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Author Topic: K8AXW Miranda/GULL  (Read 1796 times)
ZL1BBW
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Posts: 1218




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« on: September 08, 2016, 01:07:01 PM »

To keep it out of the other topic  Grin

I used to work GULL from the comfort of a desk in D wing, thankfully.

Used to have massive wx reports to send in the 5 figure sys code, they would take ages.

When they were operating up there, we had an op on the desk H24 and the Tx constantly keying de GKK we used to go up and down the bands day and night to keep the link open.

Cheers Gavin

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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.
K8AXW
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Posts: 6305




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« Reply #1 on: September 08, 2016, 10:08:04 PM »

Gavin:  I have always made it a point to ask a lot of questions (conversationally of course) with whomever I run into.  For example, down through the years I've questioned hundreds of men planning or have retired from their job.  Through this I was able to determine how long a person should plan for retirement (for the free time on his hands) and some other interesting information.

I'm also a people watcher and one of the things I learned about woman was that you can tell more about them by their hair than any other thing.

All of that to tell you this.  We had many former sailors in my department and I simply asked them if they liked the Navy and every one answer "Yes!"  And then I would probe their answers down through the years and found that not ONE could tell me WHY they liked the Navy!

So when I viewed the great photos you posted I went over them as well as possible at the time and will no doubt go back and view them a few more times.  I also spend a small amount of time watching the TV reality shows on the fishing boats.  While a lot of it's BS, you can't fake the ocean!  And that is one thing I will never forget....the ocean!  I'm now 80 years old and the view from the deck of that troop ship is a sight that will never leave my mind.....as long as I continue to have my right mind.

This is why I made the comment about the Miranda and the photo of the sea.  I don't want any part of that job!  Now, copying traffic FROM them seems to me an interesting job as well as sending traffic TO them.

Question:  Were you strictly copy only or did you transmit as well.  If so was you able to chew the rag any or were you restricted in this area?

Al - K8AXW
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ZL1BBW
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Posts: 1218




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« Reply #2 on: September 08, 2016, 11:34:57 PM »

Gavin:  I have always made it a point to ask a lot of questions (conversationally of course) with whomever I run into.  For example, down through the years I've questioned hundreds of men planning or have retired from their job.  Through this I was able to determine how long a person should plan for retirement (for the free time on his hands) and some other interesting information.

I'm also a people watcher and one of the things I learned about woman was that you can tell more about them by their hair than any other thing.

All of that to tell you this.  We had many former sailors in my department and I simply asked them if they liked the Navy and every one answer "Yes!"  And then I would probe their answers down through the years and found that not ONE could tell me WHY they liked the Navy!

So when I viewed the great photos you posted I went over them as well as possible at the time and will no doubt go back and view them a few more times.  I also spend a small amount of time watching the TV reality shows on the fishing boats.  While a lot of it's BS, you can't fake the ocean!  And that is one thing I will never forget....the ocean!  I'm now 80 years old and the view from the deck of that troop ship is a sight that will never leave my mind.....as long as I continue to have my right mind.

This is why I made the comment about the Miranda and the photo of the sea.  I don't want any part of that job!  Now, copying traffic FROM them seems to me an interesting job as well as sending traffic TO them.

Question:  Were you strictly copy only or did you transmit as well.  If so was you able to chew the rag any or were you restricted in this area?

Al - K8AXW

Well, this may roll on a bit.

Portished Radio/GKA where I worked was a purely HF station, we had around 350 R/O's there, it was a world of its own.

We did all sorts, from working ships on HF around the globe, to set skeds with people in strange and exotic places, then our service was expanded to aeronautical phone patch.

When you rolled up for your shift, you could swop duties, so if you did not like RTTY, I hated it, then I would swap my 5 or 6 hours in RTTY with someone for their duty, now multiply this by around 80 - 100 people on duty at that time, it was chaos, but sort of organised, certain seas had to have a bum on them and everything else sort of fitted in.

Anyway things like the trawler watch you sat there and just worked Miranda, yep you sent the wx from the Met office so their onboard met people could write up a local forecast and that was then rebroadcast by Miranda, you also received traffic from them.  Sometime it was wx OBS then run of the mill tfc and maybe a Medico.  As it was just you on that TX you could have a chat and see how things were going.

These odd jobs were in D wing so you could be sat there in the day with another 15 or so ops, and you did chat between yourselves anyway even when sending of receiving traffic, the other one off job was Pacific watch, at set times, mainly during the night someone would wonder down to D wing and run up a TX, some points you actually had control over the TX freq from the position, mainly you just selected a key from the 40 or so TX's we had on air.  But then you got to call CQ pacific with 10kw to a LP that you could steer, and use the rhombics for RX.

On the subject of Troop ships, we used to work the RN ships for phonecalls home, so they would come up with maybe 150 calls. The deal was each call would be 3 mins the min chargeable, so you would get 10 numbers and names, get the first call going and then start ringing the other numbers, Mrs Smith, Jones, Dogsbody etc, you would keep the next caller in line on another line, and as they took the headphones off sailor Smith and put them on Sailor Jones you would flick the switch and they were all go, this was great until sailor Billy jumped the Q, sometimes they would be a minute or more into the call before we all realised we had the wrong sailor and wife connected.  Anyway you would work your way through these calls, all 3 mins, next 3 mins next and keep getting another list of numbers.

Unless you have experienced it, it is really beyond belief how the whole thing held together.  We had young children, and it suited us better that I was home during the day, so for years I swopped and redid swops and just worked 4-10 5-10 5-11 6-11 for a whole week, very rarely did a night duty, they were killers.

Anyway in the end, with satcomms making inroads into the future lifetime of GKA I managed to wangle a promotion up to London, then after 4 years, chucked it in and we came out to NZ where my parents were.

Why did I like being an RO at sea, well it was quite a good life, only any work to do at sea, port time was pretty much all your own, and with 6 weeks in port sometimes it could be good.  In the end, I worked for a Scandinavian company and the reason there was purely Money, I was saving up for a house and it had to be achieved, which it was, then I came ashore and we got married.

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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.
K8AXW
Member

Posts: 6305




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« Reply #3 on: September 09, 2016, 10:55:09 AM »

Gavon:  VERY interesting and most totally beyond my comprehension!  That many ops working at the same time......number of transmitters..antennas....tuners, etc., I simply can't imagine.

However the last paragraph grabbed my attention the most.  Many former sailors would say "they got to travel the world."  However, with more conversation I found that they seldom got more than 5km past the port and most of it was spent in some 'sailor bar.' 

I choked on this a bit because with being stationed on dry land in Germany, owning a motorcycle I was able to travel from Amsterdam to Rome and hundreds of very interesting and beautiful places in between.

I worked an 8 hour shift (which included nights, or Mids as we called them and I agree were a killer) and the rest of the time was ours.  I had a permanent pass, which meant that on my 'off' time it was mine and my motorcycle.  We also was able to establish relationships with people, including a favorite girl.  So this is one reason why I asked so many questions when talking to former sailors.

But, be that as it may Gavin, 6 weeks in any port is nullified by one day on a small craft!  Damn that was rough.  I guess having a job made things better but still the never ceasing movement of the ship and seeing water 360 degrees day after day was more than I could handle.  I guess I was and still am a confirmed landlubber!

As with any job Gavin, there are those who love it and those who hate it.....or simply can't handle it.  After service I spent 40 years working in a power plant for a paper mill.  When I retired my replacement lasted 30 days and his heart started to give him trouble because of the stress of constant attention to the work and making decisions. 

Of course there are those who are unable to do the kind of work I did while in the service but those who I did work with liked the work although there was the constant bitching about anything.  But given the choice of doing the job or moving out to something else shut down any serious bitching.  :-)

73

Al - K8AXW
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