Pacific Watch & Sector Watch at GKA - Ships Nostalgia
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Pacific Watch & Sector Watch at GKA

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  #1  
Old 14th January 2020, 17:15
Larry Bennett's Avatar
Larry Bennett Larry Bennett is offline  
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Pacific Watch & Sector Watch at GKA

I am currently undertaking a great deal of research into the history of GKA with a view to publishing a comprehensive history of the station during 2020.

As part of my research I have seen many references to the "Pacific Watch" which I understand was operated by Portishead using callsign GKG on 12 MHz during a night shift. However I have not yet located any official documentation about it and would be keen to learn how useful or successful it was (this was before my time at GKA).

I have however seen official documentation about a "Sector Watch" which I am aware of but never used in anger. It appears this was similar to the "Pacific Watch" except that the search point at GKA would monitor specific sectors in the Pacific/Indian Ocean areas as indicated by the GKB callband. I can't recall ever using this facility in anger during my time at GKA.

Would be keen to hear from anyone who used the above regularly or even irregularly. Presume the service disappeared from view in the early 1980s as I remember the sector selection switches on the search points but never used them.

Thanks in advance.

Larry +
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  #2  
Old 14th January 2020, 22:39
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Dave Woods Dave Woods is offline  
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Larry, From what I remember it started in about 1975, I went to Portishead that year before joining a ship destined for the Pacific. I seem to remember you had to call at certain times, and on special calling frequencies.
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  #3  
Old 15th January 2020, 08:22
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I used to work GKA from the Pacific on 12 MHz at about 0530Z.

Never remember the sector watch...I just called when I heard them.
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  #4  
Old 15th January 2020, 09:14
duncs duncs is offline  
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MIMCO provided 'Pacific xtals', one of which could be inserted into that spare slot on the front of the Oceanspan VI/VII, as required. I think GKB kept a watch, at certain times, on these freqs.
I vaguely remember using them.
I think Bank Line ROs would give you more info.

Last edited by duncs; 15th January 2020 at 09:25.. Reason: add vaguely remember
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  #5  
Old 15th January 2020, 13:58
sparkie2182 sparkie2182 is offline  
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Ditto Troppo's experience.
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  #6  
Old 15th January 2020, 14:04
duncs duncs is offline  
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I don't think, at the time, Troppo, would be using an Oceanspan and Atalanta or an R50M. But, Troppo can correct me.
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  #7  
Old 15th January 2020, 23:26
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Quote:
Originally Posted by duncs View Post
I don't think, at the time, Troppo, would be using an Oceanspan and Atalanta or an R50M. But, Troppo can correct me.
Conqueror HS...flat out......
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  #8  
Old 15th January 2020, 23:32
PeterY PeterY is offline  
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I referred to my 1978 Admiralty List of Radio Signals Vol 1.
GKA introduced the sector arrangements following the close of the Area Scheme and lots of complaints about poor communications with various parts of the world.
There were seven sectors cover area boundaries:
1 Punta Arenas to Callao
2 Callao to Acapulco
3 Acapulco to Vancouver
4 Vancouver to Dateline
5 Dateline to Osaka
6 Osaka to Saigon
7 Saigon to Madras

GKA would run callband eg DE GKB 2 S2 indicating the calling channel 2 and open for calls on from Sector 2.

Used it a couple of times when normal arrangements were overloaded (Xmas) and got through generally fairly quickly. For the Opeanspan/Atalanta stations this was an improvement that the EU stations had for years.
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  #9  
Old 15th January 2020, 23:37
duncs duncs is offline  
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Yep, Troppo, with an Apollo and the Conqueror, no problems to QSO GKA whichever part of the world you were in.
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  #10  
Old 15th January 2020, 23:44
duncs duncs is offline  
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PeterY, I don't think that was the Pacific scheme, but I may be wrong, and mixing things up. Memory not so good.
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  #11  
Old 17th January 2020, 00:39
Buck Taylor Buck Taylor is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Larry Bennett View Post
I am currently undertaking a great deal of research into the history of GKA with a view to publishing a comprehensive history of the station during 2020.

As part of my research I have seen many references to the "Pacific Watch" which I understand was operated by Portishead using callsign GKG on 12 MHz during a night shift. However I have not yet located any official documentation about it and would be keen to learn how useful or successful it was (this was before my time at GKA).

I have however seen official documentation about a "Sector Watch" which I am aware of but never used in anger. It appears this was similar to the "Pacific Watch" except that the search point at GKA would monitor specific sectors in the Pacific/Indian Ocean areas as indicated by the GKB callband. I can't recall ever using this facility in anger during my time at GKA.

Would be keen to hear from anyone who used the above regularly or even irregularly. Presume the service disappeared from view in the early 1980s as I remember the sector selection switches on the search points but never used them.

Thanks in advance.

Larry +
I worked at GKA for a short period during 1975/6 and I do remember doing a stint on the Pacific net. As I remember it was open for a short periods when the propagation was favourable. In my time that was 16mhz. A lot of the time the ships calling had such a weak signal that they were unworkable. When traffic was feasible, lots of repeats were required before a QSL could be given.
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  #12  
Old 17th January 2020, 06:01
gordonarfur gordonarfur is offline
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I have or had never heard of it, however at 2 AM whilst at anchor off Port Chalmers in 1963 I called up GKG on 12 mcs using my trusty old oceanspan tx got an instant reply msg sent all done within 1 minute.
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  #13  
Old 17th January 2020, 06:05
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Quote:
Originally Posted by duncs View Post
Yep, Troppo, with an Apollo and the Conqueror, no problems to QSO GKA whichever part of the world you were in.
This very radio station...
Attached Images
File Type: jpg Lake boat 1.jpg (98.6 KB, 52 views)
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  #14  
Old 18th January 2020, 04:17
duncs duncs is offline  
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Nice station, Troppo, it brings back memories.
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  #15  
Old 18th January 2020, 04:30
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Yes, MV Lake Eyre/VJLL 15000T geared bulkie.

I also sailed in her sistership Lake Barrine/VLLB, which was a much happier ship.

The console was really well laid out ergonomically, with the emrx under the main rx, and the AA/AKD at right.
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  #16  
Old 21st January 2020, 20:45
porthgwarra porthgwarra is offline  
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I left GKA in January '74 and remember the Pacific Watch from a nominated
console using the most favourable band given the time of day.
A sort of formalisation of Jack Todd's habit of giving his chosen 0800 arrival
a few callsigns on a TR slip saying 'they're coming over the top'.
Dont recall the sector watch which sounds like it came after the Pacific Watch...
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  #17  
Old 21st January 2020, 21:00
Buck Taylor Buck Taylor is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Troppo2 View Post
This very radio station...
Yes, that station was Marconi's finest effort. From memory the Conqueror was rated near 1Kw I/P. Unfortunately with the limitations of the standard lump of wire up top it couldn't always perform at its full potential. The Apollo was an excellent main receiver. The AGC was the most complex circuitry ever devised. I heard that it was originally conceived as a valve set or possibly a hybrid and later to all solid state excepting the nixie tubes.
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  #18  
Old 21st January 2020, 21:05
Buck Taylor Buck Taylor is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by porthgwarra View Post
I left GKA in January '74 and remember the Pacific Watch from a nominated
console using the most favourable band given the time of day.
A sort of formalisation of Jack Todd's habit of giving his chosen 0800 arrival
a few callsigns on a TR slip saying 'they're coming over the top'.
Dont recall the sector watch which sounds like it came after the Pacific Watch...
Most of the traffic on the Pacific net would have been on the short path/over the top and hence had a warble on the signal. The excellent rhombic antennas at GKA were equally adept at receiving on the long path as well as the short path.
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  #19  
Old 21st January 2020, 22:16
porthgwarra porthgwarra is offline  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Buck Taylor View Post
Most of the traffic on the Pacific net would have been on the short path/over the top and hence had a warble on the signal. The excellent rhombic antennas at GKA were equally adept at receiving on the long path as well as the short path.
that's right.
Aerial selection N+1 for Japan area.
N or N-1 for central North Pacific.
16 or 22mcs at 0800 !
Wouldn't happen now as sunspot activity
for the last 2 cycles doesnt support it - bar perhaps the odd day.
Nothing like the early 70's.
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  #20  
Old 21st January 2020, 23:51
Buck Taylor Buck Taylor is offline
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Talking

Quote:
Originally Posted by porthgwarra View Post
that's right.
Aerial selection N+1 for Japan area.
N or N-1 for central North Pacific.
16 or 22mcs at 0800 !
Wouldn't happen now as sunspot activity
for the last 2 cycles doesnt support it - bar perhaps the odd day.
Nothing like the early 70's.
Absolutely correct. A few years after leaving the sea, I took up Amateur radio again but haven't been on HF for 4/5 years due as you know to very low sun spot activity and lack of ionisation on the F2 layer. In the 1970's the bands were wide open and as I remember 22mhz was open to the Pacific at times from GKA. From historical records we know that low or very low sun spot activity is a harbinger of cold weather here on earth. SFI is now hovering around the 70 mark rather than the more usual 100+. But try telling that to the Climate change/global warming alarmists....
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  #21  
Old Yesterday, 02:44
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The amateur bands are still good for DX, particularly using FT8...
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