World wide Shore Radio stations

david freeman
15th July 2009, 19:44
In the 60'70's before Sparks where redundant, as an oily rag what where the world wide radio stations for british ships? I just remember Portasaid, Mauritus, and Hong Kong. I am not sure what covered the Pacific and the America's North and South. or Australiasia. Or where the radios in those days powerful enough to transmit to the UK any time of the day or night? I am contemplating my navel and finger in orifice! Am I barking mad?

shaun watson
17th July 2009, 13:12
the only one i new was hong kong my father was captin with common brothers before moveing to join world wide in the 70,s but i do believe they were able to transmit to the uk anytime
rgds
shaun watson

K urgess
17th July 2009, 14:24
You may be thinking of the H/F area scheme as shown on the attached map.
This is the cut down version.
There were a lot more stations such as in Canada, Australia and New Zealand before they were reduced to those shown.
Cheers
Kris

holland25
17th July 2009, 15:17
The Canadian stations were VCE Vancouver for the Pacific and Halifax CFH for the Western Atlantic. There were Australian stations at Darwin and I think Sydney. Also Colombo in Ceylon (Sri Lanka) before they moved it to Mauritius, I think it all changed after 1960.

K urgess
17th July 2009, 16:11
The Canadian and other stations were still on the go during my first trip in 1966/67.
It was some time in the 70s that the whole lot stopped and we had to call Portishead worldwide.

holland25
17th July 2009, 22:25
I know Colombo went to Mauritius in about 1964. The other Pacific Station was at Wellington in NZ. My seagoing experience stopped in 1970 so I cannot comment on when it was all discontinued.

GBXZ
17th July 2009, 22:55
The Commonwealth Area Scheme changed in the '70s and was replaced with
one UK centre at Portishead. If I remember correctly Portishead had directional zones and you indicated which zone you were in with your initial call.

tonypad
18th July 2009, 06:47
VIP in Perth Western Australia, along with VIS Sydney Radio provided much of the coverage around the Indian Ocean east side and west Pacific. Learned my cw from VIP 484 Khz traffic lists.. Regards Tony

Steven Lamb
18th July 2009, 09:32
Hello Dave
I missed the area scheme narrowly by the time i started out.
If ionospheric conditions were favourable you could skip back direct to Portishead UK with a reasonable powered transmitter from alot of places worldwide - if you were prepared to try at awkward times !
Out in mid pacific the US west coast stations of KPH & KFS (San Francisco) were always listening, as were the Japanese stations of Choshi & I think Nagasaki. VPS Hong Kong was always reliable as was 9VG Singapore.
The Aussie stations of VIS & VIP have been mentioned which were good.
Down off South America Argentina / Brazil / Chile I found PCH/Holland to be excellent. Capetown/ZSC was a handy back up on the way down the South Atlantic if needed.
Basically there was heaps of stations to go at worldwide and you were pretty much covered.
I was inspired though by the generation before me who bashed-out world wide back home to Portishead with "Oceanspans & Atalantas" Well done Sirs !

Moulder
18th July 2009, 11:56
It was some time in the 70s that the whole lot stopped and we had to call Portishead worldwide.

Reckon that would have been 1971 Kris - outward bound on first trip on Benhope we were working normal Area System then homeward bound it all changed to working GKB direct.

(Thumb)

K urgess
18th July 2009, 13:10
Reckon that would have been 1971 Kris - outward bound on first trip on Benhope we were working normal Area System then homeward bound it all changed to working GKB direct.

(Thumb)

Thanks, knew it was sometime around there. (Thumb)

The notion of sending a message anywhere other than the country of destination was certainly not entertained except with the direct permission of the Master and then as the ultimate last resort.
Pick your time and Portishead was accessible from anywhere, even with an Oceanspan.
I can remember trying to send a message to CWA (Montevideo) from about 100 miles away and having to send it to Portishead in the end when it became obvious he wasn't listening on 500 at all and I was too close for H/F.
I used to think we had a good system going with Portishead. A quick send of his callsign every couple of minutes and when you got a "DE" away you went.
The east coast of South America seemed to be the place for Norwegian ships with no H/F to end up for some reason. I've got copies somewhere of numerous QSPs to Rogaland.

andysk
18th July 2009, 13:14
Reckon that would have been 1971 Kris - outward bound on first trip on Benhope we were working normal Area System then homeward bound it all changed to working GKB direct.

(Thumb)

I did a round trip to India in 1971/2, returning to Tilbury in March '72 and I seem to remember it was still in operation then. We certainly had an excellent party of HMS Mauritius courtesy the Senior Rates Mess !

Moulder
18th July 2009, 14:55
I did a round trip to India in 1971/2, returning to Tilbury in March '72 and I seem to remember it was still in operation then. We certainly had an excellent party of HMS Mauritius courtesy the Senior Rates Mess !

I believe it probably began the wind down in 1971 as I'm sure traffic from Portishead had to be obtained by working GKB direct -from ship traffic could still be passed to remaining Area Stations for onward transmission.
I've also sampled the excellent hospitality of the boys and girls from HMS in 1972 when loading sugar there. (Pint)
(Thumb)

holland25
18th July 2009, 15:19
There is an interesting account of Mauritius and the RN naval station at the following.http://www.hmsmauritius.co.uk/historyone.htm

andysk
18th July 2009, 21:06
There is an interesting account of Mauritius and the RN naval station at the following.http://www.hmsmauritius.co.uk/historyone.htm

Useful link, thanks for posting ....

I must say that at this range of time I can't remember where I received and sent to out there, but with an O'span 6 & Mercury/Electra set up I don't suppose I got much of a look-in at GKB !

We had a great party for Halloween 1971 up at Vacaos, and followed up with another magic one on board a day or so later. I do remember they were really please to see us as the Phoenix brewery had almost run out of the makings, and the NAAFI had run out of 'cotton piece goods' for the Wrens and nurses, quite apart from having all the Xmas goodies on board as well !

holland25
18th July 2009, 23:27
Thanks for making Christmas 1971 possible. I was living up the hill in Curepipe at the time. Christmas without Phoenix,in brown bottles not the green ones, wouold have been unbearable. Glad you found the site of interest.

Tai Pan
19th July 2009, 11:28
only knew the area scheme- brilliant 1950-60. working Portishead direct was the first signs of getting home, very welcome. my thanks to all civvy and RN staff who manned these stations.

andysk
19th July 2009, 12:24
Thanks for making Christmas 1971 possible. I was living up the hill in Curepipe at the time. Christmas without Phoenix,in brown bottles not the green ones, wouold have been unbearable. Glad you found the site of interest.

I was on Clan Macleod, in Port Louis for a week or 10 days discharging general cargo on the way to Ceylon & India about the end of October 71

IMRCoSparks
19th July 2009, 17:08
Reckon that would have been 1971 Kris - outward bound on first trip on Benhope we were working normal Area System then homeward bound it all changed to working GKB direct.

(Thumb)

Having sailed most places, the only real GK direct "dead spot" I experienced was half way between Hawaii & San Francisco. No matter what time of day, GK was always unreadable. This was all before 1970 , so maybe GK was using directional antennas after this time and direct QSOs were possible.

NoMoss
19th July 2009, 17:31
only knew the area scheme- brilliant 1950-60. working Portishead direct was the first signs of getting home, very welcome. my thanks to all civvy and RN staff who manned these stations.

Agree about the thanks to the RN staff, very helpful and friendly lot. I mostly tried to clear direct to GKB but I must admit when in the Caribbean on an old banana boat with noisy DC fans in passenger cabins I called Portishead but listened to Halifax, who never failed to offer to QSP, and always with a cheery remark.

holland25
19th July 2009, 21:49
I was on Clan Macleod, in Port Louis for a week or 10 days discharging general cargo on the way to Ceylon & India about the end of October 71

I had no direct contact with HMS Mauritius and was working at the other end of the island and not generally aware of the comings and goings in Port Louis.Our focus tended to be on the weekly BOAC VC10 from London, which brought the films.

david freeman
25th July 2009, 09:31
You may be thinking of the H/F area scheme as shown on the attached map.
This is the cut down version.
There were a lot more stations such as in Canada, Australia and New Zealand before they were reduced to those shown.
Cheers
Kris

Thank you and Holland for the information. This is the thing I remember from chating to serving sparks in BP and those training sparks I was in digs with at Julian Avenue Sheilds, and who went To S Sheilds Marine Tech @ Westoe.

Dutchy62
2nd August 2009, 00:51
Thanks, knew it was sometime around there. (Thumb)

The notion of sending a message anywhere other than the country of destination was certainly not entertained except with the direct permission of the Master and then as the ultimate last resort.
Pick your time and Portishead was accessible from anywhere, even with an Oceanspan.
I can remember trying to send a message to CWA (Montevideo) from about 100 miles away and having to send it to Portishead in the end when it became obvious he wasn't listening on 500 at all and I was too close for H/F.
I used to think we had a good system going with Portishead. A quick send of his callsign every couple of minutes and when you got a "DE" away you went.
The east coast of South America seemed to be the place for Norwegian ships with no H/F to end up for some reason. I've got copies somewhere of numerous QSPs to Rogaland.

Yes, it was almost always possible to get Portishead direct with a bit of tenacity. If conditions were poor, especially with the Oceanspan's paultry offering, leaving it to after the H8 watchkeeping periods was favourite and, after all, what else was there but opening several cans of Fosters?
Also, I never really trusted QSPs - Chinese whispers and all that. However, it was always comforting to have the area scheme as backup. Luckily, it was still in operation when I left in '69.

johnvvc
6th August 2009, 17:37
Hi,

I never had the ‘pleasure’ of sailing with Globespan or anything so exotic – a ‘Span 7 was the best I ever had. I always envied the Scandinavians and others who had high power transmitters which would have made the job that much easier. Realistically the only difference between 100 watts and 800 watts is 9 dB – but when your signal is down in the noise it can make all the difference…Whenever I joined a ship I’d head for the Radio Room to see what gear I had but the Globespan eluded me…

Interesting how pretty mediocre equipment can prove quite adequate though – I sailed on a coaster and we used to go right up the Gulf of Bothnia. Nothing as exotic as h/f – just an old Reliance and an old CR100 but always managed to work Stonehaven on m/f without any problems.

Talking of poor areas to work back into the UK from. I worked with Elders & Fyffes for a while and once we got into the Caribbean I used to find it was a bit like falling into a dark hole – working back into the UK was never easy (think our puny 100 watts somehow got lost in the Bermuda triangle!).

It’s a long time ago and the mind has dulled a bit (well a lot) but can any Elders R/O’s remember orders regarding clearing traffic intended for the US? Elders were owned (or somehow connected) with the United Fruit Company of Boston and we were told to clear all our US traffic via certain Coast Stations – would that have been Tropical Radio’s WAX and WNU? My recollections are calling them for ‘ages’ with no reply and eventually getting quite shirty and asking the Old Man to enquire via our agents if they ever listened to the calling frequencies!!! The reply was that apparently Tropical Radio (or whatever the company was) had radio installations on other ships and ‘they’ all – conveniently - had the same calling frequency – so that’s where they listened when they were doing the crossword – with an occasional quick listen up and down the band. I seem to remember the old man was in the habit of handing in traffic intended for UniFruitco just as I was ready to ‘hit the switch’ and go off watch – last watch of the day of course!!!

Happy memories with Elders. Nice round trips from Avonmouth /Jamaica – calling at Kingston, Oracabessa, Montego Bay and a couple of other places. We also did a couple of trips Honduras/Guatemala – New Orleans. The appropriate publication listed coast stations in both Honduras and Guatemala – we never heard any!!!

Oh my floating home at the time was the Matina…

Happy days…and apologies as I appear to have strayed off topic…

John

david.hopcroft
6th August 2009, 20:14
John

I am glad someone else agrees with me that the Caribbean was a 'black hole' to get back to the UK. I guess those who said it was no problem had something more than 100W. All it got me was an FCC Citation for overcalling VCS trying to get back via the area scheme.

David
+

NoMoss
6th August 2009, 20:51
John

I am glad someone else agrees with me that the Caribbean was a 'black hole' to get back to the UK. I guess those who said it was no problem had something more than 100W. All it got me was an FCC Citation for overcalling VCS trying to get back via the area scheme.

David
+

I certainly found it a problem - as I said earlier I used to call GKB but listen to VCS and I usually got a QSP? from him.

holland25
6th August 2009, 21:54
I remember trying to get an ETA message to the station at the Atlantic end of the Panama Canal was a bit hard. I think it belonged to the US Coastguard.

I only had to do it once, but it took a while, the heavy electrical storms didnt make it any easier.

johnvvc
6th August 2009, 22:03
David,

Glad to hear I wasn't the only one who got these 'citations'...

I got one from a monitoring station in Canada - can't remember the actual name - something like Canandaguia.

We carried a Junior R/O on the Matina so to help pass the time used to keep 16 hours watches once he'd got his feet wet. The Junior would call Portishead giving his call - but not ours - and wait for the 'de' - that way he felt he'd not shown his hand if there was no reply. Unfortunately the little man at Canandaguia latched on to what was happening and promptly sent us a 'it is with deep regret we have to inform you' letter !!! Well it was obviously sent to Marconi who sent it on to me and as Chief I carried the can!!!

I vaguely seem to remember we got the second one for calling on 500 during the SP... Think I replied to that one to the effect that we'd had problems with the Radio Room clock - rather a lame excuse really...

John

Ron Stringer
7th August 2009, 01:25
Hi,

Talking of poor areas to work back into the UK from. I worked with Elders & Fyffes for a while and once we got into the Caribbean I used to find it was a bit like falling into a dark hole – working back into the UK was never easy (think our puny 100 watts somehow got lost in the Bermuda triangle!).

It’s a long time ago and the mind has dulled a bit (well a lot) but can any Elders R/O’s remember orders regarding clearing traffic intended for the US? Elders were owned (or somehow connected) with the United Fruit Company of Boston and we were told to clear all our US traffic via certain Coast Stations – would that have been Tropical Radio’s WAX and WNU?

John,

Did 7 trips on the 'Golfito in 1960/61 and we prided ourselves that we were never unable to contact Portishead direct with our Oceanspan and CR300 combination. Bridgetown, Barbados/VPO was fine on HF too, no problem clearing ETAs and stores requests there. Trinidad's (VPL) HF watches were something else though; they were short and moved across the bands (8MHz, 12MHz) and although his transmitted callsign tape was usually readable, your calls got no response. Kingston/VQI was almost as bad.

You were right about Tropical Radio and WAX & WNU but we had only occasional traffic for them. Most of the traffic for the USA was from passengers and it was dead simple to raise WCC or WSL from the Caribbean on HF.

Problems began when in the area on other ships than E&F - the Venzuelans were keen to get traffic to you, but the devil of a job to raise if you wanted to call them with traffic. Ditto with stations in Central American countries and down the South American coast towards Brazil. Could be hard work at times.

Naytikos
7th August 2009, 07:37
Comments relating to a few of the foregoing posts:
Caribbean 'black hole': Yes, I live in it. A friend in the UK, not 100 miles from GKA, with whom I have a Sunday sked on ham frequencies, complains bitterly that I will ruin his hearing as my signal is perpetually in the mud. Sunspots, and ERP seem to make little difference; it is, like the magnetic anomaly in the South Atlantic, just the way it is!
The Eastern Pacific is a really bad area for QSOs into Europe, however there doesn't seem to be much difficulty in the opposite direction - Asia. My conclusion is that this is due to the Rocky Mountains.
Although long-path to VIS from the Atlantic, did seem to work.
My memories of the Area Scheme (Appendix 9, published separately from the PMG Handbook, as I recall) are limited to on one occasion Mauritius telling me to contact GKL (as it was then) directly as my QTC was too long!
Having escaped from the confines the UK flag and getting decent levels of transmitter power, and receivers that stayed on frequency, I quite enjoyed the direct contacts with the world's HF stations and all of their idiosyncracies.
(One example: Choshi/JCS would accept 1030N 11845E as three words, Nagasaki/JOS would make it four: I could go on, but it would be way off-topic).
The worst HF stations, to me, were Chalna (or was it actually at Khulna, I forget), and Chittagong. The problem was that if, failing to raise either of them, one used Karachi (this was before East Pakistan became Bangladesh), the QTC used to travel by camel to it's destination so that the ship would actually arrive before the ETA advice!

trotterdotpom
7th August 2009, 12:35
I don't recall any particular problem from the Caribbean - US Gulf, Windward Islands, Trinidad, Cuba, Panama - no problems contacting UK and Europe.

Wasn't there an Area Scheme Receiving Station at Trinidad and another at Bermuda - am I imagining that?

From the eastern Pacific you just had to pick your time (unfortunately it didn't always coincide with watch periods). Radio waves go north and south as well as east and west.

I had a fair bit of trouble from all sorts of places until I decided to apply the radio propogation knowledge I'd learned at college - it actually worked!

John T.

Ron Stringer
7th August 2009, 14:02
Sunspots, and ERP seem to make little difference; it is, like the magnetic anomaly in the South Atlantic, just the way it is!

That it is consistent in spite of ionospheric variations suggests that there is a site/antenna problem rather than a propagation difficulty. Or maybe it is a matter of 'Never on Sunday.'[=P]

hawkey01
7th August 2009, 17:37
John,

Sorry, you have had to much sun and larger!! There were never any sup or other area stations in the Carib when I was involved with it. Possibly long before my time but no recollection. Think most of the Carib was Cable and Wireless.


Neville - Hawkey01

Ron Stringer
7th August 2009, 18:05
Think most of the Carib was Cable and Wireless.

Neville - Hawkey01

..and so was Bermuda/VRT.

david.hopcroft
7th August 2009, 20:28
John

I did exactly the same as your Junior !! Obviously Canadaigua (?) was wise to this and waited patiently !! The outcome for me was a letter from the GPO slapping my fingers with 'Although you consider your action was justified, it was nevertheless an infringement of the Radio Regulations and we must ask you to observe strict compliance in the future'

Another 'weird' thing I came across was listening to WCC for loading orders. I realised that the strange echo effect I could hear on 8Mcs from the Indian Ocean, was both east and west radiation. QSP'ing thru KPH was not much better. Did you try east to KPH or West to WCC ??

David
+

King Ratt
10th August 2009, 12:20
The echo effect sometimes heard on HF was known as seventh second echo. Often heard when within direct ground wave distance of an HF station and simultaneously receiving the sky wave which had gone right around the earth in multiple hops. This took a seventh of a second.

Moulder
11th August 2009, 12:14
... or was it the time lag between the sky wave signals that had travelled in opposite directions around the world arriving at the receiving point with a seventh of a second difference?

(Thumb)

K urgess
11th August 2009, 12:59
... or was it the time lag between the sky wave signals that had travelled in opposite directions around the world arriving at the receiving point with a seventh of a second difference?

(Thumb)

I have no idea. (Whaaa)
I only know it was bloody annoying and even the narrowest of filters wouldn't remove it. (Sad)
What with that and the QRM on 500 in the same areas, a sparkie's lot was not a happy one.

Kris

Ron Stringer
11th August 2009, 13:18
Moulder is right. Only way to avoid it on a ship, with a normal single-diversity set-up is by choosing a different HF frequency band. OK with WCC or WSL and the like, since they kept simultaneous watch on more than one band, not possible with the likes of Khulna or North Post.

rusty1946
23rd June 2010, 12:30
I used to work at Kranji Wireless in Singapore in the 60's, did any
of you guys ever work us during that time?

Vital Sparks
23rd June 2010, 15:52
BP standard long range station for the western hemisphere was Portishead GKA but this switched to Sydney VIS once vessel moved into the eastern hemisphere (can't remember the longitude at which this was supposed to happen). It was still necessary to copy the GKA list though as some head office types didn't bother to check and always sent traffic to GKA. VIS seemed to have a hearing problem however but Perth VIP were more than happy to step in and take the business :-)

Ron Stringer
23rd June 2010, 16:12
I used to work at Kranji Wireless in Singapore in the 60's, did any of you guys ever work us during that time?

I only knew of Kranji as the BBC's relay station for the Overseas Service (now, the World Service) tranmissions. I also used to work VPS on occasion but never knew where it was. Was that also Kranji?

rusty1946
24th June 2010, 10:30
Ron

We were known as Singapore Radio in the old Area 8 Area Scheme.

When I left there in 1967 we were in the throws of handing over to the
Australian Navy, so VPS may have originated at that time

Bruce

rusty1946
24th June 2010, 11:42
Our Callsign in those days would have been GYS

Hugh Wilson
25th June 2010, 02:12
Daytime from the Caribbean to Portishead was almost impossible. I always found night time (after dark) on 4 or 6Mhz was very effective.

A strange one though, was an HF R/T call through Portishead on 4Mhz just after leaving Hobart, Tasmania using a Commandant transmitter/Atalanta receiver. It was mid-afternoon in Australia and I've no idea which way round the world the signal went. It was possible to work SSB with an Atalanta using the BFO, but it required continual adjustment to counter the drift. The Captain was very impressed and gave me a case of Victoria Bitter.

Troppo
25th June 2010, 04:25
GKA was good - the innumerable QSY's to working freqs were a pain, but the ops were pros, and the sigs always strong. You were really a one armed paper hanger with crabs working GKA/B...especially with a Marconi station.....

I often yearned after the last generation SAIT W/T console...it used Skanti TRP8000 series radios - all solid state with memories....QSY's would be a matter of pressing 2 buttons....

VIS was always better than VIP.

The Japs were really good - big, strong sigs and excellent ops. You could set your watch by their traffic lists.

jimg0nxx
25th June 2010, 08:19
Ron,
I think VPS was the Cable and Wireless MF/HF station in Hong Kong.

Jim

Troppo
25th June 2010, 12:01
I had a guided tour of the VPS tx and rx sites.....amazing....you could quite literally eat your dinner off the floor....

trotterdotpom
25th June 2010, 12:33
Here's a map of the area scheme I found.

Can't imagine why I thought there was a station in the Caribbean - maybe I thought there should have been!

One time I spent ages trying to call Hong Kong without success - in the end I got hold of the Hong Kong commercial station (VPS) and asked them to give the other one (Z something) a ring and tell them I was calling. They did and I got an answer and cleared the traffic (free QSP to the UK). Thinking about it now, those shipping companies were tight, weren't they?

John T.

King Ratt
25th June 2010, 21:42
For Rusty1946.
Used to work GYS or GYL?? regularly on morse via Kranji W/T when based on the RFAs in the Singapore area.

rusty1946
27th June 2010, 00:42
King Rat

I loved working there, it was a joy to see the local Radio Officers working you guys at sea, I was assistant supvr of the watch, we had a guy called the Band Master he was a local malaysian who manned the calling freq then he farmed you out to the working freq guys, he was a real joy to watch,he taught me a lot about commercial Radio so much so when i left the Royal Navy I went to Glasgow Nautical College and got my MRGC. Never regretted that at all best thing i ever did in my life, workwise. Wish I joined the RFA's now

Bruce

landoburns
27th June 2010, 08:47
I received a couple of those 'citations'. The first one was on the ms Essex Trader/MYFT (IMRC). I was picked up in Canada QSA/5 on a 25 Mc/s frequency when I thought I was calling Portishead Radio on 12 Mc/s. A previous R/O had made a new tuning chart but as it turned out the maximum antenna current he obtained was on the second harmonic. This would explain why I could never raise anyone on 12 Mc/s!

The second 'citation' was on the ss Marianella/5BAJ, a Cypriot flag empire boat. Our office was in Genova and I was nabbed sending "ICB" 138 times without giving my callsign as I tried to elicit that elusive "DE"! The fact that we were sailing in the Med and the monitoring station who picked me up was in Hawaii doesn't say much for the ICB watchkeeping. Later on, to enhance my chances of actually raising ICB I reconnected the outlawed VFO circuitry inside the TX Oscillator compartment so I could tailgate any ship who had actually succeeding in working him. Then, unrestricted by my working freq crytals, I could happily pop up anywhere, even in the H24 pax ship segment! I suppose that could have been citation number three!

King Ratt
27th June 2010, 10:35
For Rusty1946.
Our paths may have crossed at Glasgow Nautical. Was there in 1975 doing an update. Lecturers Gareth and Elliot Ness were my tutors. RFA was a good outfit to be in and we had quite a few ex Andrew sparkers join after getting their tickets.

Gareth Jones
27th June 2010, 12:53
I received a couple of those 'citations'. The first one was on the ms Essex Trader/MYFT (IMRC). I was picked up in Canada QSA/5 on a 25 Mc/s frequency when I thought I was calling Portishead Radio on 12 Mc/s. A previous R/O had made a new tuning chart but as it turned out the maximum antenna current he obtained was on the second harmonic. This would explain why I could never raise anyone on 12 Mc/s!

The second 'citation' was on the ss Marianella/5BAJ, a Cypriot flag empire boat. Our office was in Genova and I was nabbed sending "ICB" 138 times without giving my callsign as I tried to elicit that elusive "DE"! The fact that we were sailing in the Med and the monitoring station who picked me up was in Hawaii doesn't say much for the ICB watchkeeping. Later on, to enhance my chances of actually raising ICB I reconnected the outlawed VFO circuitry inside the TX Oscillator compartment so I could tailgate any ship who had actually succeeding in working him. Then, unrestricted by my working freq crytals, I could happily pop up anywhere, even in the H24 pax ship segment! I suppose that could have been citation number three!

This is interesting - I never sailed with an HF VFO transmitter. But know a GKA man who worked in the days of VFO, he said it was far easier since if you had any QRM you could tell the ship to go up or down a bit and find a space clear of QRM. Crystal control meant you were stuck.

rusty1946
27th June 2010, 13:58
For King Rat

I was there at that time, they were my tutors as well, I was lucky to get the chance to go there, the head of comms Mclome I think it was wasnt too keen on having married men on the course, he relented and told me not to let him down and leave after a few months, well I didnt and I got my MRGC, went for my Radar Maintenance but failed on one of the paper questions by that time I couldnt afford to stay on to finish the radar course again, one of my biggest regrets

Bruce

King Ratt
28th June 2010, 18:44
For Rusty1946

Mcelroy was his name if I remember rightly.

73

Rab T

rusty1946
30th June 2010, 18:19
For King Rat

Yes your right that was his name, thanks to him I did get my ticket

King Ratt
30th June 2010, 22:18
For Rusty1946. I seem to remember there were two ex Andrew guys in that class in Glasgow. One was a real bright spark (no pun intended) and I believe he ended up working for BT or the GPO as it was at that time. This may have been your good self.

Rab T

rusty1946
1st July 2010, 11:43
the two of us ended up working for BT eventually, well Ian went right away he was working at Wick, I went to sea but eventually joined BT did my training a Portishead, worked there for a little while then got posted up to
Portapatrick loved working there a great station

73

Bruce

rusty1946
1st July 2010, 11:44
For King Rat

oh forgot to mention, when I went for my interview in London the guy
that took my interview and morse test was my examiner at Glasgow, was
that coincidence or what

73

Bruce

Bob Murdoch
1st July 2010, 11:47
For Rusty1946

Mcelroy was his name if I remember rightly.

73

Rab T

Yeah, he started teaching at the Watt Memorial the same time I started my studies their, September, 1956. He also took me through my Radar ticket and when the Watt Memorial got the change to its status and the Scottish Marine
Colleges were amalgamated, I believe he became head of Dept. An excellent instructor, he must have been, to get us through our ticket in such a short time.
2and a bit months.
Bob

King Ratt
1st July 2010, 13:52
For Rusty1946

I remember the pair of you now! Happy Days.

73

Rab T

rusty1946
1st July 2010, 23:48
we were the ones that were working lol at least we got our tickets

73

Bruce

King Ratt
2nd July 2010, 17:06
Aye, you pair already knew what work was all about unlike the would be playboys that were in that group.

rusty1946
2nd July 2010, 20:34
Rab

Were you an instructor there, you seem to know all about us two lol

73

Bruce

King Ratt
3rd July 2010, 10:24
For Rusty1946

I was an RFA sparkie - doing some catch-up time on some equipment and sat in on quite a few of your lectures. I remember one of you pair was always quick off the mark with the right answer when "Gareth" said "Calculate!"

73

Rab T

ernhelenbarrett
3rd July 2010, 12:02
Re Coast Radio Stations I had the honour of working at Sydneyradio/Vis during and after the Area Scheme, Sydneyradio was VIX and our UK/Overseas traffic came via the RAN Stations in Canberra/VHK via teleprinter also a lot of tfc from ships came from HMAS Coonawarra/VHM in Darwin who, when I was at sea, would jump in and take your tfc after one call to VIS on HF, this station R/O's were mostly Wrens and i met some of them when calling into Darwin on a tanker. I found all the Area Station R/O's were excellent during my Marconi days having just an Oceanspan, as the Navy staff got a lot of their training working MN ships. After a spell at PortMoresbyRadio/VIG I went back to sea with AWA and found it harder working Coast Stations direct when the Area Scheme stopped. In places like Apia in Samoa and Nukualofa in Tonga it was better to walk up the road and tell the bloke on watch that you were alongside than try contacting then on 500.One of the worst was one of the small ports up the Gulf when with B.I., the guy on watch had to get on his pushbike and pedal from the Receiving Station to the the Transmitting Station (from one hut to another if I remember correctly) just to change frequency!! In VIG during the wet season we had to leave our car at the Airport and walk in knee deep water round the bottom of the runway to get to the receiving station keeping a watch out for Papuan Blacks, a very nasty type of snake on the way. They were the "good old days of being a Sparks"!!
Ern Barrett

rusty1946
3rd July 2010, 12:24
Yeah, he started teaching at the Watt Memorial the same time I started my studies their, September, 1956. He also took me through my Radar ticket and when the Watt Memorial got the change to its status and the Scottish Marine
Colleges were amalgamated, I believe he became head of Dept. An excellent instructor, he must have been, to get us through our ticket in such a short time.
2and a bit months.
Bob

Thanks for that I didnt know about the past history of the college and how it evolved

Bruce

rusty1946
3rd July 2010, 12:30
Re Coast Radio Stations I had the honour of working at Sydneyradio/Vis during and after the Area Scheme, Sydneyradio was VIX and our UK/Overseas traffic came via the RAN Stations in Canberra/VHK via teleprinter also a lot of tfc from ships came from HMAS Coonawarra/VHM in Darwin who, when I was at sea, would jump in and take your tfc after one call to VIS on HF, this station R/O's were mostly Wrens and i met some of them when calling into Darwin on a tanker. I found all the Area Station R/O's were excellent during my Marconi days having just an Oceanspan, as the Navy staff got a lot of their training working MN ships. After a spell at PortMoresbyRadio/VIG I went back to sea with AWA and found it harder working Coast Stations direct when the Area Scheme stopped. In places like Apia in Samoa and Nukualofa in Tonga it was better to walk up the road and tell the bloke on watch that you were alongside than try contacting then on 500.One of the worst was one of the small ports up the Gulf when with B.I., the guy on watch had to get on his pushbike and pedal from the Receiving Station to the the Transmitting Station (from one hut to another if I remember correctly) just to change frequency!! In VIG during the wet season we had to leave our car at the Airport and walk in knee deep water round the bottom of the runway to get to the receiving station keeping a watch out for Papuan Blacks, a very nasty type of snake on the way. They were the "good old days of being a Sparks"!!
Ern Barrett

Hi Ern

Gosh brings back happy memories, have worked VHK and VHM in the past, in fact VHM did us a huge favour when I was New Guinee we had a guy that had to get a flight back home quickly due to some emergency, I tried direct to Hong Kong and Singapore but no joy, Darwin must have heard us and passed the message via telex, was so grateful to those guys. The upshot was that the crew member got his flight from Papau next morning

R651400
3rd July 2010, 16:24
I used to work at Kranji Wireless in Singapore in the 60's, did any of you guys ever work us during that time?
rusty1946 maybe if you'd mentioned that Kranji was the control station for Area 8 in the then Area System and manned by the RN, traffic lists and broadcasts via GYS and direct traffic via GYL, I doubt there is a single Far East R/O of this era that didn't work Kranji.
Commercial stations pre Merdeka 1956 also had HF ie Singapore VPW to become 9VG, Penang VPX/9MG and Hong Kong/VPS

rusty1946
3rd July 2010, 16:58
For Rusty1946

I was an RFA sparkie - doing some catch-up time on some equipment and sat in on quite a few of your lectures. I remember one of you pair was always quick off the mark with the right answer when "Gareth" said "Calculate!"

73

Rab T

dont think that would be me in that case, prob Ian lol... we used to get a few r/o's sitting in with us. It was harder for me I had been away from a classroom setting for so long, the rest were all fresh faced straight from school. But I had a burning desire to get my ticket thats what kept me going. Can you remember the name of the Asst Head of Comms there, for the life of me I cant remember. I owe him so much. I was never that good at the paper examinations failed twice then he twigged what was wrong. Came up to me one afternoon and asked for a quiet word with me, explained it all to me he reckoned that because I had been away from education for so long I didnt know how to answer paper questions properly. I had no problems with the practical sailed through that lot. Anyway the upshot was he spent time with me after college time up to 9 O'clock every evening going over and over paper questions, the next paper exam I sailed through it, he said it wasnt a case of me not knowing the answers it was how to put them down on paper, now you know why I owe him such a big debt of gratitude. They were really good at Glasgow if they thought you were worth helping then they pulled out the stops for you

73

Bruce

rusty1946
3rd July 2010, 17:05
rusty1946 maybe if you'd mentioned that Kranji was the control station for Area 8 in the then Area System and manned by the RN, traffic lists and broadcasts via GYS and direct traffic via GYL, I doubt there is a single Far East R/O of this era that didn't work Kranji.
Commercial stations pre Merdeka 1956 also had HF ie Singapore VPW to become 9VG, Penang VPX/9MG and Hong Kong/VPS

Yes that was right, we were the area control station for Area 8. We had RN guys in the watches normally only two of us were RN the rest were civillian. The r/o's there really caught my imgaination, I thought I knew how to work cw but those guys blew me away lol.... I learned so much from them about commercial working that I really did want to become an R/O with the Merchant Navy and I did it several years later. The highlight of my life getting that Red Book the MRGC.

73
Bruce

King Ratt
3rd July 2010, 18:11
For Rusty1946

Cannot remember the No 2 at Glasgow but full marks to him for putting himself out for you.
The Oz stations VHM and VHK were also superb morse stations to work. Around dawn in UK waters I used to work them on CW, calling on 12556.9 Khz and receiving on 12831 Khz.
It didn't take long before any ship addressed traffic appeared on the Naval Bcast. They were very efficient.

73 de Rab T

R651400
3rd July 2010, 19:10
From fading memory VHK was the Area 7 transmit/receive station situated at Coolaman nr Sydney NSW.
Area 7 traffic lists and broadcasts from same were via call sign VIX.
VHM was a supplementary receiving station situated at Coonawarra nr Darwin in the Northern Territories.
Both station were manned by both male and female Royal Australian Navy operators.

rusty1946
3rd July 2010, 20:45
For Rusty1946

Cannot remember the No 2 at Glasgow but full marks to him for putting himself out for you.
The Oz stations VHM and VHK were also superb morse stations to work. Around dawn in UK waters I used to work them on CW, calling on 12556.9 Khz and receiving on 12831 Khz.
It didn't take long before any ship addressed traffic appeared on the Naval Bcast. They were very efficient.

73 de Rab T

Rab
did you ever meet an R/O in RFA's named Peter Davison or davidson, a woman I worked with in ATC her hubby was an R/O in the RFA.

King Ratt
3rd July 2010, 23:25
Hello again Bruce

I knew a Peter David who's wife was in ATC at Prestwick. Lived in Ayr and is still there as far as I know. Peter relieved me on RFA Grey Rover in 1982.


I will probably see him in Sept when we have a sparkies reunion and Pete is on the attending list.


R

rusty1946
4th July 2010, 00:44
Hi Rab

Thats prob him, his wife worked alongside me in Prestwick. They had a house out in the country near Ayr. You must tell me all about life on the RFA's used to love when they did a RAS at sea

Bruce

hawkey01
4th July 2010, 19:07
R651400,

Malcolm welcome back - longtime since I saw you on the site. I hope all is well with you.

Neville - Hawkey01

R651400
4th July 2010, 23:45
Thanks Neville, have sent pm. 73 Malcolm

landoburns
5th July 2010, 17:07
For Rusty1946

Cannot remember the No 2 at Glasgow but full marks to him for putting himself out for you.
The Oz stations VHM and VHK were also superb morse stations to work. Around dawn in UK waters I used to work them on CW, calling on 12556.9 Khz and receiving on 12831 Khz.
It didn't take long before any ship addressed traffic appeared on the Naval Bcast. They were very efficient.

73 de Rab T

Hi Rab

Also want to ask about an RFA R/O. Tom Kennedy ex-Watt from around 1960/61, wonder if you knew him or knew of him. I'm from Irvine and before we got our tickets Tom and I used to go and watch Junior football on a Saturday - places like Ardeer Thistle! I went to sea with IMR.

Thanks - Jack Plenderleith

King Ratt
5th July 2010, 18:30
For Landoburns

TK alive and well in Largs - probably attending the reunion in Sep.
Check TK out at http://www.rfaaplymouth.org/copperminepeople/displayimage.php?album=14&pos=2

73

Rab T

aussiesparks
19th July 2010, 08:05
Re Coast Radio Stations I had the honour of working at Sydneyradio/Vis during and after the Area Scheme, Sydneyradio was VIX and our UK/Overseas traffic came via the RAN Stations in Canberra/VHK via teleprinter also a lot of tfc from ships came from HMAS Coonawarra/VHM in Darwin who, when I was at sea, would jump in and take your tfc after one call to VIS on HF, this station R/O's were mostly Wrens and i met some of them when calling into Darwin on a tanker. I found all the Area Station R/O's were excellent during my Marconi days having just an Oceanspan, as the Navy staff got a lot of their training working MN ships. After a spell at PortMoresbyRadio/VIG I went back to sea with AWA and found it harder working Coast Stations direct when the Area Scheme stopped. In places like Apia in Samoa and Nukualofa in Tonga it was better to walk up the road and tell the bloke on watch that you were alongside than try contacting then on 500.One of the worst was one of the small ports up the Gulf when with B.I., the guy on watch had to get on his pushbike and pedal from the Receiving Station to the the Transmitting Station (from one hut to another if I remember correctly) just to change frequency!! In VIG during the wet season we had to leave our car at the Airport and walk in knee deep water round the bottom of the runway to get to the receiving station keeping a watch out for Papuan Blacks, a very nasty type of snake on the way. They were the "good old days of being a Sparks"!!
Ern Barrett

In the early sixties worked the area system from all over the world but found in the Australia area that Darwin was always very helpfull and would often jump in when you tried to get Sydney (VIS), I believe that you were not supposed to work them direct only wait for them to call you, but when having problems I did it without getting into trouble.
The area scheme did not help me much though on the MV Scorton as my main tx was only a medium wave oceanspan,, those were fun days, could read my messages from the area station but could not let them know I had received them. Had to ask for a lot of assistance from R/Os who had some decent equipment.