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Regarding AC or DC equipment.

The radio gear had to be designed to operate from ships' mains - obviously!

Most ships pre-WW2 and up until the 60's had ships mains of DC, balanced about earth (or sea!).
Either 55-0-55 = 110V DC or 110-0-110 = 220V DC.

Therefore Marconi Marine supplied equipment that would operate from DC (and AC) - simple logic.

To get the higher voltages for transmitters on DC ships involved (usually) a mechanical rotary converter.
On an AC ship a conventional transformer would be utilised by Marconi Marine instead of the rotary converter.

Those other manufacturers that you mention as producing equipment designed for AC had to
convert the DC to AC by means of - you guessed it - a rotary converter!

"I was quite right in my assumption, as every other company's gear produced was more powerful and AC powered."

Wrong on another account as well.

Marconi Marine did produce higher output transmitters that would operate as above on either AC or DC.
Globespan and Worldspan come to mind.

However British (& Irish & Commonwealth) Merchant Vessels could avail themselves of the Area Scheme whereby incoming and outgoing TFC was relayed by Royal Naval circuits throughout the Commonwealth.
There was simply no need for anything more powerful than the Oceanspan as there were coast stns all over the world who would QSP for you.

So-called Foreign-Flag ships had to work direct with whatever Coast Radio Stations across the world might have TFC for them and hence needed high-power and more expensive equipment.

I agree, the Redifon R408 was, and is - I still have one - a superb Rx.
(It needed to be as the successor to the appalling R50M.)
Quite handy being able to operate from AC or DC mains and 24V DC emergency batteries.

You seem to forget that the Marconi Marine 1948 Mercury and Electra receivers could operate from the same diverse range of supplies. As could the later Atalanta.

The worst equipped ship I ever sailed on? MOBIL ASTRAL/GMOH.
I can't quite remember the sequence but Marconi was taken over by GEC who had earlier taken over AEI and thus Marconi Marine inherited a lot of AEI equipped ships, like the Mobil Astral.
The dreaded R50M Rx and the very difficult to operate pair of MF & HF transmitters.
 

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Forgot to add:

Marconi Marine was by no means perfect but must have had something going for it as the largest marine radio enterprise in the world.
 

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No regulations stopped the direct-employ shipowners from retaining R/Os. How many of them continue to do so?
 

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As has been pointed out, Marconi Marine offered a range of transmitters to shipowners. However most sales were to UK-flagged ship's (for many years the world's largest fleet) and their owners, almost to a man, always chose the cheapest available option. That tended to be the one with the lowest performance that complied with the regulatory carriage requirements.
Marconi stayed in business for 100 years by giving it's customers what they asked for. It only failed when its main market moved away from the UK and its new owners had neither the understanding nor any interest in maritime affairs to bother adapting it's operations accordingly.
 
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#25
As a t loyal (radio) company servant you've made this argument each and every time the subject arises and I really cannot see where it answers how things may have transpired had Mimco Imr or Siemens not feathered their nests/monopolised almost abut not quite the entire UK marine radio spectrum....
I maintain the UK RO in the world's largest merchant fleet of the time would have had a better say and future had he/she been directly employed...
 

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Sorry for being slow but I don't understand the point that you are arguing. Please explain how R/Os jobs would have been preserved if they all had been direct employed? Radio companies such as Marconi, IMR and Kelvin Hughes provided R/Os as and when shipowners requested them. When shipowners stopped asking for them, the radio companies stopped supplying them and had no option but to make their employees redundant - their jobs no longer existed. If there are no jobs, it follows that there are no employers, whether they be shipowners or radio companies.
The radio companies did not get rid of the jobs, the shipowners (the actual and potential direct-employers) did that in order to save money. The radio companies lobbied for the retention and regulatory adoption of an electronic/ technical officer to replace the R/O but the owners, assisted by the Radio Officer's unions of the UK & the USA, successfully opposed and blocked the idea.
By the way, at the time that GMDSS was adopted by IMO, there were more R/Os in direct employment in the UK alone than were employed by the radio companies. So if your claim is valid, why didn't the R/O continue?
 

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Getting back to the point of being employed by a Radio Company versus Direct Employ with a Shipping Company.

No UK R/O was forced into a decision on which route to take. It was a matter of personal choice based on several factors.

I was 21 when I went to sea and I chose to go with Marconi Marine, having considered the options.

Not many DE shipping companies were interested in paying the cost of a trainee R/O for six months for no real benefit.
Except perhaps for passenger lines which needed more than one R/O aboard.

I liked the idea of being posted to a variety of different vessels.

Yes, I was comfortable with having trained on Marconi Marine gear but that was a minor consideration.

I knew there were opportunities to receive extra training as things progressed.
In fact I benefitted after only four years at sea by spending six months at College to upgrade -
on full pay, leave allowances, subsistence - and all at the expense of Marconi Marine.

Although I did not take advantage, I knew that most of the shore staff of Marconi Marine were ex-R/Os.

Continuity of employment was certainly a factor.

It was horses for courses, remembering that not all DE companies were paragons of virtue.

As Ron mentions, with GMDSS and the march of technology, the R/O became obsolete - no matter how employed.

Incidentally, how did the Radio Companies persuade Ship Owners to take on the expense of six-month trainees?
 

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"Incidentally, how did the Radio Companies persuade Ship Owners to take on the expense of six-month trainees?"

I can't answer that and I don't believe there will be anyone surviving from the former staff of the MIMCo R/O personnel department who will know. By the time that R/O appointments became one of my departments, we were not taking on any trainees.
I suspect, completely without any supporting evidence, that MIMCo paid the salary and the ship provided the subsistence, similar to supercargo.
Some other member may be able to provide confirmation (or contradiction).
 

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Shipping companies paid for trainee R/O's in Australia. There weren't many berths, though...
 

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I know, for a fact, that the company operating the "pride of the British MN" couldn't wait to get rid of their R/Os off said iconic ship....

Thanks for all your help, now piss off!
 

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Or shanghaied to a single RO slot on a Thames/Tyne t collier before the six months was completed.
A dear old pal of mine was one and his story of joining his collier after searching and trudging through a Geordie-land ploughed field in full MN uniform was hilarious..
 

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I never saw it written down but I believe that the '6-month supervision' requirement before being in charge of a radio station for newly-qualified R/Is was relaxed to 3 months for vessels under 3,000 get. That covered most of the coasting colliers and I knew several R/Is who did a single deep-sea trip of a few weeks before being transferred to a collier. One, with whom I'm still in touch, told me that he joined his first ship in-charge at a London power station after two trips to Canada on an Empress boat. He had an uneventful trip up to the Tyne, sending only TRs. On arrival at Harton Staithes, while closing down the station he discovered that the transmitter antenna selection switch was still in the 'dummy load' position, where it had been set by the MIMCo technician who had demonstrated the station arrangements to him in London.
 
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Arbitrator T&J's first trip as 2nd R/O 76 days not much TFC TR's mainly

Signed on as 1st R/O thereafter (with dispensation I was told)

Ramon Dr Larrinaga 5800GRT coastal 5 days 2 TR's

Regent Royal 10500GRT Home trade articles 92 days
High traffic and SOS Aer Lingus aircraft went missing
Total 173 days
Florian deep sea, Meddy really

Peter
 

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I never saw it written down but I believe that the '6-month supervision' requirement before being in charge of a radio station for newly-qualified R/Is was relaxed to 3 months for vessels under 3,000 get. That covered most of the coasting colliers and I knew several R/Is who did a single deep-sea trip of a few weeks before being transferred to a collier. One, with whom I'm still in touch, told me that he joined his first ship in-charge at a London power station after two trips to Canada on an Empress boat. He had an uneventful trip up to the Tyne, sending only TRs. On arrival at Harton Staithes, while closing down the station he discovered that the transmitter antenna selection switch was still in the 'dummy load' position, where it had been set by the MIMCo technician who had demonstrated the station arrangements to re
Re. 6 month supervision.
I applied to Clan Line, (company r/os), after obtaining PMG and MoT Radar. They replied “no vacancies”. I applied to AEI, was accepted and a few weeks later headed to Glasgow to join a Clan Line ship as junior r/o. (AEI must have had some deal with. Lan Line). The ship was H8. After one trip was sent to a vessel less than 3000 tons for a week as single r/o. ( I recollect the regulations regarding manning, tonnage etc are in the Handbook). Next two trips were on an H24 ship as third r/o. That was enough to make up the six months ‘supervised’.
 

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Hi,
Does anyone know of a list of companies that employed their own ROs?
Were employment conditions any different from say Marconi"s?
Didn't Cunard get there ROs from IMR?
Were their any wireless companies other than Marconi that employed ROs.
I haven't heard much about Siemens Bros. What were they like? What lines did they provide ROs for?
Thanks
John
I started off with Marconi and then moved to UASC formerly KSC who where then based in Liverpool. After that it was foreign flag for me for the rest of my career. As stated above, it is unlikely that such a list as you require exists. I did foreign flag work through a small agency owned by a good friend, David Deane. His company was Ocean Marine Services. A wonderful intelligent and humorous Irishman, he crossed the bar several years ago.
 

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Marconi was the odd ball company employing R/O's as all their gear was DC.
It was only in later years that they realised how far behind the rest they were, by introducing AC gear.
Other companies (Radio companies) were AEI (Siemens Ediswan - AC gear)
Redifon Ltd, AC gear and owned by Redifusion
IMRC fitted with the best AC gear at sea, a mixture of Standard Radio Of Sweden and Mackay of America
and other gear manufactured in the UK.
I was trained on Marconi Stuff and new that there must be something better out there at sea and with more
power than that awful Oceanspan, and AC gear too.
I was quite right in my assumption, as every other company's gear produced was more powerful and AC powered.
I have met many Marconi R/O's on my travels, and many othem had no idea of any other company's equipment,
always being told that their's was the best. I used to visit other ships to see what gear they had etc. I big eye opener
considering that JRC of Japan had transmitters with auto tuning units in 1964!! Unheard of here.
I started off with A.E.I., then Redifon, then ended up with IMRC. Redifon gear was very similar to IMRC, and I shall
never forget the R408 receiver I operated, as it could be worked off 24v DC instead of ship mains, and give the
emergency batteries a little bit of use. After that, it was the Mackay 3020 synthesized receiver, the best I ever had
at sea.
I hope this helps.
Mike Carter aged 76 years young.
 

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Marconi was the odd ball company employing R/O's as all their gear was DC.
It was only in later years that they realised how far behind the rest they were, by introducing AC gear.
Other companies (Radio companies) were AEI (Siemens Ediswan - AC gear)
Redifon Ltd, AC gear and owned by Redifusion
IMRC fitted with the best AC gear at sea, a mixture of Standard Radio Of Sweden and Mackay of America
and other gear manufactured in the UK.
I was trained on Marconi Stuff and new that there must be something better out there at sea and with more
power than that awful Oceanspan, and AC gear too.
I was quite right in my assumption, as every other company's gear produced was more powerful and AC powered.
I have met many Marconi R/O's on my travels, and many othem had no idea of any other company's equipment,
always being told that their's was the best. I used to visit other ships to see what gear they had etc. I big eye opener
considering that JRC of Japan had transmitters with auto tuning units in 1964!! Unheard of here.
I started off with A.E.I., then Redifon, then ended up with IMRC. Redifon gear was very similar to IMRC, and I shall
never forget the R408 receiver I operated, as it could be worked off 24v DC instead of ship mains, and give the
emergency batteries a little bit of use. After that, it was the Mackay 3020 synthesized receiver, the best I ever had
at sea.
I hope this helps.
Mike Carter aged 76 years young.
Mike there was nothing wrong with the oceanspan in its day, you just had to use your experience and choose the correct frequency for the time of the day and the location from where you were sending from. I called GKG from Port Chalmers at 2.am got through on first call clear as a bell and all over in less than a minute.
 

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Hi,
Does anyone know of a list of companies that employed their own ROs?
Were employment conditions any different from say Marconi"s?
Didn't Cunard get there ROs from IMR?
Were their any wireless companies other than Marconi that employed ROs.
I haven't heard much about Siemens Bros. What were they like? What lines did they provide ROs for?
Thanks
John
Hello John,
These might have been mentioned already but if not, Baltic Line, BR's Sealink ferries, Cable & Wireless were DE. Can't swear to it, but also Townsend Thoresen?
I went with Macaroni in '72 after getting my ticket before going foreign flag in '73 once I realised how poorly I'd been paid.

Btw, ex Manchester (ticket at Brooks' Bar) but live now in Melbourne (Mt Eliza). 73's.
 
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