Stonehaven Radio/GND

R651400
28th July 2008, 19:00
Gentlemen, a chance to keep our fast sinking heritage alive. Thought you may be interested.

www.stonehavenradiostation.co.uk

IanSpiden
31st July 2008, 18:13
I worked at GND for nigh on 15 years from 1982 -1996 as and R/O and I had an office there when I was in Ship Inspection in Aberdeen , I live in the US now but I was back in May and went up to see the old place , its in a pretty sad state with a big spiked fence round it to keep the idiots out, we always said it would be great place for a restaurant , the views are spectacular ( when the fog is not rolling in from the North Sea) Many Night shifts , Day Shifts and Split Shifts and the overtime !! spent there , I hope they do something with it

Mimcoman
1st August 2008, 14:59
Hi Spatz:

Remember when Sandy used to slap the handle of the BCF fire exinguisher outside Ken Foster's office each time he went down the corridor, only the last time someone (nae me or you) had removed the link which stopped the extinguisher being set off accidentally and the extinguisher did it's job and covered the place in white powder.

That same night, we had one of those bouncy balls that shoots off in unexpected directions which - unfortunately - went through the door to the same corridor, hit the diffuser on the fluorescent tube just inside the door and outside Ken's office and knocked the diffuser to the floor where it shattered.

Ken Foster (station manager) came in next morning, took one look and asked what the h*** had happened.

Someone (Ally the Rat?) said "well, the diffuser on the light tube appears to have fallen off and on its way down hit the fire extinguisher, which then went off, and the end result, Mr Foster, is what you see before you...

IanSpiden
1st August 2008, 18:43
Yes Bill

and the dead mouse in the station safe with a note explainingg where the missing bacon had gone from the winter stores !!!

As the Late Great Don Macpherson would say " these are my friends "

Mimcoman
2nd August 2008, 07:55
"Thanks for your co-operation."

R651400
2nd August 2008, 08:28
As the Late Great Don Macpherson would say " these are my friends "

Great to hear these coast station stories. I think Don was torpedoed twice during the war once on his own ship and secondly on the rescue ship and then was re-rescued.
Looked back at your GND reunion list again Bill and see another old timer not mentioned was Jimmy Trail.
I swapped GCC for GND on a voluntary transfer as the only RO2. When no one was taking leave, we worked what was called redundant time, monitoring and chasing the fishermen off the illegal frequencies.
Jimmy's catch phrase was "Come on you sweety wifies clear off this channel and back to the 135!" (135 metres the one and only ship to ship channel and always congested)

Mimcoman
2nd August 2008, 09:16
Don used to say he had been the 13th R/O on the Queen Mary - not sure if he was joking... Ken Foster was also torpedoed - coincidentally just off Dunnottar Castle, which you'll know is on the coast just below the Stonehaven Radio site. Don was the only guy I knew who could hold a conversation on the key at the same time as holding a conversation with a neighbour without stuttering.

Jimmy Trail's name was still being mentioned when I started at GND but I never met him. At that time, there was still a multi-channel Plessey receiver in one of the racks which had the crystal frequencies also marked as metres in pencil.

(The fishermen still use their own intership frequencies, but as MF/HFgear is now synthesized, they can turn up anywhere. The usual ones are 2345kHz, 3000khz, 3456 khz and - worst - 5678 khz, which interferes with the international aeronautical distress freq 5680 khz. The language is still the same, as well.)

R651400
2nd August 2008, 16:56
The language is still the same, as well.

Jimmy Trail was due for retiral when I joined as was Bob Fox. Youngest RO1 and friend was Eddy Jones from Kirkcaldy who died suddenly shortly after I left.
Another trick to keep the fishfone off illegal channels was to turn the microphone on the console speaker and alter the gain till it "motorboated" the transmitter!
Some of the responses were not only hilarious but as per quotes.
In the interests of moderation I can only say if I followed through on "wit tae dae wi 'at f**** machine!" It would have been a very painful experience indeed.
Happy days.

IAINT
13th October 2008, 20:14
The campaign to preserve the former marine radio station has taken major step forward with supporters achieving formal recognition as a charity.

Residents in Stonehaven working to buy the derelict radio station close to Dunnottar Castle hope now that their charitable status will help achieve more funding

The newly-formed Stonehaven Maritime Radio Heritage Halls will now apply for funding from the Architectural Heritage Trust to conduct a feasibility study.

The Trust could hopefully grant up to 75% of the cost of the study which would indentify possible uses for the empty/derelict building.

A Trust rep. visited Stonehaven last week to see the station and meet the campaign group.

The group is currently in talks with BT, who own the building but are unwilling to release it for sale.

Campaigner Alistair Maclean said ''We need the permission of BT but they are not looking to market it at the moment.''

''A unique opportunity to save part of our national heritage needs to be acted upon immediately.''

''This listed building is deteriorating rapidly.''

For more info go to ''www.stonehavenradiostation.co.uk

Taken from today's P and J.

Iain T (Thumb)

Dick S
13th October 2008, 20:28
A serious note I was on watch at Aberdeen Coastguard when GND took the last(I believe) 500 SOS in the UK from the vessel Alla Terra Sova(spelling guessed)an Eastern Block passenger ship. A proffessional bunch worked there and we had a good liasion with them.
Dick

Mimcoman
15th October 2008, 12:58
Fit like, Dick, and greetings from MRCC Aberdeen:

Quote (from another thread):
I was still at GND when the 500 kHz service finished. The GND part had actually finished some years previously as part of BT's "rationalisation", but GND was still keeping the 500 kHz watch using the equipment at GCC, GKR, GPK and GLD. On the last day (31 December 1997), there was an SOS at 0948z from the vessel Oak/C6MX8 which was received and handled in the first instance by R/O Bob Baker using the GLD equipment. R/O Alan Cunnison took over at 1300z and continued until Falmouth CG suspended broadcasts at 1733z, although the incident was still being monitored. The distress was then passed to EJK, following a DDD SOS broadcast to that effect at 2222z.

Bob Baker and Alan Cunnison were on their officially-last day of service at GND, thereafter becoming "redeployees" and no longer classed as Radio Officers. The remaining services provided (until the year 2000) were RT only.

Following 2300z (we had to close 500 kHz at 2400 BST = 2300z), as detailed in the video/DVD of the UK 500 kHz closure, the remaining UK stations made their final broadcasts and exchanged of signals with each other an other countries' radio stations.

At GND, the whole closure episode, including each station's final transmissions, were captured by a freelance programme maker, who made a programme about the end of the UK 500 kHz service which was later broadcast on Radio Scotland.

I have in my possession (for posterity) the final 500 kHz radio logbook at GND, with the details of the last UK SOS, and a copy of the GND/GCC final broadcast signed by all those R/Os present. (Each R/O sent one line of the last broadcast.) I have, also, the morse key used for the final SOS and closing broadcast at GND (when we represented GCC, which is why the final broadcast is from GCC/GND). The key is one of the Rugby keys mentioned elsewhere - not only GKA had them! We had the Ericcson keys as well, but the general preference was for the Rugby keys.

A sad day, but the sausage rolls were fine - and we ignored the BT rule and had a dram!
Unquote.

If I remember rightly, the Ala Teresova (spelling?) was a small Russian passey boat which transmitted a 500kHz distress off Peterhead, I think for engine failure, but it might have been a fire. I can't remember the date but, as I was still at GND at the time, it would have been some time before May 1998, and may have been before morse was removed from GND in the early 1990s. Were the passengers taken off while at sea - seem to remember that.

The vessel's on-duty R/O (well, I suppose it must have been an R/O) used the prefix "DDD SOS DDD" (equivalent of "Mayday Relay") for his/her initial broadcast, which led to later confusion at BT Aeronautical and Maritime Head Office, because when the report of the incident got back to them, one of the managers called up to say that "DDD SOS DDD is not used in an initial call, please recheck and supply the correct report".

I took unashamed delight in telling him that what we had detailed was, in fact, correct.

Again, if my memory serves correctly, the vessel was in Peterhead for a few days' unscheduled stop while repairs were made.

Hear you on air, if you're opposite my C watch, and say hello to Tony Tuton for me (to his everlasting shame, he trained me as a CWA).

Rgds/Bill S.

R651400
15th October 2008, 16:56
Sad news that BT still clings to ownership of the GND site while it deteriorates. Thoughts towards profiteering to the max like Mullholland Park/GKA?
I always thought the land was leased from the local farmer?
Obviously not the case.

freddythefrog
15th October 2008, 17:15
Very well done to all involved with getting the charity set up and good luck for the future in obtaining the GND site and getting a GND museum set up.
Great stuff guys!! cheers ftf

Mimcoman
15th October 2008, 21:06
Sad news that BT still clings to ownership of the GND site while it deteriorates. Thoughts towards profiteering to the max like Mullholland Park/GKA?
I always thought the land was leased from the local farmer?
Obviously not the case.
I was led to believe that the GND site had been bought from the farmer with the proviso that he was to have the opportunity to buy it back at the price he originally received. As the station came into being in 1942, (while the current station building dates from 1956), he would have been onto a goodie. This proviso must surely have been rescinded - if it was ever in force - but if not, maybe that's why BT are hanging on to it.

Incidentally, the site consisted of three areas of ground,
i. the main building site where the transmit aerials were.
ii, a second site about a mile or so south of the main site where the receive aerials were;
iii. a third site some distance further south still where the Adcock df aerials were located.

The df service and the aerials were long gone when I started in 1979, but the farmer who had originally owned the df site had sold the land with an agreement that he be allowed to use the land for grazing purposes for a peppercorn rental (I think about 15 shillings = 75p a year). BT suddenly remembered about the site again in the late eighties - the farmer must have thought the land had been forgotten about.

Makes you wonder.

Bill S.

IanSpiden
16th October 2008, 18:43
Bill

was there not a civil defence bunker at the receive aerial site where all those designated were supposed to go in event of a nuclear attack , I dont know how anyone would have got there in 3 minutes !!

Mimcoman
17th October 2008, 01:46
Bill

was there not a civil defence bunker at the receive aerial site where all those designated were supposed to go in event of a nuclear attack , I dont know how anyone would have got there in 3 minutes !!
Roger, Spatz, the entry was a concrete block with a locked green metal hatch. I was never one of the select few who ever got into the bunker, but I'm told Ken Foster and some the older (must stop calling them that now) guys did so.

You'll remember the audio alarm box in the landline area which was connected to the Scottish Office early warning system. We used to test it once once a year with Grampian Police HQ, it had a steady tick-tick-tick to ensure it was in working order. I often wondered what would have happened if it had ever gone active for real - there were various suggestions, depending who was on watch at the time....

We once had a visit from a writer who was making up an article on GND for the Aberdeen Leopard magazine. Somehow or other, the bunker came up in conversation and she (the writer) got the impression (from Bhopal Turner?) that the bunker was part of a secret establishment at GND, which we couldn't really discuss, for monitoring the Eastern Bloc. I think she nevertheless hinted at such in the article.

Happy days...

JohnBP
17th October 2008, 02:25
Well, i lived in Newtonhill just 5 miles from Stonehaven and did not know, by the way Stonehaven is a lovely place.

R651400
17th October 2008, 06:19
In the mid sixties the farmer, Marshall comes to mind, was a licenced radio amateur who would sound dah-dah-dit..dah-dit...dah-dit-dit (GND) on his Land Rover horn when he passed the station.

Sister Eleff
17th October 2008, 12:12
Well, i lived in Newtonhill just 5 miles from Stonehaven and did not know, by the way Stonehaven is a lovely place.

I lived in Newtonhill, (a long time ago!) it was a lovely little fishing village. I started my schooling at Stonehaven, we used to catch the train each day but I noticed that the station is closed now.

R651400
17th October 2008, 15:46
I lived in Newtonhill, (a long time ago!) it was a lovely little fishing village. I started my schooling at Stonehaven, we used to catch the train each day but I noticed that the station is closed now.
A small world! Three SN members who lived in the tiny village of Newtonhill.
Wasn't the harbour side of the village known as Skateraw? I remember seeing the last prefab pulled down and having the occasional pint in the one and only hostelry which if my memory hasn't let me down was the Red Lion. Any more Newtonhillites out there??

Mimcoman
17th October 2008, 17:44
In the mid sixties the farmer, Marshall comes to mind, was a licenced radio amateur who would sound dah-dah-dit..dah-dit...dah-dit-dit (GND) on his Land Rover horn when he passed the station.
That'll be that farmer who occasionally came into the station and helped out on the key. Seem to remember people saying that he came in at Christmas time to help out.

Sister Eleff
17th October 2008, 21:38
A small world! Three SN members who lived in the tiny village of Newtonhill.
Wasn't the harbour side of the village known as Skateraw? I remember seeing the last prefab pulled down and having the occasional pint in the one and only hostelry which if my memory hasn't let me down was the Red Lion. Any more Newtonhillites out there??

My best friend when I was aged 5yrs, lived next door. I moved away when I was 7 and I'm not too sure what age she left. Fortunately our families kept in touch and we resumed our friendship when we both lived in London and have remained friends. I heard 2 days ago that she has moved back to Newtonhill after several decades in London! Magic place!!

R651400
18th October 2008, 06:13
I had to have special dispensation from the GPO and Ken Foster OiC GND to buy a house in Newtonhill as it was outside the coast station "commute" distance.
Dodging snowdrifts on the old A90 on my trusty Lambretta in winter was an experience not to be forgotten, only to find that my senior watch mate had not made the short distance up the hill from Stonehaven.

IanSpiden
18th October 2008, 18:42
When they moved the Coast Station Engineers to the Site and built a new building for them they supplied them with a Land Rover which was supposed to be fo difficult access sites such as Hebrides radio which I believe was miles from anywhere up a dirt track , when the snow came as it did occasionally at GND we commandeered it to ferry the watches back and forth , there were times when even that could not make it and we walked from the end of the farm road , a brisk start to the morning !!!

hughesy
19th October 2008, 00:35
Fond memories of that station, I was first trip on the Euroman with a "Special"
ticket. Stood by the BP Forties platform instalation, with the "Hercueles" and the "Thor" heavy lift derrick barges. In 1974 summer. There was this guy at GND when he came on the RT he always sounded like he had, had a few drams. Or he had a really broad Aberdeen accent?, but the cheif R/O I sailed with was from Glassgow, and at the time, lets say was having "marital difficulties", which after he had a few drams, would call home via GND. Some of those link calls were, how can I put it?, absolutely the funnest "marital arguements", I've heard what with that Glaswegian sense of humor? plus add a wee bit of alcohol and the result was really funny.
Sent my first traffic through GND.
Also the same guy at GND taking to a Cajun supply boat Skipper, those two accents, trying to communicate together was funny to listen too?
its always amazes me what you remember when you start thinking back??
Anyway.
All the best
Hughesy

R651400
19th October 2008, 03:22
there were times when even that could not make it and we walked from the end of the farm road , a brisk start to the morning !!!Being there only one winter 64/65 I could have been lucky but I'm sure keeping the road open to GND was a district council priority contracted to Invercarron garage whose snow ploughs were pushed by huge wartime American Macks. Talked to someone recently who served his time at Invercarron and apparently one of the Macks is still there.

Mimcoman
19th October 2008, 15:04
Being there only one winter 64/65 I could have been lucky but I'm sure keeping the road open to GND was a district council priority contracted to Invercarron garage whose snow ploughs were pushed by huge wartime American Macks. Talked to someone recently who served his time at Invercarron and apparently one of the Macks is still there.

When I and IanSpiden were there, the road had lost its winter-clearance priority - it got cleared after the major roads were deemed clear and the snowploughs had spare time.

Sandy Grant and I took the landrover out one winter with the plough attachment fitted, and thought we'd do a good deed and clear the road westerly from the station down to the watertank, then down into Stonehaven to the old Tollbooth then back up the Bervie Brae, past the war memorial to Dunnottar Castle and back up to the radio station. We kept wondering why the vehicle kept juddering so much and swinging from side to side. It was only when we got back that someone pointed out that a snowplough is fitted at an angle and not square-on to the direction of progress.... I've had respect for short-wheelbase LRs ever since.

R651400
19th October 2008, 15:24
Another GND perk in my time was staff were given priority on the council housing list. I've no idea if this stretched to other coast stations but in '64 with little or no private housing being built in Stonehaven, very commendable.

IanSpiden
21st October 2008, 16:17
Unfortunately by the time I moved to Stonehaven in 82 housing had taken off because of the " oil boom " and the perk you speak off was long gone, the housing lists were long , I think about 10 years wait was about average so it was dig into your pockets time , I moved from Fife and sold my detached house there for about 27000 pounds and I had a 7000 pound mortgage, moved to GND , 44000 pounds and 3 times the mortgage in one day , luckily the overtime was good !! i know it does not sound like much these days but believe me it caused me a few sleepless nights till I got onto the MAX

R651400
21st October 2008, 17:21
I opted for Newtonhill, then the nearest new private building outside Aberdeen!
Semi-detached bungalow with an eighth an acre of garden....
2086 with a further 350 to pay when the road was made up...
That 350 gave me nightmares until I moved to pastures new!!

BobDixon
5th January 2014, 11:59
Picture of the Stonehaven Radio staff social 1989 in the Mearns Leader http://www.mearnsleader.co.uk/news/picture-from-the-past-1-3251577

hawkey01
5th January 2014, 14:51
Thats a fine one Bob.
Remember some of those fine men.
Chris Turner, Kenny Strachan with hair - last time I saw him he was bald. Al Taylor. The others I cant put names to but I am sure I should be able to. Are you there? The bearded one - is that Ian Cameron? Is one of the Ladies Rowena?


Neville - Hawkey01

BobDixon
6th January 2014, 02:17
No, I'm not there Neville. Knew some of the chaps at GND (both from visits to the station and also because some were escapees from GKR !) but would love to be able to put names to all in the photo.


Thats a fine one Bob.
Remember some of those fine men.
Chris Turner, Kenny Strachan with hair - last time I saw him he was bald. Al Taylor. The others I cant put names to but I am sure I should be able to. Are you there? The bearded one - is that Ian Cameron? Is one of the Ladies Rowena?


Neville - Hawkey01

hawkey01
6th January 2014, 10:39
Bob,

yes I had forgotten you were ex GKR. I spent some 6 plus weeks at GND during the DOC times whilst the boys were training.

Neville.

Larry Bennett
8th January 2014, 13:48
Sad news that BT still clings to ownership of the GND site while it deteriorates. Thoughts towards profiteering to the max like Mullholland Park/GKA?
I always thought the land was leased from the local farmer?
Obviously not the case.

Indeed not - I actually now live in Mulholland Park these days and there is NO TRACE whatsoever of the former GKA station. Not even a plaque or recognition of what was previously there. BT got rid with maximum profit and little or no thought to the historical significance of the site. Hopefully the GND site will be better cared for.
Larry +

david.hopcroft
8th January 2014, 19:28
Did Al Taylor ever wear a tie ?

David
+

hawkey01
9th January 2014, 11:12
Larry,

what happened to our plaque that was promised? Gone I suppose with all good promises!

Neville

hawkey01
9th January 2014, 11:16
David,

I do believe that I once did see him with a tie or maybe a figment of my imagination.

Neville

IanSpiden
9th January 2014, 18:43
I do not see Rowena in there and I am pretty sure that the person with the beard is not Ian Cameron

The guys from L-R
Chris Turner Les Anderson Alan Robertson Alistair Watt Unknown Ken Strachan Al Taylor and Me

hawkey01
10th January 2014, 14:02
Ian,

thanks for info. Thought Cammy must have had a few too many pies! I should have recognised Alan and Alli.

Neville

R651400
11th January 2014, 17:21
I actually now live in Mulholland Park these days and there is NO TRACE whatsoever of the former GKA station. Not even a plaque or recognition of what was previously there. BT got ..Larry my reference was to GND. The farmer in question was a licenced radio amateur who used to blast GND in morse from his Landrover as he passed the station.
As for Mullholland Park your news is indeed sad that no promised commemoration to the site's previous and great heritage has materialised.
With all due respect to age etc what really surprises me is that Don Mullholland has not given support in this direction or has he?

Graham P Powell
13th January 2014, 08:58
I live about 150 yards from what was the GKA site and there is absolutely nothing to say the radio station was ever there apart from one piece being called "Marconi Drive".
I had a large transmitting valve and very big tuning condenser ex Portishead transmitters. They are now with the Fort Perch Rock Museum in Birkenhead.
I still have what is probably the last surviving bit of GKA i.e. the front door bell.... plus of course all my memories of a wonderful place to work and great colleagues.
rgds
Graham Powell
(GKA 1975 - 1996)

Larry Bennett
14th January 2014, 12:36
Larry,

what happened to our plaque that was promised? Gone I suppose with all good promises!

Neville

Yes, promised but never delivered. Apparently the committee funding the plaque had their funds removed by the local council and that was that. Up to us old boys now I think.

Larry +

trotterdotpom
14th January 2014, 12:51
Larry,

what happened to our plaque that was promised? Gone I suppose with all good promises!

Neville

Neville, remember Graham Turner at Brid? I saw him in Wellington last month and he took me up to what was Wellington Radio. The whole site had been cleared and turned into bush. A plaque recording the presence of ZLW was there, funded by the former employees.

End of an era, but we're the only ones who care, I suppose.

John T

hawkey01
15th January 2014, 12:01
JT, Larry,

Unfortunately getting money out of ex RO's is a bit like getting blood out of the proverbial stone. There are some of us who would gladly donate but others!
There is also the other problem of where to place the plaque and in what form, as the site is now owned by two different builders , Wimpey and Bellway. I do not know if the houses are lease hold but certainly all the flats are and also they have to pay ground rent. So who would we approach to get permission?
It would be good to at least commemorate a major part of Maritime History now sadly gone.

Neville - Hawkey01

bluemoon
16th January 2014, 17:32
I would be more than happy to throw in a tenner if a fund can be started.

R651400
24th January 2014, 07:12
Recent picture of Humber Radio on the Portishead thread makes one wonder what BT are thinking.
Not sure what is the present situation at Stonehaven but this is a sorry sight to all who remember GND with great affection.

Newcastle Star
24th January 2014, 12:55
I tried to get any interested parties into the re- use of GND as a Maritime Communications Museum between 2003 to 2008 to no avail. I managed to get the building listed status with Historic Scotland on 27th August 2004.
In 2009 a company purchased the whole property and are presently using the BT engineers premises as their office. I contacted the MD and he said they would contact me once the main station building is security proof and watertight. When work is done we could discuss a portion of the building being used for a presentation of the Maritime Radio Service and also give ex personnel the opportunity to visit. Unfortunately, nothing heard to date.

david.hopcroft
24th January 2014, 19:32
BT's Estates division - Telereal - were thinking of the share holders and getting the most profit possible.

At Humber the local council tried to buy the remote transmit aerial site not far from the main station. It was a landlocked field with no road access, and was next to the cemetery where expansion space was becoming urgent. The council did eventually acquire the site at auction, but paid an extortionate price for it.

David
+

BobDixon
25th January 2014, 01:38
When GNE closed the local community wanted to buy the property to use it as a village hall. They were told that was not possible because it could only be sold for agricultural purposes.

Within a very short time there were three luxury houses under construction on the site!

R651400
27th January 2014, 04:48
Newcastle Star thanks for the update. I assume that now the buildings are in private hands they have changed from the sad and sorry state of my attachment?
Do you visit or more to the point any chance of a recent pic?

Bill Greig
27th January 2014, 08:47
Newcastle Star thanks for the update. I assume that now the buildings are in private hands they have changed from the sad and sorry state of my attachment?
Do you visit or more to the point any chance of a recent pic?

I pass the site to and from work every day, and sorry to report it is still in the same sad state as your picture.
Regards
Bill

R651400
27th January 2014, 09:10
Thanks Bill and very sorry to hear your news..
Don't think any image update is necessary.