Iceberg Warnings

tedc
4th June 2009, 20:26
My first trip over the Atlantic was in 1955 as 3rd R/O on the Franconia. (Southampton to Quebec)

Fresh from Hull tech I thought I was pretty good at reading morse - but that was before I met Frank Loechert (apologies if spelt wrong) who was the rather ancient 2nd R/O.

Frank showed me how to read the medium wave iceberg warnings which were broadcast from Newfoundland (someone remind me of the call sign!).(was that st John's - NB?)

As I listened in I couldn't hear anything but static - we weren't that far past 40W - then I realised that he was getting the code by listening for the breaks in the static!!!

Great stuff.

You had to get those warnings in Cunard - I think they were a touch sensitive about icebergs!

Anyway, in 1955, with him probably being close to 65 years old, there was a good chance that Frank was already an R/O, in Cunard, when Titanic went down!!!

Amazing who it can be possible to bridge history!!!

Lovely bloke - he could get the ocean news from WSL whilst smoking a fag & holding a glass of VAT 69 in his other hand - all copied down on an old typewriter of course!

NicoRos
5th June 2009, 01:32
broadcast from Newfoundland (someone remind me of the call sign!).

Guess you mean VON StJohns on medium wave or CFH Halifax on short wave for those warnings. For me it's also a long long time ago.

Ron Stringer
5th June 2009, 08:12
Some 5 years after your experiences but my faltering memory seems to tell me that we used to copy ice warnings from NIK on HF. Reams and reams of it, bergy bits and growlers included. Good receiving practice for a junior sparks getting in his supervised 6 months sea time.

tedc
5th June 2009, 10:31
My memory is pulling me back to the Radio Station being called "Belle Island".

This is the Island smack in the middle of the straits leading into the St Lawrence.

jimg0nxx
5th June 2009, 12:02
Belle Isle is in the Belle Isle Strait to the north of Newfoundland. Think it was closed by ice during the winter. In Donaldson Line we only used it to enter the Gulf of St Lawrence in the summer months.
Jim

K urgess
5th June 2009, 12:04
Some 5 years after your experiences but my faltering memory seems to tell me that we used to copy ice warnings from NIK on HF. Reams and reams of it, bergy bits and growlers included. Good receiving practice for a junior sparks getting in his supervised 6 months sea time.

I've got an entry for NIK under Canada in my little logging book with frequencies of 5320, 8502 and 12880.5 kc/s in the Nav. warning section.
Weather forecast for Canada were from CKN, CFH and VFF.
Logging had nothing to do with being a naughty boy in this instance but a little notebook I kept into which I could enter the calibrated dial reading on the main receiver (usually an Atalanta).

jimg0nxx
5th June 2009, 12:13
If I remember correctly NIK was the callsign for the International Ice Patrol Station based at Argentia in Newfoundland. The US callsign is due to the main participents being the Americans. We used to send ice reports to this station as well as receiving the ice warnings from them.

Jim

M29
8th June 2009, 12:30
I can remember on "Coventry City" the Master hovering around for the latest Ice report because he needed to decide whether to go over the top of Newfoundland into the St Lawrence (which saved time) or wether we had to go south about into the Gulf.
The Ice report was sent twice, first at high speed and then much more slowly. If you missed the high speed one due to other duties, taking the second one at low speed was painful and took ages!
Later in my career we had the luxury of the Weather Fax machines which of ocurse inluded maps of the ice, bergs etc. The first map of the Ice season had a cross on it with "RIP Titanic" in honour of the incident that led to the development of the Ice patrol.

Best wishes

Alan

Riccarton
8th June 2009, 15:14
There was also a US Coastguard Ice Patrol ship. callsign NIDK.

Regards,
Riccarton

mikeg
8th June 2009, 16:21
I recall taking regular ice reports whilst on the CP Voyageur but the exact radio station callsigns elude me now but NIK rings a small bell (POP)

A world of growlers, bergybits etc with their associated positions. I remember also frequently getting up in the wee small hours to receive additional reports (so giving us less chance of emulating that well known passenger liner)

Roger Bentley
8th June 2009, 18:21
There was also a US Coastguard Ice Patrol ship. callsign NIDK.

Regards,
Riccarton

Ron, Accordimng to list of ships and coast stations NIDK was the collective call sign for USA Any ship of the international ice patrol service. Regards, Roger

Riccarton
9th June 2009, 19:28
My understanding Roger, was that at any one time there was a US Coastguard single vessel on patrol but this assumption could well be wrong.

Riccarton

Robinj
10th June 2009, 12:04
I remember taking the Iceberg warnings on the Sidonia, Glasgow to New York, but havn't a clue as from where.