QE2 Radio Room

Radioroger
20th August 2008, 15:53
I am starting a new thread for the remarks made by Ron Stringer on "The writing on the wall" thread. I think the comments deserve their own thread.


From Ron Stringer
.....On visits made to the QE2 radio room and the transmitter room on the upper deck, I was amazed that the ship ever passed radio survey. Remote controls to the emergency transmitter were home-made and would not have seemed out of place in a Heath-Robinson drawing....

You make a very interesting comment about your amazement that the ship ever passed survey. You are not the only one. I remember very clearly a number of radio surveyors coming on board and going away scratching there heads and saying "this does not seem right" !

As you know the QE2 had a remote transmitter room ( locker !) with 4 main transmitters. 3 of these were STC ST1430 HF 1kw self tuning transmitters. As I understand they as used by the Swedish military and possibly never certified for marine use. That said, they were good transmitters and never caused problems - except when used on the wire aerials. The self tuning of one would effect the tune of another already working and there was no provision for it to automatically retune, it would just drop right back in power ! The fault was the wire aerials too close together. As you know the ship was not supposed to have wire aerials but rely on notch aerials, so the wires had to be mounted close together so as not to be seen !

The other main transmitter was an IMR 1kw normal marine MF/HF transmitter that had been modified for remote MF tuning with servos mounted externally. Tuning the transmitter remotely was dreadful and took a while for a simple MF frequency change !

What is not so well know is that the remote transmitter room was actually the "official" radio room. To operate from the official radio room you had to go along to the transmiter room - a 5 minute walk along half the length of the ship and up about 3 decks. You then removed all the servos from the IMR transmitter and operated it normally. I am not even certain there was a main receiver in the transmitter room but were supposed to remove one from a rack in the normal radio room and carry it to the transmitter room !

I do think parts of the IMR design of the radio room left a lot to be desired !
I do know that planning for remote transmitters does cause many problems - I have had similar problems planning new radio rooms for stations in Antarctica. It would have been so easy to use marine equipment locally if you only operate one transmitter/receiver at a time. If you want to operate multiple 1kw transmitters as I did in Antarctica many years later - and as the QE2 needed in 1968 then you have problems finding suitable equipment. QE2 had the additional problem of having to have remote controlled MF equipment capable of operation from 410 to 512 khz. Coast stations remote MF equipment did not have to do this.

I wonder how MIMCO would have solved the problem of a QE2 fitout in 1968. I suspect they would also have gone for self tuning remote 1kw HF transmitters also. However what would they have used for a main remotely controlled marine approved MF transmitter ? It could not be located in the radio office as the receivers were there - remember this is 1968 and remotely tuned synthesised receivers were not common like they are now ! Maybe Marconi made a suitable MF remote transmitter at the time for the Royal Navy - although I suspect the RN would have used local MF transmitters located in the radio office.
In retrospect I think IMR were not proud of their MF solution, it was heath-robinsonish and would have used another marine approved transmitter had it been available.

All the best

Roger

Ron Stringer
20th August 2008, 17:59
Surely the arrangements on the QE2 were the wrong answer to a question that need not have been asked. Why was there any need for remote operation of the equipment at all? Other passenger ships seemed to manage with the operating positions at the transmitter site, why not the QE2?

There was no shortage of remotely-controlled transmitters, both MF and HF (even LF, if you include Grey Funnel installations) but the market for such on Merchant ships is what today might be referred to as 'extremely niche'. As a consequence nobody was prepared to spend the money to put them forward for type approval (a very time-consuming and expensive exercise indeed) since the costs could never be recovered. Cunard could have purchased Naval equipment from a number of suppliers (MWT was only one of those with suitable equipment available) and this was suggested to Cunard. In fact we were approached by their consultants at an early stage and, at their request, planned out a radio installation using ICS equipment such as was being supplied to the MoD. However the cost was about 10 times that of standard GPO-approved commercial marine products and the lead consultant (a gentleman with a military title) was much taken aback by this. He suggested that as the new Cunarder was such a prestige vessel, we should be prepared to provide the equipment free of charge. His proposal was politely declined, he was wished every success in his search for radio suppliers willing to sponsor Cunard, the company chauffeur was summoned and the consultant was delivered to Chelmsford railway station.

MIMCo's only involvement with the QE2 as-built, was in providing TV and entertainments distribution systems, all supplied at full commercial rates. Even there, I think we lost money on the installations side since there were so many delays and changes to build schedules that the work overran. At this distance in time I don't remember whether the delays and changes originated with John Browns or Cunard but I recall engineers from the TV & Audio department being rushed to Southampton prior to the maiden voyage to sort problems, run missing cables and connect up cabins that had been overlooked on the Clyde. People were working for several days (and nights) to clear things up. We asked for (and got) a purchase order for this panic request for help at the 11th-hour, and only undertook it at all because of the risk of negative fall-out from passenger complaints about MIMCo (acually Elettra) products not working on the maiden voyage.

As a young technician not long ashore, encountering Cunard's attitude to that ship was a great training experience for me and stood me in good stead later when involved in contract negotiations. Our lead commercial man impressed on me that, while we must always be ready to do anything for which the customer was prepared to pay, customer requests that were not to be paid for must always be declined

It was at least 15 years before I went aboard the ship and saw the radio arrangements but nothing that I saw then persuaded me that we had been anything but lucky not to have been involved.

Radioroger
21st August 2008, 03:11
Surely the arrangements on the QE2 were the wrong answer to a question that need not have been asked. Why was there any need for remote operation of the equipment at all? Other passenger ships seemed to manage with the operating positions at the transmitter site, why not the QE2?

Hi Ron. This forum is really great ! 40 years after an event we can get the view of people the other side of the world who were involved and/or knew about what was happening. I find it very interesting hearing your views.

I disagree with your statement about the wrong answer for the QE2. With the technology available at the time remote transmitters were the only solution with the volume of traffic to the QE2 - this was not just a normal passenger ship ! There were radphone calls happening all the time on the short North Atlantic route. The circuits were given to telephone operator located elsewhere on the ship who arranged all the calls talking to their counterparts on shore.

Nowadays with satellite telephones you tend to forget how important HF radio was for passenger ships like QE2. The QE2 needed HF radphones. The HF radphones transmitter operated continually to the UK sometimes carrying Lincompex or scrambling. In addition you had an HF RTTY transmitter operating long periods of time to the UK - on a different frequency so it could not be carried on the other sideband of the Radphones transmitter. There was therefore at least 2 transmitters operating "key-down".

That was just to the UK traffic. You now needed to have a CW transmitter operating to get morse traffic from many stations such as WSL or WCC in the USA or FFY in France.

One of the complaints directed against operations on the old QE was that they were not flexible. If passengers wanted a radphone call to the USA they had to pay the much higher rate to have it via the UK. There were large numbers of USA passengers on board so you had to set up a radphone circuit to the USA for periods - yet another transmitter.

At times the UK radphone traffic was banking up so bring up another UK radphone circuit - yet another transmitter.

At night there would be a transmitter required for the Plessey ARQ to take the Daily Telegraph Newspaper. This could take hours - yet another transmitter.

You will see that at times you easily have 4 transmitters in operation simultaneously.

These circuits also needed receivers - they could not be operated locally due to the high RF levels and intermodulation products - particularly if they had open feed lines. Therefore you had to have remote receivers. Remote controlled frequency synthesised receivers were not readily available - perhaps high price items for the military. In fact the frequency synthesised local GEC receivers fitted were state of the art. The only suitable remote receivers would have been remote crystal controlled with a limited number of frequencies. This would probably be suitable for radphones or RTTY if the QE2 was simply going across the Atlantic as per the old QE but the QE2 was designed for world cruising as well and needed to be flexible.

Technically it would not have been possible to operate 4 HF/MF radio circuits from the same location as the transmitters without severe interference. Therefore the concept of local receivers in the radio office and remote transmitters makes a lot of sense. Its the normal coast radio solution and the one used at the 3 Australian Antarctic stations I have been involved when there was a need for simultaneous HF RTTY circuits and other HF traffic.

The problem with the QE2 was the need to provide additional type approved equipment to meet its international requirement for HF and MF. Thus the compromise solution which was the most economic but not even liked by IMR!

Looking back I do not believe the QE2 really fully complied with the spirit of the radio regulations and I believe the radio surveyors were right to doubt.
In a real emergency it would have taken time to set up the transmitter room as a radio room and it would not have had the easy access of the normal radio room which was quite close to the bridge.
After hearing your views, I think she should have had a full set of normal type marine approved equipment including emergency equipment properly installed in the radio office but not normally used. For normal MF use she could have had a remotely controlled MF transmitter as supplied to the RN (you say they were available), even if it were not type approved - after all the HF transmitters were not ! This would have been a better solution, easier to operate and more in compliance of the sprit of the radio regulations. Expensive but nothing compared to the overall cost of the ship.


All the best

Roger

Allan Holmes
28th August 2008, 19:25
Hi Roger

My! you do have a good memory. Do you still have the Hillman Imp ?
I have been retired from QE2 since 1992 but I still remember the various hassles regarding remote tx's and the emergency station in the transmitter room, not to mention the battery banks!. It was a busy little room.

I log on here occasionally (between holidays) and we are off to Italy on Aug 30th so I look forward to a chat when we get back. Last time we met was in Australia somewhere... can't remember just where.
You'll have to remind me.

Quite a few R/O's passed through during my period on her, Gordon Fry, Clive Russell, Brian Martin (He is still there on the ET side) Jim Neary Peter Hughes, Chris Connerty, Alan Burbage, Phil Marriott, etc etc. Don Butterworth sadly became diabetic in 1980. He retired in 82 but the problem worsened and he lost a leg. Eventually he was forced to go into hospital to have the other one removed but MRSA got him first. That was about seven years ago.

Anyway I'm still breathing, the kids have grown up and we have 4 grandchildren to keep us busy.

Welcome to the site and may you enjoy it just as much as I do

Best 73s Allan Holmes ex C.R.O. of the old black pig.

Cunarder
29th August 2008, 01:15
Hello Allan

Do you have any news of what became of Phil Marriott? He was my chief for two trips on Mawana/GWWZ before he left to got to GBTT. Is he still around do you know?

Cheers
Alan Marsden (ex Cunard Princess)

Allan Holmes
15th September 2008, 11:38
Hi Alan . Sorry for delay but just had some welcome sunshine in Como. Phil Marriott left QE2 in 1988 for Cunard Countess. He retired in 1992 (I think) just about the time I did. We still correspond at Christmas. He and Jean live in Penrhyn Bay, LLandudno.

Hope ur keeping well, long time no see.

Cheers.

A.W.H.

Cunarder
16th September 2008, 01:13
Thanks for that Allan. Do you have contact details for Phil? Wouldn't mind sending my salaams after all these years.

Long time - no sea!

Cheers and best regards
Alan

Malcolm S
16th September 2008, 01:27
All I remember of the QE2 radio room, apart from the location on Boat Deck, was the miles of telex paper sent in triplicate to the Bridge and then split between the "Contols Office" Captain and whoever was interested!
Nice to see some familiar names - my regards to all who remember me on the Bridge
Malcolm

R651400
16th September 2008, 07:00
Do you have any news of what became of Phil Marriott?

I think there was a Phil Marriott in coast stations perhaps Hawkeye01 can confirm?

Nidge
17th September 2008, 22:41
Hi All

My first post to this site.

I'm going to tax your memory now, Allan, I sailed with you in 1990. Back then I was a fresh faced, straight out of College, general pain in the bum. Back then the Operator at W.O.O. would refer to you as "Sir Allan of Holmes". Eighteen years on and I still consider my time, as short as it was, aboard the QE2 as the happiest time of my life, even if Mr Burbage would not talk to me :)

As for the equipment, during my time onboard the STC's performed without any flaws. The only casualty I remember was the failure of a Marconi Seahorse. Marconi sent some techies to repair it when we landed in Southampton. Once onboard they checked their paperwork and found that Cunard hadn't paid for it and promptly took it away leaving us without a Telex Machine. A few panic phonecalls and STC delivered a very modern, for the day, looking terminal.

I still have a piece of nostalga from the radio room, namely an Eddystone EC958 Receiver. There were two of these lying in the Gyro Room in differing stages of disrepair. During quiet evenings on watch I would tinker away with the best of the two trying to bring life back into the quiet chassis. I refused to give up and Allan most graciously allowed me to take the receiver with me when I left in November of 1990. The good news is the receiver is now fully functional again. The problem was in the PSU assembly, which was a common fault for these radios. Once the regulator and capacitors were replaced it screamed back to life. It still takes pride of place in my study and gets used on a near daily basis.

As well as Allan, I remember Chris and Sandy. I still have traumatic flashbacks of seeing Gary Seal in a powder wig and satin pantoloons playing the Piano in the midships square. And I still think fondly of Mr. Burbage, even though after making him thousands of cups of tea, he wouldn't talk to me.
Gary and I, both of us being Radiohams, would find any excuse to use a Morse Key, much to Allans annoyance. We devised a small contest, the Worked all UK Coaststations contest (based on the Worked All Britain amateur award), and would find the smallest of excuses to call out on
500KHz.

Overall I would count my time in the Radio Room as the greatest time. Being able to travel the world, advise the passengers that the crew do not go home at night, but are towed behind the ship in small barges, and get paid for it.

Regards

Nidge

(Nigel Smith - G0NIG)

Ron Stringer
18th September 2008, 00:05
The only casualty I remember was the failure of a Marconi Seahorse. Marconi sent some techies to repair it when we landed in Southampton. Once onboard they checked their paperwork and found that Cunard hadn't paid for it and promptly took it away leaving us without a Telex Machine.

Nigel.

Seahorse was an echo sounder. The Marconi ARQ/telex system was Spector (and you are right, Angus never paid for it. He never paid for anything if he could avoid it, or delay the day of reckoning).

Radioroger
18th September 2008, 16:35
Hi to you Allan ( Holmes)

Great to hear from you again. We last met in Hobart when you invited me on board.

Sorry for the delay in replying. I have been busy the last few days with visits from my wife's family. No not the same wife Joan as I had when on the QE2 - with whom I had 4 children ! Only 3 grandchildren so far !

Sorry to hear about Don - a sad end. You mentioned some of the ROs who sailed on QE2. What happened to other original RO - Dave Wayne? I still have the photos of us taken during training at GEC and IMR with Dave showing off his Seiko watch !

I still live in Tasmania. I worked for the Australian Antarctic Division for 17 years and retired at 55 years. This month I reach the magic 65 when I become an OAP! Like you I travel a lot- this year was my 5th year in a row to holiday in Europe ! This year I went on the June 15 cruise on the QE2 to Canary Islands. Remember that was her first foreign port ! Strangely I was the only person on board who had been on the original maiden voyages ! For a touch of nostalgia I wore my original uniform mess jacket for the nautical ball ! ( It almost fitted - with a slight extension of the link buttons !) I would have like to have gone on the last voyage to Dubai. When I first saw it advertised I thought it expensive, when I looked again it was full. The Canary Islands cruise was a compromise. The last cruise would be fantastic and very nostalgic. Do you know if any of the ROs are going on it ?

Must get to bed now its well after midnight here !

73s to you and your family.

Roger

Allan Holmes
28th September 2008, 21:38
Hi Alan, Sorry for delay. I will give u Phils phone number if youe PM me. I've had it so long it may be out of date, if so let me know and will see about the address.

Cheers

Allan Holmes
28th September 2008, 21:46
Hi Nigel, nice to hear from u. I remember the eddystones (just) I wonder if someone somewhere still makes them.. Sadly the old radio office is now a passenger suite... When I think of all the sweat i lost over the years it just doesn't seem right. Yes, the guys at WOO were great, we got them down to the ship whenever we could. After being retired for 16 years it's nice to be reminded of what went on. I joined in 1968 in the shipyard and, apart from 3 years off on the Countess for good behavior, I was there till 1992. Should have got a medal.....

OK look forward to hearing from u again

Cheers

AWH.

Allan Holmes
28th September 2008, 21:55
Hi Roger. I'm just trying to think whether I have anything left to wear from the Maiden Voyages. If I have then I probably won't fit into it... I remember the first cruise prior to the Maiden Voyage to NY was to the Canaries. I think it was named "The Preview Cruise" and we got back on the 30th of April. Queen E came down on May 1st and we sailed for NY on the 2nd. I still have about 100 feet of cine film (silent of course) pity camcorders hadn't been invented. I don't know if any ex R/O's are on the last voyage. I think I would hate to be on her for nostalgic reasons. Nice to remember her in her heyday I think.

OK Rog time for bed. Look forward to another chat.

Cheers

AWH

Allan Holmes
12th October 2008, 21:03
Yes, Phil Marriott was at Portishead but not sure of the particular period in time.

Cheers Allan Holmes

Allan Holmes
16th October 2008, 22:41
Roger, Sorry for lateness in reply re David Wayne. He left us very shortly after you did. The parting was not amicable.

Cheers = ._ ._.. ._.. ._ _.

Naytikos
30th October 2008, 08:28
Getting back to the subject of remotely controlled transmitters:
At the relevant time JRC made a pair of nice 3kW HF and MF transmitters which, once set up, would auto-tune whatever the condition of the insulators. These were not compact pieces of equipment with each cabinet being approx. 6ft cube. Each Tx had one very large o/p valve, and I seem to remember it was water-cooled. I don't suppose either Tx would meet UK type-approval, but that doesn't seem to have been a problem in any case!

R651400
30th October 2008, 09:38
Giasoy Naytikos. I visited a London museum, for the life of me cannot remember which one, that had a ship's radio room fitted with the JRC equipment similar to what you mentioned. I wonder if it could have been the Science Museum?
I think JRC had the monopoly with Japanese flag ships all of which carried three R/O's and were H24. Unlike the Greeks you hardly if ever heard them on 5 ton! I own a JRC transceiver rated very highly in the amateur world..

Moulder
30th October 2008, 12:10
........... Unlike the Greeks you hardly if ever heard them on 5 ton! .........

What ??!!! - you must have had the gain turned down then....(Jester) [=P]

(Thumb)

R651400
30th October 2008, 12:51
What ??!!! - you must have had the gain turned down then....
Sorry? Were you referring to "J" call signs or "SV, SW, SX, EL, 5L, 5M, HO, HP, TI?" Or were you permanently on the Japanese coast?

Moulder
30th October 2008, 15:28
Sorry? Were you referring to "J" call signs or "SV, SW, SX, EL, 5L, 5M, HO, HP, TI?" Or were you permanently on the Japanese coast?

Ooh its me that must apologise - I didn't read the "Un" in the word 'Unlike'....

[=P]

(Thumb)

R651400
30th October 2008, 18:16
Ooh its me that must apologise - I didn't read the "Un" in the word 'Unlike'....

Nah not necessary.
Not on thread target excepting the amount of R/O's per ship but until there was something like a distress or medico I can count on the one hand the number of times I logged a J call on MF. Log entry every ten mins or less they were a rare breed. MF Activity around the Japanese coast was heavy but the norm was for J ships to call coast stations on a wkg frequency and J coast stations just used QSW without giving frequencies expecting you to know where to go. Slick stuff.

Ron Stringer
30th October 2008, 23:32
I visited a London museum, for the life of me cannot remember which one, that had a ship's radio room fitted with the JRC equipment similar to what you mentioned. I wonder if it could have been the Science Museum?

At one time the Science Museum had several radio rooms, representing different decades of the 20th Century. One was fitted with the prototype of one of the MIMCo range of radio consoles.

Mimcoman
31st October 2008, 22:09
At one time the Science Museum had several radio rooms, representing different decades of the 20th Century. One was fitted with the prototype of one of the MIMCo range of radio consoles.
Yes: I remember going to see them - in the early seventies, I think. There was a prewar radio room (thirties?), a fifties radio room and one for the seventies with the latest Mimco gear.

When I'd finished looking round the exhibits, I went back to my ship - the flatiron Battersea - and virtually the same radio room as the fifties one in the museum...

Troppo
20th February 2010, 02:46
What a fantastic thread!

I often wondered about the QE2's set up..

How the hell did it ever pass plan approval and initial survey?

Remote rx'ers would certainly have been the solution, but, as others have said, they were just not available then...

Graham P Powell
20th February 2010, 11:57
Find this thread most interesting. GBTT was one of our regular clients and always gave the impression of being very efficient radio wise!. The remote tuning TX's etc were surely not a problem. The RN used them. Judging by foreign ships I went on- the Niarchos tanker Spryos and the Japanese tanker
Tegurasan Maru- the British were light years behind in radio equipment provision.

Willum
20th February 2012, 14:13
Read this with Interest, Hi Allan & Alan any other questions you're welcome to run them by me too, as I'm intimately familiar with how to get QE2 through a radio survey! - the Remote MF Tx in the Transmitter room was an EB400 with remote control by Jim Neary, so 400W not 1Kw. I was Technical R/O on board from 1978 to 1988, married the ships Harpist Sarah Deere-Jones.
Phil 'Willum' Williams G3YPQ

hawkey01
20th February 2012, 15:49
Phil,

Welcome to SN. Glad you have found us in the Radio Room. Enjoy the banter.

Hawkey01

R58484956
20th February 2012, 16:28
Greetings Phil and a warm welcome to SN. Bon voyage.

Willum
20th February 2012, 17:19
One of the main reasons we always passed survey (10 years in my case) was our relationship with the radio surveyor in Southampton in particular the excellent Bill Hutton, surveyor and football ref. He used to enjoy QE2 and the banter and fun, though never letting anything go by that wasn't up to scratch. Often helped with certain strengthening of the coffee, supplied usually by Bill himself. The worst survey experience BY FAR was the post Bremerhaven refit when we were all exhausted and demoralised. But Bill could see we were doing ok and that we'd see it though using Phil Marriotts expression 'Good will and expertise'
It was by then that the Radars featured in the radio survey and we'd just been fitted with new 10 and 3cm Krupp atlas and the interswitch hadn't been commissioned, that and a crane had removed the DF loops and the Germans has built over the place where the HF TX Aerials used to anchor and more besides..
So I raise a glass to Bill Hutton (Armagnac) and those R/Os who served on QE2 when I was there.

In no particular order:-
Allan Holmes
Phil Marriott
Don (Golf Travo Bango Bango) Butterworth who would have called this website Ships Nostralgia.
Chris Connerty
Jim Barlow
Ciaran Ward
Brian Robert Harry Martin
Ian Hamilton
Peter Hughes
Alan Burbidge
Alan Marsden
Sandy Dunn
Jeff Boardman
Brian Miller
Peter York Wright
Fred Tordoff
Dennis Duggan

Supported by Dave Egerton & Dennis Williamson
and those I miss I hope you'll pardon.

Phil 'Willum' Williams GBTT 1978/1988

Tony Selman
20th February 2012, 19:12
Phil, I know a couple of names on there but the one that interests me most is Ian Hamilton. He and I did our radar tickets together for a very boozy 3 months in Greenock in 1965 and unbelievably managed to pass. This is the first time I have seen his name mentioned on here or any other site since. He had his girl friend staying with him who was a rather glamorous lady who was a model I think. The other guy on the course was the late Frank Fallon.
Arthur Orum offered me the chance of 3R/O on GBTT in 1968 when she was finishing fitting out on the Clyde and after some debate I turned it down as I loathed the North Atlantic run on the Cunard cargo ships. I have never quite made up my mind if I made the right decision. I know the decision was greeted with disbelief in Head Office.

Troppo
21st February 2012, 10:51
Wonderful thread!

With my surveyor's hat on:

Where was the reserve MF installation - i.e. the res tx/rx/akd?

Was it in the main radio room?

Thanks.

trotterdotpom
21st February 2012, 11:03
Wonderful thread!

With my surveyor's hat on:

Where was the reserve MF installation - i.e. the res tx/rx/akd?

Was it in the main radio room?

Thanks.

Don't answer that, plead the 5th Amendment - next thing he'll want to know how many EF85s you carried.

John T

hawkey01
21st February 2012, 11:56
Nice to see Bill Huttons name mentioned. He was a colleague at GKA before he left to go to ship inspection. I last saw him at our reunion back in 2010 but did not get around to talking to him.

Hawkey01

King Ratt
21st February 2012, 17:33
very pleased to see Bill Hutton's name on the SN. He came down to the Falklands in 1982 or 1983 to do surveys on STUFTS. I was based during his visit on CP ship's Fort Toronto and Bill was billeted there for a few days. He had expressed a wish to have a look around the islands and I arranged a flight in a Chinook for him. Super and very helpful man he was.

Willum
22nd February 2012, 00:29
To Trotto:-

There were 2 emergency transmitters, the EB400 would fall back to batteries and be controlled from the Radio Room.

Then there was a reserve,reserve Transmitter, that would run off batteries, was in the Transmitter room by the funnel and was an IMR113, with Receiver and AKD, but you could switch it through to the Radio Room up forward and key it from there using the Main receiver (Redifon R408) that fell back to battery power. The emergency aerial could be switched over to the IMR113 via a big relay but it meant you had to leave the TX tuned up on 500khz as there was no remote tuning for the IMR113, only for the EB400.

So the IMR113 rig, TX RX AKD, was a back-up for the EB400 intended to be operated from the transmitter room and had its own key and a direct sound powered phone to the bridge.

Clear as day!


Willum

Troppo
22nd February 2012, 04:04
Ahhh, thanks.

Very interesting, and rather Heath-Robinson!

:-)

Why not just put the emtx/rx/akd in the main radio room??

It wasn't going to be used in normal operation, apart from testing...

Troppo
22nd February 2012, 05:24
Do any of you ex-GBTT types have pics of the radio room and the gear?

Ta

Willum
22nd February 2012, 10:28
We couldn't have any transmitters in the fwd Radio Room as there were no TX Aerials available there. So the Emergency stuff had to be by the funnel and manned in an emergency. This also allowed for the cables between the TX and RX Rooms to get damaged without disabling the comms.

Just to complete the picture:-

The IMR113 rack had an emergency rx in it the SR401. Horrible valve RX with a 24v inverter built in. Next to the rack was a space laid out for the Main Receiver the Redifon R408 that you could unplug from the radio room and cart it up to the Tx room and plug it in to a set of Jones plugs provided for it. You could then run that with the EB400 and still have the IMR113 rack as a back-up. Above the IMR113 rack was a Marconi Aerial box, the sliding-knife switch type that allowed you to connect the Main and Emergeny aerials to the EB400, the IMR113 or the Main Transmitter the EB1500 Transmitter No4, or the reveivers 1 & 2, and isolate them for DF Calibration.

In normal operation the Main aerial was patched through to the EB1500, TX4, the Emergency Ae left on the EB400.

Finally in the Radio room fwd, was another SR401 receiver that was left on 2182, the R408 was left on 500.

We had an auto alarm receiver in the Radio room too but not needed as we were H24 and never surveyed, though I kept it going for good measure.

Yes I have some photos and I do an illustrated 'after dinner' type talk on QE2 and some of the funny stories. In fact I'm doing one for the Callington Radio Club on March 7th.


Phil 'Willum'

Tony Selman
22nd February 2012, 17:30
As I said in a PM to Willum I was offered the chance of 3R/O on GBTT on her maiden voyage. Having read all this fascinating thread with almost wonderment I am rather glad I turned it down.

Troppo
23rd February 2012, 03:04
Thanks Phil - makes sense, although the concept of unplugging rxers and carting them aft in an emergency seems rather heath-robinson on what was the flagship of the British MN...

:-)

Why not just put a dedicated rx there? Yes, yes, shipping companies, I know....

Tony Selman
23rd February 2012, 09:28
This is a fascinating thread. It was just around this time as GBTT was launched that Brocklebank Line R/O's started to man Cunard passenger ships - they already manned Cunard cargo ships. I cannot recall at this distance whether they manned Cunard liners prior to GBTT (were they IMRC?) but I know they manned the smaller cruise ships subsequently. What really interests me is who designed the equipment layout we have seen described in this thread?
Brock's ran a very good and very efficient Radio Department and they put great pride in getting things right technically. Some of the aspects of GBTT's equipment fit and some of the rather Heath Robinson elements to it just do not sound like something that Arthur Orum and his merry men would design. I wonder if as they had no passenger ship experience it was designed by IMRC and Brock's took it over at some stage, particularly as there was a lot of IMRC equipment in the Brocklebank fleet.
I am sure someone will know.

Bob Murdoch
23rd February 2012, 09:39
Hi,
I realise that this would change over time, but how many ROs were there on the QE2 when she started her carreer? What were the breakdown of watches etc? Just interested as this is such an interesting thread.
Cheers Bob

R651400
23rd February 2012, 11:34
Brock's ran a very good and very efficient Radio Department and they put great pride in getting things right technically..Even to the extent of installing on their ships home-brew receivers enclosed in biscuit tins!

Tony Selman
23rd February 2012, 12:05
There has been a debate about these biscuit tin receivers on SN before. I did not sail with them personally but as I understand they were designed during the war when there was a shortage of components and I believe they worked quite well. I am sure someone who sailed with them, Roger Bentley and John Leary I think, will enlighten us.
To the best of my knowledge they were not in use on GBTT!

R651400
23rd February 2012, 12:36
It was more the Brock's super technology remark I was referring to.
As Troppo keeps hinting QE2 radio room design doesn't seem to be in the same league as QE1 and QM1..
I make no bones either re Blue Flunnel and their somewaht amateurish attempt at radio installation.
Certainly nothing on par with what I saw being installed by GTZM at Henry Robb's shipyard for the likes of Union SS in the mid 50's.

R651400
23rd February 2012, 12:49
Joinder to directly above... Cunard Princess...Let's hope they were not on watch at the same time!

http://www.shipsnostalgia.com/gallery/showphoto.php/photo/8491/title/radio-roomcunard-princess-1980/cat/501

Ron Stringer
23rd February 2012, 17:05
I wonder if as they had no passenger ship experience it was designed by IMRC and Brock's took it over at some stage, particularly as there was a lot of IMRC equipment in the Brocklebank fleet.
I am sure someone will know.

I think that if you look you will find the fingerprints of one A MacDonald and R&ES in evidence, especially post-1980.

At that time there were quite a lot of personnel in the Radio Room but not all were qualified R/Os, there were also some others who were described as Radio Assistants.

IMRCoSparks
24th February 2012, 03:39
I'm intrigued by what the QE2 notch aerials were. Were they some sort of whip antenna or were they somehow built into the mast?
How on earth did they load up on 500khz. How efficient were they?

IMR staffed Cunard liners in 1967. That's as far as my knowledge goes

Thanks
Ken - ex GBTT ( the other one with the huge ugly and very efficient wire antennas)

Troppo
24th February 2012, 05:04
As Troppo keeps hinting QE2 radio room design doesn't seem to be in the same league as QE1 and QM1..


Yep....

R651400
24th February 2012, 07:35
There are plenty images around of radio-rooms GBSS/GBTT (1) it would be interesting to see what GBTT (2) radio room actually looked like. Looking at Cunard Princess I'm astonished at it's size as if almost an after-thought.
IMR kitted out one or two Niarchos ships. I'm almost sure to move around the radio room on the Spyros Niarchos/5LAY the R/O's chair was on rails!

BosunsMate
24th February 2012, 11:46
Re: R/Os who served on QE2

In no particular order:-
Allan Holmes
Phil Marriott
Don (Golf Travo Bango Bango) Butterworth who would have called this website Ships Nostralgia.
Chris Connerty
Jim Barlow
Ciaran Ward
Brian Robert Harry Martin
Ian Hamilton
Peter Hughes
Alan Burbidge
Alan Marsden
Sandy Dunn
Jeff Boardman
Brian Miller
Peter York Wright
Fred Tordoff
Dennis Duggan

Supported by Dave Egerton & Dennis Williamson
and those I miss I hope you'll pardon.

Phil 'Willum' Williams GBTT 1978/1988[/QUOTE]



When the radio room closed down Ciaran Ward became an Electrical Officer and advanced to become Chief Electrician of QE2. He later became the first Chief Electrician of Queen Mary 2. He was awarded the Merchant Navy Medal before he retired. (see merchantnavymedal.org)

BosunsMate
24th February 2012, 11:52
After the radio room closed down, the space was converted to a very nice passenger suite.

A piece of the old equipment was presented to a museum in Ireland when the QE2 visited - can't remember what it was.

Victor India Papa
24th February 2012, 13:32
These links may be of interest:

http://www.pond5.com/stock-footage/867799/the-queen-elizabeth-2-qe2-radio-room-with-operator-medium-shot.html

http://www.roblightbody.com/liners/qe-2/1969_POBI/index.htm

http://www.mreilly.com/WebPages/printing/coop/QE2/qe14.html
http://www.mreilly.com/WebPages/printing/coop/QE2/qe15.html
http://www.mreilly.com/WebPages/printing/coop/QE2/qe16.html

http://www.merseyworld.com/wadarc/Activities/Perch_Rock/perch_rock26.htm

Troppo
24th February 2012, 14:39
Ahhh, what do I spy over the Chief R/O's shoulder in the last pic?

An STC Senator MF/HF transceiver control unit....I sailed with one on my last ship.

R651400
24th February 2012, 16:58
Deep sea or shallow VI- waters?

John Leary
24th February 2012, 17:04
Tony
Slightly off topic but mentioned in your post number 46 above, I did sail with one of the Brocklebank manufactured watch receivers on Magdapur in 1964/65. My recollections are somewhat hazy but I believe it was a three or four valve, straight (TRF) receiver with regenerative feedback. I do remember opening it up out of curiosity and from recollection it appeared to be well constructed. It never failed and sat quietly to the right of the operating position doing what it was designed to do. In the J F Gibson history of the company, it states, (Vol 2, page 129), that the radio department, during the war, assembled marine radio receivers for the Admiralty. In the Lloyds List International magazine, commemorating 150 years of the Cunard Company it refers to the production by the radio department in the early part of the last war, of a (breakthrough technology) receiver that did not emit signals that would reveal a vesselís position to the enemy. I would imagine that the screening afforded by the enclosed case together with the absence of a superhetís local oscillator contributed to a receiver with negligible spurious radiation.
When the Magdapur went into dry-dock in 1965 her radio room was updated with the installation of a new Marconi Lodestone DF and Alert watch receiver. Arthur Orum took possession of the old watch receiver and I presume that it found a well deserved retirement home at the radio departmentís workshop.
Regards
John

R651400
24th February 2012, 17:36
commemorating 150 years of the Cunard Company it refers to the production by the radio department in the early part of the last war, of a (breakthrough technology) receiver that did not emit signals that would reveal a vessel’s position to the enemy. I would imagine that the screening afforded by the enclosed case together with the absence of a superhet’s local oscillator contributed to a receiver with negligible spurious radiation.
More to the lid tightness of Palmers biscuit tins than spurious suppression from TRF receivers of their day?

david.hopcroft
24th February 2012, 20:45
[QUOTE=IMRCoSparks;578587]I'm intrigued by what the QE2 notch aerials were. Were they some sort of whip antenna or were they somehow built into the mast?
How on earth did they load up on 500khz. How efficient were they?

I heard that the sides of the funnel were something to do with aerials ? Can anyone confirm this ?

David
+

Ron Stringer
24th February 2012, 22:32
[QUOTE=IMRCoSparks;578587]I'm intrigued by what the QE2 notch aerials were. Were they some sort of whip antenna or were they somehow built into the mast?
How on earth did they load up on 500khz. How efficient were they?

I heard that the sides of the funnel were something to do with aerials ? Can anyone confirm this ?

David
+

They were not antennas that you would immediately recognise as such. In appearance they resembled large shoe boxes and were mounted vertically, one on each side of the funnel about 2/3 of the way up from the deck (just below the black topping). They were made by British Aerospace and, as far as I recall, were useless at MF.

Their use on QE2, even on HF, was not a success and they were not fitted on any other merchant ships. Just another freebie "cadged" on the basis of the potential publicity value of QE2's status in the early days. The QE2 reverted to wire antennas not too long after the notch antennas were fitted but I can't recall the dates.

Naytikos
25th February 2012, 02:06
Posted by John Leary:

........in 1965 her radio room was updated with the installation of a new Marconi Lodestone DF and Alert watch receiver.



Updated to an Alert? The mind boggles!

Troppo
25th February 2012, 06:57
Their use on QE2, even on HF, was not a success and they were not fitted on any other merchant ships. Just another freebie "cadged" on the basis of the potential publicity value of QE2's status in the early days. The QE2 reverted to wire antennas not too long after the notch antennas were fitted but I can't recall the dates.

Yet another case of form over function....

Troppo
25th February 2012, 09:56
There are plenty images around of radio-rooms GBSS/GBTT (1) it would be interesting to see what GBTT (2) radio room actually looked like.


Mate, it would be full of routers and PCs....

(MAD)

All the real comms gear would be on the bridge....the HF would never be used, Alas....

R651400
25th February 2012, 10:47
When the Magdapur went into dry-dock in 1965 her radio room was updated with the installation of a new Marconi Lodestone DF and Alert watch receiver. Now that is a real technological jump! Took my ticket in 1955 with both Lodestone DF and Alert emergency rx. Wasn't the Lodestone superceded by the Lodestar circa the Magdapur update??
.

John Leary
25th February 2012, 17:14
Naykitos/R651400
Brocklebank’s Radio Department were an extremely professional organisation who watched their costs very carefully. No doubt having to prove continuously to the company that their service costs were lower than those of a radio company. They never quibbled about spares holdings if you made a reasonable case. Therefore I suspect that they would buy whatever was type approved at the keenest price, not necessarily the latest model. I was told that the BC221 frequency meters that were provided to all of their ships were bought as a job lot from a war surplus supplier.
The DF replaced by the Lodestone on the Magdapur was a Canadian Marconi set similar to the Marconi 379 (the one with the stand-alone goniometer). So a new DF and watch receiver in that sense really was an update compared with the age of the equipments they replaced.
Sorry to other readers for once again straying off thread.
Regards
John

R651400
26th February 2012, 07:42
Point taken John, though it did appear a tad parsimonious updating to Lodestone when the Lodestar had been out some five years previous! Looking at the images from #55 there does appear to be some commonality between QE1 and QE2 radio rooms. Neither appear to be open to natural light!

Troppo
26th February 2012, 09:10
Mate, it would be full of routers and PCs....

(MAD)

All the real comms gear would be on the bridge....the HF would never be used, Alas....


Stand fast!

Sorry, I thought you were talking about the current generation Cunarders, not QE2.

I would also be interested. Surely there are lots of pics lurking out there...?

Willum
12th March 2012, 15:01
Ron is correct the HF Notch aerials were quickly replaced by dedicated wires, one for each transmitter. The tuning mechanism failed and you could not access the TX Notches for maintenance anyway. Doomed to failure. We had a lot of Serial Number 001 pieces of equipment imposed in QE2 for publicity reasons, few of which were much use. QE2 radio room had plenty of natural light by the way, windows to the boat-deck.

Ron Stringer
12th March 2012, 18:18
We had a lot of Serial Number 001 pieces of equipment imposed in QE2 for publicity reasons

Courtesy of the management of Cunard and R&ES. They were assiduous in contacting the manufacturers of radio and electronics equipment. Every time a new product was announced someone (latterly nearly always Angus MacDonald) would be on the phone asking if we would supply one to the QE2 free of charge. "Think of the publicity value of saying 'As fitted on QE2'" was their line.

The true value of such "publicity" was zero, since the market in the UK had collapsed along with the British fleet. Potential sales for new products were overseas, to shipowners and shipyards who didn't give a damn what was fitted on the QE2 and saw such ships as merely history. Only the most desperate of Sales & Marketing men swallowed the line (and we had some of them at Marconi I must admit).

BosunsMate
12th March 2012, 23:58
[QUOTE=Troppo;577936]Do any of you ex-GBTT types have pics of the radio room and the gear?

Here'e one....

Troppo
20th March 2012, 18:20
Thanks

Willum
7th September 2013, 21:00
Just found this, Theres Peter Hughes operating the Skanti 5001 receiver circa 1984, Allan Holmes tuning in the BBC World Service / VOA on the Eddystone EC958 receivers and, Jim Barlow post refit, (Ships refit not Jims)
http://www.pond5.com/stock-footage/11157197/qe2-1982-world-cruise-radio-room-operator-medium-wide-shot.html

Willum

Willum
7th September 2013, 21:02
http://www.pond5.com/stock-footage/867799/queen-elizabeth-2-qe2-radio-room-operator-medium-shot.html

http://www.pond5.com/stock-footage/11620108/qe2-radio-room-medium-wide-shot.html

Willum

Troppo
8th September 2013, 02:06
Thanks.

SparksG1714
14th September 2013, 11:41
http://www.pond5.com/stock-footage/867799/queen-elizabeth-2-qe2-radio-room-operator-medium-shot.html

http://www.pond5.com/stock-footage/11620108/qe2-radio-room-medium-wide-shot.html

Willum

Are these still up? Can't see either (Gleam)

Tks

Willum
14th September 2013, 11:46
Are these still up? Can't see either (Gleam)

Tks

Yes, click on those links and it works for me, might be a Java script thing, or you could try going to pond5.com and then do a search for QE2

'Willum'

SparksG1714
14th September 2013, 12:07
Yes, click on those links and it works for me, might be a Java script thing, or you could try going to pond5.com and then do a search for QE2

'Willum'

That's better, all plug-ins were disabled here. Dunno why

Cheers