If only we'd known what we know now!

tedc
29th May 2009, 19:01
Having been trained up to a "radar maintenance Cert" by Brocklebanks I left behind the lovely radar at the Greenock Watt Memorial College (BTH kit I think) and was promoted to Senior R/O for my next Brocks trip.

Turned out the radar installed was an Admiralty 268. (K)

That device was a bit of a safety nightmare as you stood up there tweaking the bits (klystron? Magnetron?,etc) - What would the health & safety boys make of all that?

Stories of cooking stuff, by taking bits off the waveguide, abounded.

There were also accounts of injuries (burns) due to personal exposure to the "beam".

It all seemed to be a good laugh, at the time, but you have to wonder if anyone developed any real problem as a result.

The thing seemed to break down a lot - possibly due to being kicked- and the ship carried a large number of spare parts - down to resistor and capacitor level as I recall.

Bet you didn't have so much fun with these modern radars.

K urgess
29th May 2009, 21:56
Checking for radar output was still waveguide disconnection in the 60s and 70s, Ted.
Trying to draw a spark off the inner waveguide edge with a finger tip or using a small neon on a ruler to give an indication of power output. All inside a sealed metal box. (EEK)
One of my fingers is still a bit numb at the tip. [=P]

tedc
31st May 2009, 16:17
Checking for radar output was still waveguide disconnection in the 60s and 70s, Ted.
Trying to draw a spark off the inner waveguide edge with a finger tip or using a small neon on a ruler to give an indication of power output. All inside a sealed metal box. (EEK)
One of my fingers is still a bit numb at the tip. [=P]

I hate to think where the numb bits might be on some old "sparkies"!!

[=P]

K urgess
31st May 2009, 16:35
We were told never to stand in front of a scanner or look down the waveguide while performing the above tests. (EEK)

Tai Pan
1st June 2009, 12:48
268 Radar. fond memories. had to be a proper sparks to operate that monster.

NicoRos
3rd June 2009, 13:33
Then there was that Jap in Osaka or Nagoya (don't recall) who'se life I saved when he was called in to repair our radar. Usually I take a nap when the ship is moored but this time I choose to have a chat with this technician. While he was struggling with his english, he apperently forgot to turn off the power when his hand disappeared in the radar transceiver like a veterinary surgeon's in a cow. I guess he found the magnetron as his face showed agony and his hair stood upright when he could no longer free his hand. Suddenly I didn't think of what my uncle told me of the Burmese railroad and I jumped to the switchpanel to turn off the mains. The poor fellow nearly fainted and luckily needed no mouth-to-mouth reanimation. Despite this awful experience, he returned the next day to complete his job and handed me a multimeter as gift, which I still use after 40 years.

G4UMW
10th June 2009, 17:02
Anyone remember the safety reminders that preceded the main feature on Walport films? There was one which featured a rather gormless-looking Sparky (apologies if anyone on this forum was that man!) who was working on the radar on the bridge. Meanwhile, a AB was going aloft with a bucket of sujee to wash down the scanner. Sparky, after finishing his work, turns on the set without checking that the scanner is clear - noises off of a cry and the sound of a bucket hitting the deck.

Mimcoman
10th June 2009, 21:43
Hiya, Rob:

I remember it well - the Sparky was (pretend) twiddling with the timebase pots on a Raymarc 12...anyway, the board on the left hand side of the display, but it's a long time ago.

Bill

Naytikos
11th June 2009, 07:58
The day following an altercation I had had with a third mate there was a loud crash from somewhere above which turned out to be the 3cm scanner (12ft slotted w/g) hitting the deck of the monkey island. It seemed that that individual had wrapped all of the flag halyards around one end of it and then turned on the radar; with enough slack to develop some momentum the rotating joint sheared when the ropes pulled tight!

duncs
18th June 2009, 04:47
About 20 yrs ago, my eyesight started failing rapidly. When I paid off, saw doc, he diag cataracts. They developed rapidly and I was virtually blind within abt 3 mths. Got eyes repaired, with implants fitted, all ok. Tests made to find reason for this. All tests neg. I'd been working on Selenia Raytheons 65 and 45Kw S & X bands on Jebsen R boats for about 5 yrs. Radars needed constant repairing, necessitating close proximity to live mags.
(P.S. I've never been silly enough to look into a live waveguide.) I told doc of this and he said this was the probable cause, i.e. radiation.
Any other R/Os out there had cataract problems?
Duncs

K urgess
18th June 2009, 12:26
I have a slight cataract problem but according to the experts it's genetic (family history of same).
Never had any problems associated with working with radars or with leaky microwaves.
Apart from a numb finger, that is.
Kris

Naytikos
19th June 2009, 08:06
duncs:
Sorry abt your eye problems.
I sailed with those same radars for a slightly longer period in the late 70s/early 80s. Biggest problem was the 10cm scanner bearing failing and allowing water through the rotating joint to fill the waveguide. Getting that off and both it and the motor assembly down to deck level to repair was fun!
Apart from that, and the third mate referred to in my previous post, there was just the usual burnt resistors, failed TR tubes, etc.
Hope I'm not putting the hex on myself when I say that, although I've taken to wearing reading glasses, there have been no other eye-sight problems so you have been really unlucky!

G4UMW
19th June 2009, 10:02
The only Raytheon S-band radar I worked on was co-ax fed, not waveguide.

Mimcoman
19th June 2009, 18:24
I was on the Asiafreighter to back up the E/RO (Cyril Dunwoody) while Marconi's new S-band Radiolocator 12/16 was fitted for tests before being released to the wider public. It had a co-ax feed as well. I remember that for a few hours we were a bit perplexed as to why the CRT picture had gone "negative" (dark echoes/clutter on a light background). We closed up the transceiver before evening meal and the picture returned to normal when the IF amp cover was refitted...

(I see you're on line at the moment, Dave (Woods). If you get this... While I was on the Asiafreighter I listened into the GWZX sked and heard you and Mike Sheldon on the Strategist/Specialist discussing the then-new A1 calling bands. I felt most frustrated that I couldn't join in as the Asiafreighter had a Crusader and didn't have T&J freqs...)

Rgds/Bill

Naytikos
21st June 2009, 22:03
I once had an RCA S-band with a co-ax feed; the rotating joint corroded away on that as well. It was a beautiful massive lemon-peel scanner turning at 10rpm so when it worked the definition was amazing even for S-band. I believe Raytheon-Selenia would supply either w/g or co-ax to suit the installation.

eigyro
27th February 2013, 20:11
My recollection of the radars on the Asiafreighter was they were pretty useless.
They sent us off with a box of fresh Magnetrons every month. The things eat
them in a couple of weeks.
Nearly met our Maker on an iceberg as a result.

andysk
28th February 2013, 11:43
On this occasion I had the scanner fuses for both radars in my pocket !

Naytikos
2nd March 2013, 06:52
Very wise!!

Binnacle
2nd March 2013, 12:23
If only I had known then what I know now I would not have needed to take the whole box of spare radar valves up to the monkey island, on a stormy night, to use a neon valve to test if the Decca set was transmitting. Unfortunately we did not carry an R/O, and I did not know what a neon valve looked like and no clues on the box. As there was no joy with the valves I presumed there was no transmission. Changed the klystron valve, back up again to try the valves, still no joy. Later when we got a technician aboard in Bergen he explained that both klystron valves, the one in the set and the spare, were faulty. How I wish I had listened more intently to R/O Jack Duggan when I asked him why he hung a valve from his aerial in the wireless room. I thought the Decca manual, with the step by step guide for us with technical learning difficulties was first class, unfortunately it was presumed we had sufficient wit to identify a neon valve.

cajef
2nd March 2013, 12:49
unfortunately it was presumed we had sufficient wit to identify a neon valve.

Which reminds me of a call to service an old Decca D7 valve radar on a trawler in Fleetwood years ago.

I had replaced the Magnetron prior to it leaving on it's trip so I knew the radar was working OK when I left it, when it returned the owners called and said the Skipper had reported no picture at all on any ranges when it sailed. I checked the transmission and that was good, started to investigate a bit more and found that someone had replaced one of the valves in the IF strip with a neon, the R/O and crew swore blind they had never touched the radar.

We assumed someone had done it to stop the vessel sailing and get another day in port, however as she had two radars the skipper had sailed anyway.

Hugh Ferguson
2nd March 2013, 13:20
I'm sure I'm not mistaken in remembering that only in Russian ships did I ever notice a warning-in English-of the danger of radiation from a radar.
And it was only in Russian ships that, when I went to to take a peek at the radar, somebody had switched it OFF. On enquiring why they always came up with the radiation thing!
Did I imagine all of this? I have not the slightest recollection of such in any other ships.

J. Davies
3rd March 2013, 04:25
I worked for Kelvin Hughes for a while. Old radar engineers swore blind that radiation dangers were exaggerated. 10 kW is only transmitted for 1 microsecond or so, then a long wait of several milliseconds, average power over time is around 75 watts. Plus the energy decreases according the the inverse square law - once you move away from the scanner the power decreases dramatically. One bloke reckoned you would have to sit on an open waveguide for half an hour before worrying about the Crown Jewels.

Kelvin Hughes have produced the world's first solid state radar now, both X and S band. No more magnetrons. They use MOSFETs with an average power of 100W, no huge kW pulses any more.

RIP Magnetrons.

trotterdotpom
3rd March 2013, 08:42
Binnacle, if you were waving that neon, or whatever it was, in your bare fingers, it's a good job the radar was on the bugle!

John T

Varley
3rd March 2013, 16:51
I worked for Kelvin Hughes for a while. Old radar engineers swore blind that radiation dangers were exaggerated. 10 kW is only transmitted for 1 microsecond or so, then a long wait of several milliseconds, average power over time is around 75 watts. Plus the energy decreases according the the inverse square law - once you move away from the scanner the power decreases dramatically. One bloke reckoned you would have to sit on an open waveguide for half an hour before worrying about the Crown Jewels.

Kelvin Hughes have produced the world's first solid state radar now, both X and S band. No more magnetrons. They use MOSFETs with an average power of 100W, no huge kW pulses any more.

RIP Magnetrons.

I guess the S band SharpEye will be the only one around for a bit unless you are military. The S band uses off the shelf (if fairly infrequently stumbled upon shelf) components and is just about affordable ('just about' may have contributed to my redundancy!). The X band isn't.

The fancy bit is guaranteed for 5 years (or was in 2011) with an expected lifetime of 10. Effectively we can hope for a set without any high cost interventions or consumeables throughout its life.

Unfortunately, like the optical gyro, the makers have already vectored in the saving and added it to the price at the front end - making it difficult to justify the extra cost as there is no data as yet to support the projections.

ex ro
19th March 2013, 05:36
About 20 yrs ago, my eyesight started failing rapidly. When I paid off, saw doc, he diag cataracts. They developed rapidly and I was virtually blind within abt 3 mths. Got eyes repaired, with implants fitted, all ok. Tests made to find reason for this. All tests neg. I'd been working on Selenia Raytheons 65 and 45Kw S & X bands on Jebsen R boats for about 5 yrs. Radars needed constant repairing, necessitating close proximity to live mags.
(P.S. I've never been silly enough to look into a live waveguide.) I told doc of this and he said this was the probable cause, i.e. radiation.
Any other R/Os out there had cataract problems?
Duncs

I had cataracts as well had to have implants no family history of same. I was on Asiafreighter with the dreaded Raymarcs I believe they were interswitched if my memory is correct the word nightmare comes into mind

duncs
22nd March 2013, 05:07
Hi ex ro, you have my sympathy. It's a horrible grey world, which you get used to. Then after implants/repairs etc, the amazement of colours again!
As a matter of (personal) interest, did both eyes go at the same time? did they go relativeley rapidly? your age(if you don't mind)? did you get both eyes repaired at same time?
Rgrds Duncs

andysk
22nd March 2013, 13:40
I well remember Doug Teare (sp?) one of the BoT radar lecturers at Norwood Tech.

When we were working on the Marconi Hermes, the one that erupted out of it's case for maintenance purposes, he said to us assembled trainees that we should be very careful when it was out of it's case, as radiation wasn't good if you wanted kids later in life. He did add that it had made no difference to him as he had 2 or 3 by then and another on the way.

It also had to be fully working, at least on the 48 mile range, on race days at Windsor so he could check the going, whether it was raining or dry there !

Varley
23rd March 2013, 12:11
I was on the Asiafreighter to back up the E/RO (Cyril Dunwoody) while Marconi's new S-band Radiolocator 12/16 was fitted for tests before being released to the wider public. It had a co-ax feed as well. I remember that for a few hours we were a bit perplexed as to why the CRT picture had gone "negative" (dark echoes/clutter on a light background). We closed up the transceiver before evening meal and the picture returned to normal when the IF amp cover was refitted...

(I see you're on line at the moment, Dave (Woods). If you get this... While I was on the Asiafreighter I listened into the GWZX sked and heard you and Mike Sheldon on the Strategist/Specialist discussing the then-new A1 calling bands. I felt most frustrated that I couldn't join in as the Asiafreighter had a Crusader and didn't have T&J freqs...)

Rgds/Bill

Young Man.I think you'll find that that Asiafreighter was Eurofreighter.

I was told that "I had" (note possessive snobery as well as patronising address) the only S band RL and I never sailed on Asiafreighter.

David V

sparks69
24th March 2013, 23:12
There was always a queue of people wanting an old magnetron magnet. I was told that if one put it up against ones home electricity meter it would stop it or slow it down.
Happy days

Mimcoman
24th March 2013, 23:15
Young Man.I think you'll find that that Asiafreighter was Eurofreighter.

I was told that "I had" (note possessive snobery as well as patronising address) the only S band RL and I never sailed on Asiafreighter.

David V
Well! Here I am back on the site after being away for many moons , and there's a response to a message I filed in June 2009! This world is full of coincidences....

You're right: it wasn't Asiafreighter. I just checked my discharge book and it was Asialiner - and I made only the one trip on her and she did have an S-band Radiolocator.

peterh76-86
27th March 2013, 18:25
There was always a queue of people wanting an old magnetron magnet. I was told that if one put it up against ones home electricity meter it would stop it or slow it down.
Happy days

I once got a lift from a Ch.eng who had an old triumph saloon car and was suprised to see a magneton on the steering column. when i enquired as to why it was there i was told that he had put a reed switch in series with the ignition circuit and the magnetron was used to complete the circuit. His own anti theft device. no one would have known what the lump of metal on the floor was for.

Paul Braxton
27th March 2013, 22:08
Greetings Andysk.

We must have crossed paths at Norwood sometime. Good old Doug. Do you remember those 3 hot bottles (EL36? comes to mind) which were exposed on the right hand end of the exposed display unit of the Hermes; the ones with a very nasty HT on their top caps?
He went into some detail about the harm that would come to you if you inadvertently touched one of these caps. It was kind of like a forerunner to the sort of health and safety stuff that's so rife nowadays. Back then it was every man look after himself.
We had a guy in our group who was often playing practical jokes. On one occasion a joke nearly backfired on him. Doug was explaining some intricate details of the set while crouched on the floor right next to the said bottle area, his back turned to us and both hands holding AVO probes somewhere in the guts of the thing. Our guy suddenly clapped his hands really loudly right in poor old Doug's ear. Just about did for him, I reckon. The speed he shot out of there had to be seen to be believed. Ashen faced, he made the best of it; tried to make light of the prank but you could see he was very rattled, poor guy.
Don't know if Gino (hi mate!) passed his radar exam...
Good old Doug gave me a hand with my practical exam. I had not long started, him sitting reading a paper on the sidelines, me with my AVO probes inside the TX, wondering why the thing hadn't started up, when this little voice behind said paper came up with: "You might want to check RLA contacts..." the same old trick, piece of wadded paper holding the relay contacts apart.

Happy days. That was probably the hardest exam I ever sat, that BOT radar one. So happy when I got the results through in the post, just before Apollo 11 touched down on the moon. What a great summer that was!

Regards to you.

andysk
28th March 2013, 18:59
.... Happy days. That was probably the hardest exam I ever sat, that BOT radar one. So happy when I got the results through in the post, just before Apollo 11 touched down on the moon. What a great summer that was!

Regards to you.

Hi Paul ....

Good to hear from another ex Norwood student, another denizen of The Brick !

I suspect from what you say that I was a bit after you as I took the exam in December '70. It certainly was a difficult course and exam, I got failed by 2 marks, much to Ziggy's disgust - he and the rest of them protested strongly but to no avail !

Like you say, happy days !

Cheers

Andy

Paul Braxton
28th March 2013, 23:14
Hi again Andy. I think we've 'met' before on here some time ago.

Was 'Ziggy' your name for Doug Tear? I always used to think he was very like the singer, Adam Faith to look at.

So you never got your radar ticket? I was completely stoked when I passed. The experience learned on that course saw me through with most of the faults experienced at sea on various radars; at least I had some idea of what was going on. I still have that piece of vellum, or velour, or parchment, picked up at the offices in Dock Street where I had travelled one hot September afternoon from my home in Canterbury just for the pickup.

Great days. Mayoh was a cocky sob. He let me get burned by a hot Z77 in the Salvor once, to the delight of himself and the rest of the group who were gathered round the 'guinea pig'. How not to do it!

Varley
31st March 2013, 18:50
Well! Here I am back on the site after being away for many moons , and there's a response to a message I filed in June 2009! This world is full of coincidences....

You're right: it wasn't Asiafreighter. I just checked my discharge book and it was Asialiner - and I made only the one trip on her and she did have an S-band Radiolocator.

Ah, now you may be right. My intro to the GTVs was Asialiner, one trip. Did you sail on Eurofreighter at all? David V