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I'm working on a third book of seagoing memoir. I recall a visit by the radio surveyor in the Tees in 1959 (SS Mahronda of Brocklebanks). The surveyor made great play of inspecting the batteries (SG etc) and the spares locker. We ran the TX into a dummy aerial (what sort of circuit was this?). At 84, my memory is not the sharpest. Is there anyone who can say a bit more about what was covered in a radio survey in the 50s/60s? We might even have a real surveyor mid our ranks.
 

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ZSC was always sharp in the 70s. Always two surveyors...always interested in the batteries and spares.......always there when we were alongside.......always oddly indifferent to the offer of a bar lunch.

An interesting site about ZSC itself.......

 

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Could be getting mixed up but I've got an idea that VNC was the callsign of the old Area Scheme Capetown Radio, think it was operated by the Royal Navy at Simonstown.

Not surprised the radio surveyors made a beeline for the batteries, the state that some of them were left in. Harrumph!

John T
 

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Recollect, (sixty years ago), a radio surveyor equipped with wavemeter to check whether the LC oscillator positions of the AEI T10 had been retuned to the two “missing” MF working frequencies instead of back up for the crystals. (Caught! they had been so adjusted). Counting spare valves and fuses. Checking battery cells with the two pronged device with load and meter. SG readings. Examination of PMG certificate.
As regards the RF dummy load I recall asbestos pads with resistors, or was that the battery load...
Alan.
 

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In the 1960s the Area station was ZSL and it was operated by RN personnel; the commercial station was ZSC

The dummy loads were mats of resistance wire (similar to the 'elements' of an electric toaster) mounted on porcelain insulators. MIMCo sourced them from a firm in Wednesbury, Staffs (in the heart of the Black Country) which I visited from time to time when redesigning antenna switches and battery charging arrangements. The wiring in the mats was bound together with asbestos cord.
 

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A Radio Surveyor came aboard at Southampton once - I was not there - switched on the emergency transmitter, left it running and came back 6 hours later. My good battery maintenance paid off because it was still going. Much to my relief !!

David
When I joined the British Star she was 9 years old, the shelf for the lower set of emergency batteries was fitted too high up under the upper set and there was very little room, you could not do an S G or electrolyte level check but somehow this had got through radio surveys. I had a word with the mate who got the chippy to move the shelf down so the batteries could be checked properly
 

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"In the 1960s the Area station was ZSL and it was operated by RN personnel; the commercial station was ZSC"

The reason that this sticks in my increasingly-patchy memory is that on one occasion while clearing an OBS in a QSO with ZSL, I sent 'ts' (tot siens), as commonly used by the operators at ZSC, ZSD etc. There was an instant response, to advise me that he was not South African but a RN rating in a RN station.

Easy mistake to make but one that I didn't repeat.
 
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Booth Line, New York- Amazon River (Iquitos), in Dry Dock Hoboken NY.
The R/room was also used as the night pantry, being positioned next to the chart room.
FCC surveyor, probably found surveying a 1609grt below his station in life.
The accommodation being quite small, with deck heads and bulkheads not quite parallel could be claustrophobic to some. My surveyor was one such person. He was seasick. To add to this, The bridge and r/room had not long been treated by Rentokill.
Even before any gear had been turned on, the presence of ‘cockies’ in their death throes appearing from the many crevices, I failed.
I had another survey a few days later. The pantry items and ‘cockies’ having been removed.
The next trip we had changed flag to Panamanian, the R/room was surveyed by Lloyd’s.
The surveyor popped his head into the R/room.
“Everything Ok? He asked”
“Yes” says I
And that was that
 

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First trip as jnr R/O in Liverpool. Surveyor arrived onboard. No R/O just me. He checked a few things and then asked me to tune EM TX for him.. Would not tune. Afer a couple of tries we had a look at the wire arial and found and a cable from it leading into a cadets cabin. Once removed worked very well. Cadets radio still worked.
Quite a few years later had a survey done in Dublin, passed, but surveyor could not give certificate because something or other had not been ratified by someone somewhere (memory not as good as it was), survey had to be done again in Liverpool. As the Surveyor was leaving the ship in Dublin I happened to mention that on our way in we had passed a right old rust bucket and he should have a look at it. He said he would have a wander over. I apologise if you are reading this and were the R/O on that ship.
 

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Booth Line, New York- Amazon River (Iquitos), in Dry Dock Hoboken NY.
The R/room was also used as the night pantry, being positioned next to the chart room.
FCC surveyor, probably found surveying a 1609grt below his station in life.
The accommodation being quite small, with deck heads and bulkheads not quite parallel could be claustrophobic to some. My surveyor was one such person. He was seasick. To add to this, The bridge and r/room had not long been treated by Rentokill.
Even before any gear had been turned on, the presence of ‘cockies’ in their death throes appearing from the many crevices, I failed.
I had another survey a few days later. The pantry items and ‘cockies’ having been removed.
The next trip we had changed flag to Panamanian, the R/room was surveyed by Lloyd’s.
The surveyor popped his head into the R/room.
“Everything Ok? He asked”
“Yes” says I
And that was that

Ahhh....class "radio surveys"..... shonky.
 

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The UK moved to 'Class' for radio surveys nearly 20 years ago as part of a programme of "business efficiency improvement and reduction in red tape" (i.e. reduction in costs to the Treasury by discontinuing safety services formerly provided by Government). Not sure that British merchant shipping, seafarers in general or the British taxpayer have enjoyed any observable benefits from the change.
 
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Why "Boat Details" - I believe they say in Cornwall "Baint be a boat - boats 'ave oars!"
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I'm working on a third book of seagoing memoir. I recall a visit by the radio surveyor in the Tees in 1959 (SS Mahronda of Brocklebanks). The surveyor made great play of inspecting the batteries (SG etc) and the spares locker. We ran the TX into a dummy aerial (what sort of circuit was this?). At 84, my memory is not the sharpest. Is there anyone who can say a bit more about what was covered in a radio survey in the 50s/60s? We might even have a real surveyor mid our ranks.
The ONLY thing I remember of Radio Surveyors was in Cardiff in July 1969 when the Surveyor (G. Holmes) updated my PMG Certificate by glueing in a new "Authority to Operate" and adding "completion of one year's service". I always felt the almost casual update of the ATO was not in keeping with the very professional and impressive PMG Certificate (still got it - and it still looks beautiful when closed up)
 

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The ONLY thing I remember of Radio Surveyors was in Cardiff in July 1969 when the Surveyor (G. Holmes) updated my PMG Certificate by glueing in a new "Authority to Operate" and adding "completion of one year's service". I always felt the almost casual update of the ATO was not in keeping with the very professional and impressive PMG Certificate (still got it - and it still looks beautiful when closed up)
When mine was updated in Liverpool the Surveyor put things in the wrong lines. The Surveyor though, Ernie Jardine, is remembered as the RO on 500 at GPK who responded to the distress call from the Princess Victoria.

David
 

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Anyone remember the infamous Harry Gilder, radio surveyor on the Thames in the 1960/70s? As the quintessential "jobsworth" there must be plenty of tales to tell about him. Or was it all too long ago?
 

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Oh, No. I have Harry's moniker on my one year's service. When idling away some leave by working at East Ham depot it was one of my occasional duties to hold Harry's hand during surveys (never done without a techy, or in my case a look-alike, with him).
 

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Oh, No. I have Harry's moniker on my one year's service. When idling away some leave by working at East Ham depot it was one of my occasional duties to hold Harry's hand during surveys (never done without a techy, or in my case a look-alike, with him).
He was the bane of the MIMCo technicians' lives at East Ham (and also at the Tilbury and Greenhithe bases, guys there told me) and my own experience reinforced that.

A tanker that I was on came into Shellhaven from Pernis for a brief visit to drop a small parcel of crude . We were due to sail at about 6pm Unfortunately we were due a radio safety survey and Harry turned up with a techy from East Ham to hold his hand. Harry briefly checked the equipment ('Span/Salvor/Mercury/Electra) and the logbooks before starting to go through everything that could be described as "spares and tools". Everything, but everything was taken out and counted but things seemed to proceed without problem - the East Ham techy was looking very confident and Harry didn't seem too pleased. Then Harry opened a tin of Vaseline and he relaxed visibly. Someone (probably me) had taken a fingertip wipe off the top of the grease. Harry pointed to this and said that the tin was no longer full so the required amount ('x'-ounces) of Vaseline was no longer on board to meet the BOT requirement and the ship would not be allowed to sail until the problem had been solved.

I was incredulous at first, then outraged and started to give Harry a piece of my mind until I realised that the techy was looking very concerned and holding up his hand to stop me in full flow. "Not a problem Mr Gilder, I'll sort it right away." To my astonishment, despite our imminent departure, the guy set off to fetch another tin of Vaseline - remember we were at Shellhaven, miles from anywhere. Harry recorded the deficiency, finished everything up, signed the papers and departed (it was nearly 4pm and he had to get home). About an hour later the East Ham technician returned and handed be a tin of Vaseline. When I told him that I would have called Harry's bluff and let him try and stop a Shell tanker because some Vaseline was missing from a tin in the radio room, the technician said, "In the next few minutes you're off to Curacao but I and the other guys have to see him every day and he can make our lives a misery."

While working at Chelmsford I often had cause to visit ships on both sides of the London River and he tales I heard of Harry were legion. I had no further personal involvement with him though, so luckily matters never came to a head (I was somewhat impetuous in those days).
 
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