegraphy and radiotelephony, when the regulations only demanded MF telegraphy and 2182 kHz. We even had owners object that we were gilding the lily by putting MF working frequencies on the Salvor transmitters (designated 'reserve transmitters') when all the regulations required was an 'emergency transmitter' which only had 500 kHz. Back in the 1960s and '70s Marconi were winners of the Queen's Award to Industry for Export Achievements. This success was generated by large numbers of high power SSB installations going to foreign owners, not by shipments of Oceanspan VII transmitters. We were shipping at an average of two complete SSB radio stations per working day for several years. A small minority of these went to British owners.

We were fitting SSB and ISB installations on oil rigs for almost a decade before the average British shipowner could be persuaded that MF Morse-only or DSB equipment had no future. After all, which would have been more profitable for the manufacturers such as Marconi, to sell all-singing 1500W SSB stations or continue with the 80W Oceanspan VII?

In the early 1970s, when maritime radiotelex was adopted to internationally specified standards, we struggled to persuade British owners to put it on board. Because of the slow take-up, even the Post Office was unwilling to install the equipment at Portisheadradio, because responses to their customer surveys of British shipowners were always so negative. We not only had to put equipment on British ships on free loan, we had to lend equipment to Burnham so that they could provide a (manually-connected) service on more than one frequency. Meanwhile stations such as Gothenburg, Scheveningen and even Bern were introducing fully automated services for their customers.

Even among those 'early-adopter' British owners that fitted telex, many were more concerned with comparing message cost-per-word (telex versus telegrams) than recognising the potential operational and efficiency benefits.

Anyone who stayed with one British shipping company during a sea-going career got only a very narrow view of the industry.

R651400
25th March 2008, 21:09
I get your point Ron. I read your original as d/e companies were somewhat behind radio companies in keeping their shipboard equipment up to date.
Free lance was a different ball game. Greek ship-owners, renowned for their parsimony, did appreciate the need for high powered, reliable communications, installing the best from whatever country the ship was built. I'd never seen an installation like 1952 British built Spyros Niarchos/5LAY.. A high powered IMR installation filling a huge radio room with the R/O's chair running on rails!

mikeg
25th March 2008, 21:35
Greek ship-owners, renowned for their parsimony, did appreciate the need for high powered, reliable communications, installing the best from whatever country the ship was built. I'd never seen an installation like 1952 British built Spyros Niarchos/5LAY.. A high powered IMR installation filling a huge radio room with the R/O's chair running on rails!

Evgenia Chandris radio room was very well equipped and also palatial R/O's accomodation, no penny pinching there.

Mike

K urgess
25th March 2008, 22:33
Quite a few of the foreign flag vessels I had to work on as a shoreside tech that were RAMAC controlled hadn't been upgraded/updated since being bought from their original shipowners, usually British.
Maybe it was because they were RAMAC and didn't have their own radio/electronics departments.
I'll have to see if I can find my reports.

R651400
26th March 2008, 07:12
Evgenia Chandris radio room was very well equipped and also palatial R/O's accomodation, no penny pinching there.Mike

My posting meant pinch-penny outside the radio department.
"World Peace/ELAF" didn't get a lick of paint on her hull for an entire fifteen months simply because we had no paint. Once after loading "boscan" in Maracaibo the crew tried to cover up the rust using our latest cargo, the bosun nearly set the ship on fire thinning down buckets of the stuff on the galley stove.
You could say "spoiling the ship for a ha'penny worth of tar."

K urgess
30th March 2008, 19:14
Eleventh one and back to the good stuff.
After Big Geordie I got back to the Sprucebank for a trip around the Pacific and then......

Fremantle Star/GXSK Blue Star Line Ltd., on a Compass Line charter.
One trip on arguably the most beautiful ship I ever sailed on.
20th July 1972 to 6th January 1973.
220 volts DC supply.
Oceanspan VI Main Transmitter
A1 A2 M/F
410, 454, 480, 500, 512 kc/s
A1 H/F
4180, 4193, 4218,
6270, 6290, 6327,
8360, 8381, 8436,
12540, 12580, 12654,
16720, 16774, 16872,
22235, 22300, 22362 kc/s.
Salvor Emergency Tx.
Salvita III Lifeboat Tx.
Atalanta Main Rx.
Alert Em.Rx.
Seaguard II Auto Alarm
Lodestone IV D/F
Marconi Autokey
Redifon GR286 Mk II VHF
Dynatron broadcast Rx
Kelvin Hughes MS62 Echo Sounder
Decca TM626 Radar
Marconi 365B Morse key

Didn't do any more sparkifying than I absolutely had to this trip.
Everything seems to have behaved itself which is more than could be said for me.
Hull, Southampton, Capetown, Durban, LM, Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide, Port Elizabeth, Capetown, Durban, LM, Beira, Fremantle, Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne, Geelong, Adelaide, Port Elizabeth, Capetown and paid off. Home via Luanda, Malta and Luton Airport on a Monarch Airways charter.

Work? You must be kidding! (Gleam)

But unfortunately it couldn't last and this was my last deep sea general cargo vessel. (Sad)

K urgess
9th April 2008, 00:35
Twelfth one and a change of scenery.
Another Esso tanker for a short relieving trip......

Esso Lancashire/GHZM Esso Petroleum under charter to Gorco Petroleum of Guam.
One trip of about seven weeks. Spent 10 days of it getting to the ship in Rastanura via London, Bahrein and Dahran.
1st March to 16th April 1973.
220/440 volts AC supply.
Globespan Main Transmitter
A1 A2 M/F
410, 425, 454, 468, 480, 500, 512 kc/s
A3 M/F
2182, 2381, 2009, 2016, 2104, 2527, 2534, 2548, 2555 kc/s
A1 H/F
4184, 4206, 4227,
6276, 6308, 6340,
8368, 8411, 8453,
12552, 12617, 12680,
16736, 16822, 16906,
22255, 22298, 22360 kc/s.
A3 H/F
4072, 4124, 4092, 4104, 4130
8204, 8256, 8224, 8262, 8217
12341, 12390, 12362, 12397, 12383
16471, 16520, 16492, 16527, 16513
22011, 22060, 22032, 22067, 22039 kc/s
Reliance Emergency Tx.
Salvita III Lifeboat Tx. There were two of these, one midships and one aft.
Atalanta Main Rx.
Alert Em.Rx.
Seaguard Auto Alarm
Lodestone IV D/F
Marconi Autokey
Argonaut VHF
Dynatron 2235A broadcast Rx
Seagraph II Echo Sounder
Decca TM969 & Raymarc Radars
Marconi 365D Morse key
Marconi 2009D Speech Inverter (scrambler)
MimCo Tape Deck
Redifon Communal Aerial amplifier & 2 Bush TVs
Hitachi EVR Video Player

She was Swedish built and had the biggest radio room I ever saw with my cabin right next door.

Don't remember any problems.

The only picture I've got has some long haired yob trying to look busy (Gleam)
Surprisingly the radio room clock doesn't have R/T silence periods marked.

Ron Stringer
9th April 2008, 09:43
Surprisingly the radio room clock doesn't have R/T silence periods marked.

Now I feel deprived Kris - I NEVER sailed with a clock with the R/T silence periods marked on it. Not even on the 1689 gross 'Lochwood.'

K urgess
9th April 2008, 16:47
Got me thinking Ron and checking through my radio room pictures it seems that clocks with 2182 silence periods marked was not particularly common.
It appears the up to that last one I posted there was only one with an R/T clock despite several of them having M/F R/T.
The one I've got on the wall here came off a trawler where it appears to have been common.
Cheers
Kris

R651400
9th April 2008, 18:43
.
Globespan Main Transmitter
A1 A2 M/F
410, 425, 454, 468, 480, 500, 512 kc/s


A complete complement of MF crystals also something new.

Before:- 410 500 512 and two of the remaining 4 was our lot.

K urgess
9th April 2008, 19:41
A complete complement of MF crystals also something new.

Before:- 410 500 512 and two of the remaining 4 was our lot.

I was thinking about that while typing it out.
Something is burrowing away in the grey matter but won't surface.
I have an idea it has something to do with money and shipowner's pockets.[=P]
Another surfacing memory that apart from the obvious 500, wasn't 410 supposed to be for D/F and 512 mostly for intership calling?

Kris

G4UMW
9th April 2008, 21:02
Another surfacing memory that apart from the obvious 500, wasn't 410 supposed to be for D/F and 512 mostly for intership calling?

410 was indeed for D/F. 512 was designated as a supplementary calling frequency for use when 500 was busy with distress traffic, although it saw far more use as an inter-ship chat channel.

R651400
9th April 2008, 21:03
I think the original idea for only two working frequency xtals was to cut down on MF interference yet the norm was always to work on a frequency close to that of the coast station. Work that contradiction out!
G4UMW just beat me to the nxt.....
410 was the old DF frequency when coast stations could take DF bearings on ships. QTF.
512 was a calling frequency during distress but more often used for inter-ship info exchange.

K urgess
9th April 2008, 21:04
410 was indeed for D/F. 512 was designated as a supplementary calling frequency for use when 500 was busy with distress traffic, although it saw far more use as an inter-ship chat channel.

Amazing the little things you forget like using 512 for calling during distress.
Probably because it didn't happen all that often, thankfully.

ChasD
9th April 2008, 22:18
Here's a bit of a challenge, this was my first "command", even I can't remember what the h*ll it was ! Anybody sufficiently antiquated to put a type / spec to it ? (Smoke)

andysk
9th April 2008, 22:27
Don't recognise the kit, but no silence periods on the clock ?

K urgess
9th April 2008, 22:37
H*ll's Bells.
Could be the ship's clock, Andy to tell you the local time as opposed to the radio room clock that was always on GMT.
The only thing I recognise is what looks very much like a Marconi 365B morse key with half the cover cut away.
They must have had a common supplier for the knobs.
Was this a war reparation vessel?
References I've got are either too early or too late for this gear.
Was it just R/T or the main Tx?
Cheers
Kris

ChasD
9th April 2008, 23:32
It was NE Coast, british built/fitted immediate post-war. The clock, I think, had just replaced divided candles, which didn't normally have silence periods. The "Big Thing" was the main transmitter, covering both W/T M/F and R/T 2mc/s. The blank faced box on the edge of the picture was the main receiver. It has been proposed that this it not a real picture but a digital re-mastering of a neanderthal cave drawing, used by the vikings to fit out the radio room on their longships when they invaded the NE coast. It is for those more educated than I to decide ! The big knob (no not the skipper!) at the top left, with the brass trim tuned the transmitter. On the back when removed it displayed the date, ?? Jul 1947 if I remember. The phone on the right edge of the picture communicated with the bridge. It was easier to open the door and yell - also more effective !

K urgess
9th April 2008, 23:37
Where are the two tins and the bit of string? [=P]

Should've realised it was British by the Wylex fuse holders.
Furrin jobbies had them screw in Siemens fuses like in U-Boats

Ron Stringer
10th April 2008, 00:00
A complete complement of MF crystals also something new.

Before:- 410 500 512 and two of the remaining 4 was our lot.

Kris didn't have the lot! One that we rarely saw on British ships but which all those from the other side of the Atlantic did, was 448 kc/s. This was only for use in ITU Region 2 (USA, Canada etc) and was often expected by their coast stations who would tell you 'Up 448'. You had to be quick to catch them and offer 454 or some other frequency as an alternative, or they would be gone to their working frequency, leaving you on 500.

Because it was allocated for ships in Region 2, the Post Office interpreted that as meaning ships registered there, and refused to license it on British ships (registered in Region 1) regardless of where they were actually trading. If you were on a tanker running Curacao or Aruba to the States and back, you rarely got back into Region 1 and spent all the time in Region 2. So you might be licensed for 410, 425, 468, 500 and 512 only, and spend all your time trying to persuade local coast station operators that you weren't being bloody-minded by not moving to 448 immediately after contact on 500.

andysk
10th April 2008, 00:15
....... Could be the ship's clock, .....

It just seemed to me to be in an odd position for the ship's clock; mine were usually quite high up and out of the normal working line of sight.

Ho Hum

ChasD
10th April 2008, 00:16
This was the wheelhouse, note the very modern Decca radar and the cutting edge Redifon GR286 VHF, Top Gear ! But note also the magnetic compass at the helm - none of your flashy gyro stuff here ! Steer NNW x Quarter N from Flamborough Head should get you to Seaham Harbour (+/- W/X). Actually spent more time with my head in a bucket than I did on the helm. This thing was mostly submarine ! The shack was through the door, across the alleway aft.

R651400
10th April 2008, 07:59
Here's a bit of a challenge, this was my first "command", even I can't remember what the h*ll it was ! Anybody sufficiently antiquated to put a type / spec to it ? (Smoke)
Siemens transmitter type SB502A
MF 325-525 Kc/s 100w ICW (interrupted continuous wave) 80W CW.
RT 1.5-3.5 Mc/s 25W
Before valve modulation, transmitters such as SB502 were ICW modulated by keying the carrier frequency oscillator grid circuit with a buzzer.
Can you imagine what it must have sounded like at the receiver end?
Another modulation method was to remove the HT smoothing circuit of the alternator supplying the transmitter.
Alternator at 500 rpm producing ac at 500c/s which doubles after full-wave rectification to 1000 c/s, modulating the anode HT of the transmitter PA.
The second method much favoured by RCA in liberty consoles 3U MF and 4U MF/HF, Marconi 381 and I've seen same with IMR.

ChasD
10th April 2008, 09:42
Excellent ! Thanks R651400, one has a affection for the old stuff but I've never been able to find anything constructive on this beast, and much too long ago to remember. The ship was a North East coast "Flatiron" collier "Adams Beck"; ugly brute but learned more core seamanship on there than at any other time in my career. Thanks again !

ChasD
11th April 2008, 23:56
In the interest of completing the historical record on this type of vessel, this is the procedure involved in re-erecting the mast/aerial structure after trans(Smoke) iting the Thames. All superstructure was little above maindeck level, needed to allow the vessel to penetrate up the Thames as far as Fulham and Nine Elms, the masts telescoped down into the body of the vessel. The result was that "Sparky" spent an inordinate ampount of time squatting on the hatch lids splicing ropes, wires and anything else that moved ! (Smoke)

K urgess
17th April 2008, 00:00
Thirteenth one and the last deep sea non-electronics vessel.
The world's favourite tanker......

CERINTHUS/GSSJ Hadleys Sunshine Cruises under charter to Joe Shell.
UK Coast for 4 months then out to the Caribbean/Gulf of Mexico for a couple more months.
24th May to 28th Novemeber 1973.
110 volts AC supply.
Commander Main Transmitter
A1 A2 M/F
410, 425, 454, 468, 480, 500, 512 kc/s
A3 M/F
2182, 2381, 2009, 2016, 2049, 2056, 2104, 2241, 2527, 2534, 2548, 2555 kc/s
A1 H/F
4186, 4190, 4211,
6279, 6285, 6316,
8372, 8381, 8422,
12558, 12571, 12633,
16744, 16762, 16844,
22265, 22275, 22325 kc/s.
A3 H/F
4072, 4123
8204, 8255
12340, 12361, 12389
16463.5, 16470.5, 16491.5, 16519.5
22010, 22500, 22529 kc/s
Siemens T5 Emergency Tx.
Salvita Lifeboat Tx.
Atalanta Main Rx.
Siemens R6 Em.Rx.
Lifeguard Auto Alarm
Siemens R19 D/F (Moving Loop!)
Siemens A1 Autokey
Argonaut S (SP) + GR286/III (removed at Stanlow)VHFs
Siemens B22 broadcast Rx
MS26B Echo Sounder
Raymarc 16 Radar
Marconi 365EZ + Siemens Morse keys
Siemens C8 Battery charger
Siemens w786 Aerial changeover switch
Communal Aerial amplifier & 2 Bush TVs

Don't remember too many problems.

The Siemens gear was truly ancient and was never used except for the necessary tests. Regrettably I didn't take any pictures of the equipment. Too busy having a great time.
Once round the Med, once round the UK then an endless round of Tilbury, Shellhaven, Pernis, Purfleet until we were allowed to escape over the 100 fathom line.
I remember setting to and cleaning the place from top to bottom after the Old Man had put me on the sick list when I came down with a "bug". The doctor had told him to find me something to do. The official diagnosis was boredom from running from Thames to Maas and back.
We always left at night and usually tied up by next morning. 6 messages in one direction and 7 in the other as soon as the pilot was dropped. Never did a full watch.
Then we got sent out to Curacao and other places of interest in the area.(Thumb)
Flew home from Curacao, had Chrimple at home and went to South Shields Martec in the New Year.

ChasD
17th April 2008, 23:03
Siemens gear seems to be somewhat under-represented amongst the plethora of the dominant Marconi stuff, almost certainly because it was an early casualty in the consolidation of companies as economic pressures and profitablity requirements started to exert its growing influence in the 60's. It was a good outfit to work for and transferring to "the Opposition" was not an improving experience! Attached is the full Siemens station of the Shell Tanker Hyria/GSDP, complete with rotating loop D/F. A great ship, probably my all-time favourite, with the possible exception of Drupa/GRVH.

K urgess
17th April 2008, 23:42
Was the reason for the rotating loop D/F that Marconi held the patents for the Bellini-Tossi system?

Trevorw
17th April 2008, 23:58
Was the reason for the rotating loop D/F that Marconi held the patents for the Bellini-Tossi system?
Do you remember on BT D/F's that every time the Deckies painted the loops, you had to go up on the monkey island, or whereever the loops were situated, and scrape the paint off the insulators, otherwise they wouldn't work?!!

ChasD
18th April 2008, 19:25
Was the reason for the rotating loop D/F that Marconi held the patents for the Bellini-Tossi system?

That's probably a pretty good reason, though as none of the other outfits beyond about 1960 did any real development, the gear rather got stuck in that era. As a navigation tool the rotating loop was very precise, with a scale a foot or more across readings were very accurate, and given decent calibration would probably outperform the BT - on a good day - with a following wind ! And yes I have had to de-paint the insulators - a number of times(Cloud). But, with a beer or two on the monkey island ......I'd rather be doing that than some of the things I've had to do at times !(Smoke)

K urgess
25th April 2008, 17:57
Fourteenth one and a quick coastal job.

ARCADIAN/GFKU Ellerman Papayami Lines of Liverpool.
Built 1960
Offricial number 301349
Fairfield Sulzer S.D. 7 Cylinder main engine
4,447 deadweight tone
UK Coast for 5 days Hull to Tyneside
12th to 17th July 1974
220 volts DC supply.

Oceanspan VI Main Transmitter
A1 A2 M/F
410, 468, 480, 500, 512 kc/s
A1 H/F
4186, 4190, 4210.5,
6279, 6285, 6315.8,
8372, 8380, 8421,
12558, 12570, 12631.5,
22264, 22272.5, 22322.5 kc/s.
Reliance Emergency Tx.
Salvita III Lifeboat Tx.
Atalanta Main Rx.
Alert Em.Rx.
Seaguard Auto Alarm
Lodestone D/F
Davall (clockwork)Autokey
Argonaut 3747 VHF
Mark IV Radar
Pantenna Communal Aerial amplifier.

Not onboard long enough to see any problems.

After 6 months doing the electronics course and enjoying the good life I was in no hurry to back deep sea.
This was also a bit like stepping back into the stone age.
I managed to wangle two of these before Stan Padfield reclaimed me and sent me off to the deep blue yonder again.

R651400
26th April 2008, 06:20
Siemens gear seems to be somewhat under-represented amongst the plethora of the dominant Marconi stuff

I have a picture of an earlier Siemens console with a similar rotating loop DF coming straight into the radio room.
Must've dictated to the ship designer that the r/office has to be situated somewhere topside.
Don't think Marconi had any monopoly on the BT system as many foreign flags eg Scandinavians and Japanese seemed to prefer BT over rotating loop.
Any chance of a breakdown on your pic ChasD? Have to say the transmitter stages all seem well metered.

Corky
27th April 2008, 19:38
Not too much to look at! The Main Rx is a Nebula - which I believe is a Eddystone something or other. Never had any trouble with getting GKA from Lake Maracaibo. R/O's cabin was through the door on the right - not far to travel to work in the morning.

ChasD
27th April 2008, 23:14
I have a picture of an earlier Siemens console with a similar rotating loop DF coming straight into the radio room.
Must've dictated to the ship designer that the r/office has to be situated somewhere topside.
Don't think Marconi had any monopoly on the BT system as many foreign flags eg Scandinavians and Japanese seemed to prefer BT over rotating loop.
Any chance of a breakdown on your pic ChasD? Have to say the transmitter stages all seem well metered.

Sorry, it was a long time ago and the only records I have are the steadily declining brain cells. The main T/X, covering M/F W/T and 2mc/s R/T was the T10A. The receiver consol contained the G11 and G12 M/F and H/F receivers.
The H/F T/X was the critter behind the typewriter, rather unstable in tropical un-airconditioned temperatures - to the degree that it often had to operated with the side panel removed to improve airflow. As you remarked, each stage was individually metered, in spite of which it was something of an uncooperative animal ! Any chance you could upload a copy of your picture ?
In Drydock Kepple Harbour / Singapore I did manage to extract the D/F loop and replace the main bearings with the assistance of a co-operative D/D local engineer, after being told by the local agency office that it wasn't possible/no spares etc. Bigger than you think when you get it out (if you'll excuse the expression !) Though I did get moaned at for using the D/D crane to lift it to the workshop and back on board - " Do you realise how much it costs per lift ??? " ... " Errr nope !" but it was too late by then ! (Smoke)

Tai Pan
28th April 2008, 12:49
Have had a request on our (ROA) webb site about a Marconi key. it was enclosed in a pear shaped die cast box with two knobs on the top marked 0-9. these altered tension and gap. any body any info, he wants to purchase one, some hope.

K urgess
28th April 2008, 14:29
I've never seen one like that, John.
All I ever came across were the "365" series from the "B" clunker to the "EZ" lightweight moveable one.
Cheers
Kris

R651400
29th April 2008, 10:04
it was enclosed in a pear shaped die cast box Is it definitely MIMC? Eddystone had a bug key with a black (pear-shaped?) cover which actually looked like a bug.
http://www.morsemad.com/eddy.htm

Morse key replication is one way of finding what you want. Latest RSGB Radcom has an article on keys designed for "ops" with Carpal tunnel syndrome. Featured is the 1860's Chubbock style camel-back which would grace the mantlepiece or station of any ex R/O...

http://www.hamradio.co.uk/acatalog/Begali_Morse_Keys.html

(penultimate)

gwzm
29th April 2008, 14:01
Hi John,

I think the key that you're looking for is the Marconi 971. It was intended as a replacement for the ubiquitous 365 but was not very succesful. I never operated one myself but understand that it had a very rubbery feel and didn't stand up to the use/abuse that the 365 could take, especially on passenger ships with heavy traffic. As far as I know, many of the earlier 365 keys taken out of service were modified by Marconi - the arm was shortened and the additional contacts were removed - and put back into service. I have seen the odd 971 for sale over the years but they are rare and expensive when they do show up.

All the best,

John/gwzm

Tai Pan
30th April 2008, 12:04
thanks john. will pass on info

K urgess
4th May 2008, 00:43
Fifteenth one and a quick coastal job.

BENDEARG/GMVU registered in Leith.
Built 1963
Official number 305303
8559 gross tons
UK Coast for 3 days Hull to London
24th to 27th July 1974
220 volts DC supply.

Oceanspan VII Main Transmitter
A1 A2 M/F
410, 425, 454, 468, 480, 500, 512 kc/s
MF R/T A3
2182, 2009, 2016, 2241, 2246, 2381, 2534 kc/s
A1 H/F
4189, 4209
6284, 6314
8378, 8419
12567, 12629
16756, 16838
22318, 22368 kc/s.
A3 H/F R/T
4072.4, 4104.4, 4123.6, 4129.9
8204.4, 8223.6, 8249.2, 8255.6
12333.5, 12340.5, 12375.5, 12382.5, 12389.5
16470.5, 16519.5
22010.5, 22017.5, 22059.5
Salvor II Emergency Tx.
Lifeline Lifeboat Tx.
Atalanta Main Rx.
Alert Em.Rx.
Lifeguard Auto Alarm
Lodestar D/F
Marconi Autokey
Raymarc 12 and Hermes Radars

Not onboard long enough to see any problems.

Having not been deep sea I never used H/F at all. They must have relied quite a lot on R/T. That's the first time I've seen only 2 morse working frequencies in each H/F band. Made up for with a broad selection of R/T frequencies.

Holiday's over, next one was deep sea and a VLCC

R651400
4th May 2008, 04:53
.....the first time I've seen only 2 morse working frequencies in each H/F band.
There is only one working freq which is most unusual if not unique for a ship of this era.
The first looks like the calling freq for each band and not normally used for tfc...
An early premonition for the end of H/F morse?
ps Where do you get all this station info? Coasted a few Glens and all I can vaguely remember are the call signs. Remember Herbertstrasse and Zillertal though!

K urgess
4th May 2008, 14:30
R651400, my grey cells fluctuating again, I'd clean forgotten about calling and working so I should've left out the "working" part of that. Thanks for the reminder.
I only sailed on the one Benboat so I don't know what their policy was.

I kept a log of every ship I sailed on. It contains the ship details, radio station details, crew list, noon positions, bond and subs, together with some addresses and other odd notes. Unfortunately I never kept the diary going past my second year at sea so there's not a lot of personal information meaning I have to rely on the grey cells every so often.
The last two are an exception in that I was only onboard as a wangle to get back to sea after 6 months at tech college without having to disappear over the horizon. So all I have is a page torn from a radio log book with the barest details for each of them.
As an aide memoir they're priceless otherwise I would have forgotten it all years ago. Those and my photographic hobby keep the memories alive.
Five mark alley comes to mind![=P] as soon as you mention Hamburg. Along with the Eros Centre and a trip to Berlin in 1970 while stuck at buoys in a strike.

Cheers
Kris

R651400
4th May 2008, 18:08
Thanks for the info Kris. Sometimes wish I had been a bit more photographic when I went to sea. I did in the end but it was too late and most of my photos
have disappeared with constantly being on the move. Felicitations on your meticulous record keeping, I just rely on what memory is left and now realise it ain't too much.
Regds

R651400
5th May 2008, 06:44
Chasd.. Pre-war Siemens console as requested. A well kitted out ship with very posh desktop lamp. Siemens seemed to be manic about metering and two morse key says it all. Wonder what ship and if any member has ever seen this console?

Ron Stringer
5th May 2008, 08:24
Radio consoles were intended to simplify the work required, and so reduce the time taken, to install and commission a ship's radio station. Time was saved by the installers and also since the shipyard did not have to provide customised furniture to accommodate individual radio receivers, autokeys, battery chargers etc. The work of testing and debugging the various pieces of equipment and their many interconnections could be carried out in the factory, prior to despatch to the shipyard. Only services external to the console had to be wired in and tested aboard ship. Or so went the theory.

As a side effect, the overall installation took up far less room than what was referred to as a 'spread fitting'. This was because instead of each piece of equipment requiring its own footprint of desktop, in a console they were stacked above each other.

Back in the late 1960s or early 1970s, when discussing the proposed radio installations for the latest batch of Shell Tankers with their radio super, the late Walter Little, these points were made to him. We suggested that the radio equipment would look somewhat 'lost' when scattered widely around the edges of the huge radio rooms provided on these ships. Not only that but they would be rather inconvenient for the R/O to operate. Walter was adamant that 'spread fittings' were what he wanted and said he would have nothing to do with radio consoles on 'his' ships. The customer is always right so that is what was provided.

After the formal meeting was concluded, we were sitting having a natter about things in general. I returned to the radio console topic and said that I had been surprised that he had been so insistent about rejecting them. Walter nodded vigourously and explained that he had struggled for years (in internal Shell meetings about newbuildings) to win additional accommodation space for the radio room. Over time, his arguments and persistence had been successful and eventually the radio room had been allowed to grow from a glorified cubby hole to something that he considered appropriate to the importance of the radio function aboard ship.

However, now that he had at last been allocated what he consided an acceptable area, he was damned if he was going to fit a console in one corner and thereby give the deck department and the naval architects the chance to point out that he no longer needed all that space. Departmental pride was at stake.

mikeg
5th May 2008, 12:32
Radio consoles were intended to simplify the work required, and so reduce the time taken, to install and commission a ship's radio station. Time was saved by the installers and also since the shipyard did not have to provide customised furniture to accommodate individual radio receivers, autokeys, battery chargers etc. The work of testing and debugging the various pieces of equipment and their many interconnections could be carried out in the factory, prior to despatch to the shipyard. Only services external to the console had to be wired in and tested aboard ship. Or so went the theory.

As a side effect, the overall installation took up far less room than what was referred to as a 'spread fitting'. This was because instead of each piece of equipment requiring its own footprint of desktop, in a console they were stacked above each other.

Back in the late 1960s or early 1970s, when discussing the proposed radio installations for the latest batch of Shell Tankers with their radio super, the late Walter Little, these points were made to him. We suggested that the radio equipment would look somewhat 'lost' when scattered widely around the edges of the huge radio rooms provided on these ships. Not only that but they would be rather inconvenient for the R/O to operate. Walter was adamant that 'spread fittings' were what he wanted and said he would have nothing to do with radio consoles on 'his' ships. The customer is always right so that is what was provided.

After the formal meeting was concluded, we were sitting having a natter about things in general. I returned to the radio console topic and said that I had been surprised that he had been so insistent about rejecting them. Walter nodded vigourously and explained that he had struggled for years (in internal Shell meetings about newbuildings) to win additional accommodation space for the radio room. Over time, his arguments and persistence had been successful and eventually the radio room had been allowed to grow from a glorified cubby hole to something that he considered appropriate to the importance of the radio function aboard ship.

However, now that he had at last been allocated what he consided an acceptable area, he was damned if he was going to fit a console in one corner and thereby give the deck department and the naval architects the chance to point out that he no longer needed all that space. Departmental pride was at stake.

Interesting history Ron. I knew Walter Little well, he used to visit the companies ships at UK ports frequently as well as Walter arranging one-to-one meetings in Shell Centre. His continual lobbying for increased radio room areas certainly paid off as future company ships were spacious and generally well appointed. Of course consoles came to the fleet despite his reluctance but perhaps that was mainly due to the preferences of suceeding Radio Superintendents. Can you remember the year Walter passed away? - my mind seems to recall it was due to a North Sea helicopter incident, am I correct?

Mike

ChasD
5th May 2008, 18:19
Interesting history Ron. I knew Walter Little well, he used to visit the companies ships at UK ports frequently as well as Walter arranging one-to-one meetings in Shell Centre. His continual lobbying for increased radio room areas certainly paid off as future company ships were spacious and generally well appointed. Of course consoles came to the fleet despite his reluctance but perhaps that was mainly due to the preferences of suceeding Radio Superintendents. Can you remember the year Walter passed away? - my mind seems to recall it was due to a North Sea helicopter incident, am I correct?

Mike

Hi Mike, It was the younger Super, DaSilva, the most recent recruit, taken on I think when Walter retired, who went down in the chopper incident. Ashamed to say I can't recall his first name as I worked with him several times on various refits and satellite installations. A real nice guy to work with.
A very sad incident which resulted in all the double rotor "Chinook" style choppers being grounded for quite a long period. Came as a bit of a shock as I was in Shell Centre when I learned about it. I'd actually been teaching him to steer on the previous trip as we were doing stuff with steering and rate of change gyro's and the like.

ChasD
5th May 2008, 18:28
Chasd.. Pre-war Siemens console as requested. A well kitted out ship with very posh desktop lamp. Siemens seemed to be manic about metering and two morse key says it all. Wonder what ship and if any member has ever seen this console?

Great picture ! Looks like something out of 1950's sci-fi movie, or the gear used to kick start the Frankenstein monster. The H/F section seems to be same as the free standing unit on Halia, and - from memory the main r/x looks like it was the same as the one I had on the !"flatty" collier. But never seen them "consol-ated" before ! The R/19 D/F is also the same as on Halia - Great stuff ! - Real radio !

mikeg
5th May 2008, 19:44
Hi Mike, It was the younger Super, DaSilva, the most recent recruit, taken on I think when Walter retired, who went down in the chopper incident. Ashamed to say I can't recall his first name as I worked with him several times on various refits and satellite installations. A real nice guy to work with.
A very sad incident which resulted in all the double rotor "Chinook" style choppers being grounded for quite a long period. Came as a bit of a shock as I was in Shell Centre when I learned about it. I'd actually been teaching him to steer on the previous trip as we were doing stuff with steering and rate of change gyro's and the like.

Hi Charles, thanks, you've jogged my memory in the right direction regarding that chopper incident but unfortunately I also can't recall DaSilva's first name - maybe another ex Shell R/O will respond.
Talking rate of change gyro's on autosteering units - I recall a airdriven gyro steering unit on a Shell v/l (which may have been an early unit as wrapped joints were used around & connecting the boards) - the gyro was quite small using rotor shaft air bearings and fed with filtered instrument air. I recall initially the unit required quite an amount of setting up but it did perform extremely well as the course recorder clearly demonstated when steering under adverse sea/wind conditions. Any ideas of the model?
Mike

ChasD
5th May 2008, 20:22
Hi Mike, Sorry, the only one's I played with were the experimental things, literally stuck down with double-sided sticky tape, but wonderful gadget to use, made you look like a real helmsman !

Ron Stringer
5th May 2008, 23:28
Can you remember the year Walter passed away? - my mind seems to recall it was due to a North Sea helicopter incident, am I correct?

Mike

Can't remember the year but know it wasn't the result of any accident. Can find out though. One ex-MIMCo R/O and technician, Patrick da Silva Hurley (Irish father, Portuguese mother) who used to work for me in Chelmsford left us to work at Shell Tankers. After working for Walter in Shell Centre for some time, he was eventually detached to work for Shell offshore in the North Sea and was killed in the crash of a Chinook helicopter near the Shetlands.

mikeg
6th May 2008, 10:36
Can't remember the year but know it wasn't the result of any accident. Can find out though. One ex-MIMCo R/O and technician, Patrick da Silva Hurley (Irish father, Portuguese mother) who used to work for me in Chelmsford left us to work at Shell Tankers. After working for Walter in Shell Centre for some time, he was eventually detached to work for Shell offshore in the North Sea and was killed in the crash of a Chinook helicopter near the Shetlands.

Thanks Ron for also jogging my memory, I only met Patrick a couple of times prior to the Chinook incident thats probably why I thought it was Walter. We were very lucky back then to have such experienced radio supers - which wasn't always the case latterly.

K urgess
12th May 2008, 02:26
Sixteenth one and first one back to deep sea and VLCCs.

TEXACO NORWAY/GOPH registered in London.
Built 1971 in Denmark
Official number 341274
Displacement 290,090 tons
Two trips 14th September 1974 to 20th January 1975 and 3rd November 1975 to 17th February 1976
220/440 volts 60 c/s AC supply.

Crusader Main Transmitter
A1 A2 M/F
410, 425, 454, 468, 500, 512 kc/s
MF R/T A3
2182, 2009, 2016, 2049, 2056, 2104, 2111, 2301, 2381, 2527, 2534, 2548, 2555, 2562 kc/s
A1 H/F
4181, 4196, 4220
6271, 6294, 6330
8362, 8392, 8441
12543, 12588, 12661
16724, 16784, 16882
22240, 22312, 22362 kc/s.
A3 H/F R/T
4066, 4072, 4091, 4104, 4123, 4130
8191, 8204, 8210, 8217, 8223, 8255, 8262
12333, 12340, 12361, 12389, 12396
16470, 16491, 16512, 16519, 16526
22010, 22031, 22038, 22059, 22066 kc/s
Salvor III Emergency Tx.
410, 425, 454, 468, 480, 500, 512
Survivor Lifeboat Tx.
Apollo Main Rx.
Monitor Em.Rx.
Lifeguard Auto Alarm
Lodestone IV D/F
Marconi Autokey
Raymarc 16 Radars (Two, one with True Motion)
Contour & Metron Echo Sounders (2 of each)
Argonaut 3747B VHF
Amplidan broadcast equipment (with Bang and Oluffsen receiver)
Doppler docking equipment
Decca Navigator
Elcon domestic aerial amplifier
Svenska TV aerial amplifier
Bush colour TVs
Hitachi (EVR) Walport "thing" that scanned 8mm film cassettes and turned it into video.
Sony colour video player

It was nice to have all the H/F R/T frequencies. Made calls a lot easier.
Wasn't particularly impressed with this one apparently. Luckily the Memsahib has saved all my letters.
First trip I joined in Lisbon in time for a few days in a hotel before moving aboard at Lisnave.
I seem to have had an awful lot of trouble getting hold of anybody with the Crusader. Particularly Rastan who "didn't seem to recognise his own callsign".
Empty ship she vibrated an awful lot which didn't make for a restful passage out to the Gulf.
Auto alarm went on the fritz for 40 hours so I had a rather long watch. Couldn't figure out what was wrong with it but luckily it decided to fix itself.
One of the main problems appears to have been a lack of spares and a station that had been neglected for too long.
Apparently Marconi were doing a recruiting campaign for shoreside techs but the salary of two grand a year when I was on over four at that time was not really an incentive.
Between the two trips I just happened to get married in August 75.
Second trip I joined in Trinidad. In between my two trips nobody had done any maintenance so the gear was in a bit of a mess and no paperwork done.
Five weeks at anchor off Pointe-a-Pierre didn't get it all done. The auto alarm was still acting up very intermittently but I managed to fix it this time after a couple of weeks of intermittent failure.
Off Capetown we stored by helicopters and having to send a homing signal on 410 for an hour and forty minutes nearly melted the Crusader. To top it all most of the Christmas food didn't arrive because of a screwed up order and we only got 25 or our ordered 250 cases of beer. Didn't please the crew at all.
Had trouble with batteries to the extent that I had to replace a set. Can't understand why I had a spare set to fit. Probably not done by a preceeding sparkie. Needless to say the connectors were different so modifications were needed.
The inert gas system had been busted since we left Trinidad so tank washing was a little fraught.
We shared the anchorage at Rastan with 6 other tankers and 75 cargo ships.
Just about everything seems to have broken at some time or another. I even managed to fix the doppler speed log which had been broken for years.
The forced draught fans failed on the way to Capetown along with the air conditioning so crawling along at 5 or 6 knots in the sweltering heat didn't help everybody's mood. Made a rendezvous with the Texaco Sweden to "borrow" some cleaning fluid for the fan motors and instant potatoes because we were running late for stores at Capetown.
All in all not a happy trip or a happy ship. One good thing, the second mate was from Driffield and he became Godfather to my daughter with his wife as Godmother.

mikeg
12th May 2008, 14:59
Off Capetown we stored by helicopters and having to send a homing signal on 410 for an hour and forty minutes nearly melted the Crusader.

Mon Dieu (EEK) A hundred minutes on a homing signal, I can smell that hot transmitter from here (Jester)
The Xmas beer, thats really unfortunate .. it's lucky for you that the crew didn't decide to shoot the messenger[=P]

K urgess
12th May 2008, 16:42
Can't remember what the options were on the Crusader, Mike, but just before it melted I reduced the power to the lowest possible setting, having reduced it progressively after the first 40 minutes.

The beer had nothing to do with me this time. :sweat:
The order was posted from Trinidad by the agent. Everybody was a little Pd off because we could just as easily have stored using the launch which would have been much cheaper and wouldn't have had the silly 7500 kilo limit per trip. Plus we were on a go slowly up to the Gulf so there was no rush.
The reason for the reduction in beer was because of a mistake by the agent in delivering a lot of stuff that had been cancelled by Texaco last time round as unnecessary but was still outstanding on his books.

Kris

mikeg
12th May 2008, 18:26
Can't remember what the options were on the Crusader, Mike, but just before it melted I reduced the power to the lowest possible setting, having reduced it progressively after the first 40 minutes.

The beer had nothing to do with me this time. :sweat:
The order was posted from Trinidad by the agent. Everybody was a little Pd off because we could just as easily have stored using the launch which would have been much cheaper and wouldn't have had the silly 7500 kilo limit per trip. Plus we were on a go slowly up to the Gulf so there was no rush.
The reason for the reduction in beer was because of a mistake by the agent in delivering a lot of stuff that had been cancelled by Texaco last time round as unnecessary but was still outstanding on his books.

Kris

I was only jesting about the messenger (==D)

The use of helicopters when slow steaming baffled me as well. Why in heavens wasn't a launch used more often for stores? I remember thinking that utilising a helicopter with the ship underway - that even the replacement heavy Walport films further reduced other essential stores items. Surely it couldn't have been cost effective compared to stopping the ship for the short time it takes to offload stores from a launch - or am I missing something here??

Keckers
18th May 2008, 10:23
How about this then - my current installation Alba Northern Platform (non-GMDSS) has:
Sailor Compact HF SSB RE2100 transceiver
2 x Sailor VHF's RT2048
2 x Park Air (Airband Tx/Rx's)
1 x Panasonic fax machine
3 x PC's - all linked to LOS - then Fibreoptic link to onshore via the Forties Field.
1 x Sailor Fleet 77 INMARSAT
A pretty miserly collection when comapred to the old days.

We've got about 65 pc's all linked by the aforementioned LOS/Fibre link, plus a huge broadband connection and we regularly video conference, have an internet cafe and a wifi link in heliadmin area. Not to mention all the telemetry and data gubbins. Enough techno gear to make yer head ache!

Changed days, eh?

K urgess
25th May 2008, 23:26
Seventeenth one and my first bulk cargo vessel.

OAKWORTH/GQAJ registered in Newcastle.
Built 1972 by Cammell Laird & owned by R. S. Dalgleish & Co. (Watergate Shipping) of Newcastle
Official number 337380
Displacement 33,880 Dwt tons
6 cylinder Doxford at 15 knots
Two trips 18th March to 25th July 1975 and 13th April to 21st July 1976
220 volts 60 c/s AC supply.

Commander Main Transmitter
A1 A2 M/F
410, 425, 454, 468, 480, 500, 512 kc/s
MF R/T A3
2182, 2016, 2049, 2104, 2111, 2301, 2381, 2527, 2548, 2555 kc/s
A1 H/F
4180, 4186.5, 4193.5, 4218
6270, 6279.75, 6290.25, 6327
8360, 8373, 8387, 8436
12540, 12559.5, 12580.5, 12654
16720, 16746, 16774, 16872
22235, 22262.5, 22300, 22362.5 kc/s.
A3 H/F R/T
4072.5, 4091.6, 4123.6
6207.2
8204.4, 8223.6, 8255.6, 8278
12340.5, 12347.5, 12382.5, 12389.5, 12396.5, 12414
16470.5, 16477.5, 16512.5, 16519.5, 16526.5, 16540.5
22010.5, 22031.5, 22059.6 kc/s
For some reason every single H/F frequency was changed between trips (the above are first trip). With an increase to 5 W/T frequencies in each band and 6 R/T in 12 and 16 plus three 25 mc/s frequencies.
Salvor III Emergency Tx.
410, 425, 454, 468, 480, 500, 512
Survivor Lifeboat Tx.
Nebula Main Rx.
Nebula SSB Rx.
Seacall Selective call Rx. (2nd trip only - fitted 12th April 1976)
Monitor Em.Rx.
Lifeguard "N" Auto Alarm
365EZ Morse Key
Lodestar D/F
Marconi Autokey
Raymarc 12 Radars (Two, one with True Motion)
Seagraph III Echo Sounder
Argonaut SP VHF
PYE Westminster VHF
Koden Facsimile weather machine
MimCo 10 broadcast receiver
Marconi MMXB4 TV aerial amplifier
Bush colour dual standard TVs

A lot of H/F R/T frequencies including one on 6mHz which was unusual. Extra H/F W/T crystals as well.
Not a bad trip first time. Last one before getting married.
I had what could be called my batchelor night out in Paranagua, Brazil.[=P]
A good trip but terrible food making the future Memsahib ill when she joined in Bordeaux for the last few days before we flew home.
Quite a trip from Northfleet to Palmbeach in Florida for two weeks. Then Port Kaiser, Jamaica, Tema, Takoradi, Paranagua (nearly 3 weeks) and Bordeaux.
Was not impressed with a cargo of soya meal. Smelly stuff.
Second trip the old man was different. The only one I ever had problems with. He reported me to Marconi for having an untidy radio room while I was trying to sort out spares that hadn't been checked since I was on there last. Might also have something to do with me telling him his fortune in the bar one night after a very good run ashore in Lisbon. We all know the sort. Urgent messages on the desk 5 minutes before the end of the last watch and wouldn't acknowledge sparkie had any status at all despite ten years seniority.
Wasn't a bad run from North Shields to Corpus Christi, then Lisbon (16 days discharging - too much good food and booze), Rio Grande, Porto Alegre (Brazil - 16 days again) and back to Hamburg to pay off.
I've completely forgotten about the Nebula so I can't have had too much trouble with them.
I do remember rigging up the weather machine to receive news pictures.
I'll have to try and decipher some of the drivel I wrote to the Memsahib to see if I noted any problems.
Can't even remember the layout of the radio room and my camera bust at Disneyworld first trip. Didn't get it fixed until after the second one.

charles henry
26th May 2008, 22:31
Anywhere between 410Kc/s and 25Mc/s, Blair.
Mostly crystal controlled but not in an oven until later when synthesisers came in.
Only ever used an SWR meter on a VHF. Standing Wave Ratio for our non sparkies. And that was only as a shore side techie.
Such technicalities were beyond the standing requirements for radio stations.
Unless you had a radar to look after all you had was an AVO Minor simple test meter. With a radar you might get an AVO8 big multimeter.
Mostly chewing gum and string operations with your ballpein hammer and big screwdriver being the handiest tools.[=P]

Have to disagree I always had a soldering iron,but then it only worked on
250 volts ac. de chas henry (Pint)

K urgess
12th June 2008, 22:40
Eighteenth one and my last old-time general cargo job. Plus the first one after getting married

CITY OF RIPON/GTYV registered in Glasgow.
Built 1955 & owned by Ellerman City Liners
Official number 185035
7713 Gross tons, 4032.68 Nett.
Doxford engined at 15 knots
One short trip around the coast from Hamburg to Swansea to Glasgow to Birkenhead 9th to 25th October 1975

220 volts DC supply.

Oceanspan IV Main Transmitter
A1 A2 M/F
410, 425, 454, 500, 512 kc/s
A1 H/F
4184.5, 4206.5, 4227.5
6276.75, 6309.75, 6341.25
8369, 8413, 8455
12553.5, 12619.5, 12682.5
16738, 16826, 16910
22257.5, 22302.5, 22365 kc/s.
Reliance Emergency Tx.
410, 425, 454, 468, 500, 512
Salvita III Lifeboat Tx.
Electra and Mercury Main Rxs.
Alert Em.Rx.
Seaguard Auto Alarm
365B Morse Key
Lodestone IV D/F
Marconi Autokey
Raymarc 16 Radar (with True Motion)
Seagraph Echo Sounder
Argonaut VHF
Dynatron 2235A Broadcast Rx.
Bush colour dual standard TVs

A real blast from the past and the last time I sailed with kit like this.
No radiotelephone at all.
Didn't spend long enough onboard for any problems.
I seem to remember enjoying having the Mercury and Electra again. I was always a fan.

rwincer
22nd June 2008, 05:39
IMR equipment

Em Tx was IMR61 which had two directly heated Pentodes in an MO/PA configuration producing about 50 watts. They were great I once worked another ship at 400 miles in the Pacific at midday with one. The first two Cook Strait rail ferries in New Zealand where I worked for many years had them fitted and we used to use them all the time for TRs, as they warmed up in about 8 seconds and were easy to use. The only problem was that the key "keyed" the out put from a motor generator at 200 VAC , so you had to be careful not to get your fingers across the key!

BobClay
22nd June 2008, 09:39
Anyone ever sailed with a Redifon R50M receiver ?

http://www.bob-clay.co.uk/Sea.htm

The station is shown bottom right picture. The Area Scheme had disappeared and was trying work Portishead from the Yellow Sea, the whole 12 Mhz band contained in about half an inch ! (boy did the logging scale come in handy on that one).

Since we were expecting orders for the next port (which it was), I spent hours getting that message. I earned my 60 quid a month that night.

Then we hacked out across the Pacific, and I remember telling the old man Buries Markes better start using Tokyo or San Francisco because the R50 isn't going to fly on Portishead airwaves in that ocean for long.

When synthesisers came along it was like manna from heaven.

BA204259
22nd June 2008, 10:06
Anyone ever sailed with a Redifon R50M receiver ?


I sailed with two of 'em. Worst Rx's I ever had the misfortune of using. Above 14 mc/s I don't think I ever heard anything more than QSA2...and that was on a good day. You mention the logging scale. The composition/plasticky gearing shed some teeth whilst, fortunately, homeward bound. It was fine finding 500 but trying to find GKS on H/F was a nightmare. I had to tune by finding DAN or PCH or whoever and then moving up/down a bit until I found Portishead. Amazing how quickly you got used to knowing the freqs of PCH etc....:)

rwincer - thanks for reminding me of the IMR61 and details, never could remember that model number. Can you remember the name of the IMR Emx Rx? It was a damn sight better than the R50M mentioned above.

R651400
22nd June 2008, 11:48
The Rolls Royce benchmark for circa Redifon R50M receivers were all US produced ie Collins, Hammarlund et al yet there seemed to be a down curve on marine receivers from crap to total crap.
No band spread, terrible selectivity and sensitivity.
I never sailed with the Atlanta but if this was state of the art for its time it was years behind a simple Barlow Wadley PLL receiver available on the open market.
Could it be that the lack of technical quality was intentional and counter-balanced by the R/O's operational skills?

ChasD
22nd June 2008, 11:50
Anyone ever sailed with a Redifon R50M receiver ?

.

Hi Bob, attached is the shack on Halia/MXKN, Halia was the "baby" of the STUK lightening boats, effectively acting like a coast station at times, working the queue of scheduled boats due to be lightened, picking them up Carribean or as they started the trudge up from the Cape. Most definitely NOT the ideal rx for that job ! But the Crusader was an advantage. Unlike the Drupa/GRVH which also had a Redifon tx - until we chucked the whole rig out and hijacked a second hand Marconi station from Falmouth depot - but that's another story! (Drupa pic has degrade somewhat over the years - sorry !)

BA204259
22nd June 2008, 11:53
Barlow Wadley PLL receiver available on the open market.


Bit rusty, but are we talking Racal? I can't quite remember when it came out or if it was the RA1 or RA17.

R651400
22nd June 2008, 12:27
Bit rusty, but are we talking Racal? I can't quite remember when it came out or if it was the RA1 or RA17.Barlow Wadley, I think South African by birth, came up with the principle of phase lock loop, presented it to Marconi who sent him on his bike. German Rohde and Schwarz not so daft took it on board and the rest is history. Racal RA17 was an eventual offshoot.

mikeg
22nd June 2008, 12:42
Hi Bob, attached is the shack on Halia/MXKN, Halia was the "baby" of the STUK lightening boats, effectively acting like a coast station at times, working the queue of scheduled boats due to be lightened, picking them up Carribean or as they started the trudge up from the Cape. Most definitely NOT the ideal rx for that job ! But the Crusader was an advantage. Unlike the Drupa/GRVH which also had a Redifon tx - until we chucked the whole rig out and hijacked a second hand Marconi station from Falmouth depot - but that's another story! (Drupa pic has degrade somewhat over the years - sorry !)

Brought it all back Chas. I was on MXKN twice, can remember Charlie Owston was master on one and I had a trainee on the other. Hard working ships for the R/O though I agree the R408 wasn't the best especially if the tuning film jammed (which happened once but not on MXKN)

BA204259
22nd June 2008, 13:36
....Rohde and Schwarz .... Racal RA17

Now, R & S rattles the grey matter from the dim and distant...

I remember the first time I saw/used a Racal RA17 I almost wet my panties, it was so far ahead of it's time compared to the superhets I was used to. I remember thinking that all marine Rx's should have been like this. I wish I had one parked here now in my office next to my PC's. Life in the radio room would have been so much simpler with one of these.

Talking about R & S. Beautifully built German gear. Although I never sailed with it, I did my PMG course with Siemens gear. The mechanical workings and quality of build were streets ahead of anything I ever actually sailed with. The mechanical workings of their H/F Tx (T36?), for example, bore little resemblance to the cheap and nasty I came to love (?) so much.

ChasD
22nd June 2008, 13:55
Hi Mike, When we did the Falmouth conversion docking we had two full senior 3-striper r/o's, got on like we were born together, did a commando raid on the local MIMCo office, found they had a second hand Commander / Apollo rig in the shed, tried negotiation, both Shell and Mimc, said firmly 'NO!', but somehow it finished up on board anyway, we did the installation ourselves and presented a fait accompli. Some grumbling, but it seemed to be easier at that point just to do the paper work and forget it. This was the result. Funny, I dont think, I would have attempted it single handed, but when you have a good 'Partner in Crime' you seem to achieve things you wouldn't even try without! Also managed to swop the old 'wet ink' fax for modern Koden job.

mikeg
22nd June 2008, 14:04
Excellent job!! Good when you have a partner in crime to work with, (could have done with that on my St. John nb s/by). Can you recall the approx date of that conversion? I was on in 81 & 85.
Hated those wet ink wxfax (Cloud)