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Author Topic: Morse in the ""Good old Days"".  (Read 7941 times)
ZL1BBW
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Posts: 346




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« Reply #15 on: August 20, 2012, 01:53:54 AM »

This is a picture of my first ship MV Hinakura GDVS.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/38535102@N04/6336554843/lightbox/

Just aft of the funnel, under the water tanks was the Radio Room.  Chief RO's cabin on Starboard side,  Junior on Port Side.

The hospital was just aft of the radio room from memory.

the Main Aerila was a wire from fore to aft mast with a vertical feed.  It worked really well on 500khz.
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ex MN Radio Officer, Portishead Radio GKA, BT Radio Amateur Morse Tester.  Licensed as G3YCP ZL1DAB, now taken over my father (sk) call as ZL1BBW.
2E0OZI
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Posts: 269




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« Reply #16 on: August 21, 2012, 02:34:35 AM »

I was reading a old copy of KeyNote online and this made me chuckle;

The guy telling the story was a 2nd radio officer and was testing the lifeboat hand crank set as they had to do, in company with the Chief RO. He asked why it was painted bright yellow, "so you can see it when its floating in the sea easily" he was told. And then the chief to prove the point, threw the set in the ships pool, whereupon it sank like a stone.....
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Men can only be happy when they do not assume that the object of life is happiness.
George Orwell
PA0BLAH
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« Reply #17 on: August 21, 2012, 09:29:16 AM »


When you want to be an officer you needed secondary school higher level, and after that some military academy, where you possibly learn how to destroy the enemy, in fact that being other people on this planet with their hopes, their families and their children, they may even be hams, with the last prefix you need for your honor role DXCC.

The guys that actually failed at secondary school higher level by just passing with the minimum requirements/grades could do two things with their life: to pick up study for lawyer or to go in the military service. When they think lawyer is just not possible with their level, they pick the military possibility. They can earn a lot of color coded resistors on their breast of the - by retirement - take home uniform, to impress their family (of the same or lower intellectual level)  or the neighbourhood, that doesn't even exist in rural New Zealand.

So. Look at the guys that were not able to attend the higher level secondary school, due to IQ<100  and joined the Morse code profession. They became also OFFICERS! Amazing, not? Probably because they are expected to decode the messages of the secret second (and third) wife of the captain, and officers are sweared to keep messages secret.

So it was nice when not bright enough, to become an officer, still to become an officer as "sparks".

I have a rooster and I call him  [a ham call at this website which I do not publish, because I will not be insulting, but simple realistic] . Why?
Because I tried to catch the rooster, and I thought I missed, because I catched only air.

But I actually caught him when I thought I missed, amazing: only air and feathers to show.

Bob
« Last Edit: August 21, 2012, 09:34:11 AM by PA0BLAH » Logged
GW3OQK
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Posts: 133




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« Reply #18 on: August 22, 2012, 03:09:06 AM »

I loved CW from the start and took my morse test when 15 at the Marine Office Liverpool and became GW3OQK. I went to college to become a ship's R/O and passed at 25 wpm no trouble at all. (26s, no mistakes said the examiner) That was on a WT 8Amp key. I was always proud to send "perfect" morse with no errors. 50 years later I wish I could still do 25s but 22's my limit for easy sending on a straight key now. I gave up amateur radio when I became professional and only came back to it a few years ago.   I have a WT 8Amp, a Marconi 365A and a Kent but its all the same, I'm not as fast as I was in the good old days.     

In those old days at sea in the 60s I think we generally only used 20 wpm. There were some lousy operators to be heard on 500 KHz, trying to use bug keys and never succeeding in controlling the dots in calm weather never mind a force 8. I dont think the vibroplex worked right trying to send dots uphill.

On North Atlantic I would take the 1100z CANAL on a typewriter then plot the isobars on perspex sheet with a gnomic chart underneath during the 12-14 watch. At night mid Atlantic you could hear morse from Eu and NA coasts only going quiet in the silence periods. Don't know why I'm saying this, all us ex r/os know.

Now I have a T1154 which will put out on 500 & 470 kHz. If only I can get more wire in the air I'll have to give it a try.  However 500 signals faded out inland so it won't be like the old days. And to go back to old days I have a vintage shack, picture on QRZ and would welcome some QSOs.
Andrew GW3OQK
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STAYVERTICAL
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« Reply #19 on: August 22, 2012, 03:13:19 AM »

I am glad you posted here Bob,

Your life with your rooster seems to be one where you both match each others personality.
And it is important to have a partner where you each have similar interests.

For your rooster it is in scratching the earth looking for insects amongst his own droppings.
And for you it is scratching around eham looking for attention, and places to lay your own droppings.

I feel genuinely sorry for you Bob, you never seem to have a happy thought, and that is a life lived poorly.

I guess you were once a happy young lad, who thought he would see the world, but never managed to get beyond his back fence.
So you lash out at others who did do worthwhile things, and some who died while doing their duty.

I knew a young radio officer who died at sea, while sending the position of a ship which was sinking.
He did not make it off the vessel, and his actions saved many of the crew.
He was 21 years old, and had not even started his life, but gave it for his duty and shipmates.

How much have you ever given for others?
Or is all you can show for your life leaving poison posts on forums.

73 - Rob
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N4IAG
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Posts: 48




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« Reply #20 on: August 22, 2012, 07:35:02 AM »

I am glad you posted here Bob,

Your life with your rooster seems to be one where you both match each others personality.
And it is important to have a partner where you each have similar interests.

For your rooster it is in scratching the earth looking for insects amongst his own droppings.
And for you it is scratching around eham looking for attention, and places to lay your own droppings.

I feel genuinely sorry for you Bob, you never seem to have a happy thought, and that is a life lived poorly.

I guess you were once a happy young lad, who thought he would see the world, but never managed to get beyond his back fence.
So you lash out at others who did do worthwhile things, and some who died while doing their duty.

I knew a young radio officer who died at sea, while sending the position of a ship which was sinking.
He did not make it off the vessel, and his actions saved many of the crew.
He was 21 years old, and had not even started his life, but gave it for his duty and shipmates.

How much have you ever given for others?
Or is all you can show for your life leaving poison posts on forums.

73 - Rob

Great post! I think that was a very accurate and well worded response.

And the post of PA0BLAH that you replied to was one of the most mean-spirited posts I've ever had the displeasure to read anywhere.

GW3OQK  -- Thanks for posting, I love this sort of stuff for some reason. Smiley
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I want to die peacefully in my sleep like my grandfather, not screaming in terror like his passengers.
PA0BLAH
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« Reply #21 on: August 22, 2012, 08:11:21 AM »

I am glad you posted here Bob,

Your life with your rooster seems to be one where you both match each others personality.
And it is important to have a partner where you each have similar interests.

Thanks for appreciating my post, or at least for simulating that. And I really appreciate your vision on my post, certainly not simulating my appreciation.

I think, that nobody can be asked for a lousy salary to offer his life for his shipmates. I will not write about this peculiar subject in order to prevent hurting people involved. However, the still living roosters, their lousy worthless  life possibly saved by other guys, in the mean time retired, still ride with their stupid proud bunch of air and feathers, nothing else, on the back of those guys.

At least  my  post has the result that they can know, that other people see through their feathers and noticed really nothing is behind them. Most of the watching people, that notice that,  just being silent, and I am obviously not.

Is is great to swap opinions, you learn how other people look at society. Weight it, decide they must be unlucky and you should not want to swap your opinion and way of life with them, and you are all sat.

Bob
« Last Edit: August 22, 2012, 08:22:00 AM by PA0BLAH » Logged
W7ASA
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Posts: 204




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« Reply #22 on: August 23, 2012, 07:56:38 PM »

Sparkies,

Thanks for your sharing of sea stories and more - 

Exceptional people have been known to willingly sacrifice their lives to save others , but not for any salary "lousy" or large: where would they SPEND it?
Deeds like these are done from deep moral courage, love of family & friends, occasionally strangers - fellow human beings, for example.


73 de Ray



Ps. Bob, Google for articles containing those words I put into BOLD and underlined for you to study. I am convinced that you have no idea what they mean personally.
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PA0BLAH
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« Reply #23 on: August 24, 2012, 08:40:01 AM »

W7ASA Ray,

Thanks for your reply.

The thread is derailing (going out of trace) however. My posting was initiated by the link

http://www.flickr.com/photos/38535102@N04/6336554843/lightbox/ and paging there to the left and to the right right.

Look there and you understand probably better my goal of posting. 

When you have a couple of animals, you can watch sometimes the same behavior, of offering one brave individual willfully him- er herself and the rest is saved.

So I think it is  essentially part of the instinct of people. Darwinism. The "civilisation" is only 250000 years old, and that is hence an extreme thin layer.

Nowadays man can save their semen (sperm)  and fertilize strange women that are not able to get kids in their marriage in medical laboratory,  so you can ask why not take and save it of brave people, because when they die in combat,  their genetic material is lost.

Or will it be will of nature, just not to do that, and the least brave people survive, (old soldiers never die) create a family,   and posting here after they just faded away from active duty in retirement?

Bob
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GW3OQK
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« Reply #24 on: August 24, 2012, 11:19:25 AM »

This thread has gone to Marine Radio by the look of it. The only reason R/Os were there was for safety of life at sea. The nearest I came to SOS was sending XXX which was the Urgency signal just short of an actual distress. Here's an article about the ship Rajula http://www.angelfire.com/journal2/sr/page47.html

At the time 1966 the Marconi company banned me from publishing anything about the inadequacies of the radio system but I can say it now. The Indian Met Office were quite innacurate in their weather forecast. I was sending OBS every 20 minutes and it was clear the cyclone was 100 miles from their forecast. OBS was a message in 5 fig code giving position and met info. That was sent on MF to VCM, Madras Radio. We used MCW, but always received with BFO on.

We were in the dangerous sector. The wind and sea were driving us sideways, blown over at about 20 degrees and rolling, but never coming upright because of the pressure of the wind. The radio room was on the lee side. I picked up several SOS from ships blown aground only a few miles from us. The sea had turned brown and we were 3 1/2 miles off the rocky coast being blown sideways when the captain send down the XXX.

The spray coming over the ship and its aerials (main aerial being a T rigged between the masts) prevented the tx tuning up. The PA would not dip. I tried the emergency transmitter and it was the same.  I transmitted anyway. No reply to the XXX. I tried several times. No reply. Then VCM called me on 500 and I received a message from the agents. "Owing to the inclement weather please remain outside the harbour."

Then I sent the XXX  "XXX RAJULA 3 miles off coast manouvring with difficulty in imminent danger of running aground." and got QSL. The faithful three 807s in the PA may have been glowing red and blue but they did the job. As did the radar.

The engines then were put astern and we first held then backed off stern first, the cyclone fortunately passing at this time. The barometer dropped from 1005 to 960.

Thats it. Several times when ships disappeared without an SOS being received I would wonder was it because the antenna could not be tuned, and modern transmitters would not allow themselves to be used like that. I know that the 1.5KW Redifon txs I worked on had a very narrow tuning range.
Andrew

PS. Rajula & sister ship Rohna were troopships in WW2. Rohna was sunk with loss of 1,015 Americans. The attack constitutes the largest loss of U.S. troops at sea in a single incident but was hushed up for a long time.
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PA0BLAH
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« Reply #25 on: August 24, 2012, 11:57:56 AM »

GW3OQK

Impressive story. Thanks for publishing.

You as ex sparks know - I suppose - that communications at sea could be life saving in distress circumstances. So just as the top guys in the crew could do simple life saving surgical  extirpation's, (acute appendicitis) you as spark had to repair radio sets when necessary. So not only operating but also repair.

How is it then possible, that ex sparks, like pd3tru,  right now recently retired,  easily copy  30 wpm Morse results in competitions without any preparation, as I read on QRZ.com, but have to study for more then a year to upgrade his novice (technician) license to a full (extra) one? When I noticed that fact, I thought safety at sea was less safe then expected by the general public. Especially when I watch the present requirements  and published examination questions for the  full (extra) license.

Bob
« Last Edit: August 24, 2012, 12:15:28 PM by PA0BLAH » Logged
ZL1BBW
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« Reply #26 on: August 24, 2012, 01:04:48 PM »

Well I did not know that if you paged left and right that other pictures came up.  The picture was from the web, all the other pictures are nothing to do with me, perhaps I should have checked that out.

Upgrading licenses, well I do not know much about that, but I do know that I can still copy CW much easier than remembering some of the technical details.  Like most 2nd languages, for that is what morse had to become, it is not easily forgotten.

The SOLAS requirements were part of the job, we were told at College that if the crap hit the fan, our job was to stay until we got a QSL and confirmed the position etc, then we may consider leaving with the Masters permission.

Luckily, it never happened to me, but took part in a few SAR etc, and handled plenty of Medico cases.

Any way the picture is of the old rust bucket that I called home for quite a while, and I can say there was good deal more good spirit of all kinds on that vessel.  ...- .-

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ex MN Radio Officer, Portishead Radio GKA, BT Radio Amateur Morse Tester.  Licensed as G3YCP ZL1DAB, now taken over my father (sk) call as ZL1BBW.
PA0BLAH
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« Reply #27 on: August 24, 2012, 02:39:04 PM »

Well I did not know that if you paged left and right that other pictures came up.  The picture was from the web, all the other pictures are nothing to do with me, perhaps I should have checked that out.


Funny, at my last posting the link was still alive, and now it says: Connection Refused..

Bob
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KU7I
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« Reply #28 on: August 24, 2012, 02:42:19 PM »

K7KBN - I am not sure when FF-1070 was homeported in Japan. There were many versions of the USS Downes, I think maybe three ships carried the name, the latest, a Knox class frigate, FF-1070 is the one I was on from JUN 1987 to FEB 1991. She was homeported in San Diego the whole time I was onboard. It was my first ship. We sank her in the mid 90's for target practice and missile assessment tests. She was small, total length around 430 ft with a beam of about 28 ft. The new DDGs of today are much nicer "small boys".

Lane
Ku7i
JH1JCM
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K7KBN
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« Reply #29 on: August 24, 2012, 08:55:34 PM »

Hi Lane -- yes, the Downes you were on is the one that was up here in Seattle right after being homeported in Yokosuka for a few years after being built.  She came to Todd Shipyard for repairs and updates.  Had a few problems with the communications area that had never been properly corrected until then.  That was just before you went aboard, 1986.

Small world!

Sayonara & 73
Pat K7KBN
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73
Pat K7KBN
CWO4 USNR Ret.
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