World wide Shore Radio stations - Ships Nostalgia
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World wide Shore Radio stations

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  #1  
Old 15th July 2009, 18:44
david freeman david freeman is offline  
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World wide Shore Radio stations

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?
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Old 17th July 2009, 12:12
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shaun watson shaun watson is offline  
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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
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  #3  
Old 17th July 2009, 13:24
K urgess K urgess is offline
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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
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File Type: jpg Area Scheme map s.jpg (124.0 KB, 129 views)
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Old 17th July 2009, 14:17
holland25 holland25 is offline  
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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.
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  #5  
Old 17th July 2009, 15:11
K urgess K urgess is offline
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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.
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Old 17th July 2009, 21:25
holland25 holland25 is offline  
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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.
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Old 17th July 2009, 21:55
GBXZ GBXZ is offline  
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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.
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  #8  
Old 18th July 2009, 05:47
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VIP Perth Radio

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
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  #9  
Old 18th July 2009, 08:32
Steven Lamb Steven Lamb is offline  
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Numerous H/F Stns

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 !
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Old 18th July 2009, 10:56
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Marconi Sahib View Post
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.

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Old 18th July 2009, 12:10
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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.

Thanks, knew it was sometime around there.

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.
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Old 18th July 2009, 12:14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Moulder View Post
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.

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 !
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  #13  
Old 18th July 2009, 13:55
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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.
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Old 18th July 2009, 14:19
holland25 holland25 is offline  
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There is an interesting account of Mauritius and the RN naval station at the following.http://www.hmsmauritius.co.uk/historyone.htm
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Old 18th July 2009, 20:06
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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 !
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Old 18th July 2009, 22:27
holland25 holland25 is offline  
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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.
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Old 19th July 2009, 10:28
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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.
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Old 19th July 2009, 11:24
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Originally Posted by holland25 View Post
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
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Old 19th July 2009, 16:08
IMRCoSparks IMRCoSparks is offline  
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GKB Dead spots

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Originally Posted by Moulder View Post
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.

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.
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Old 19th July 2009, 16:31
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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.
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Old 19th July 2009, 20:49
holland25 holland25 is offline  
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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.
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Old 25th July 2009, 08:31
david freeman david freeman is offline  
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Thanks for the information David Freeman

Quote:
Originally Posted by Marconi Sahib View Post
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.
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Old 1st August 2009, 23:51
Dutchy62 Dutchy62 is offline  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Marconi Sahib View Post
Thanks, knew it was sometime around there.

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.
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  #24  
Old 6th August 2009, 16:37
johnvvc johnvvc is offline
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HF area scheme etc...

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
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  #25  
Old 6th August 2009, 19:14
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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
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