Hired USA Radio telephone and TV - Ships Nostalgia
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Hired USA Radio telephone and TV

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  #1  
Old 21st December 2018, 17:10
Harry Nicholson's Avatar
Harry Nicholson Harry Nicholson is offline
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Hired USA Radio telephone and TV

I'm on with putting together vol 2 of seagoing memoir: Anyone recall the radio telephone we hired on the Gulf of Mexico coast? We used it to call the pilots/harbourmasters office I think. My Hartlepool accent got in the way approaching Galveston. Despite me spelling Mahanada with the international phonetic alphabet: Madagascar, Amsterdam etc. the lady on the other end went off to find someone who could speak German.
Did we pick it up in New Orleans? Where did we drop it off?
Then there was the hired tv set in the saloon on that coast - in the twisting rivers I was forever outside, swinging the aerial round to the new bearing so as to keep the crew from moaning.
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Old 23rd December 2018, 11:51
gwzm gwzm is offline  
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Hi Harry,

I was a Brocklebank R/O on Cunard's Alaunia and Andania in the early 60's sailing into US east coast ports. They were both fitted with Marconi Nautilus VHF sets (not very reliable) but the pilots preferred to use their own VHF handhelds. I don't remember if it was the Alaunia or Andania where I found a huge roll of mains cable in the spares cupboard. It turned out that it was for the TV set hired in New York. There was no 110V/60 Hz power on the ship so the TV was plugged into a convenient streetlamp on the pier.
Happy days,
gwzm
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  #3  
Old 23rd December 2018, 13:41
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Ron Stringer Ron Stringer is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gwzm View Post
... the pilots preferred to use their own VHF handhelds.
One of the reasons that the pilots used their own VHF radios was that the USA did not observe the international VHF channel plan as set out in the Radio Regs. The FCC had allocated part of the Marine VHF Band to the railways (most of the USA is well outside the range of any international shipping) so channels that we used as two-frequency channels (18 - 28) the USA used one half of each channel as a single-frequency simplex channel for marine use and the other half of the channel was used by Amtrak and other railway users.

The pilots didn't want to find themselves speaking to a shunter or a locomotive engineer so they carried their own gear.

The main reason, of course, was that in an emergency you are much better dealing with familiar equipment than trusting to an strange device with unknown characteristics, performance and reliability.

As for the Nautilus VHF sets, I sailed with them for 7 voyages and never had any bother at all (apart from the above frequency problems in USA/Canadian waters). But like all equipment, if you have a bad experience with it, that is the kiss of death for all of that type in your mind. It was for the same reason that I hated Redifon R408 receivers and their VHF equipment (was it GR286?). Other people were great fans and swore by those equipments, I just swore at them.
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Old 24th December 2018, 11:37
gwzm gwzm is offline  
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Ron,

Thanks for the very informative clarification. I just accepted that the pilots carried their own VHF handheld and that's what they used. The Alaunia and Andania were the only two ships I sailed on with the Nautilus. I can't remember which of them that we had problems with. It just either operated intermittently or stopped working altogether. The accepted fix was to remove the valves one-by-one, clean the pins and hey presto.
Happy days,
gwzm
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Old 30th December 2018, 19:40
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John/gwzm, I think the problem Nautilus must have been on Andania as I did two trips on Alaunia and cannot recall any VHF problems. Could have been lucky of course. Also recall the huge roll of mains cable but I would have thought that was standard on all Cunard ships on a regular run.
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