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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Because I've never worked out how to attach thumbnails to comments on pics in the Gallery, it seems I'll need to start a new thread.
Marconi Sahib (Fubar) asked why so many Sparkies had a pic of themselves taken at the Radio Office desk. I suggest the answer is that many of us got hooked by the "Well paid to see the world" publicity with the attached pic which was a big deal in the early fifties when ships were being held up in port because they couldn't find a qualified R/O.
 

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Discussion Starter #2
To answer another question from Norm regarding R/O braid and whether it was wavy or one stripe or two, it depended on whether there was any R/O senior to you on the ship at the time. Certainly, starting off as a 4th or 3rd R/O, it was one stripe (see attached bunch of Pre Sea Trainees at Hamble in 1953). Later, if you were the most senior (even if you were the only one!), you were entitled to wear two and a diamond (see yours truly on ROMANIC in fifty years ago with obligatory cigarette in hand)! Happy memories!!
 

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By the time I went to college most Radio colleges were just part of the local Tech so we all wore civvies.
It would maybe have been more interesting to have to wear a uniform in view of the number of nurses in the area. "All the nice girls love a sailor......." (*)) But then I would NEVER have got even a PMG2 and we wouldn't be having this conversation now!
The only difference I can remember is that as junior on a tramp ship I couldn't wear a diamond. Hence the shiny braid in my pic in the gallery. Newly sown on by Mumsie.
Changing braid to show seniority seemed to be the MimCo way of doing 'cos we were normally out there all by ourselves. I never got a junior in 11 years. I somehow feel that Stan Padfield didn't trust me that far.
I seem to remember that if we had to wear uniform it was easy to spot the newbie by the brightness and quality of the braid. A bit like Bombay cap badges. (*))
I do remember joining my first ship at Dagenham in uniform. I must've looked a right p**t walking into Eastham depot. Good thing was I shared a compartment with a very senior CPO on the train and he took pity on me. Took me to the Union Jack Club and a good time was had by all.
To make matters worse the ship was a Hungry Hogarth's tramp lying in the mud at Dagenham wharf. Fortunately the old man was particular about uniform despite being in command of a rust bucket.
As I said in my last comment to my pic in the gallery. It's all my Gran's fault 'cos she wanted a piccie, honest guv. (LOL)
 

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Doug,

To answer your point - there are no facilities to attach thumbnails to Gallery postings in the SN system.

Regards,

Brian
 

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Doug H said:
To answer another question from Norm regarding R/O braid and whether it was wavy or one stripe or two, it depended on whether there was any R/O senior to you on the ship at the time. Certainly, starting off as a 4th or 3rd R/O, it was one stripe (see attached bunch of Pre Sea Trainees at Hamble in 1953). Later, if you were the most senior (even if you were the only one!), you were entitled to wear two and a diamond (see yours truly on ROMANIC in fifty years ago with obligatory cigarette in hand)! Happy memories!!


All these radio officers being mention 4th, 3rd, 2nd and chief R/O.
I was 10 years on European Merchant ships, all the cargo ships and tankers that I was on only carried one radio officer, with the exception of the Royal Viking Star (cruise ship), and onboard her we had 3 radio officers and they did the normal 4 on and 8 off watches (24 hour cover), and gangway duty when we were in port.

My question is.

On British tankers and cargo ships, what work did the extra radio officers find to do all day????

Frank
 

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Frank, in the 2 companies I was with the 2R/O was there for training purposes ( on non passenger ships) as opposed to keeping extra watches. In other words it was standard practice to sail with one R/O.

I myself did 2 trips as a 2R/O and was then promoted in 1965. In Brock's terms this was relatively quick as I am aware of several 2R/O's who did 4 trips before promotion in the late 50's and early 60's - I hasten to add my promotion was for expediency rather than any brilliance on my part. Brocklebank's expected their R/O's to fix anything and everything and as a 2R/O the training was very thorough on maintenance as well as watchkeeping. The 1R/O on my first trip spent a lot more time in the bar than he did teaching me anything but my second burra marconi sahib was outstanding and he taught me virtually all I knew. He used to do one watch and I did the other three but I spent virtually all my daytime off watch time learning all I could about maintenance from him. On the homeward voyage when things were pretty much under control we went to H16.

I only ever had one 2R/O myself on my last voyage with Brock's and he is now a member of this board as docgk. I tried to be much more like the second than the first 1R/O, as above, but this was on a very modern ship so there was much less to learn about motors/alternators and the like as everything was ac mains, much more reliable kit as well. docgk (Graham) was very bright as well which helped and we did a fair bit of H16 including several passages of the Pacific when it was hellish difficult getting hold of Portishead even with 1400 watts.

I am aware that some companies, Blue Funnel in particular, carried a lot of 2R/O's who did the watchkeeping and the 1R/O's did a lot more of the Purser type work but I will let one them be more specific. I believe Blueys required their R/O's to do much more cargo work in port as well. We were supposed to in Brock's but I rarely did, although it was not unkown.
 

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Blue Funnel R/Os

I may be wrong, but I believe that the Blue Funnel R/Os, at least in my experience during my time with Ocean, were more like the ETO's of today. I remember that they would do their Radar Ticket and maybe Electronics maintenance too. There certainly was overlap with the Leccy due to the increasing amount of electronics (SatNav, Autopilot GPS etc.)
 

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1400 watts! Four Teen Hundred watts!!!!
Tony, you were spoilt.
Are there are any of you out there who remember the "Area H/F Scheme"?
With a 120 watt Oceanspan V, VI, or VII your were lucky to interfere with the crew's radios let alone talk to even the relatively local stations in the scheme.
I do remember on one memorable occasion getting hold of Portishead on 4mc/s from the Bass Strait (you know - Tasmania Oz!) on an Oceanspan VI.
I've never been the same since.
Globespan thingies weren't much better and picking your time was the best way to do it. R/T what's that - passenger stuff, don't hold with it. SSB oh dear where ARE those college notes?
As in my previous post in this thread I was a loner (not out of choice) which is why we used to call anything that sounded remotely like a friendly ship. Just for a chat. QSO? OM k. Either that or try to live up to our reputations as a breed.
It used to be bad enough being general dogsbody before I took my electronics ticket what with cargo watches, anchor watches, telegraph log keeper, etc., etc. Even some strictly dubious deck watches. Just to keep an eye on the newly promoted totally ticketless senior appy you understand (Cloud)
Afterwards it could be hell. Having to do 2 on 2 off watches for 8 hours before they brought in the flexi time (4 hours in the morning and then another 2 sets of 2 at your convenience) was bad enough but on VLCCs and anything else that carried REOs there was no peace.
A lot of the VLCCs and others didn't even carry a lekky and dumped the job on the 4th engineer. And who did he turn to?.....
Unfortunately I cannot flash my discharge book around and brag about being an REO because you were still just another RO signing on :mad:
 

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Hi Marconi Sahib,

It was even worse on one of the Brocklebank ships I sailed on- SS Malakand/GOFP:

MF TX: Marconi Reliance (almost no o/p with wet insulators!) - doubled as emgcy TX
HF TX: Siemens SB186 (I think) - lots of RF burns when you tuned it
Main RX: Redifon R50M (heap of junk - drifted like crazy)
Emergency RX: Marconi CR100 (ex military B28) - used it most of the time
Auto Alarm: Marconi Type M
D/F: Siemens swinging loop & TRF RX (I've forgotten the number)
and the whole lot ran off batteries.

Thank goodness for the area scheme - I doubt I could have contacted anyone on HF without it.

Oh, and by the way, the happiest ship I sailed on.

= Salaams es BV = John/gwzm
 

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Thank goodness for the area scheme indeed. If I remember correctly the main tx on Matra for my first two trips outputted a throbbing 80 watts, less power than the light bulb in your lounge for the unitiated. We would not have had a hope in hell of contacting Portishead direct from the Indian Ocean or yet worse the Bay of Bengal. Thank God for Mauritius and Singapore in the area scheme.

In my first 6 years with Brock's I didn't sail with anything more powerful than a 100 watt Oceanspan and then from the ridiculous to the sublime, 1400 watts on Mahsud for my last trip with the comapny.
 

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I have spent an hour in the study and the loft since I came home and to my surprise I cannot find a photo of me in uniform when I was with P&O which clearly shows the braid on the shoulders. I know they exist I just can't find them. The best I can do is the one attached with me in mess kit on Oronsay in 1971. The lady is my now wife but at that time we weren't even engaged and she was a Woman Assistant Purser.

You can see the epaulette section running fore and aft over my shoulders and the braid itself is running thwartships on top of my shoulder, it is just visible on the original. The exact same principle applied with blues, and white uniforms were the same, ie the blue material was placed at the outer end of your shoulder and the braid ran at right angles to this material parallel to your shoulder blade.

I have included a previously posted photo of me in Cunard's Alaunia's radio room (yes we do all have them!) basically to show the braid a 2 stripe Brock's R/O had. Mine is nice and shiny because this was the second trip on my own after promotion.
 

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Tony, and the others thanks for the reply. It sounds like you had plenty to do onboard ship.
On alot of Norwegian ships the radio officers did the monthly pay slips and they also sorted out the subs when you were in port.

A friend of mine, Paul Reynolds worked for Marconi 1966/70, I think he did his training in Preston, did any of you know him?

Frank
 

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Transmitter Power

Tony Selman said:
In my first 6 years with Brock's I didn't sail with anything more powerful than a 100 watt Oceanspan .
Tony,

If you read the small print I think you will find that the Oceanspans only had 60 watts on HF - the 100/120 watt figures were for MF telegraphy.

Even so, it was a matter of pride to contact Portishead directly to send UK-destined traffic from wherever the ship was, only using the Area stations in the direst of difficult propagation conditions. Of course we used the Area stations to pass traffic into their countries (Canada/South Africa/India/Oz/NZ etc), but UK traffic had to go direct to GKL or accept big loss of face.

Ron
 

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Whoa! Ron I left my Oceanspan manual in my other jacket (*))

I haven't seen one for 35 years. Wouldn't mind one though. It'd go with the Atalanta in the garage.

You're probably right and you only got that if you'd managed not to strip the cathodes off the 807s. Or somehow knakker the stabilovolt. Saw one of those for sale on eBay the other week! Have no idea why anyone would want one in this day and age. Somebody else managed to sell a Survivor lifeboat Tx for £43 earlier this week!

Being a loner as mentioned previously I had no-one to impress but myself so all legitimate traffic went through the local area station. Getting GKL from off Lyttelton just wasn't an option. (LOL)
 

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This is many years old! I was then on "Pacific Northwest" - Furness Withy. Globespan TX with additional crystals for the Pacific West Coast. Only one problem - when you went on R/T the anodes of the two 807 amplifier valves used to glow red hot!

From the sublime to the ridiculous. On s.s. "Corfleet" an east coast collier, my main TX was a Reliant, and the emergency was a Type B Spark transmitter inside a wooden framework! On my first trip from Seaham

Harbour to the Thames, the Reliant wouldn't work - so I used the Spark TX! Got a right bollocking from GCC. Fault proved to be coal dust on the insulators!

Sometime later I was on a rusty old tramp, s.s. "Greathope" - Newbiggin s.s. co. of Newcastle, enroute from Grimsby to Archangel with pig iron, timber on the return. Main TX was a Reliant. Used to have to get Russian ships to QSP any traffic we had from the Arctic!

P.S. Bit of a cock up with trying to send the image! After 30 minutes it was still uploading the image - can anyone tell me how to do this more quickly and I will send lots of nostalgic photo's!
 

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Trevorw

I had the same problem with uploads.

If you're attaching them to a post like this they can't be bigger than 800 pixels wide and 600 pixels high. They do NOT accept pics that are 600 wide and 800 high. So you must have software that will reduce the size. Beware the red warning that you only see if your looking.

Most piccie handling stuff will let you resize but they all tend to call it something different and use tons on technospeak. Just remember to save as something different so that you don't screw up the original file.

To post pics to the gallery the site software actually reduces the picture to the default size as it uploads but if the pic is monstrous it can take forever. I found that out the hard way. I think the default size is something like 900 pixels in either direction so it's best to reduce our image to something like this before trying to upload. I usually reduce them to about 1200x1200 and let the site decide what size to post. It's a lot quicker.

Best of Luck (Thumb)
Cheers
 

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H/F Area Scheme

For those of a nostalgic bent please see attached.

Old admiralty lists came in handy for all sorts of things and this has been used as a route map for the trip.

It should be quite obvious to a lot of you out there what the shipping company was (*))
 

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You are a treasure trove of nostalgia sahib. I had completely forgotten about the supplementary stations at Vizag and Bombay etc - can't ever remember using them but I might have done. Used Mauritius/GXO a lot when it was impossible to either reach, or hear, Portishead with some of the museum gear the older Brock's ships had on board. As John/GWZM says the Redifon R50M drifted like hell and I can well remember permanently having my left hand on the inner fine tuning wheel as you followed whatever station it was up and down the band.
 

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Tony

The one and only infringement report ever fired at me was from Vizag. I'm sure I've still got it somewhere.

After the demise of the H/F area scheme all traffic had to go to Portishead but the transmitter hadn't increased in size to compensate. He only seemed to listen on one band at a time so calling could be a bit of a lottery. Either that or he had a weak bladder. Sorry, truth is there probably weren't enough operators on each band to keep a constant wathc (damned dyslexic keyboard!) watch during busy periods

I usually called GKL (or whatever) about 10 times then de my c/s once and waited. This seemed to be the only way to get him sometimes. Especially when you had very urgent traffic.

Vizag reported me for it and I got a very polite letter from Mimco asking me (tongue in cheek, I thought) to desist from such practices in future.

I never had a drifting receiver that bad but I used to regularly forget (go blind more like) the dire warnings about touching an Atalanta chassis while out of the case. Lovely jolt. Invigorates the blood don't ye know. (Ouch)

Cheers
 
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