Portishead radio

King Ratt
9th April 2008, 22:09
Recently received email from Graham Mercer ex PortpatrickRadio/GPK, the man who sent the closing down transmission on 5 ton from that QRA.
The email contained the following Youtube URL which is worth a shufti.

http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=owTO7RAuPmE

K urgess
9th April 2008, 22:15
Most excellent.
Even had the Memsahib feeling nostalgic.
Thanks
Kris

Moulder
9th April 2008, 23:49
Excellent link - thanks.

(Thumb)

R651400
10th April 2008, 07:21
Larry Bennett producer of the youtube clip is author of the GKA newsletter.
Here is another GKA link that will be of interest to our RN membership.

http://navydays.me.uk/NavyWeb/Portishead%20Radio.htm

Bill Greig
10th April 2008, 09:40
Great video, I always wondered what the place looked like. I pass Stonehaven Radio GND on the way to and from work each day, now a sad site with all the antenna's gone and the windows boarded up.

steve Coombs
10th April 2008, 10:23
Thanks-nice to see the video

mikeg
10th April 2008, 11:35
Excellent video - many thanks! I had a guided tour around Portishead Radio and that video brought it all back. It meant quite a lot being able to visualise Portishead when HF working, it was also very instructive knowing exactly what happened 'at the other end'

Mike

freddythefrog
10th April 2008, 12:35
Brilliant video and sound, very well done Larry Bennet for making it possible.
Quite a catchy tune as well!! thanks ftf

hawkey01
10th April 2008, 13:08
The music is as credited by Mike Batt.
At the time of writing this music he was on a round the world voyage on his yacht Braemar/MSZJ. This track was from an LP of that era.
Unfortunately I never had a copy but there were quite a few about. I am also on view in the clip - in the RT with the Yachtswoman and author Claire Francis and another colleague Ray Stevens. I had at that time been giving her training, on HF RT working, before one of her trips on the Yacht ADC Acutrac.

Neville - Hawkey01(==D)

R651400
10th April 2008, 13:29
Great video, I always wondered what the place looked like. I pass Stonehaven Radio GND on the way to and from work each day, now a sad site with all the antenna's gone and the windows boarded up.

Give a wave for me Bill. Anglesey radio, same structure as Stonehaven was bought and converted into a private residence. Can't understand why there have been no takers for GND. Just waiting on that lottery win!

Bill Greig
10th April 2008, 13:36
Your dead right, I always thought it would make a cracking house, superb location.

R651400
10th April 2008, 14:11
Your dead right, I always thought it would make a cracking house, superb location.
Cullercoats an earlier cottage style building was also bought and converted into a super house.
Re GND, methinks the land was under tenancy to the local farmer and not freehold.

lakercapt
10th April 2008, 14:31
Was very surprised to learn that all the UK coast stations had closed down as they were used by us in my "Robbies" days and were a great service( as long as you were not turn # 8+)
Being away for such a long time might I ask, maybe a silly question, what do ships do now round the UK to communicate?
Is it sat coverage or do the cell phones work?
Bill

P.S. When my daughter was born my wife from the hospital bed wrote a cable to me. We were in the middle of the Paacific and the sparkie received the message that I was a Dad 2hours 40 minutes after the event. Think the guys at Portishead sent the good news messages first! Great memories of GKA

Tai Pan
10th April 2008, 15:09
The Radio Officers Association was given two consols from Portishead. One is used by a member who has built his amateur station into it, the other languishes in a barn, cant find anyone interested in it. superb video, much nostalgia, thanks.

R651400
10th April 2008, 17:47
The Radio Officers Association was given two consols from Portishead. One is used by a member who has built his amateur station into it, the other languishes in a barn, cant find anyone interested in it. superb video, much nostalgia, thanks.

It was said that the company who supplied the coast station consoles was a manufacturer of fish frying equipment for fish and chip shops.

urquiola
10th April 2008, 18:19
It is a very nice video of GKA Portisheadradio. I have communicated many times with GKA when sailing, and I liked the way they worked. It brings me good memories also when working as R/O at MadridRadio/EAD/EHY. many thanks and best 73.

Urquiola

R651400
11th April 2008, 08:37
It is a very nice video of GKA Portisheadradio. I have communicated many times with GKA when sailing, and I liked the way they worked.

Most will agree the slickest HF station worldwide.
In the b&w portion of the GKA clip you can see each bay has a microphone with switch-box, CR100 receiver (nice close-up of this old work-horse) and morse key.
Between the two rows of bays was a conveyor belt which took the received telegrams to a messenger and then after processing to the landline room.
The microphone was for communicating with both search bay and traffic controller.
During periods of high tfc a ship would be given a QRY number by search. When ready it was passed to a receive bay waiting to take over the tx. One had to be extremely quick to grab the tx. Periods of low traffic such as through the night search and tfc were handled by any one bay.
When A2 was discontinued on HF, GKA continued, probably contre to ITU regs, for sometime after. To listen to GKL work through a long QRY list was truly something else.
I did two short periods of detached duty at GKA and the memory is not what it should be. Perhaps Hawkey01 can take us through the technicolour part?

hawkey01
11th April 2008, 18:49
Malcolm et all,

I would be delighted to give you all some insight into GKA but I really dont know where to start, also not to bore everyone.

Anyhow here goes:
We had advanced somewhat from CR 100's by the time I joined in 1970 but we still were using the old building. We were by this time into Racal 1200 series RX'S cannot remember the correct number. At that time we had two WT wings - Landline wing and the control room. A little later another WT wing was built which also incorporated the accounts department and were the Miranda/GULL H24 trawler watch was manned. As time moved on we had the new station built which incorporated all the different aspects of the station. By this time we had RTT - Aircraft - Point to Point and of course the maritime WT/RT.
When the new station was completed we had moved into the computer age and our first computer seemed by todays standards as big as a mini. We had three of these which lived in a nice airconditioned room. On line - Hot standby - and Standby.
We were by then using Trend printers which would present you with your ship, working frequency etc and any traffic which was on hand. Incoming traffic would be routed via the system and be delivered in the case of shipping companies direct to their offices. This included overseas companies. The next advance was when the system was upgraded and we were then onto PC's on every point and running on a LAN network with something about as big as a lap top controlling it all. There were many many changes over the years and before the rapid decrease in WT traffic and all maritime traffic we ran - WT, RT, RTT, Point to Point nets - Aircraft comms and all sorts of other things which we tested for various people.

Going back to the heavy WT traffic times I well remember giving out QRY64 plus one Christmas on 8mc/s. During these heavy traffic periods it was common to run double headed search points. At the peak we had getting on for 350-400 RO's

We always used Racal receivers throughout - changing as they advanced.

Hope that was of some interest to you.

Hawkey01(==D)

BA204259
11th April 2008, 19:17
Going back to the heavy WT traffic times I well remember giving out QRY64 plus one Christmas on 8mc/s.

As a slight aside here, I remember being given QRY21. Took careful note of the c/s before and a few afterwards so that I'd know where I was in the queue. After ages and ages (going way past the end of my watch) GKS called the ship one after me on the list. Then the next. After a few more I called him again and said... at such and such I time I called you and you give me QRY21 and you've missed me. I thought he'd say "R sri, up nw" instead of which the sod said "R QRY 25". And I had to wait!

R651400
11th April 2008, 19:30
Thanks for above Neville, makes my CR100 days look somewhat neanderthal!

Larry Bennett
12th April 2008, 09:58
Thanks for all the comments re the Youtube video, much appreciated. As Neville said it would be difficult to describe the operating and message handling procedures in a few paragraphs, one would need a few pages at least.

I too can remember QRYs over 250 on all bands (70+ on 22 MHz, 70+ on 16 MHz, 50+ on 12 MHz and 20-30 on 8, 6 and 4 MHz) over the Xmas period circa 1981 - double search points, all operating consoles in action, as many as 8 editors counting words on to-ship telegrams, all telex machines chattering away non-stop..... Manic days!

Many of the photos on the video were discovered when the station closed in 2000 - it was my job to ensure that all relevant paperwork and documentation was saved for the official BT archives. The items not needed for the archives were either disposed of, or, if I felt there were some of general interest, kept by myself. Other photographs used were kindly donated by ex-staff.

I have plenty of material for a sequel video if there is an interest.

73

Larry Bennett
www.portisheadradio.co.uk

King Ratt
12th April 2008, 10:31
For Larry. Another video would undoubtedly go down well as has your first one. I posted the URL on here having received it via an email from Graham Mercer ex GPK. I don't know if Graham is aware of ShipsNostalgia or not but will try and contact him via email.
73 de R Thomson

trotterdotpom
12th April 2008, 10:59
Thanks to all for the potted history, it's not at all how I imagined it. I was surprised to hear about the dedicated "Miranda link" - and all those trawler skippers lying about their positions!

John T.

King Ratt
12th April 2008, 13:40
The trawler skippers might have difficulty hiding their QTH nowadays with the advent of AIS. Unless they switch it off when hitting a good patch!

Hugh MacLean
12th April 2008, 15:53
Thanks for the link.

I remember well working Portishead for radphone calls in the mid seventies and early eighties and I liked to save up the telegrams and send them via W/T during the long morning watch when we were close up with most of the traffic and things were quieter. There were occassional long QRY's and had to remember not to forget my place in the queue. Portishead Radio were a joy to work.

I was never a fan of all the modern teletype ccts - a morse key did it for me and it was a sad day when it went.

Regards (Thumb)

freddythefrog
18th April 2008, 22:15
hello everyone
regarding stonehavenradio GND, i understand that some ex coast station and ex ships r/o's are trying to get the stationbought if possible, they have already got the Scottish Heritage people to slap an order on it as a "listed type building" similar to the English grade 2 listed building. apparently they are battling with the powers that be to stop it being demolished as they want to purchase it and do it up as a museum with a coast and a ship radio station in it as well as use the rest of the building for the local community
schemes etc. They have a website i believe, stonehavenradio, aberdeen.
hope this helps some people who think it has been demolished, partly vandalised already by the usual yob element from its website pictures. regards ftf

harvey19a
23rd April 2008, 04:36
Memories of 1975, as Second Mate on a Medi boat (Silvio - Wilsons of Hull). - 1599 tons gross so no R/O, only myself and an R/T set. On a normal voyage, sent 1 ETA each port, and never received traffic at all....... and then we were chartered out. Every night I would send 6 ETA msg's to various parties, through Portishead. On the 4th. or 5th. night I called up as usual..... to my delight I heard a dry voice over the air......"Good morning gentlemen, this is Portishead Radio..... I can hear G+++ Silvio, the small ship with the big voice"........

Memories of a better age, I would suggest.

Green Godess
30th April 2008, 01:29
Recently received email from Graham Mercer ex PortpatrickRadio/GPK, the man who sent the closing down transmission on 5 ton from that QRA.
The email contained the following Youtube URL which is worth a shufti.

http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=owTO7RAuPmE

A very fitting tribute to the station if I may say so. The utube clip certainly made me smile though I'm sure others must have shed a tear at its demise.

Looks like the site is now to become Bravo Bravo - Barratt Boxes.

A very sad end to see the site under the demolition mans hammer

G G(Cloud)

non descript
30th April 2008, 09:45
Beautiful - thank you for posting that. (Thumb)

de paor
30th April 2008, 12:51
great video .worked it for years but never knew what it looked like /good luck jim

Steve Woodward
30th April 2008, 13:02
Few at sea cannot have had some contact with or by Portishead - but like many I have never seen the place - thanks for the video
Stev

Mimcoman
21st May 2008, 18:44
Hi Hawkeye:

The GKA Racals were RA1217s, although there were some RA1772s around as well. The last receivers at GKA were RA1792s, one of which was fitted at Forsnaval, on the Isle of Lewis, and remotely operated from Stonehaven Radio as part of Hebrides Radio/GHD.

GND and the other UK MF stations mainly used Eddystone 958s (marketed by Marconi as the Nebula), with Eddystone 964 single channel receivers for the telex circuits. There were other multi-channel receivers, by Plessey and Redifon. Latterly (when the MF sites were linked together and any site could handle traffic from any other site), the receivers were Eddystone 1650s and also Eddystone 1680 single- and mullti-channel units.

Bill Smith

charles henry
21st May 2008, 22:21
The video was just grand would appear that there was some VERY old clips for in one group of three I saw who appeared to be an old friend GWA (Known as Gas and Water}. First met him in 1950 where we were both demonstrating at the Marconi Jubilee exhibition in London. Only time I worked him to my knowledge was when I called GKL on 8 mhz from the Red sea. He eventually came back and chewed me out in no uncertain manner for calling on 16mhz and trying to work cross band.
I pointed out I was calling on 8mhz and he grudgingly admitted that he had now found me there but I was twice as loud on 16, anyway he took my traffic and then I discovered he was my pal from the exhibition.
Dont remember the name of the rig, consited of two wooden cabinets with muirhead drives, one MF one HF and "port holes" in each showing the big
"bottles". There was a lever to switch the power supply from the mF to HF
section. What a piece of junk, also the receiver was a 381 (Not sure of the number, three valve TRF with plug in coils from 100 khz to 30 mhz.

I better shut up, am showing my age de chas henry (Pint)

hawkey01
23rd May 2008, 17:38
Mimcoman/Bill,

I am glad some of us have good memories. It is amazing how all the years looking at these receivers and the numbers just do not stick! Better things to do I suppose!.
I am sure we must know each other but I cannot put a face to your name. I presume you were at GND in 88 time?

Neville - Hawkey01

Roger Bentley
23rd May 2008, 18:08
The video was just grand would appear that Dont remember the name of the rig, consited of two wooden cabinets with muirhead drives, one MF one HF and "port holes" in each showing the big
"bottles". There was a lever to switch the power supply from the mF to HF
section. What a piece of junk, also the receiver was a 381 (Not sure of the number, three valve TRF with plug in coils from 100 khz to 30 mhz.

I better shut up, am showing my age de chas henry (Pint)

I think the transmitters would most likely have been the 381 MF, 376A HF and the receiver might be a 352A. This was the rig on my first ship plus a quarter Kw spark for emergency. Memories! Can't remember what I did yesterday but I can still picture that gear.

Mimcoman
23rd May 2008, 19:32
Hello again, Hawkeye.

Yes, I started there in 1979, just before Rowena, and stayed until 1998. (You'll remember the late great Big Dan MacPherson, among others?) The R/Os and engineers have reunions once a year and the next one is in the Station Hotel, GND, at the end of June, on a date I can't remember but will supply later.

Mimcoman
23rd June 2008, 20:58
Hello again, Hawkeye.

Yes, I started there in 1979, just before Rowena, and stayed until 1998. (You'll remember the late great Big Dan MacPherson, among others?) The R/Os and engineers have reunions once a year and the next one is in the Station Hotel, GND, at the end of June, on a date I can't remember but will supply later.
================================================== =====
Mimcoman/Bill,

I am glad some of us have good memories. It is amazing how all the years looking at these receivers and the numbers just do not stick! Better things to do I suppose!.
I am sure we must know each other but I cannot put a face to your name. I presume you were at GND in 88 time?

Neville - Hawkey01
================================================== ======

Neville, I forgot to come back with the date as mentioned - it's 27th June, 3pm till late.

(Bill Greig - and others - if you're passing, welcome to drop in.)

Apologies for memory lapse.

Bill Greig
24th June 2008, 14:00
Mimcoman,
thanks for the invite Bill, will try and drop in for a swift half on my way home Friday.
Best Regards
Bill Greig