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Discussion Starter #1
I was not at sea for long enough to do much of the above but I did once go aboard the 'Roma' - perhaps in Oz? The R/Os greeted me warmly and I found it interesting to see their gear and talk shop. But when I got back to Orontes and told the Chief, I thought he was just a touch 'off' about the whole thing. Did he perhaps say, "OK but we don't usually go visiting."(?)

I'm not talking about visits to other G / M ships but to foreign registered vessels.

And as a rider to the above, in other countries did they also have the 'hired gun' arrangement?
I mean, an arrangement whereby a company like Marconi supplied the gear to a shipping company and with it came an RO? Or were most of the R/Os elsewhere directly employed.

Would be interested to hear from others.

W
 

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I worked on Hong Kong, Liberian, Panamanian, Singaporean, Marshall Islands and South African flagged vessels (possibly some other I forgot) , never British, unless you include HK. Many times the officers were Brits and we did visit a couple of P&O container ships for a beer, and reciprocated. I have also visited a Polish general cargo ship in Santos but due to the vodka, there are few remaining memories of that one.
Oh yes, the old HMS Endurance in Montevideo in 1979, and we had a tug-of war on the wharf. Best of three. (They won.)
Also, weirdly, an Indonesian navy submarine off Borneo when I was on the Lindblad Explorer. Claustrophobic to say the least.
I never heard of a foreign equivalent of Marconi, who were very successful and put their R/Os on Greek and other fleets. If not Marconi the ships R/Os were usually owner-employed, but that is only my experience.
 

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Yes, now and again - but always other Oz flag ships.

My oh my, there were some strange R/Os out there....I remember one ship astern of us (Iron Sturt/VLBX) where I went looking for the R/O...the radio room and cabin doors were locked (unusual), so I assumed he was ashore - I ran into the old man - he told me that the R/O never left the radio room or his cabin (next door), and locked the door in port....

Other ships were great...and it was always good to talk to a (sane) colleague!
 

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Worldspan, there were a few other radio companies in the UK, not just Marconis.

In Australia apart from a few CSR (Commonwealth Sugar Refinery) ships, as far as I know all ships carried AWA (Amalgamated Wireless of Australasia) ROs.

Troppo, Haw haw, Iron Sturt was quite a good ship too I heard. Can you give any clues as to the identity? Maybe it was the OM who was mad and the RO was keeping out of his way.

John T
 

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Worldspan, there were a few other radio companies in the UK, not just Marconis.

In Australia apart from a few CSR (Commonwealth Sugar Refinery) ships, as far as I know all ships carried AWA (Amalgamated Wireless of Australasia) ROs.

Troppo, Haw haw, Iron Sturt was quite a good ship too I heard. Can you give any clues as to the identity? Maybe it was the OM who was mad and the RO was keeping out of his way.

John T
Hello John

Yes, she was almost identical to the Lakies without gear - Eildon and Hume. Built in the same shipyard. Nice 80s Marconi station.

I can't remember his name, sorry......
 

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That's OK. There were quite a few eccentrics around but it wasn't only sparkies!
Yep, Sturt was a sister of Iron Prince ... one of the best.

John T
 

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The biggest foreign radio company I'd say was Radio Holland PDRH who supplied RO's to Dutch flagged Blue Funnel ships.
My freelance" other ship" visits were generaly to scroung reading material and one memorable visit was a Hunting tanker (Sheafield maybe) in Rio.
When the young RO came over with a pile of books we got stuck into the !"Cutty Sark" which our ship was supplying to Brazil as well as oil.
Shortly after a few glasses the Captain's beautiful (Japanese Brazilian) lady-friend came into my cabin to enquire where the skipper was and was told he had gone ashore on (whisky) business and she was to wait for him coming back.
Think she had a glass or two and then left to wait for the OM who was using the palatial owner's suite on the ship for entertaining in port.
A further hour or so went by and well into the John Barleycorn by this time when OM's lady friend re-appeared but this time completely pissed and stark naked..
What went on from thereon in isn't for here but the cries of "Sign me on! Sign me on!" from the young well inebrieated Sheafield RO ( coincidentally a SN member) could be heard all the way along the Copacabana.
 

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The biggest foreign radio company I'd say was Radio Holland PDRH who supplied RO's to Dutch flagged Blue Funnel ships.
My freelance" other ship" visits were generaly to scroung reading material and one memorable visit was a Hunting tanker (Sheafield maybe) in Rio.
When the young RO came over with a pile of books we got stuck into the !"Cutty Sark" which our ship was supplying to Brazil as well as oil.
Shortly after a few glasses the Captain's beautiful (Japanese Brazilian) lady-friend came into my cabin to enquire where the skipper was and was told he had gone ashore on (whisky) business and she was to wait for him coming back.
Think she had a glass or two and then left to wait for the OM who was using the palatial owner's suite on the ship for entertaining in port.
A further hour or so went by and well into the John Barleycorn by this time when OM's lady friend re-appeared but this time completely pissed and stark naked..
What went on from thereon in isn't for here but the cries of "Sign me on! Sign me on!" from the young well inebrieated Sheafield RO ( coincidentally a SN member) could be heard all the way along the Copacabana.
I know IMR, was another supplier of R/Os in the UK. Not sure about KH, Redifon, and STC. Didn’t AWA Oz and Debeg supply.
 

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I was not at sea for long enough to do much of the above but I did once go aboard the 'Roma' - perhaps in Oz? The R/Os greeted me warmly and I found it interesting to see their gear and talk shop. But when I got back to Orontes and told the Chief, I thought he was just a touch 'off' about the whole thing. Did he perhaps say, "OK but we don't usually go visiting."(?)

I'm not talking about visits to other G / M ships but to foreign registered vessels.

And as a rider to the above, in other countries did they also have the 'hired gun' arrangement?
I mean, an arrangement whereby a company like Marconi supplied the gear to a shipping company and with it came an RO? Or were most of the R/Os elsewhere directly employed.

Would be interested to hear from others.

W
Siemens Bros supplied radio stations and the Radio Officers to operate them, for the British MN and others, prior to being taken over by Marconi Marine in the mid-1960s. Redifon and IMR continued to do so more or less until the introduction of GMDSS.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Thanks for all the replies.
Yes, I was aware of IMR and Siemens in the UK.
My interest is more about other countries - the situation in Holland has been mentioned; also Australia.
How about other European countries, Japan and the USA? Were their R/Os all directly employed? Did Germany and Italy (for example) have the equivalent of Marconi-employed R/Os etc?
On another tack, I remember meeting a former French R/O ... it was a long time ago but they had nothing like the Marconi system there ... as far as I can remember.
But the thing that really amazed him was when I told him about our Area Scheme. I must say, though, that I always tried to work directly back to Portishead ... it seemed to be cheating otherwise!
W
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Further to my last, I forgot to mention servicing and repairs for non-Marconi ships. I remember that we had a problem with one of the receivers and were quite unable to fix it. In Sydney, a guy from AWA came along. I think he took the receiver away and brought it back a few days later. But he was familiar with all the Marconi gear and had a fully equipped workshop back at base.
But the service guys in far-flung places had to sort out gear from so many different manufacturers ... must have been a headache. Did they always come up with the correct answers? What happened if you had a major fault in some small port on the coast of Africa - how did such things get fixed?
W
 

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Further to my last, I forgot to mention servicing and repairs for non-Marconi ships. I remember that we had a problem with one of the receivers and were quite unable to fix it. In Sydney, a guy from AWA came along. I think he took the receiver away and brought it back a few days later. But he was familiar with all the Marconi gear and had a fully equipped workshop back at base.
But the service guys in far-flung places had to sort out gear from so many different manufacturers ... must have been a headache. Did they always come up with the correct answers? What happened if you had a major fault in some small port on the coast of Africa - how did such things get fixed?
W
RAMAC (Can't remember what the acronym was but basically an agreement among the radio companies to support one another in ports where the flung was farther than justified their own depots).
 

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RAMAC (Can't remember what the acronym was but basically an agreement among the radio companies to support one another in ports where the flung was farther than justified their own depots).
Radio Marine Associated Companies

or, Raid Architecture with Multi-level Adaptive Cache :D
 

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I think Debeg rented equipment to shipping companies but never heard of them employing ROs. They also ran the radio accounting and ROs were given a commission on the ship charge of private radio traffic. Apparently you could go down to their HQ in Hamburg or somewhere and pick up your winnings. I don't think the couple of Pfennigs that I made would have gone far in St Pauli! Let's hope it went to a good cause somewhere.

AWA in Australia seemed to have a strong connection with Marconi - I always wondered if the company had been started by Marconi in the UK.

Marconi had depots all over the place. I remember a bloke in Takoradi, Ghana (Ted Cotton?). I imagine he was a good technician and he was certainly good for getting a sub out of!

John T
 

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Swapping films was a good excuse to visit another ship, usually unsuccessful but was mostly welcomed by the r/o, had a few beers then invited them back to our ship, mostly refused. I went on to Texas A and M University ship which was a very old but had all the gear from WW2 and the r/o was ww2 vintage for sure and very friendly, I was really impressed by that. Another one was a Russian ship where we swopped movies for a day, they got some Hollywood films and we got films of the great patriotic war about the glorious red army.
They brought the movies back the next day, came onboard and got absolutely legless, they could barely make it down the gangway. Probably ended up in the Gulag.
Another time In Mathadi in Zaire we meet up with some yanks ashore off a U.S. flag Greek owned Kaiser built ship from WW2, we all went back to their ship with beers in hand, it was a dry ship but so much pot onboard they did not need it. The thing that struck me was everything was made of steel, steel bunks (4 to a cabin) steel desks I don't remember seeing any wood what so ever and everything was very functional. Never did see the radio room.
The last time I went on a ship radio room visit was when I was no longer an r/o. The clerk on a lightering ship could not communicate with head office by email and the Old man volunteered my services. So I went across to find a very agitated Indian gentleman explaining to me the in's and out's of his problem. While he was doing this I swiftly rebooted the system and the e-mail system sprung into life with hundreds of email's.
I think the old man got a slab of beer out of that.
 

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The biggest foreign radio company I'd say was Radio Holland PDRH who supplied RO's to Dutch flagged Blue Funnel ships.
My freelance" other ship" visits were generaly to scroung reading material and one memorable visit was a Hunting tanker (Sheafield maybe) in Rio.
When the young RO came over with a pile of books we got stuck into the !"Cutty Sark" which our ship was supplying to Brazil as well as oil.
Shortly after a few glasses the Captain's beautiful (Japanese Brazilian) lady-friend came into my cabin to enquire where the skipper was and was told he had gone ashore on (whisky) business and she was to wait for him coming back.
Think she had a glass or two and then left to wait for the OM who was using the palatial owner's suite on the ship for entertaining in port.
A further hour or so went by and well into the John Barleycorn by this time when OM's lady friend re-appeared but this time completely pissed and stark naked..
What went on from thereon in isn't for here but the cries of "Sign me on! Sign me on!" from the young well inebrieated Sheafield RO ( coincidentally a SN member) could be heard all the way along the Copacabana.
What kind of shouting came from the captain later that night?
 

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#18 BH... Mobil Endurance was all steel furniture.
Used to visit other Mobil VLCC’s when we were alongside in Lightering operations, Off Galveston/ Biloxi. Supped some stuff, beer that is.
 
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