24th September 2008, 17:51
Has anyone ever received a citation from any government agency alleging illegal operating procedures?

I received one from the US FCC back in the mid sixties. It had been sent to the shipowners in Jamaica (Jamaica Banana Producers Co) and the captain gave it to me, asking for an explanation.

I knew from my Cunard days that the US government kept an army of surveillance operators monitoring the MF/HF bands for any infractions.

The citation said that I had called WCC twenty three times consecutively without an identifying callsign and was in contravention of International regulation blah, blah etc. They also wanted an explanation

Absolutely not me!! I was really stunned as MV Jamaica Producer had no reason to communicate with any US station as we sailed only between London & Kingston.

We sailed back to London and, as I lived there, I took a walk down to the US embassy to register my protest. The big marine sergeant at the front desk listened and took me up to an officials office. He must have been somewhat important as he got a big salute from the marine. I protested and explained to him the situation. He was really cooperative and promised to write to the office of the FCC, relaying my concerns.

Much later I received a detailed apology (sort of) from the FCC explaining that it was possible an error had been made. The bad-guy ship calling WCC went off the calling frequency and 3 minutes later I tuned up on the same frequency and called GKL (correctly). The operator just assumed it was me.

Arriving back in Jamaica again, I then had to explain everything again to the Jamaica Communications department. They were miffed as, having received a copy of the citation, they wanted to be involved. If I had involved them, I don't think anything would ever have been resolved.

It still rankles me that government agencies can make possible career-destroying, undemocratic arbitrary decisions through their poor investigative procedures.
Has anything changed?

K urgess
24th September 2008, 18:11
Here's mine.
It was previously posted in "A QSO that sticks in your memory" here (
Although it was connected to a QSO I don't particularly remember.
I always used to call like that. [=P]

24th September 2008, 19:25
The first one I got was when I was 3rd aboard REINA DEL MAR in the late 1960s. Some cove in Alabama reported me for calling Portishead with more than six GKLs! I would have thought they would have left me alone, because a couple of hour earlier, they got the 4th for calling Lisbon with more than 30 call signs! Anyway, when report came in to Chief R/0, I said that he was chief & he was responsible & I was not going to answer it. Long argument followed & we came to compromise, he wrote grovelling apology & I counter-signed it. Never heard any more about it. 4th wrote his own long-winded grovelling excuses & likewise nothing more heard.

Next time, I got very threatening report saying I had pushed the "distress" button on the Satcoms in the early 1980s. I pointed out than on the date in question, ship was in drydock in UK & I was home on leave so "nothing to do with me." More threatening communications about "further action, certificate cancellation etc." Told them to get on with it & do their worst (knowing I could prove where I was at the time). Again, nothing further heard!

I never wasted much sleep over either of them!


24th September 2008, 21:49
While working for KH and a visit to the office my boss shoved a piece of paper in my hand and said "what do you want me to tell them?.
It was from Chittagong Radio booking me for over calling GKL, from Bay of Bengal so i said difficulty trying to get GKL at 0230 in the morning trying to clear traffic in my OWN time for propagation reasons and tell him if he aint't got anything better to do than report me to sod off. Never heard anything else about it cheers ftf

24th September 2008, 22:10
Nothing to do with radio.....However, we did get a speeding ticket on the Mississippi and another time, the ship was arrested in NOLA for an incident concerning a Bay boat and bulker exiting Suez.


26th September 2008, 11:50
...and also m nil radio, but...

On a newbuild in Bremerhaven, the enginebeers were setting up the main engine, during which a LOT of black smoke was generated. The port officials came down and fined the ship a total of 10 marks, which the ChEng paid for in 1-mark coins.

22nd October 2008, 00:03
Everyone will remember the 2-on, 2-off watchkeeping system and how it could interfere with meal-times. On one British ship I got fed up with missing the curry at lunch-time and couldn't get the Chief Steward to send it up to the shack. I simply signed in at 1200 l/t and "Off-watch for lunch" at 1201.

Months after leaving that ship I got a letter from Cardiff demanding an explanation as to why I had failed to keep a proper watch as per regulations. I wrote back a simple explanation that I had to eat and got a reply that "Arrangements must be made for meals to be served in the radio-room and the Principal Officer is pointing this out to the master".

Just another good reason to leave the nonsense behind and go to the Greeks.

22nd October 2008, 14:49
It wasn't the US monitors who reported me, it was a Canadian station. Calling GKG from the Caribbean. GKG was booming in, signal strength meter hitting the stop so hard that I had to wind back the RF gain. But he couldn't hear me (no doubt heavy congestion) so I gave him a long, long call out of sheer frustration - all to no avail. On return to UK there was a "nasty" from IMR waiting for me, along with a copy of the Canadian monitoring station's report of my transgressions, all faithfully recorded. Don't think I did anything about it and it was soon forgotten. I liked IMR, always felt they were good to me.

3rd November 2008, 19:42
I got one in the mid 60's from Canadaigua Monitoring station when calling GKA from the Caribbean. It came via the GPO in St Martins-le-Grand, suggesting that though I thought my action was justified, it was nevertheless a breach of regs..............Slapped wrist there then, but an end to it ! The letter from the GPO was signed by a chap who much later became my Boss when I left to join PO Coast Radio.


Rhodri Mawr
4th November 2008, 19:49
Back in the bad old days of apartheid in South Africa, I was done for
supposedly sending on 500 during a silence period. I was reported by one
of the coast stations in West Africa (I forget which one it was).
Unfortunately for me, I was on the SA ORANJE at the time with a Saffer
callsign ZSNF. I was supposed to have called CTV in Portugal at 0016 hrs
GMT. However, on inspecting my log, the call was timed therein at 0014 hrs.

I wrote back and argued my case stating that the clock had been duly
checked against reliable time signal transmissions (GBR at 2055 GMT - as
evidenced in my logbook) so
I was confident I was in the right and refused to provide my ticket number
as requested. I made the point that how could we be sure the coast
station's own clock was correct as we were arguing about only two minutes.
As seems to be the norm from some of the postings above, give them an
argument and the whole charade was quickly dropped. I never heard another

I am convinced to this day that that West African station was picking on
me as I was sailing on a South African registered ship during the height of
the apartheid situation in that part of the world and that someone was
attempting to make a point.


4th November 2008, 22:45
I got one from the FCC in 1965 for sending, if my memory serves me right, 23 callsigns within a 3 minute period in contravention of regulation blah etc...... We were south bound in the Red Sea heading for Aden. There was a horrific electrical storm going on and Aden Radio, ZNR, had just announced on MF and HF that he was going QRT because of the conditions. I had just heard him send another ship to a an HF working frequency that was very close to ours so I called ZNR as tail-end charlie on the other station and he accepted my traffic. Never gave it another thought until we got back to the UK and the ticket was waiting. Head office didn't seem to think it was a big deal. They just asked for a log extract and I never heard any more about it.


5th November 2008, 19:23
Digressing slightly, does anyone remember being on the West African coast d listening to ships calling ELC Monrovia on 500 without sucees. He would then come on CQ etc QRU? and promptly ignore the several ships thinking they would finally get an answer !! A fertile area for overcalling I would think. !