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UK Coast Stations, favourites?

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  #26  
Old 22nd April 2015, 07:07
Paul Braxton Paul Braxton is offline  
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I think I probably worked every one of the UK stations, except GIL/Ilfracombe for some reason. Worked them all but never saw one of them. Come to that, never seen any radio station anywhere in the world though I've driven pretty near to where ZLB/Awarua must have been, down near Bluff on the south coast of NZ.

As far as I was concerned, at least, it was always really nice to get away from some of the 'cowboy' stations, get some real action approaching Europe/UK. There was nothing like that for a buzz, for me, anyway, 5OO khz jampacked with calls, dawn to dusk, the odd distress or XXX most 24 hours, usually a long way off and the autoalarm ringing away in the middle of the night for a distress down near ZDK or somewhere up north.

All that and the 'channels' too! Always used to get a double set of 'channels', one in the UK and the other down under. Don't know which was the most severe case, probably the latter.

Doing a long Kiwi/Aussie coastal was always the best reminder I ever had that I really did have the best job onboard. And the 'film star' wages too! Well I have to say (naively perhaps) that it felt like it sometimes, especially paying off in the UK and going in to the Marconi depot at East Ham, getting all those expenses paid over in cash...

Yep, phoning home via GNI channel 26, standing out on the bridge, nattering away, phone line clear as a bell, watching all those ships sliding past, Straits of Dover, remembering times when it was damn near impossible to get hold of the UK at all on HF, some dead spot in the South Pacific, maybe. Then I'd recall the palaver of making an HF R/T call, way back when I started, long QRY to send an ATEL MSG via GKB to Baldock, arranging an HF link call, all that stuff, long gone now of course.

Happy days.
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  #27  
Old 22nd April 2015, 08:26
trotterdotpom trotterdotpom is offline  
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Thanks for that info, R65. I never knew the station was originally at Seaforth.

John T
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  #28  
Old 22nd April 2015, 11:29
johnvvc johnvvc is offline  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Peter Eccleson View Post
Anglesy Radio/GLV - knew I was close to home en-route to Liverpool Seaforth when with Blue Star and ACT!
Anglesey Radio/GLV - my favourite too - but then I'm biassed - I worked there !!!

A good friend of mine who also worked there wrote a book about GLV - well more of a booklet really. He died a while back and I have it here. Some years ago I had my own web pages but with a change of ISP they all went pear-shaped, I may set up some new pages in which case I'd upload the GLV information. Seems a pity for it all to go down the tubes.
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  #29  
Old 22nd April 2015, 17:14
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John,

Maybe some of it would be interesting to members on here.
I am still waiting for Larry to get our GKA site back on line.

A long time ago since I was at GLV - not working but visiting, when Mark Morgan was there.

Neville - Hawkey01.
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  #30  
Old 22nd April 2015, 17:54
Barrie Youde Barrie Youde is offline  
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#31

Would be very interested to learn more about Anglesey Radio. I remember it well, from 1960 onwards. Always very civil & helpful.
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  #31  
Old 22nd April 2015, 19:03
Naytikos Naytikos is offline  
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posted by Paul Braxton
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And the 'film star' wages too! Well I have to say (naively perhaps) that it felt like it sometimes, especially paying off in the UK and going in to the Marconi depot at East Ham, getting all those expenses paid over in cash...
I can't tell if this was sarcasm; I hope so, otherwise I must ask 'which Marconi company did you work for?'
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  #32  
Old 22nd April 2015, 20:42
trotterdotpom trotterdotpom is offline  
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Originally Posted by R651400 View Post
If your lucky and browse deep enough there was somewhere on the net complete with photgraph the original Seaforth/GLV was operated from a railway waggon.
Now that you mention it - I've seen something like that when Humber Radio/ GKZ was operated from Grimsby Docks or somewhere. Maybe during WW2, or am I kidding myself?

John T
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  #33  
Old 22nd April 2015, 20:43
trotterdotpom trotterdotpom is offline  
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Originally Posted by Naytikos View Post
posted by Paul Braxton


I can't tell if this was sarcasm; I hope so, otherwise I must ask 'which Marconi company did you work for?'
The Marconis that I worked for didn't pay much but there was a lot of love.

John T
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  #34  
Old 22nd April 2015, 22:37
randcmackenzie randcmackenzie is offline  
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Originally Posted by trotterdotpom View Post
There are a couple of ladies from Wallaroo who visit the site .... be nice, RandC. Ha Ha.

Whatever you thought about the Spencer Gulf, if you'd come from the east, it was a blessed relief after the "Horror Stretch" from Cape Nelson up to Kangaroo Island.

John T
I thought it was great John T, transparent water up to the dock, never seen that before, 6 o'clock closing, hadn't seen that before either, and friendly people all along the dock on Saturday and Sunday.

I seem to remember the evening shift of dockers started about 6, and guess where THEY had all spent the afternoon.
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  #35  
Old 22nd April 2015, 23:36
Paul Braxton Paul Braxton is offline  
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Hi Naytikos (35).

Nope, no sarcasm intended there. It was a common jibe from others onboard: all that free time and film star wages! Tiny bit of envy creeping in there. Mind you, I wasn't exactly flush all the time, it was just such a change to me, having lots of dosh, especially when I came on leave. It had been a hell of a struggle for me, financially, for many years before I got to sea. Starting pay with Marconi wasn't good by any means, not at 61 quid a month and a loan to pay back to them for uniform, but it did start creeping up and up.

I wish I still had my final payslip from '82 though. I earned more in that one month than some of my friends were earning in a year. So yes, I did feel like I was on filmstar wages by then.

Wanted to buy a house in '79, in Sussex. Asking price was 17,450 quid and I had nearly ten grand sitting quietly in a local building society, just sitting there, making even more money. Paid out over half the cost or so in cash (imagine doing that now!) (after a bit of argy bargy with the building society manager bloke. He wouldn't advance the money for some reason, so I went to the bank, saw the manager there in his plush suited office. He heard my tale, lifted the phone, spoke to the building soc. bloke and announced that I had my money for the house. Just like that. Crikey, but I was so naive in the ways of the financial world back then.)

Just seemed to have so much money to play with in those days. No car to run helped, probably. Never needed one as I was always going off back to sea. You just couldn't spend all that on booze and women, no matter how hard you tried. At least that was the way it was for me. Others will have a different story. Maybe.

Getting back to Marconis; they always seemed right for me. I worked for them for over 12 years and looking back, I'm really pleased about that. It meant I got to cover so much ground on trips, never knowing where the next one would take me. Saw so much that I might not have seen, working for a shipping company. Oh I know there'll be lots of blokes extolling the virtues of working for some 'freelance' outfit, or supposedly much higher paying employers. The tales I heard from QSO's with suchlike R/O's. Somehow that scene never appealed to me at all. I guess I could have been labelled unadventurous but I had a ball, doing it the way I did.

It's weird, the way things go. I had a few rubbishy jobs after I left the sea, earned a few bob doing jobs I either hated or which weren't very interesting in comparison with the sea. Then I left all that and worked for Airwork at Bournemouth Airport for a few years. That at least was a worthwhile job and I got to really use my tech skills (and learned a lot more on the job). Trouble was, it was all a teeny bit stressful, so I decided to hang up the AVO probes, set aside the soldering iron for a bit and went back to doing the artwork I'd tentatively begun while at sea; set myself up as something of an artist. Then I really found out what the other side was like, no income at all, some years. A few sales, here and there and the occasional real big one. Just enough to keep me keen, I suppose Going back to what it was like before the sea. Zilch in the way of readies.

So I've kind of come full circle, in a way. It's nice to think back on those halcyon days when I really was wandering around with cash falling out of my back pocket and no worries at all.

The thread's diverged a bit from the UK coast station likes/dislikes. Nice that this forum is so dynamic.

Last edited by Paul Braxton; 22nd April 2015 at 23:48..
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  #36  
Old 25th April 2015, 14:13
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Some very sad looking photos there. Having worked at GND for some time its a sad sight. Great view if they had built it looking seaward.
Also spent over two years at GIL. At least they did use the station there for some art/music classes or similar. Have no idea if it is still being used as such but at least the museum has an area dedicated to GIL.
BT made no effort to save any of the old buildings or even their existence by way of plaques. Very sad. Nothing exists of GKA except some names on a few roads on the housing estate. The plaque never materialised. Don't know why I am surprised as history is not important.

Neville - Hawkey01
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  #37  
Old 25th April 2015, 15:56
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les.edgecumbe les.edgecumbe is offline  
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Marconi slagging:::

[QUOTE=Paul Braxton;1372585]Hi Naytikos (35).

Nope, no sarcasm intended there. It was a common jibe from others onboard: all that free time and film star wages! Tiny bit of envy creeping in there. Mind you, I wasn't exactly flush all the time, it was just such a change to me, having lots of dosh, especially when I came on leave. It had been a hell of a struggle for me, financially, for many years before I got to sea. Starting pay with Marconi wasn't good by any means, not at 61 quid a month and a loan to pay back to them for uniform, but it did start creeping up and up.

What a refreshing change to hear a GTZM story like this. Well spoken Paul. It seems its all too easy to justify the other side of the fence (freelance etc.), by slagging off another scenario. There were many many other R/Os/REOs etc within Marconi that stayed a long while and content with their lot. Of course it wasn't perfect~~ WTH is??
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  #38  
Old 26th April 2015, 02:08
Paul Braxton Paul Braxton is offline  
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Hi Les. Yes, poor old Marconi did seem to take a bit of a bashing in those days it seems. It was a fashionable thing to do, it always appeared to me. I never 'took their court', so to speak; never tried to justify my staying loyal to them. I was just so glad to be doing it all, never thought much, if at all about the other companies/employers.

When I left college I tried to get into the then NZS Co. Desperate to get on the NZ/Aussie run, I worked hard in my final days at college to get a radar ticket, as I'd heard I would have a much better chance of getting in with them if I had one. Went up for an interview and they smilingly advised me that they weren't taking on any juniors at that time, and that if I got a year's experience they might reconsider.

The rest is, of course, history. Instead of starting off in one of the smart NZSCO ships I found myself, virtually the next day, signing on to the articles of the mighty Shell tanker, Serenia. That was a bit of a baptism of fire, but a wonderful training experience for a very young lad in full charge of a nicely kitted out radio room with an alcoholic senior who relinquished the job to me after his first shakey handshake with the immortal words to a terrified 18 yr old: "Welcome aboard, Paul. This'll be your radio room. You won't see much of me..."

Crikey, but I was scared witless. Best sort of training you could have had, of course, though that didn't really hit me until a lot later. I probably hated Marconi's about that time.

Funny how things which, at the time, seem to be not what you want to happen often turn out to be the best possible outcome, at least with the benefit of hindsight.

Marconi's always seemed to treat me quite well, at least as far as I was concerned, though in the early days there wasn't much chance to take your full leave entitlement, they were that desperate to get ships manned I suppose.

Even that side of it didn't bother me particularly. I was always glad to get back to sea, despite having a pull to stay home for a while, get my feet on solid ground for a breather. It always seemed to kindle a sort of fresh appreciation for being on land, the changing seasons, novelty of not having to turn-to at 0800 for a GKA tfc list!

All that.

That aspect became more and more important to me as I grew older. Waiting for that 'phone to ring, hearing the dulcet tones of that girl (whose name is now forgotten) at East Ham Depot: "Good morning. Marconi Marine, I have Mr. Padfield for you..."

Good old Stan. He always seemed to have the knack of making me feel vaguely guilty about the time I had on leave, on full pay, no less! He would look straight at me, it seemed to me accusingly, over the top of his glasses and make some comment about how hard he and his oppo, Cliff worked, doing everything they could for the sake of the R/O, etc, etc. Obviously trying to influence me to get ashore, get off their books, get a proper job with the shore staff of Marconi Marine!

But I never did. Life took me down different routes.

Took a trip up to do a course at Chelmsford once. It was for a two week course and once, during that time we were all feted for lunch at the Marconi Head Office, Elettra House. That was a really interesting affair. Only time I ever had any contact with the HO. I'll never forget the famous portrait of the Marchese Marconi, glaring down at us as we tucked in to the surprisingly sumptuous lunch while all the employees had to get in line, queue up for their pie and chips. It felt like we were being treated like visiting VIP's. Don't know if anyone else had a similar experience but it was a unique one for me.

They charted my course well, did Marconi Marine. Took me to some places I never, ever would have seen in any other way, no matter what company I'd worked for. Some of those places were amazing, like the tiny Peruvian ports where all the cargo (milk powder) was unloaded by hand labour, or Shanghai, for four weeks in 1971 at the tail end of the cultural revolution. Even some of the bigger places, like Houston, Tx, or New Orleans, not to mention the Windies, of course.

Getting me serendipitously to the Manned Space Centre in 1975 when the Apollo/Soyuz mission was in progress; for a space buff like me a real nirvana, especially since it only cost us $2 to get there, courtesy of the Flying Angel.

Yes indeed, Marconi did it for me, even if they did stuff up my only chance to watch the mission of Apollo 12 and 14 on BBC2, inconsiderately flying me out to join ships in Trinidad!

So three cheers for the old firm!
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  #39  
Old 26th April 2015, 11:25
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My former colleague, Dick Molland, corresponded with me long after I left the sea, and until his death in a nursing home. It may be the case that Dick sailed with more companies than any other R/O and I put all his letters into my Kindle book, Letters from a Radio Officer, which is available on Amazon.
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  #40  
Old 26th April 2015, 12:39
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Varley Varley is online now   SN Supporter
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Indeed. Hip, Hip, Hip..................

(But the bastards that wrecked it, 'though after my time, need not join in!)
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  #41  
Old 27th April 2015, 05:26
5TT 5TT is offline  
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I found 9VG/Singapore very frustrating to work on H/F. I think ships with more powerful gear and synthesizers had a better experience but if you were stuck with older gear you were quickly through your two working frequencies and they were quick to QSR you, and then you were always at the back of the queue again. This would have been around 1982 I guess, it was always difficult and frustrating working them.

= Adrian +
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  #42  
Old 27th April 2015, 05:37
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Good old VIS was pretty good...

:-)
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  #43  
Old 27th April 2015, 19:15
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Neville #41

GKZ was sold at auction for a hugely inflated price by Telereal - in the shareholders interest of course. After a couple of planning refusals, it is now up for sale again, and more derelict looking than ever.

I did salvage one small part of it though !

David
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  #44  
Old 28th April 2015, 13:39
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David,

Unfortunately when GKA closed, I had been retired for a couple of years. Prior to leaving I had requested some of the photos etc around the station, one of which I had donated. Even so I received not a one.
Most seem to have been spirited away to unknown places.

Worked at GKZ during the DOC training and change over era.

Neville - Hawkey01
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  #45  
Old 28th April 2015, 19:14
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This thumbnail was taken in 2006, but it looks pretty much the same today, except there is a for sale sign at the gate.

This and others from around the world can be found at

www.coastalradio.org.uk

David
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  #46  
Old 30th April 2015, 17:55
expats expats is offline  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Paul Braxton View Post
. Then I left all that and worked for Airwork at Bournemouth Airport for a few years. That at least was a worthwhile job and I got to really use my tech skills (and learned a lot more on the job). .
Did you ever come across a Clive Gibbs at Airwork?
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  #47  
Old 30th April 2015, 23:13
Paul Braxton Paul Braxton is offline  
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Hi Expats. Nope, no memory of anyone by the name of Clive Gibbs. What was his position?

I didn't know all that many people in Airwork. We were fairly sequestered over in the tower building, doing our own thing with what the boss termed "ground radio", so the only contact I had with Airwork employees, other than Lou Curl, the boss, was at lunchtimes when we zipped over to the Airwork canteen for fish and chips!

Last edited by Paul Braxton; 30th April 2015 at 23:16..
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  #48  
Old 14th May 2015, 09:53
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Larry Bennett Larry Bennett is offline  
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Originally Posted by hawkey01 View Post
John,

Maybe some of it would be interesting to members on here.
I am still waiting for Larry to get our GKA site back on line.

A long time ago since I was at GLV - not working but visiting, when Mark Morgan was there.

Neville - Hawkey01.
Just a small update - I am hoping to get the GKA site back on line too! A combination of many issues (mostly personal involving house moves etc) have meant that I simply had not had the time to redesign/upload a new site following BT's decision to withdraw from web hosting.

However there is work in progress and when things settle down I will get something sorted. Keep the faith!

Larry +
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  #49  
Old 14th May 2015, 12:03
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Larry,

never lost the faith. Just having withdrawal symptoms.

Neville
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  #50  
Old 15th May 2015, 13:14
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Larry Bennett Larry Bennett is offline  
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David,

Unfortunately when GKA closed, I had been retired for a couple of years. Prior to leaving I had requested some of the photos etc around the station, one of which I had donated. Even so I received not a one.
Most seem to have been spirited away to unknown places.

Worked at GKZ during the DOC training and change over era.

Neville - Hawkey01
Sadly all the memorabilia was dispersed amongst the staff who were on duty one afternoon I think. There were a couple of pictures which were donated to me (on behalf of the station) which I would have liked but alas I was not given the opportunity. However I did manage to purloin a morse key which I intend to keep for posterity. Seems sad that not even a console was kept - would have been nice to keep one in a local museum or similar. In fact there is nothing whatsoever left in Highbridge to indicate that GKA even existed, despite efforts by myself and others to put some sort of 'blue plaque' or statue/obelisk in the area.

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