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  #1  
Old 19th July 2018, 10:35
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MF Only

Sailed UK/Far East/UK for five months MF only in 1957 on Glen Line's Glenbeg/GDJV ex WW2 US liberty ship Samjack.
Many British and foreign owned tramps at this time were similarly kitted and dependent on either a freebie QSP/RM pay or no chance the QTC leaving the radio room desk..
Thanks to the Area Scheme and so many British H24 liners around at this time there was always someone to give a helping hand.
Any other MF only out there today?

Last edited by R651400; 19th July 2018 at 10:53..
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  #2  
Old 19th July 2018, 11:41
jimg0nxx jimg0nxx is offline  
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Sailed on two MF only ships, but no need for HF as one on Middle Trade, Marwick Head of Henry Macgregor of Leith, got no further than Spain and Norway. The other was Royal Ulsterman, Glasgow - Belfast ferry.
Did QSP for British ships around the world, mainly belonging to "Chatty Chapmans". Could never reconcile the idea that to save a few bob they refused to fit HF and possibly missed out on a charter due to no contact with vessel.
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  #3  
Old 19th July 2018, 12:34
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Quote:
Originally Posted by R651400 View Post
Any other MF only out there today?
Only if they don't exceed the limits of GMDSS Area A2.
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  #4  
Old 19th July 2018, 13:31
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What's GMDSS?
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  #5  
Old 19th July 2018, 13:58
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Does GMDSS have a MCW capability or do you mean Area 2A?
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  #6  
Old 19th July 2018, 15:37
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No, it only has M/F radiotelephony and DSC. I meant to type Area 2 but for some reason my dodgy fingers, my dodgy brain or my ridiculously smart phone, converted that to A2.

Shades of the Area Scheme coming back to haunt me.
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  #7  
Old 19th July 2018, 16:35
Dave McGouldrick Dave McGouldrick is offline
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Well Ron, my phone is supposed to be smart, but it's not that clever.
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  #8  
Old 20th July 2018, 00:18
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During my time with Holts (1943/1951), I sailed deep-sea on only one ship which had HF. This was the Glengarry which had the Ocean Span transmitter.

My last ship was the Deucalion/ex-Glenogle (GDQW) and the following is extracted from my book, LAST VOYAGE AND BEYOND.

As we headed south through the Macassar Strait, Kerr handed me a telegram for transmission to the Agent at Macassar. As it was already dark, static had descended on the ether so that this was impossible with only a medium-wave transmitter. When I explained to him why the message could not be sent until daylight the next day, he replied that the bloody thing was useless and that I should throw it over the side. But, as he was implying that the fault was mine, I made a mental note of the remark and incorporated it into my wireless report at the end of the voyage.
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  #9  
Old 20th July 2018, 04:51
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..I meant to type Area 2 but for some reason my dodgy fingers, my dodgy brain or my ridiculously smart phone, converted that to A2..
Don't possess a smart phone only a steam 4,50 job from Carphone Warehouse but the physical aspects are all too familiar!
An interesting point from the latest ROA bulletin QSO. Blue Funnel never upgraded their WW2 Sam class liberties from MF only yet their subsidiary Elder Dempster's Zungon/GDNC (ex Samyale) must have been Marconi MF/HF upgraded some time after '47 purchase from the MOWT.

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During my time with Holts (1943/1951), I sailed deep-sea on only one ship which had HF...
That is a revelation because by 1956 all the pre-war Blueys (and there were a number) had been upgraded to MF/HF with mainly Redifon equipment.
Does that mean that before this upgrade all of them would have been MF only? It would be interesting to know what the equipment was.
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Old 20th July 2018, 16:14
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That is a revelation because by 1956 all the pre-war Blueys (and there were a number) had been upgraded to MF/HF with mainly Redifon equipment.
Does that mean that before this upgrade all of them would have been MF only? It would be interesting to know what the equipment was.
Extracted from my book BACK TO SEA.

The radio room of the Atreus was unbelievably archaic. At Leith Nautical, I had been examined on the very latest equipment, but the Atreus had an old transmitter with a starting handle which was moved over brass studs and a receiver with plug-in coils. The coils, which covered the various bands, were kept in pigeonholes on the bulkhead behind the desk and when we changed from one band to another, we had to select and plug-in the appropriate coil.

On 3 October, 1949, the Atreus arrived at Rosyth to be reduced to scrap.

On 11 March 1956, I was on GRL, within the Portishead building, when I took the final message from the Deucalion when she entered Briton Ferry to be broken up.
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  #11  
Old 20th July 2018, 16:30
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Thanks and the 5th Engineer (Kirkcaldy) on that final Deucalion voyage later told me when FWE rang out for the last time the 2nd Engineer picked up a mallet and smashed the engine room telegraph to smithereens..
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  #12  
Old 20th July 2018, 17:36
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Thanks and the 5th Engineer (Kirkcaldy) on that final Deucalion voyage later told me when FWE rang out for the last time the 2nd Engineer picked up a mallet and smashed the engine room telegraph to smithereens..
That must have been on the trip to the breakers, as he wasn't on the last voyage to Australia and Indonesia.
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  #13  
Old 20th July 2018, 18:22
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No it was the final coasting voyage and the frustration of so many breakdowns etc but somewhere on SN I remember a posting that said when Blue Funnel ships were sold to the knackers they were company sabotaged by taking a large chunk out of the propellor shaft to prevent the ship from being sold on..
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  #14  
Old 20th July 2018, 20:13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jimg0nxx View Post
Sailed on two MF only ships, but no need for HF as one on Middle Trade, Marwick Head of Henry Macgregor of Leith, got no further than Spain and Norway. The other was Royal Ulsterman, Glasgow - Belfast ferry.
Did QSP for British ships around the world, mainly belonging to "Chatty Chapmans". Could never reconcile the idea that to save a few bob they refused to fit HF and possibly missed out on a charter due to no contact with vessel.
Ah, the Marwick Head, happy days... According to my Discharge Book I signed on the good ship Marwick Head in June 1961 at South Shields and paid off in September at Grangemouth. After that it was a City boat out to the fleshpots of the Far East... I also sailed on the Susan Constant and vaguely remember she was also MF only.

I always remember coming back to the Marwick Head in one of the Scottish ports late one evening. One of the crew had bought a case of beer back with him which was being carried by a young lady he'd met at one of the local hostelries... She'd apparently had few bevvies and fell off the gangway into the dock. All we could hear were the cries 'She's lost my beer' - no concern being shown about the young lady herself!
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  #15  
Old 21st July 2018, 06:30
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Aaahhh, shipping companies....
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  #16  
Old 21st July 2018, 09:04
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The SOLAS regs were so, so out of date by the 1940s/50s....let alone the 60/70s

The GMDSS was too much change, too quickly.

An appropriate subject for my 1000th post.... ;-)
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  #17  
Old 21st July 2018, 12:41
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The GMDSS was too much change, too quickly.
Depends on what you consider an acceptable rate of change. GMDSS was proposed in the early 1970s, introduced in 1992 and fully implemented in 1998/99. Sounds positively glacial to me. The most recent bit of technology that it adopted was satellite communication, which first entered service at sea on merchant ships in 1976.

The NHS was proposed about 1943 and came into being in 1948.
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  #18  
Old 21st July 2018, 14:23
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An appropriate subject for my 1000th post.... ;-)
Start another thread then... Surely MF only is too neanderthal for you youngsters.
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  #19  
Old 21st July 2018, 14:25
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ps... All the Iron boats (AWA) on the Oz coast when I first visited were MF only.
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  #20  
Old 21st July 2018, 14:30
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ps... All the "Iron" boats (AWA) on the Oz coast when I first visited were MF only and I think Union Steam NZ as I had the pleasure of watching the Marconi engineer fit out USS Kaitoa Henry Robb shipyard Leith circa 1955.
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  #21  
Old 21st July 2018, 23:48
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Depends on what you consider an acceptable rate of change. GMDSS was proposed in the early 1970s, introduced in 1992 and fully implemented in 1998/99. Sounds positively glacial to me. The most recent bit of technology that it adopted was satellite communication, which first entered service at sea on merchant ships in 1976.

The NHS was proposed about 1943 and came into being in 1948.
Exactly. The maritime industry was hopeless at implementing new comms tech. It took forever.

Why? Vested interests, shonky shipping companies and dodgy flag states, all facilitated by the masters of inactivity - IMO.

I've seen it all. From every angle. User, regulator, designer.

I am now a gent of leisure. Marine comms are a mess, and I 'm glad to be out of it.

It is nice to reminisce about the old system here with fellow pros....
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Old 21st July 2018, 23:49
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Start another thread then... Surely MF only is too neanderthal for you youngsters.
No, I quite like MF. I find the propagation interesting.

At least the old ships had decent MF antennas...
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  #23  
Old 22nd July 2018, 00:08
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Coming up to the UK from the Caribbean always fascinated me. HF was necessary for daily communication when you started, but in the evening and night you could hear European coast stations as MF bounced around on higher, albeit thinner layers of the ionosphere.

I also remember crossing the Pacific and hearing ZLD which was far far away to the south. You're right, MF propagation when the Sun had fled to the far side of the world was interesting, to the point of being f****** peculiar, and to a large extent completely unpredictable.

Radio comms are I think one of the most fascinating subjects there are. (I offer mighty hails to James Clarke Maxwell on this.) Ask any radio astronomer, and those lads are listening to the beginning of the Universe. All via radio !! Good stuff isn't it.
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Old 22nd July 2018, 00:19
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Amateurs are doing some very interesting things on 476 kHz with new cutting edge digital modes.

The average amateur backyard antenna is about 2% efficient on MF, as well.
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Old 22nd July 2018, 01:11
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I remember the early onset of transistor radios on MF (or Medium Wave, they sort of cross connect at that part of the spectrum.) They used a ferrite rod antenna, and you had to rotate your radio according to the station you wanted to listen to. (Radio Luxembourg 208 metres... off to the southeast of where I was living.)

Bit of romance in those days, to say nothing of some basic knowledge of geography. Something you can't see, hear, feel or smell (let alone touch) travelled through the air and did magic things in a silly little box with a speaker. If that isn't magic what is ? (Refer to Arthur C. Clarke's Third Law on that one.)

It was only later, during Sparky training, you suddenly became aware of the fact that it wasn't magic, but had always been there. They just figured out a way to utilise it.

On a darker note, current thinking is the entire universe will end up on a very low amplitude, very long wavelength electro-magnetic wave, echoing through an infinite space of otherwise total emptiness.

(And if that isn't a good reason to go on the p1ss, well f*** it, I'll find another. )
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