Wake up

Tai Pan
13th December 2008, 13:03
0755 GMT, area one, hundreds of R/Os, from the fancy uniforms to sweatshirt and slippers, all awake. I wonder if the opeators at GKA thought about it
CQ de GKA tfc AS
All over the world, depending on time difference, but always 5 mins to the sacred hour, receivers were tuned to that wake up call,from their area station, some with clear heads some with headaches etc, but all with the same idea, get the traffic list. some organisation, the best.(Thumb)

Mimcoman
15th December 2008, 13:56
Yes. I did think about that at times. Also, when monitoring 5 ton (afloat and ashore), I used to imagine the world of other operators all linked together by a common cause, ears pricking up as one when someone started sending "cq cq cq de.....". You could tell which CRS was on the air by the distinctive sound of the transmitter (and occasionally the operators's fist). I have a 500 kHz recording made up by someone at Aberdeen Technical College for background purposes during commercial working practise and can still recover the feeling when listening to it.

It's not the same on 2182 kHz these days, due to the lack of signals.

Mimcoman

Finbar O'Connor
16th December 2008, 20:17
What a great system 500 khz was.
What a great shame it was discontinued. I don't think there will ever
be the same degree of connectivity between ships and those ashore
as there was when 500 khz was the principal distress system.

2182 Khz is almost a graveyard now. Whilst on watch at Malin
Head Coast Guard Radio / EJM the other evening I noted
Lyngby Radio come on and announce their navigational warnings
broadcast and for ship to listen on various working frequencies.
Question is, why do they announce this and yet don't keep
a listening watch on 2182 khz themselves ? Strange attitude.

Imagine the number of "ears" that were listening on 500 khz
years ago. We will never see the like of it again. More the pity.

Best regards
Finbar O'Connor
Radio Officer Malin Head Coast Guard Radio EJM

King Ratt
17th December 2008, 16:11
I was still in senior school in SouthWest Scotland mid 50s and spent many an hour or so listening to the traffic on 2182 Kcs as it was named in those days. This was when A3 was the method of modulation. Once darkness had fallen the sound of many quite distant stations calling and heterodyning made almost music to my ears. Ships were still using 2182 to establish comms with their pilot stations and I often heard them calling Southampton Patrol, Dungeness pilot and closer to home, Point Lynas pilot. Later on in the evening stations on the East coast of America and Canada were sometimes heard. 2182 was indeed a busy frequency and it is such a pity it is now almost QRT.

IMRCoSparks
17th December 2008, 18:21
I was still in senior school in SouthWest Scotland mid 60s and spent many an hour or so listening to the traffic on 2182 Kcs as it was named in those days. This was when A3 was the method of modulation. Once darkness had fallen the sound of many quite distant stations calling and heterodyning made almost music to my ears. Ships were still using 2182 to establish comms with their pilot stations and I often heard them calling Southampton Patrol, Dungeness pilot and closer to home, Point Lynas pilot. Later on in the evening stations on the East coast of America and Canada were sometimes heard. 2182 was indeed a busy frequency and it is such a pity it is now almost QRT.


I have often wondered who has made the longest QSO on 500 & 2182. I remember calling up KHK Hawaii on 2182 and getting a response from Wellington, New Zealand. On 500, WCC, Chatham Mass. could be sometimes heard off the west coast of USA. Always at night, of course

R651400
17th December 2008, 19:07
I have often wondered who has made the longest QSO on 500 & 2182.Wasn't there a limit to calls on 500 over a period of time to prevent excessive QRM and to be made within the range of the nearest coast station? I was hauled over the coals by GLD on my first voyage, probably bursting his eardrums, calling GLV with an ETA for Holyhead Pilots.

King Ratt
17th December 2008, 21:50
I have been told by Graham Mercer who was at GPK for many years that he had worked ships on 2182 while they down in ZL land using the grey line path when that was open between the two QTHs. Don' think you can get much further than that.

BobClay
17th December 2008, 23:12
On a passage from Gladstone, Australia to BA via Cape Horn you go nearby to one of the remotest parts of the sea, i.e. a spot furthest away from any land (I remember cos we had a drink to celebrate the fact). Going that far down across the Pacific I went for days with 500Khz deadly silent during the day, to the stage when I would put out the odd CQ just to see if there was anyone there.

But at night, what an earful. From San Francisco to Tokyo to Kiwi to Chile you could hear distant signals as they skipped across that vast ocean. Even now, thinking about it all those years ago, it still seems magical. For such relatively simple equipment (think about it, a ships radio station was technically less complex than a modern mobile phone...) you could hear half the world over vast distances.

I don't doubt for one second that modern comms is just as magical, but there was something a little more personal about morse, MF and a sparky's lughole.

K urgess
17th December 2008, 23:24
Modern comms don't give you the choice to just sit and listen.
Nobody has the time to do that anymore, besides there's nothing worth listening to now.
I tend to drive the Memsahib mad by listening to an endless loop of 500 in the "Good Old Days" (God) that I've got knocking around on the PC.
She gets particularly annoyed when I join in on the old 365EZ that's sat here connected to the same PC.
Second Childhood, or What. (Sad)

Finbar O'Connor
18th December 2008, 00:55
Glad to know others find listening to old 500 khz recordings interesting.

I have several, which I made using a variety of commercial and home
brew receivers.

During the period 1993 to March 2002 I filled in a personal log
book of stations heard on 500 khz.

One entry from 14th March 1997 reads as follows....

Evening duty at Malin Head Radio. Heard my first Chinese
Coast stations on 500 khz from here. It had just gone dark,
really dusk in fact.

1906 utc CQ de XSX Tfc list
(Chi-lung) ( Keelung) Tai-wan
2508 North 121.45 East Distance 6115 miles.

Then at

1941 utc CQ de XSN Tfc list
(Ningbo)(Ningpo) ( south of Shanghai)
2953 North 121.33 East Distance 5836 miles

My best distance however was again from work at 0202 utc
on the 26/11/1996 when I heard the ship
Kittanning / KGPK calling OBC Callo, in Peru
for about 10 minutes on 500 khz. A subsequent
call to the ship ( satphone) revealed that he was
in the Pacific at 10 South and 83 West.
The R/O's name was Fred Campbell K4SBE.

Try doing that with a Mobile/Cell phone.

Best regards
Finbar O'Connor Radio Officer Malin Head Coast Guard Radio EJM

Ron Stringer
18th December 2008, 00:58
On 500, WCC, Chatham Mass. could be sometimes heard off the west coast of USA. Always at night, of course

Because of the change of watches at 30šE, when on the African Coast between Mombasa/LM/Durban you were on watch in the Radio Room before dawn. At that time you could hear WCC, WSL and other East Coast USA stations loud and clear on 500kHz. Never tried calling them with my ''Oceanspan I'' though.

For a time I was running from Ras Tanura to Trinidad and back every couple of months. On the leg from the Cape of Good Hope to Trinidad, I used to call ZSC on 500 every night before I went off watch, just to see how far I could get with the ''Globespan''. It was pretty regular to get over 1400nm and on one occasion raised him at just over 1950nm.

When running in the South Atlantic between Capetown and the UK, it was common to clear R/T traffic through GPK at night and from comments made by the operators there, lots of other ships did the same. Was a bit dodgy near the West African coast because of the QRN, but once clear of the nightly electrical storms on the coast, communication with GPK was really reliable.

Mimcoman
18th December 2008, 08:07
Modern comms don't give you the choice to just sit and listen.
Nobody has the time to do that anymore, besides there's nothing worth listening to now.
I tend to drive the Memsahib mad by listening to an endless loop of 500 in the "Good Old Days" (God) that I've got knocking around on the PC.
She gets particularly annoyed when I join in on the old 365EZ that's sat here connected to the same PC.
Second Childhood, or What. (Sad)
Do you ever get any replies?

Tai Pan
18th December 2008, 10:45
On passage from Capetown to Perth, on 5oo during day vertually silence. however half way across there was a french station on Kerguelon island,a call to him and he was delighted to chat away, must have been very lonley down there.

K urgess
18th December 2008, 11:22
Do you ever get any replies?

Nobody seems to be listening any more (Sad)
Either that or they're all QRL.

IanSpiden
18th December 2008, 19:35
On the Oriana in 1972 going from UK to Sydney then Aussie Cruising there were 8 R/O's 2 per watch and the 1st & Chief, the senior on the watch did the R/T and the junior did the W/T , we had a board which had call signs of all the stations we listened for tfc lists on and had a competion each day to see who could get the most call signs , made for quite an interesting watch trying to get the most obscure ones , also we were sometimes actually on the list , then it was trying to get them that was the competition

K urgess
18th December 2008, 20:35
That was how my chief taught me how to listen to 500.
We would compete every watch to see who could note the most coast stations.
I invariably lost but keeping a 500 watch became second nature.

Finbar O'Connor
18th December 2008, 21:37
I can still remember staying up late, after midnight, whilst
down in the Meddy, on the tanker Stuard Prince, calling
and working NitonRadio GNI on 5 ton. Then clearing
tfc with him on the working freq.
The HF gear was a low power 60 watt job and a real struggle
to work GKA using it.
GNI almost always answered on the first call on 500.
Excellent signal too, must have been a great site for MF.

Regards
Finbar EJM

Pat bourke
19th December 2008, 00:32
Was on a trip across the Pacific from the Panama Canal to Auckland a 14 day trip. 500khz was quiet during the day but at night could hear NMC, NMA, KFS, and KPH, along with alot of other far away stations very clearly. One night I sent WX Obs to ZLB only to find out we were 2100 miles apart. I got a message back from the NZ Met wanting to clarify our position, they thought it was a mistake. So each night I sent OBS to him until we arrived in Auckland. A couple of days later I had a visitor from the met office and he told me they had tracked our trip. Needless to say I was chuffed.

Finbar O'Connor
19th December 2008, 01:31
Pat,
That's a nice story. Can you confirm that comms with ZLB was on
500 khz etc whilst exchanging the actual OBS on an MF working freq WT ?

Never did go all the way across the Pacific, got to Fiji, Suva and Lautoka.

Best regards
Finbar EJM

Roger Bentley
19th December 2008, 17:52
Repeating one of my earlier posts. When 3rd R/O on the Cheshire in 1951. We left Colombo at 1800 and on the 12 - 4 that night I worked VIP on 500kc/s. We were bound for Fremantle and according to Lloyds distance tables Colombo is 3126 miles away. Transmitter was a Marconi 386A 1500 Watt.
A former RO who was then working at an Australian coast station could not understand why from apparently being in MF range it was several days before we were heard of again,

jimg0nxx
20th December 2008, 13:10
My longest QSO on a low freq was from UK (Scarborough) to Chatham Islands 800Km east of New Zealand. This was on an Amateur Radio frequency of about 1830 KHz using the grey line path at 0644 GMT on 23rd Oct 2002. Mode was CW/morse. On the amateur band of 160 metres(around 1830 KHz} regular QSOs worldwide are possible, if the timing/conditions are right.

Jim

Naytikos
7th February 2009, 08:21
In my experience 'long-distance' QSOs on 500 were easier in the Southern Hemisphere, presumably because there were fewer ships altogether and thus less local traffic. During one sun-spot minimum it was common for ZSQ and VIP to exchange greetings each evening, and, using a modified ST1400, I managed to get in on the conversation and worked VIP from the S.A. coast off Port Shepstone.
Like Ron (post 11) I was able to stay in contact with ZSC until around 9LL on that same trip.

BobClay
7th February 2009, 10:35
Isn't it sad that with the passing of 5 ton all those moments will be lost,

(to borrow a line from Rutger Hauer in Blade Runner)

... like tears in rain.

(Thumb)

R651400
7th February 2009, 11:38
0755 GMT, area one, hundreds of R/Os, from the fancy uniforms to sweatshirt and slippers, all awake. I wonder if the opeators at GKA thought about it? CQ de GKA tfc list AS
Wonder if the awakening shipboard R/O gave a thought to the GKA R/O about to complete another long and continuous night shift?

Ron Stringer
7th February 2009, 21:06
Wonder if the awakening shipboard R/O gave a thought to the GKA R/O about to complete another long and continuous night shift?

If the GKA operator started his ''long and continuous night shift'' at 0755, he really was to be pitied. That qualifies for ''go on and stop on'' status.

(Sorry to be such a smart ****).[=P]

porthgwarra
7th February 2009, 22:15
Interested stumbling across this thread.
While I hesitate to mix my hobby with what used to be my job - for some recent recordings, mainly morse, over the more difficult paths from the UK then try http://www.g3xrj.com and select 'Recordings' top left.
For those not familiar with amateur radio parlance 160m is 1.8Mhz & 80m is 3.5Mhz.

porthgwarra
7th February 2009, 22:17
I should have added that the receiver in use is the same one that supplied the audio track for the QRT 500 video.

R651400
8th February 2009, 08:01
(Sorry to be such a smart ****)

Accepted. Think I said completing a long night shift which started something like 2130z the previous evening.

hawkey01
8th February 2009, 12:48
Oh! The dreaded night shifts. GKA night shifts were from 2300 - 0800. I have to say not my favourite. We all had our own personal favourite jobs so it
was usually not too bad. Mine latterly used to be on the aero nets.
On the coast they were 2200-0800 but they varied according to the coast station preferences.

Hawkey01

R651400
8th February 2009, 13:02
Aye Nev!
Not forgetting dodging thru snowdrifts on a dodgy Lambretta to make sure banana boaters were able to get their tr in (24 hrs in advance as per regs) changing from area 1a to 1c.

hawkey01
9th February 2009, 17:51
Malcolm,

Yes I managed to get snowed in a couple of times. Once out in Somerton
in the days when we ran both stations on RT, before the new GKA was finished. There was sleeping accommodation - bunk beds which were a
throw back to the cold war days and nuclear threat etc. Also managed to get snowed in at GIL, had to trudge up the drive to get to my wife in the car on the road. All good fun - now with a little snow everything just shuts down!

It is cold in Spain as well - good today but it has had its moments. Not used to it. All the locals look miserable at times, coldest for 30 years they tell us.

Hope you missed the hurricane - it got us.

Neville - Hawkey01

Ron Stringer
9th February 2009, 18:15
Oh! The dreaded night shifts. GKA night shifts were from 2300 - 0800.

After getting my PMG in November, I didn't get a ship until the following June. I got a factory job to make ends meet whilst I was waiting. We worked nights, 7 p.m. to 7 a.m., Sunday night to Saturday morning. Heavy work and not a great social life but the money was good - I earned GBP 19 per week and when I got a ship I started at sea as an R/O on GBP 28 per month! However it had one bonus feature, because I became habituated into not sleeping at night, so that on each Saturday night (the one night per week that it was possible to go pubbing and clubbing) I could keep up without effort whilst my mates were falling by the wayside.

Mind you I never got to the level that the regular night shift workers did at the factory. They would get home each morning about 8 a.m., have a meal and go to bed. They would then get up to go to the pub at lunchtime (remember the pubs all closed at 2 p.m. at the latest in those days) for a few pints. Then home for a nap before setting off for work around 6 p.m. I used to be in bed by 9 a.m. and sleep until 5 p.m. and still wake up tired. After I started at sea I found it difficult to stay awake in the daytime for the first few days.

hawkey01
10th February 2009, 14:09
Ron,

On our shift pattern we only did one night per week, on the odd occasion two, which really did not get you into the swing of things. Over the years I tried every variation to get it right but never managed it. Straight to bed after breakfast then the pub - result headache. Stay up - felt absolutely terrible. The best way round it was to
swop the shift with one of our night owls who just loved nights and do their day/evening shift instead.

Hawkey01

Vital Sparks
10th February 2009, 14:57
I rember thinking about the fellow R/Os I was about to wake up as I tuned up on 500 and hit the autokey start button. We had a man go overboard and had no response to our calls on vhf 16 and no response to an xxx on 500 although we knew there was traffic out there, our radar said so.

IanSpiden
11th February 2009, 19:37
Ron,

On our shift pattern we only did one night per week, on the odd occasion two, which really did not get you into the swing of things. Over the years I tried every variation to get it right but never managed it. Straight to bed after breakfast then the pub - result headache. Stay up - felt absolutely terrible. The best way round it was to
swop the shift with one of our night owls who just loved nights and do their day/evening shift instead.

Hawkey01

At GND Normal shift rotation was Night shift (2200-0800) Rest Day Rest Day, if you were on night shift with a couple of other guys who played golf we left the station , went home changed then up to the golf course for 9am, played a round of golf , had a couple of beers in the club house and home for an afternoon kip , problem was the overtime , sometimes you were back at 5- 10 pm and then back on your rest days as there was overtime written into the schedule , it was great as far as the money was concerned but it played havoc with your time off , later on when the overtime went away it seemed odd not to be working on the rest days

ian

hawkey01
12th February 2009, 17:16
Ian,

I always knew you guys at GND were made of steel. I had forgotten about the double nights at GND, it is a longtime ago. It took awhile to get over the lack of overtime but wasn't it wonderful to have time off.

Hawkey01

R651400
12th February 2009, 17:28
Always thought the day after nights was called sleep day.
Normal shifts at GND 1963 were..
Days, nights, sleep day, rest day then back on evenings.
With no overtime to speak of, a very easy going watch system.
Hindesight tells me there may have been a couple of day shifts in the pattern

BobClay
13th February 2009, 01:04
I used to work these shifts.

2 days at 1400 to 2200, 2 days at 0800 to 1400, 2 days at 2200 to 0800, the 2200 starting on the same day you finished at 1400. Then 2 days off.

So you never got used to anything, mornings, afternoons or nights. If there is such a thing as a bodyclock...it was permanently confused.

Course...when I were't lad.... ya'd walk 20 miles to work (8 hours), put in 8 hour shift at mill, then walk 20 miles back, just in time, to turn around and go back to work.


Times were haaarrrrrrddddd !!!

[=P]

Shannoner
13th February 2009, 10:36
I used to work these shifts.

2 days at 1400 to 2200, 2 days at 0800 to 1400, 2 days at 2200 to 0800, the 2200 starting on the same day you finished at 1400. Then 2 days off.

So you never got used to anything, mornings, afternoons or nights. If there is such a thing as a bodyclock...it was permanently confused.

Course...when I were't lad.... ya'd walk 20 miles to work (8 hours), put in 8 hour shift at mill, then walk 20 miles back, just in time, to turn around and go back to work.


Times were haaarrrrrrddddd !!!

[=P]

Bob, have you just breached the Official Secrets Act by disclosing that information? The men in black will be on their way to your house!
If you suddenly stop posting we will all know what happened to you. You will be running down a beach with a big ball chasing you!!!

Good Luck,
Mick
[=P]

BobClay
13th February 2009, 10:52
You will be running down a beach with a big ball chasing you!!!

Nothing new there then .........

:D

trotterdotpom
13th February 2009, 11:19
Those shifts sound like expriments in sensory deprivation - no wonder half of MI5 ended up in the Workers' Paradise - they weren't commies, it was just that the hours were better.

John T.

Moulder
14th February 2009, 11:09
Ashore I had the 'pleasure' of:-

Lates - 1300 to 2200
Earlies - 0700 to 1300 then split shift to
Nites - 2200 to 0700 (This day was designated 'sleep day')
Rest Day

Then the pattern repeated itself.

It was a one, one and one system that really messed up the body clock.

(Thumb)

Ron Stringer
14th February 2009, 12:25
My father used to work on shifts for ICI but they worked a standard pattern of successive weeks 0600-1400, 1400-2200 and 2200-0600. Just about long enough to settle into one sleep pattern before changing to another.

I worked in a factory that had separate, unchanging day shift workers and night shift workers, each shift doing 12 hours. People there seemed happy with the arrangements and adjusted their lives accordingly.

During the 6 or 7 months I was there, I never could do anything other than work or sleep but from chat whilst working and in tea breaks, it was clear that the regulars went to the pub at lunchtime and watched TV at home in the afternoons (the Olympic Games were on at the time). I was in awe of them because the work involved lots of heavy lifting and carrying while unloading and loading trucks with no mechanical aids other than a pallet trolley. Each person would shift several tons per shift, with the heaviest items being 2 cwt bags of potato starch, carried on your back from truck to stowage. Once I got to bed, I was always too knackered to even wake up, never mind get up before it was time to go to work. I was a teenager, my eldest workmate was 62, an ex-miner who thought the job was a cushy number - inside and always dry and relatively clean. ''A bobby's job'' he called it. Am I glad I never had to work down a pit?

Mimcoman
15th February 2009, 15:02
Where I work, the shift is:
0700-1900 (12hrs off) 0700-1900
(24hrs off)
1900-0700 (12 hrs off) 1900-0700
(96 hrs off)
then start all over again; ie an 8-day cycle.

It's a fairly good system, popular because of the 96 hrs off. The abrupt disruption from days to nights plays havoc with me and I need a fair amount of the 96 hrs to get back into sync. However, most of the rest of my colleagues have no problem so I can only assume that it's an age thing...