Did Call-signs Change?

John Leary
30th March 2006, 18:53
I recently bought some Marconi Marine radio equipment (circa 1970ís) that I believe came from the CS Mercury, which was scrapped around 1997. The CS Mercury was built by Cammell Laird Shipbuilders in 1962 and in my records originally had the call-sign GJXH, confirmed by the programming of the Automatic keying unit.

I was fortunate to be given a Cable and Wireless Marine post card with the equipments that shows her with satellite domes, which clearly would not have been original build but fitted at a later stage in her life. The equipment cabinet, which I also bought, has a label that carries the call-sign VSBG9 which she might have been given when fitted with GMDSS equipments or possibly re-registered, or both.

Can anyone throw any light on this situation?
Regards
John

King Ratt
30th March 2006, 20:12
For John Leary

Hello

Unlikely that c/s would change on fitting GMDSS..none of the fleet I worked with (RFA) were changed. Re-registration seems most likely. Both these c/s you mentioned are no longer "live" check them out at http://www.itu.int/cgi-bin/htsh/mars/ship_search.sh#start

73

Ron Stringer
30th March 2006, 21:32
Quite possibly she flagged out to Bermuda or some other former colony as part of the flight from the UK flag in the 1980s/'90s. Certainly the GjXH callsign is the original.

Ron

John Leary
31st March 2006, 12:43
King Ratt and Ron

Many thanks for the information which was most helpful. Bermuda seems a strong possibility because she spent time laying cables in that area and I think appears on Bermudian postage stamps.

Best regards
John (Applause)

Thamesphil
31st March 2006, 14:00
Each flag of registry has its own call sign sequence, a bit like aircraft registration prefixes. Gxxx is a British call sign (although Britain also has other sequences), whilst VSxx is used by British colonies and offshore registers such as the Isle of Man.

Phil

Chief Engineer's Daughter
31st March 2006, 17:12
Each flag of registry has its own call sign sequence, a bit like aircraft registration prefixes. Gxxx is a British call sign (although Britain also has other sequences), whilst VSxx is used by British colonies and offshore registers such as the Isle of Man.

Phil

OWxxx are Danish registered ships.
A call sign is unique to a ship and helps with identification. Very useful when communications are poor or there isn't time to "spell" a vessels name on the radio. Sometimes its easier to ask some of our er, shall we say, less fluent english speakers for the callsign and then look up the shipsname.

Skol
CED

bert thompson
31st March 2006, 19:45
My first ship Chelwood in 1950 had call sign GSNT.
In 1990 the callsign was in use again but of course on a different ship long after the Chelwood was demobbed.

R651400
3rd April 2006, 20:06
John, I disagree with Bermuda. VS was allocated to Hong Kong and my guess this is where cs Mercury was registered.
Malcolm

hawkey01
3rd April 2006, 21:34
All ships change callsign on change of registry. If they just change ownership and stay under i.e UK flag they would retain their original callsign. When sold to overseas buyers the registry would change as would the callsign.The old callsign is then returned to the bank as it were. It maybe many years before it is reissued. I believe that it was possible at one stage to request a callsign for a new build, if it were available. The only callsign which I know of that has stayed with a shipping company is GBTT, which passed from the Mary to the QE2. There would be no reason to change callsign for GMDSS purposes.
Hawkey01
(Night)

R651400
4th April 2006, 06:33
Concur with hawkeye01. Thought the QE2/GBTT was unique with a re-issue of an old callsign. Never understood why GBTT and not GBSS which was QE1's letters.
If bt is right on GSNT, twud be interesting to find out which ship ended up with this reissue.

hawkey01
4th April 2006, 10:42
With regard to QE2 callsign. If my memory serves me correctly it was because at the time the original QE was still around, although sold in 1968 to the Elizabeth Corp Port Everglades I dont think she had changed registry.When she was on route to HK as Seawise University she had an HK callsign which I cannot remember but the old deep rasp of the transmitter was still there. So the GBSS was not available. GBTT was, as QM had gone in 1968 and QE2 was not launched until 69. One other ships callsign which I believe was reissued to the new ship with the same name was Oriana GVSN but I stand to be corrected on that one.
Hawkey01 (egg)

bert thompson
5th April 2006, 15:19
Chief Engineers Daughter
Dear Lady please look in your "book" anf find call sign GSNT
Blessings Bert

Dave Woods
9th April 2006, 15:18
John,

I have just seen your query regarding the CS Mercury call sign. I was Radio Officer on board during the late 80's and again in 93.

Se he was originally registered in London but in the early 80's took up station in Spain and had a Spanish crew. It was at this time she became registered in Bermuda and remained so until 1994 when all the fleet was re registered in London again for tax purposes.

The satellite domes, this could date your photo. She originally had a Scientific Atlanta, but in 1987 she had a major refit and an EB Saturn was fitted. I certainly can not remember two Sat Coms in the radio room, although I could be mistaken. I do know she had another refit in the early 90's so maybe at that time another one was fitted. They certainly earned their keep on board the Cable Venture where I spent the best part of 6 years.

In 1994 she had an engine room fire whilst sat alongside in Avonmouth and it then took the company a couple of years to decide what to do with the wreck.

Best regards

Dave Woods.



I recently bought some Marconi Marine radio equipment (circa 1970ís) that I believe came from the CS Mercury, which was scrapped around 1997. The CS Mercury was built by Cammell Laird Shipbuilders in 1962 and in my records originally had the call-sign GJXH, confirmed by the programming of the Automatic keying unit.

I was fortunate to be given a Cable and Wireless Marine post card with the equipments that shows her with satellite domes, which clearly would not have been original build but fitted at a later stage in her life. The equipment cabinet, which I also bought, has a label that carries the call-sign VSBG9 which she might have been given when fitted with GMDSS equipments or possibly re-registered, or both.

Can anyone throw any light on this situation?
Regards
John

Coastie
9th April 2006, 18:17
Chief Engineers Daughter
Dear Lady please look in your "book" anf find call sign GSNT
Blessings Bert

Hi Bert.

CED has passed this on to me as she's not in work at the moment. I have checked the "book" and there are no details recorded for that callsign.

John Leary
9th April 2006, 19:56
Dave and everyone else who replied.

Many thanks to you all for your help in answering my query. My emergency equipment fitted in an ancilleries rack may well have been installed in CS Mercury until late in her career because the equipments all have numbered discs against major controls which are cross referenced to an information card which is headed "Instructions to ship's officers for sending an emergency distress call" which means possibly that when her GMDSS equipments were installed she no longer carried an R/O.

Once again many thanks to you all.
Best regards
John (Applause)

bert thompson
9th April 2006, 21:16
Coastie


Many thanks for reply. Should have noted the name at the time. Think I worked the ship but the memory fades.
Regards Bert

Dave Woods
10th April 2006, 07:38
John,


I was on Venture in Swansea when Mercury caught fire in Avonmouth and we took all the crew in the middle of the night. Mercury was gearing up, from a lay up, to start the FLAG lay through the Med. At the time all the ships carried a Radio Officer and GMDSS equipment was not fitted until 1998/99. Does the equipment have a name, or possibly could you take a photograph and send it to me.

Best regards

Dave.

wakaman
11th April 2006, 09:21
The CS.Mercury (Cable & Wireless) was registered in Plymouth,I sailed on
her maiden voyage.

Dave Woods
11th April 2006, 22:42
John,

I have just arrived home and dug out the photos of CS Mercury in 1988 when she was on standby in Baltimore while the CS Long Lines was completing a cable lay.

Firstly I can confirm that she only had one sat com at that time, although in the same corner there was a Redifon Marinex telex machine which was all but redundant.

At the other end of the room there was a "conventional radio room" complete with an Emergency rack which I believe is the one you are now the proud owner off. Attached to the top of the rack is the Emergency card with the instructions to send a distress message.

I have managed to take a digital photo of a photograph as I can not find the negative at the present time, I hope you can make out enough detail.

Best regards

Dave Woods

John Leary
12th April 2006, 19:51
Dave

Many thanks for the photograph. It most definately looks like the rack in my possession and its great to be able to see it in its original home. At the moment it is in pieces being given a bit of a clean but will post a picture of it as soon as its back together.
Tks again. Best regards
John

R651400
14th April 2006, 07:34
She was originally registered in London but in the early 80's took up station in Spain and had a Spanish crew. It was at this time she became registered in Bermuda and remained so until 1994 when all the fleet was re registered in London again for tax purposes.


With Dave's posting, one certainly can't refute the change to Bermudan registry of Mercury but I am curious at the move away from conventional former colonies and protectorate callsign allocation.
An old amateur-radio callbook shows VS as being allocted to Hong Kong and my memory tells me HK registry call letters started VR. Another thread on a similar subject shows Blue Star Bermudan registry with calls beginning ZF.
http://www.shipsnostalgia.com/showthread.php?t=1372&page=1&pp=25

In the case of coast stations excepting SA, India, Australia and New Zealand they all started with VP irrespective of location Penang/VPX Singapore/VPW and Hong Kong/VPS. I think this was the same for western waters.

Dave Woods
14th April 2006, 11:48
A look at the following site may explain the call sign allocation.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/International_Callsign_Allocations

Best regards

Dave Woods

R651400
15th April 2006, 08:01
A look at the following site may explain the call sign allocation.

Mni tks but not quite Dave. VS ex HK has now been re-allocated to the PRC.
Any 50/60's ITU List of Call Signs (Les Indicatives d'Appels) would show UK/Colonial V and Z allocations more geographically precise.
Things have obviously changed a lot since then,
Regards
Malcolm

Bootneck
28th April 2006, 23:16
Hi,

I noticed in the previous responses that it was stated that G--- was always allocated to british vessels.

Historically British vessels were allocated 4 characters starting with G but only as far back as 1933. Previous to that they could have had any group of letters. If you check out Lloyds Registers of about 1932 and 1934 you will see these changes, even though the vessel has not changed hands or been re-registered.

The re-lettering (if that is the correct term) affected all nations and not just Britain as checking any Japanese vessel (Maru) will show - these all changed to J--- from 1933 etc.

regards

Bootneck
ex GKYD

Paul Braxton
25th May 2006, 13:39
John, where did you buy the MIMCO gear from, may I ask?