GKA - 90th Anniversary celebrations - Ships Nostalgia
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GKA - 90th Anniversary celebrations

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  #1  
Old 3rd June 2018, 21:46
Larry Bennett's Avatar
Larry Bennett Larry Bennett is offline  
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GKA - 90th Anniversary celebrations

July 2018 sees 90 years since the HF Maritime Radio Service moved from the Devizes transmitter site to Portishead, with the operational centre located at Highbridge, Somerset.

The 90th anniversary of Portishead Radio will be commemorated by three special event amateur radio stations operating from 1 to 28 July;

GB0GKA will be run by Tony, G3ZRJ from near Tiverton. Larry, G4HLN will run GB0GKB from Burnham-on-Sea, whilst GB0GKC in Weston-super-Mare will be operated by Pete, G3TJE. All three are ex-GKA Radio Officers.

In addition there will be a reunion for all ex-staff on 28th July, tickets for which are already sold out. However there is a QRY list in case of any last-minute cancellations.

Further details at www.portisheadradio.co.uk

Larry +
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  #2  
Old 4th June 2018, 03:49
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I spent many hours calling or waiting in turn for GKB - it seems odd tuning through the marine bands

and no longer hearing the slow repetitious call of "de gkb".
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  #3  
Old 4th June 2018, 11:39
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I remember in the early 2000's I bought an ICOM IC-PCR1000 receiver. This is just a small box with the radio side built in, which you then connect to a PC and software gives you the receiver on the screen, and provides the audio via the computer.
This gives you a frequency range of about 10 KHz to 1.3 GHz, quite phenomenal I thought (still have it and it's going strong, software working ok on Windows 10.)

I still remembered some of Portishead's frequencies, 8546, 12822, 17098.4, 12835.5 (I think) so imagine my surprise when I browsed and couldn't locate any signal at all. It never occurred to me that HF CW had been consigned to the bin of history !!

I was a bit out of touch.
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  #4  
Old 4th June 2018, 13:16
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Portishead is a nice little town, it has become a little modern these past few years.
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  #5  
Old 5th June 2018, 15:49
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Portishead merely a QTH/geographical location of transmitter site/aerials for DF/direction finding purposes..
Burnham on Sea/Highbridge where Portishead transmitters were controlled from not quite in the same ilk.
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  #6  
Old 5th June 2018, 22:00
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QRY 25 - still waiting
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  #7  
Old 6th June 2018, 08:05
Bill Greig Bill Greig is offline  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sparks69 View Post
QRY 25 - still waiting
You were lucky, worst I got was QRY 47 one time.
Bill
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  #8  
Old 6th June 2018, 10:45
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There were times when the QRY's crept into the 50's and 60's and you started to sweat that the band might not hold out from some parts of the world, but, have to give them their due, they rattled through the ships with much gusto.
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  #9  
Old 6th June 2018, 11:54
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Had some. QRY 50 and 60s. And of course just as it was your turn it all faded away. Even so GKA was the best service worldwide.
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  #10  
Old 6th June 2018, 12:43
Bill Greig Bill Greig is offline  
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I vividly remember first trip on my own, joined the Cumberland/GPPY in Bandar Abbas. We sailed without knowing which port in Kiwi we were going to. Went on watch late afternoon, got GKB with a good strong signal on 22 Mhz, great, called up with the trusty Oceanspan, got QRY 12 or something. Of course sun set about 5pm there at that time of the year, within minutes of sunset I had lost GKB. On top of that the radar stopped working as soon as we had started main engines. A stressful start to what was eventually a great trip.
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  #11  
Old 6th June 2018, 14:24
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Those long QRY's must have been after the Area Control Scheme of which GKB was a broadcast call sign for Area 1B.
During the ACS GKI was always the 22 mc/s ship/shore tfc call.
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  #12  
Old 6th June 2018, 19:30
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Was between ZSC and ZSQ one afternoon when the Mate came in with an SLT for a bottle of scotch from Kays catalogue. Heard good signal from GKI, called, strait up and got QSL all in the space of 5 minutes. This was 1966 though !

David
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  #13  
Old 6th June 2018, 20:05
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Slight change to the special event station - to ensure there will be activity throughout July, the stations will operate as below:

GB0GKA - 4th-31st July (6m-80m)
GB0GKB - 1st-28th July (10m-20m)
GB0GKC - 1st-28th July (6m-80m)

Operations will be as and when time permits, although there will activity on most days.

Larry +
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  #14  
Old 8th June 2018, 01:12
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A beautiful station, I got a high QRY number received from GKB but when I tuned to GKC I heard multiple operators take five ships within a minute, I realized it would only be five minutes of waiting. It was and I finally got used to people sending in my headset - which I initially thought was the operator trying to break me or a missed word (for a fill), so what I did if I unintentionally stumbled was just send ? and repeat the previous word and continue onwards. The operators were top notch. Someone here might know when transmissions ceased from Portishead Downs? Did they move to Rugby or Dorchester, or some other place? I remember reading about the station many years ago. Rugby was the site of the time tick station, MSF, I wish I had a recording of their HF signal. As I remember, no voice announcement but only a modulation with Morse and time pips. Is that right? I finally bought a set of Admiralty List o Radio Signals books - excellent - and saw that Portishead also had RT service or aircraft. Impressive! I wanted to hear such a transmission but I never did hear one.

73

DR
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  #15  
Old 8th June 2018, 18:33
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#12 ... During the Area Scheme/Free-lance days Portishead Radio was always known as GKL and when you worked direct the call signs were..

GKI 22mc/s.. GKS 16mc/s.. GKG 12mc/s..GKL 8mc/s..GKV 6mc/s..GKH 4mc/s

Happy days...
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  #16  
Old 8th June 2018, 19:01
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Quote:
Originally Posted by R651400 View Post
call signs were..GKI 22mc/s.. GKS 16mc/s.. GKG 12mc/s..GKL 8mc/s..GKV 6mc/s..GKH 4mc/s
GKL was on 8558 kHz, which it shared with the Polish coast station. That was an absolute pain when out in the Caribbean and trying to clear traffic (even if only giving a QSL for blind-transmitted messages) at certain times of the day, using a CR300 receiver and an Oceanspan I.

But it was an excellent station to work morse telegraphy on any frequency.
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  #17  
Old 9th June 2018, 06:02
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In '56 I recall GKL was still transmitting MCW (A2) and it cut thru the QRM like butter .
Not fully sure but think that was the year it stopped and went full A1 to comply with new ITU HF regs.
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  #18  
Old 10th June 2018, 16:17
sparky1 sparky1 is offline
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I remember being on GKB search point giving qry's over the 100 mark, think it was on 16Mhz, it was in late 70's and around xmas time.
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  #19  
Old 14th June 2018, 13:21
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Obviously after the Area System but one begs the question brought up previously how did GKA rest on it's excellent laurels of the past with 100 ships waiting and the probability of more than QTC1 on any one HF band from 12 mhz upward?
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  #20  
Old 14th June 2018, 16:55
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The final part of my book, LAST VOYAGE AND BEYOND, tells, in detail, what it was like to work at Wickradio and Portisheadradio from 1953 to 1956. As far as I am aware, this information is not available elsewhere.
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  #21  
Old 8th July 2018, 15:08
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Larry Bennett View Post
GB0GKA will be run by Tony, G3ZRJ from near Tiverton. Larry, G4HLN will run GB0GKB from Burnham-on-Sea, whilst GB0GKC in Weston-super-Mare will be operated by Pete, G3TJE. All three are ex-GKA Radio Officers...
With HF activity at its lowest ebb any chance of the triumvirate GKA special eventuals giving some form of schedule where us distant water ships can find you?
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  #22  
Old 8th July 2018, 15:11
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ps like 5 ton of old ten metres is doing a lot of exceptional work.
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  #23  
Old 8th July 2018, 17:35
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ps like 5 ton of old ten metres is doing a lot of exceptional work short skip EU..

Anyone wishing to follow the GKA action put the appropriate GB0GKA/B/C call in the box of link below..

https://www.dxcluster.co.uk/cluster/search
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  #24  
Old 8th July 2018, 20:11
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10m is pretty good early mornings but tends to fade out around 1100z.
There are no fixed skeds for GB0GKA/B/C as time of operation (in my case) has to be around work and family commitments. However, GB0GKA tends to be more active on 80m/40m/30m, whilst GB0GKC has been active on 20m and 40m of late. GB0GKB operates mainly 20m with occasional sojourns to 10m and 15m. Sadly GB0GKB cannot operate on 80m or 160m due to lack of antenna, and is very restricted on 40m.
So far so good despite some very poor radio conditions at times. Will give a sitrep as soon I get some detailed info from GB0GKA and GB0GKC.
Larry GB0GKB/G4HLN +
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  #25  
Old 10th July 2018, 04:42
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Thanks for that..
My aerial height here dictated by being on the landing path of Samu (ambulance) choppers to our rugby stadium adjacent to the QTH!
73
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