Bank Line Personal Entertainment Equipment.....

Alistair Macnab
20th August 2010, 15:06
Perhaps this will get a new string started when we think back to our purchases of personal entertainment equipment for our cabins. As a first trip Apprentice, I started out with nothing but was quickly made aware of the presence of personal short wave radios in many cabins. At that time, Bank Line did not have any wired broadcast within the accommodations other than a loudspeaker in the Smoke Room and I don't think they ever did.
But being seconded by sundry officers to help them rig their wire aerials between drilled-through porthole rivets and the nearest sampson posts, I had become complicit in an array of crossing wires which the Old Man sought to have removed because 'they interfered with the radar'!
Anyway, on my first trip to the USA (Seattle for bulk wheat to, guess where? India) I bought a steel-cased Hallicrafter in a pawn shop for, I think, $10 and I was in business searching for that radio station which always played the music I wanted to hear. Much has already been recorded about Radio Australia, and LM Radio but there was another broadcasting from Del Rio Texas with 100 watts of power and could be heard everywhere.
Time went on, and when I got onto the Oriental African Line, my radio choice was a very handy-sized portable all-wave Japanese model of a make I cannot remember which lasted for years and which eventually ended up in my Mother's kitchen in Scotland. Would it be a Sony?
Then there were record players, tape recorders, cameras and all sorts of clobber as one got wealthier. I'll leave it up to any interested SN supporter who wishes to add to this but I do recall a plastic Phillips battery-driven record player bought in Mombasa from the Phillips shop that was a particularly good buy at East African Shillings 99/-. Cheap and Cheerful! Got Chippy to make a mahogany (cargo sweepings, honest!) box for it and built-in hi-fi speakers and it looked like an expensive piece of furniture when French polished - weighed a lot, as well!

pete
20th August 2010, 16:06
My first foray into the on-board entertainment scene was buying a clapped out Pye Cambridge radio from somebody who was leaving. After Sparks and I (and a few beers) had it sorted it was a bl**dy good radio. Then advanced to a Grundig Satellit 2001 which I still have and it still works very well. Also at one time had an Akai Reel to Reel tape recorder with which I had to purchase a Valradio?? converter because the ship was DC. It was all heavy and bulky and the heat from the converter was excessive but hell, I had my entertainment.................pete

IRW
20th August 2010, 16:39
I also had the Pye Cambridge. Very handy as Sparks used the same valves when replacements needed also leckies could fix the step down resistors if required It was bulky but chippy made me a box for travelling. Halicrafters did hetrodyne (?) with other radios. I. wemyss

jimthehat
20th August 2010, 16:43
my two were the halicrafter(which I was not too fond off)and the pye cambridge,which was a great radio,and i can remember running wire to every part of the ship trying to find the ultimate place.
Alastair,radar as a first trip app! well I certainly did not have it on my first two ships and cant remember whether it was installed on the clydebank.

jim

Alan Rawlinson
20th August 2010, 17:12
Perhaps this will get a new string started when we think back to our purchases of personal entertainment equipment for our cabins. As a first trip Apprentice, I started out with nothing but was quickly made aware of the presence of personal short wave radios in many cabins. At that time, Bank Line did not have any wired broadcast within the accommodations other than a loudspeaker in the Smoke Room and I don't think they ever did.
But being seconded by sundry officers to help them rig their wire aerials between drilled-through porthole rivets and the nearest sampson posts, I had become complicit in an array of crossing wires which the Old Man sought to have removed because 'they interfered with the radar'!
Anyway, on my first trip to the USA (Seattle for bulk wheat to, guess where? India) I bought a steel-cased Hallicrafter in a pawn shop for, I think, $10 and I was in business searching for that radio station which always played the music I wanted to hear. Much has already been recorded about Radio Australia, and LM Radio but there was another broadcasting from Del Rio Texas with 100 watts of power and could be heard everywhere.
Time went on, and when I got onto the Oriental African Line, my radio choice was a very handy-sized portable all-wave Japanese model of a make I cannot remember which lasted for years and which eventually ended up in my Mother's kitchen in Scotland. Would it be a Sony?
Then there were record players, tape recorders, cameras and all sorts of clobber as one got wealthier. I'll leave it up to any interested SN supporter who wishes to add to this but I do recall a plastic Phillips battery-driven record player bought in Mombasa from the Phillips shop that was a particularly good buy at East African Shillings 99/-. Cheap and Cheerful! Got Chippy to make a mahogany (cargo sweepings, honest!) box for it and built-in hi-fi speakers and it looked like an expensive piece of furniture when French polished - weighed a lot, as well!

Good one, Alistair...

Yes, the Halicrafter was the ' Rolls Royce ' which most of us aspired to.
The Maplebank ( Liberty) had a t'gallant mast forward of No3 hatch, and there were halliards to the top which served me well during my time on her. The aerial ran from my cabin port on the bridge deck, up to the monkey island and then soared up to the top of the t'gallant mast. Reception was awesome! The aerial caused a few comments but was permitted OK, providing it was lowered in good time for arrival in port. I used it on a radio inherited by me from the apprentice, and cabin mate, who ' jumped ship ' in New Plymouth, NZ. (White was his name I believe) Was it something I said, I wonder?

Many of my radios were a/c units so I had a converter next to the set to provide the necessary conversion from DC to AC. This had a mechanical whirring strip in it, if I remember correctly.

In Japan in the late 50's I bought a small Sony transistor radio, with a soft black leather case, and it was a little gem. Must have been low powered by todays standards, but never the less worked like a dream. Mostly, I used it jammed in the porthole with the weight of the lowered port keeping it in place, pointing outwards. Being a pocket set, I also took it on the monkey island in the graveyard watch as 2/0, and in mid Pacific, it would pull in whatever was around - sometimes with freak conditions ( not uncommon with pacific storms) there were snatches of music from the USA West coast stations. In more prosperous times, I had a reel to reel recorder, but radio was always my first love.

Does anyone remember the Master in the Bankline who had boom boxes fitted in his wardrobe. The name escapes me, but I remember being invited to hear the impressive sound results during a ship visit.

On this topic, some may remember Radio Ceylon had a Sousa march that they used as a signature tune, ( Liberty Bell March) and sitting here now typing 50/60 years later, I can conjur up that march in my head - no problem. Such is the power of music.

John Campbell
20th August 2010, 19:22
I always liked to hear the Pipes and Drums playing "The Barren Rocks of Aden" as we listened to the sig tune of the Forces Station there.

Charlie Stitt
21st August 2010, 10:14
The best radio I remember having on board ship was an Eddystone,it was considered to be one of the best in the 60's, and as far as I remember, had great reception with only a short aerial. My most treasured piece of personel luxury was the big FRIDGE I found in my cabin when I joined the Teakbank as Mate, the Mate who I relieved, had already left the ship, so it cost me nothing. Capt J J Reid said it was there to keep stocked up with cold beer, I soon found out why, he quite often invited himself and the Chief to my cabin to dicuss ships business(?HUH) ''Yes thank you Mate, we WILL have a beer''. Needless to say, there was a well worn track from the 3/0's and 2/0's cabins to that fridge

Duncan112
21st August 2010, 15:49
I always liked to hear the Pipes and Drums playing "The Barren Rocks of Aden" as we listened to the sig tune of the Forces Station there.

Bit off thread but The World Service appear to have stopped playing Lilliburlero to introduce the time signal and news, it has been replaced with a pathetic little strap line "you're with the BBC" and snippets from the news. Don't know when this happened.

Ron Stringer
21st August 2010, 17:11
Duncan,

Where have you been? It was discontinued a couple of years ago. shortly before the modernisers also stopped using the Radio 4 Theme Tune (a medley of British traditional tunes) at the start of each day's broadcasting on that channel. Progress doncha know?

rcraig
21st August 2010, 17:42
Unfortunately, they still use that syrupy slop "Sailing By" as a theme tune before the shipping forecast at 0045 every morning. I think Lillibulero is still played very briefly at some odd time in the morning when I ought to be asleep

rcraig
21st August 2010, 17:45
I've already mentioned elsewhere that Gordon Bruce who shared the first 25 month trip and cabin with me brought on board the Eastbank at Bromborough a magnificent large short wave AC radio which "blew up" immediately it was switched on.
For obvious reasons.

China hand
21st August 2010, 18:18
Unfortunately, they still use that syrupy slop "Sailing By" as a theme tune before the shipping forecast at 0045 every morning. I think Lillibulero is still played very briefly at some odd time in the morning when I ought to be sleep

Sometimes, driving thru the sub-tropical rain forests of Zeeland on our way to our wandel along the Schelde, we listen to World Service. Lillibulero is definately there, but when I start waving my arms to Lero, Lero, it stops! Lady wife is delighted (had enough of it when we were at sea).

Duncan112
21st August 2010, 19:28
Duncan,

Where have you been? It was discontinued a couple of years ago. shortly before the modernisers also stopped using the Radio 4 Theme Tune (a medley of British traditional tunes) at the start of each day's broadcasting on that channel. Progress doncha know?

Only just started listening in the early morning again (no R4) as I drive back from Leeds, used to enjoy the R4 theme at the start of the service (05:30) = knew that had gone - thanks to pm but not Lilliburero and "This is London 04 hours GMT" a sad shock to the system - along with the demise of the MN program and 7 seas that replaced it - think they must have been gone about 10 years now!!

McMorine
23rd August 2010, 10:31
I also had a Pye Cambridge radio, could pick up BBC world service all over the world. A guy used to come onboard in Liverpool flogging them, thats how I purchased mine. I later upgraded to a Grundig Satelit and as far as I'm aware, it is still going strong in my Sister-inlaws kitchen.
I also had a Phillips reel to reel tape recorder, which I used with a Valradio Inverter which weighed a ton. It only took 3.75in reels so when we visited Vila I bought a better model that took 7in reels and if I remember rightly, it was tax free as I was taking it out of the country. On the Sprucebank in 1964 the sparks and myself rigged up our own radio station using my tape recorder, we did daily request programmes and the Chief Engineer did a weekly "tongue in cheek" ships news programme. All helped to pass the time away while driffting off Nauru.
I will never forget being onboard the Beechbank and the old man, who shall remain nameless,asking me to rig an aerial from his cabin up to the sampson post for him.But when a few of the other lads did the same, including myself, they were classed as interferring with the radar and had to be removed pronto. There was all hell to pay, when he found someone had cut his aerial down shortly after, but he did relent and we got our aerials back.
We also had a football pools sindicate on one ship I was on, think the Sparks organised it through Marconi and we would all be glued to the radio listening to the BBC World Service for the results as the reception faded in and out along with the static. Happy days then, just our memories fading in and out now!!!!!!

jimthehat
23rd August 2010, 10:42
Good one, Alistair...

Yes, the Halicrafter was the ' Rolls Royce ' which most of us aspired to.
The Maplebank ( Liberty) had a t'gallant mast forward of No3 hatch, and there were halliards to the top which served me well during my time on her. The aerial ran from my cabin port on the bridge deck, up to the monkey island and then soared up to the top of the t'gallant mast. Reception was awesome! The aerial caused a few comments but was permitted OK, providing it was lowered in good time for arrival in port. I used it on a radio inherited by me from the apprentice, and cabin mate, who ' jumped ship ' in New Plymouth, NZ. (White was his name I believe) Was it something I said, I wonder?

Many of my radios were a/c units so I had a converter next to the set to provide the necessary conversion from DC to AC. This had a mechanical whirring strip in it, if I remember correctly.

In Japan in the late 50's I bought a small Sony transistor radio, with a soft black leather case, and it was a little gem. Must have been low powered by todays standards, but never the less worked like a dream. Mostly, I used it jammed in the porthole with the weight of the lowered port keeping it in place, pointing outwards. Being a pocket set, I also took it on the monkey island in the graveyard watch as 2/0, and in mid Pacific, it would pull in whatever was around - sometimes with freak conditions ( not uncommon with pacific storms) there were snatches of music from the USA West coast stations. In more prosperous times, I had a reel to reel recorder, but radio was always my first love.

Does anyone remember the Master in the Bankline who had boom boxes fitted in his wardrobe. The name escapes me, but I remember being invited to hear the impressive sound results during a ship visit.

On this topic, some may remember Radio Ceylon had a Sousa march that they used as a signature tune, ( Liberty Bell March) and sitting here now typing 50/60 years later, I can conjur up that march in my head - no problem. Such is the power of music.

slightly off thread,but mention of the t,gallant on the maplebank,the mainmast light was about 15 feet above the mast table and there was just a thin wire wrapped around the mast ,and i had to crawl up that mast to replace the bulb,no health and safety in those days

ernhelenbarrett
23rd August 2010, 11:12
If I remember from my Bankline days the Halicfactor radio bought in the US of A
was only 110 volts and didnt work on the average Bankline ship so had a lot of bods telling me "hi Sparks, my set just blew up" when plugged into the ships mains, also had one bloke here on the Aussie Coast who climbed up the mast and wrapped his receiver aeial around my Main TX Aerial. I told him to remove it but he said he had been told by someone he would get max reception......He did... the first time I started transmitting on the Main Tx, 400 Watt job!!!
Ern Barrett

Joe C
23rd August 2010, 15:40
I didn't own a radio on apprentices money in the fifties but fate played "catch-up" on me when I ended up doing National Service in the RAF and spent the best part of two years listening to two RACALs, one in each ear! But I digress and must be in danger of suffering the fate of the woodturners! What did happen to them Alan,I can't sleep nights!!

Alan Rawlinson
23rd August 2010, 16:30
I didn't own a radio on apprentices money in the fifties but fate played "catch-up" on me when I ended up doing National Service in the RAF and spent the best part of two years listening to two RACALs, one in each ear! But I digress and must be in danger of suffering the fate of the woodturners! What did happen to them Alan,I can't sleep nights!!

Not sure, but I was enjoying the tale of spindles etc lovingly turned, and by ex bankline men, when the posts disappeared. I thought the entries had been re- categorised and dove tailed ( or should it be spun off?) into another section of SN, maybe '' hobbies and pastimes '' ?

JoeQ
24th August 2010, 13:53
My "personal entertainment equipment" didn't require aerials or electricity ...

Alistair Macnab
24th August 2010, 14:14
Very droll, Joe!
With your interpretation of this string's headline, I must admit that on reflection it might have been better composed in order to make the intention perfectly clear, as Mrs. Thatcher used to say.
Nevertheless, your point is taken and it must be conceded that I had failed to grasp the double entendre and its ramifications! Touche'.
Artificial fibre bed sheets have been known to generate some static electricity of their own.

Joe C
24th August 2010, 14:35
Not sure, but I was enjoying the tale of spindles etc lovingly turned, and by ex bankline men, when the posts disappeared. I thought the entries had been re- categorised and dove tailed ( or should it be spun off?) into another section of SN, maybe '' hobbies and pastimes '' ?

Knot for us to say Alan,must have gone against the grain!

JoeQ
24th August 2010, 15:19
Very droll, Joe!
With your interpretation of this string's headline, I must admit that on reflection it might have been better composed in order to make the intention perfectly clear, as Mrs. Thatcher used to say.
Nevertheless, your point is taken and it must be conceded that I had failed to grasp the double entendre and its ramifications! Touche'.
Artificial fibre bed sheets have been known to generate some static electricity of their own.

True but I would never plug my equipment into the mains ...

kingorry
24th August 2010, 17:41
I carried the smallest version of the 'Eddystone' set around for many years. It was OK, but very heavy to lug around when leaving and joining ships. I once persuaded the radio officer to 'hook it up' to the ship's spare (emergency?) aerial, and the reception was then brilliant; but otherwise mediocre.
I too miss 'Lillibulero' on today's World Service. A shortened version, just the first half, is still played, but only very occasionally.
I remember, in the 1960s, the announcer would always say 'This is London' before Lillibulero at the top of the hour, followed by the 'pips'. The quarter and half hours were marked by the chimes of Big Ben.
Used to love the Merchant Navy Programme, and in those days Victor Sylvester and his Ballroom Orchestra used to turn up almost every day, playing requests. It seemed to me that the entire population of St Helena must have had a request played by Victor.
Then there was 'Date with a disc' with Bob Holness every day, and 'News About Britain' when we were always told what the weather had been like in Britain that day.
I once wrote to World Service complaining that 'The Archers' had been taken off the World Service schedules, and received a reply, which I have to this day, stating that :"the removal of The Archers from World Service schedules has aroused little comment, so there is no likelihood of its return"!
There was many an evening when I spent a hour trying to find the best frequency, and having settled down to listen, would be told by the announcer "This frequency is now closing. Listeners in the Caribbean (or wherever we happened to be) should retune to the 49 metre band" - or whatever - which was always full of static.
Happy days : John Shepherd (kingorry)

Winebuff
24th August 2010, 17:58
While serving as 6th Eng on the Teviotbank 1978/9 the bar had a Radio Shack cassette player, amplifier and stereo speakers system on which we used to play a wide array of music. Plus the interminable Billy Connelly, funny the first time, even the second but please not every night for months.

While on the South African coast (Durban I think) the player was stolen, fool them as it would not work without the rest of the kit.

We then set off for New York where the Sparky & I (being on Midnight to 0800 port watch) volunteered to go ashore, find a Radio Shack and purchase a replacement.

Being berthed at the far end of Flat Bush Ave we set off on foot to find one. After walking for some time through what we later learned was one of the highest death rate areas in the city we found a Policeman. When approached he reached for his holster and if we had not had our cut glass English accents I reckon would have shot us on the spot.

He gave us directions and cautioned us in no uncertain terms to get a taxi home as to try and walk back with a Radio Shack package would have been far too dangerous.

Safely back on board the kit was set up and reinstalled.

Yes you guessed it the first thing put back on was Bl...dy Billy Connelly - wish we had had it stolen again.

Peter Smith
74-84

YankeeAirPirate
1st December 2011, 16:14
In the 80's I had dutifully recorded all my record albums to tape and dragged a large briefcase of cassettes in my luggae and an absurdly bulky radio/tape boom box with me. Then I went to Radio Shack and got two more speakers and wired my cabin up with sound in all four corners.

The Jamaican steward liked the setup I had and always spent a little extra time making up my room...bless him for that! He even complimented me on the music setup. I did not mind him playing it one bit if it meant I got a cleaner room.

By the end of the voyage he had shifted away from his native reggae tastes and had developed a solid appreciation for The Who!

Norman Best
1st December 2011, 19:54
Had a National Panasonic battery powerd radio bought in Aden
1964 and later converted to mains. Very good never let me down. Norman Best (Trunch).

rcraig
1st December 2011, 20:39
Ahh. The reception in the smoke room! "Aberdeen 'chhhhchhhh', Rangers ' chhhchhh '. Most of you guys seemed to have lived in the lap of luxury. We apprentices did not have a radio between us once the AC radio blew up on DC.

But we could afford a spring loaded hand operated gramophone playing "Vaya con Dios" or Hank William's " Half as much" on a very calm day in the South Atlantic (were there any?) interspersed by occasional further "chhh's" when she rolled a little too much and another scratch was added. Still have it. (Well, you never know!)

TonyAllen
2nd December 2011, 00:07
R craig. I played hanks half as much yesterday from my box set 8 discs of original recordings great stuff for memories Tony

Alan Rawlinson
3rd December 2011, 09:34
Hi Guys, or should I say, Hello Shipmates,

No need to dig out those old records from the loft. It's all there on SPOTIFY for free. The only problem is remembering the titles or artists..

Amazing how a particular tune can instantly recall the ship it was associated with!

Cheers

rcraig
3rd December 2011, 10:30
More the places for me. "Vaya con Dios" west of Borneo, having just left Japan behind...sob, sob, for the yesterdays. "O Mein Papa" on the East Africa / India run, Hank always associated with the South Atlantic and Buenos Aires, Jo Stafford and "You belong to me......" running back to Japan...sob, sob again.
"Tanko Bushi" and "Shina no Yoru", (yes, yes, I know...pathetic isn't it!).

Now its cold, windy, the bones are creaking and the "Death March" beckons. (No, it's not, the "Death March" bit, ie., I hope it is not...yet)

Aberdonian
3rd December 2011, 12:53
’56 and sitting in Paul’s Place, Galveston(?), confronted with a Texas-size hamburger complete with skewered olive atop. Frankie Laine belting out “Blowing Wild” on the juke box; “Maureen of mine.....” Ah, what a singer!

Btw, why hasn’t Welsh ex ships steward Donald Peers been given a mention? “In a Shady nook.....” His signature tune and all time favourite. He was as popular as Sinatra in the UK at one time. I suspect it is because Mum liked him and nobody wants to appear “square.” (heh, heh).

Aberdonian

rcraig
3rd December 2011, 15:00
Donald Peers? Bit like listening to syrup being poured out! Or that sickly "Sailing By" weather forecast excrescence!! There, I feel better for that!

Aberdonian
3rd December 2011, 15:06
I doubt if all your peers feel the same way.

Donald McGhee
3rd December 2011, 17:21
I had a big red plastic one, got Radio luxembourg etc, can't remember the breed, but it was a damn fine radio. Left it on board when I "changed lifestyles" in Wellington!
Plus all my clothes, two budgies and all my books.

Waighty
3rd December 2011, 21:04
I remember buying a Sony portable radio, not very grand or big for that matter, in Honiara at the duty free shop; it was delivered to the bond until we sailed (Avonbank 1970). Great little thing when on 12-4at night on the bridge wing it picked up all sorts - World Service, Radio Australia, Radio Moscow (always good for a laugh in those days) and Voice of America amongst others including the macho voiced Latin American stations! Lasted me for 4 years and then I donated it to my Father who managed to keep it going for many years, holding it together with masking tape!

In the early 1970s Sony also brought out a personal version of a car cassette player complete with speakers and brief case type holder. On Gowanbank 1974, DC ship, the lecky rigged up a step down consisting of an array of assorted light bulbs mounted on old dunnage wood; it worked a treat but the cabin got really hot!

Alan Rawlinson
4th December 2011, 08:45
Bought one of the early transistor radios in the early 50's. when we were in Japan. No bigger than a packet of fags, and with a black soft leather case. It was a magic little box, and can recall using it in 2 different situations - Sitting on the monkey island under the stars on the graveyard watch in mid Pacific, it would pick up all sorts of far away MW stations, depending on the ( sometimes freak) weather conditions - pulling in west coast USA radio stations KL** or K*** something or other - "yakety Yak, don't go back"... " Put your sweet lips, a little closer to the phone " ( Jim Reeves)

In the cabin, things were more difficult, but I would jam it in the porthole, using the big heavy brass port to keep it in place - and this gave hours of pleasurable listening.

Thank You Sony.

chadburn
4th December 2011, 16:06
There use to be Benkson? radio's or something like that.

Andy Lavies
5th December 2011, 20:25
My little pocket portable radio in 1957 had three valves, two batteries, one 6V and one 110V. It had earphones only - no speaker - and as it warmed up it glowed in the dark and the plastic case smelled strongly of fish. Then a Phillips mains AC/DC job with 'magic eye' tuning kept me company for nearly three years in the 'Inchanga.'
Later Pye Cambridge, Grundig reel-to-reel tape recorder, Grundig Satellite, separate speakers attached to plywood bulkheads to enhance the base (and never mind who was in the next door cabin). Oh! The money we spent!
Andy