Author Topic: QE2's Radio Room  (Read 27275 times)

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Offline Adam Hodson

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Re: The Radio Room
« Reply #20 on: Jun 07, 2014, 11:46 PM »
Please continue the nerdy talk in public! Even though i don't understand most of it, it's all googleable for future people researching this stuff... Bring it on!

I'll second that!
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Re: The Radio Room
« Reply #21 on: Jun 07, 2014, 11:52 PM »
Please continue the nerdy talk in public! Even though i don't understand most of it, it's all googleable for future people researching this stuff... Bring it on!

Yes! Agree with Rob, and very much  LIKE etc - this nerdy speak is brilliant! Can't get enough of it!
And please, guys - when you have finished the bit about yards of tape and rebuilding, and hand-overs etc, can you say how many clever techie R/Os and crew there were on board at anyone time? Just thinking about what would have happened should you have been unwell, unable to work. If there was only one of you, then did the deckies or engineers or anyone else know how to send and receive messages / telegrammes/ other info?
Thank you, both.
QE2 had been waiting alongside in Dubai for nearly 12 years.  Please restore her Lifeboats and Tenders to where they truly belong - she looks naked without them - please spare her this ignominy.

Offline Hank Hargrove

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Re: The Radio Room
« Reply #22 on: Jun 08, 2014, 01:31 AM »
Agreed.


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Offline Willum

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Re: The Radio Room
« Reply #23 on: Jun 08, 2014, 10:49 AM »
QE2 - as in many other respects - was a little different. The R/O's were all employed by a Cunard subsidiary called Radio & Electronic Services based in the Cunard Building in Liverpool. This company prided itself on being much more technically orientated and other shipping lines who generally employed Radio Operators and when things went wrong a local agency came on board to fix things. In my day QE2 had 5 R/Os, Chief on day-work, 3 watchkeepers and a daywork Tech R/O. No PO's or crew. We were expected to do our own repairs on board, the Technical R/O - could also be a watchkeeper and help out when the amount of phone and telex traffic got overwhelming. I took over the tech job from Alan Burbidge and I learnt a lot from Brian Martin so the leave rota had to have either Brian or me on board at any one time, sometimes both, in which case we took it in turns to do a watch. We would talk over technical problems with the other R/O's, but essentially the Tech R/O was a one man band, in my case literally. R&ES developed Marinet a marine  email system that was adopted by a number of shipping companies. I had a small workshop called 'the potting shed' Boat Deck A-Stairway just alongside the R/Room. Once the main Radar Scanner motor burnt out and with help from the Engineers we made up a plate and fitted a motor that was a spare for one of the Galley Dishwashers, it went round a bit fast (and initially backwards) but it got the 10cms Radar back working. The tech R/O was the all purpose problem solver from autoclave to autopilot, it was a great job. A crew member once brought me a dead Ghetto-blaster, on opening I found, by a slot near the battery compartment, that 4 wires had been neatly cut though with a pair of scissors, I repaired them and returned it, but not before putting an extra resistor in each channel to limit the volume.

Offline Alan Snelson

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Re: The Radio Room
« Reply #24 on: Jun 08, 2014, 12:48 PM »
Yes it is great to read about all the stuff that was going on that only a handful of people knew about, it gives even more depth to the forum.

I remember your little 'potting shed' and visited it a few times, once with a television set I purchased in Singapore which would not work on the PAL system, thankfully it came with a circuit diagram so Willum was able to sort it out in no time. The tech R/O was also called upon on a couple of occasions when we had electronic failures on some of our darkroom equipment, namely Durst HS75 printers. Of course we carried spare circuit boards but diagnosing faults was beyond any of the photography departments abilities so it was a good job you guys were there otherwise we would have literally been out of business.

When we were going to be away from Southampton for any length of time, usually the winter cruising season, the Chief Photographer was required to send details of all our business activity on board at the end of each week. This consisted of passenger numbers, photos taken, pax on board, photos sold etc. this was all handled by the radio room who I think sent a Telex message back to our head office in Southampton.

Do you remember another R/O called Fred Tordoff? He was an amateur artist and I still have a painting he gave me back in about 1981.
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Offline Willum

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Re: The Radio Room
« Reply #25 on: Jun 08, 2014, 03:14 PM »
Hello Alan, Yes I sailed with R/O Fred Tordoff on QE2 and he was a very good painter, in fact I just 'googled' him and he's all over the place, his paintings, many maritime, seem to be in demand so you might have an investment there!  Living in N.J. now by the looks of it.

Willum

Offline Roger Latham

Re: The Radio Room
« Reply #26 on: Jun 08, 2014, 04:08 PM »
Willum

Thanks for the information.  Its looks as if the readers prefer us to discuss technical queries here rather than PM !

I do have a few queries but I will have to write them tomorrow ( actually today as it is now after midnight !).

It seems there is an interest in things QE2 Radio.  I wonder if Rob could eventually set up permanent page or two with the specification of the equipment in the radio room over the years. Perhaps even having a diagram of the consoles and the equipment in each. There is so little out there on the web about the radio room and transmitter room.  Details of the special setups from the early days such as Piccolo and Plessey will be lost as will the original heathrobinson modified ST1400 transmitter etc.

Just think there was no photographs of the Titantic radio room ( I know one of the passengers took a photo before Ireland but not much detail) and when it came to make the movie they had to copy Olympics radio room instead !

I know that amateurs and others do look for photos and details of the Queen Mary and Queen Elizabeth radio rooms and are available.

There is little available for the QE2 radio room and transmitter room.  Sometimes  in the future the collective memories of the old ROs will vanish as they go QRT ! Forums such as this may be the only source of information unless Cunard makes public some of its archives - if they still exist.


All the best

Roger

« Last Edit: Jun 28, 2020, 10:46 AM by Lynda Bradford »

Offline Willum

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Re: The Radio Room
« Reply #27 on: Jun 08, 2014, 05:24 PM »
You've probably seen it but if you go to www.pond5.com and put QE2 Radio there are 3 brief video clips of Allan Holmes, Jim Barlow and Peter Hughes in action, and one of the telephone exchange gals. Actually Pond5.com has heaps of QE2 clips.
« Last Edit: Jun 08, 2014, 05:32 PM by Willum »
Willum

Offline CAP

Re: The Radio Room
« Reply #28 on: Jun 08, 2014, 08:37 PM »
The R/O's were all employed by a Cunard subsidiary called Radio & Electronic Services based in the Cunard Building in Liverpool.

I have this one page flyer on file for Cunard's Radio & Electronic Services, however, I can't add anything more about the picture shown

Offline Willum

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Re: The Radio Room
« Reply #29 on: Jun 09, 2014, 12:33 AM »
Hello 'CAP' not seen that photo before, its Peter Hughes posing with the 1st Satcom machine we had fitted in 1976. An Inmarsat Standard -A made by Scientific Atlanta. Calls were USD10 per minute, the Radio Room had to call up Goonhilly or Southbury Connecticut, then either dial the number or ask an operator ashore to dial, then the box on top of the set had a button to patch it through to the telephone exchange. Its telephone number was 00 871 1440301. It could handle phone and telex - but was hopeless at Fax as it was a 4-wire system. A very good piece of kit in its day. It was connected to the single 'mushroom' dome in the middle above the penthouses that contained a 1m diameter dish that had to be pointing at the satellite at all times so it was gyro-stabilised with compensation for pitch and roll. I remember demonstrating it to Buzz Aldrin.
Willum

Offline CAP

Re: The Radio Room
« Reply #30 on: Jun 09, 2014, 09:24 AM »
Willum, many thanks for the explanation of the picture.  I did have suspicions of there being a QE2 link.  The flyer formed part of a much larger brochure pack issued by Cunard for all of its services at the time.  I am led to believe the brochure is circa 1982.

Offline Roger Latham

Re: The Radio Room
« Reply #31 on: Jun 09, 2014, 05:30 PM »
Willum

Here is my query for you.  I would be very very pleased if you could identify the equipment in the consoles on the attached photos.

The 1969 photos and identification came from the QE2 IMR sponsor brochure.
The labels are from the photos but put against each unit in the rack.
My memory is not so good on these units,  in particular I am not sure about the IMR/ITT transmitter exciter and the model number.
I am not sure if the original units were synthesizers.  The units shown as exciters do not look right.  They still look the same in the 1985 photos.

What did the Transmitter band and channel unit do ?  Was it the device that simply showed on the wall panel as to which transmitter was operating on which band and frequency ?

The 1985 ? photos are part of a number I took when the ship was in Hobart.  The ship came into Hobart in 1977 and 1985.  I cannot remember if I went aboard in 1977 and took any photos then.  I am fairly sure these photos were taken in 1985 because the ITT SRT910 is shown in the corner and as I understand was installed sometime around late 1984.

The 1985 console receivers look like SKANTI  R5001, Debeg 7204 or  SAIT MR 14501 . 
I assume the GEC receivers had been removed, as were the ITT main receivers which are shown in the other IMR photo .  The GEC would not have been type approved and the IMR receivers were probably originally included for compliance.  Again I assume as the new receivers were type approved the old IMR ones could be removed.

I had a look at the videos you mentioned but of course cannot be posted as they have to be purchased.  I could not find relevant photos.  There is still a lack of radio room photos.  I could post mine from 1985 if no others around.  As I took them there is no copyright problems.

Once again thanks for your help Willum

Roger
« Last Edit: Jun 10, 2014, 05:09 AM by Roger Latham »

Offline Willum

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Re: The Radio Room
« Reply #32 on: Jun 09, 2014, 11:41 PM »
Phew, takes deep breath. Ah yes, I remember eet well. Thanks for the photos proper takes I back.

Pic1
L-R   1) Thats the EB400 remote control panel that I made to replace the original by Jim Neary that had become flaky. 2) STR65 VHF. 3)Ericsson EM100 exciter for TX2, dial the freq up on nixie tubes. 4) EB1500 remote control TX2 manual tuning. 5) Rx Aerial selector panel 6)Rx2 Skanti R5001 7) Freq Synth for TX1 fitted in about 1981 as the ST1430's were originally crystal only.

Pic2
Receivers Skanti R5001 might have been badged as SAIT.
Upper unit is EM100 exciter for Main Tx TX4. lower is TX4 EB1500 remote control unit.

Pic 3
The ghastly IMR SR401 deaf as a post and drifted all over the place. There was another in the IMR rack in the Tx Room. On the wall is the Redifon Auto Alarm receiver. Not required as we were H24 of course.

Pic4 Box on the left is the headphones / key patch panel, hardly used. By the text 'what is this unit' is actually the lower third of the GEC receiver - the handles show the size, it was a big rx.
The distribution unit switched the AF to the TX or the Telephone exchange, it also switched on 'Condition A' a so-called secure HF SSB but all it did was to switch to Lower Sideband! never used. You could also switch on the WOO caller a modified record player with a cutout GBTT wheel and microswitch that sent an audio CW tone on SSB to summon Ocean Gate Radio. Try that with Portishead and see how far you get!

There was a centre console with the Main receiver a Redifon R408 tuned to 500khz. You could unplug it and lug it up to the TX room where a set of jones plugs allowed you to use it with the EB400 in the event of the cables from the RR to the Tx room being damaged.  Also another dreaded SR401 tuned to 2182khz mercifully with a crystal osc! 
Finally 2 x eddystone EC958 receivers one tuned to the BBC World Service and the other to VOA that fed audio to  the SRE room on 3 deck for the pax cabins.

And those I miss, I hope you'll pardon..

Willum
Willum

Offline Willum

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Re: The Radio Room
« Reply #33 on: Jun 09, 2014, 11:55 PM »
Forgot this bit

"What did the Transmitter band and channel unit do ?  Was it the device that simply showed on the wall panel as to which transmitter was operating on which band and frequency ?"

There was a band/channel control on each bay patch panel that had a tell-tale supposed to allow the chief or any other op to see what freq you were on without asking! never used. Also the aerial selector units had a passive pre-selector. the 2 knobs on the right, useful if you were suffering any intermod from the sitor or something but generally you could have 3 channels on say, 8Mhz without QRM. Thats the difference between pro and ham gear, with pro gear you can have a kilowatt a few khz and a hundred yards away without wiping out your receiver.
Willum

Offline Roger Latham

Re: The Radio Room
« Reply #34 on: Jun 10, 2014, 05:07 AM »
Willum

Many thanks for the answers to my questions on the control panels.

Know I know the names of the equipment I will create new diagrams showing the names of units in 1969 and 1985  based on my own photos.  With the lack of 1969 photos I will try and recreate the 1969 versions of the consoles from my 1985 photos - if that makes sense.

I will remove the photos from the post but will post my photos ( without my  queries on them )  and new diagrams later .

I assume there was not a lot of changes in the radio room equipment from 1985 until it was removed.  What happened to all the equipment did any of it go to a museum ?

Once again thanks for your help - I could not have sorted it out without it !

Roger

Offline Roger Latham

Re: The Radio Room
« Reply #35 on: Jun 10, 2014, 07:33 AM »
Willum

I thought I had it all sorted but still having a problem with the model of the old transmitter exciter.

In 1985 the forward console and others the  exciters looks the same as in 1969. I presume that was the crystal controlled one mentioned .


It seems that the exciter in the console is original - as it looks the same as on IMR brochure.  It is certainly possible that IMR used a re-badged exciter.  It probably had ITT on it but I cannot remember the model number.  I suppose if it came with the ST1430 it could have been a normal exciter with that transmitter. I wonder what was the original exciter with the ST1400 that clearly got removed.  It must have been different because it would have had MF as well.


To help I have shown unit positions 1 to 7 on the diagram.  That should help you in any reply.

Sorry to bother you but I think you are the only person who seems able to answer my questions ! I think the diagram will be of help to others in future.

I still have to work on the diagrams for the other consoles but the more you do the easier it gets !

I was a bit confused in draft 1 of the diagram but I think I have now sorted that out and all should be right now. Can you please correct any errors.



All the best

Roger







Quote
« Last Edit: Jun 10, 2014, 10:36 AM by Roger Latham »

Offline Roger Latham

Re: The Radio Room
« Reply #36 on: Jun 10, 2014, 09:25 AM »
Willum

Here is a photo taken November 1968 with Left to right. myself Roger Latham, David Wain, Instructor and Alan Holmes attending ST1400 course at IMR factory in Croydon.

It is possible the exciters on the QE2 were similar. Unfortunately you cannot see the front panel as the instructor is standing in the way.

If you go to this website

http://www.seefunknetz.de/st1400.htm

You see that the Debeg ST1400 Transmitter is almost the same . Equipment manufactured by Swedish Standard Telefon AB.
Whilst the website shows a frequency synthesizer version the lower part of the unit is almost the same as the QE2 Version and would fit in with the photo on the IMR course. The lower part is shown hanging down.

Note
The photo was given to us all on the course by IMR for publicity purposes.  I have no idea as to its copyright status as IMR no longer exists. If there is a  copyright owner and they wish it removed please advise and I will remove it.

Roger

Offline Willum

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Re: The Radio Room
« Reply #37 on: Jun 10, 2014, 09:45 AM »
Hello Roger, You know people say you can remember things from years ago, but not what happen 2 weeks ago well its true!

(Cue Alan Freeman 'Pick of the pops' music......)
 
In at No1. is the Transmitter control unit, push buttons for on/off Standby and HT on and a RF light.

At No2 ST1430 frequency generator, Band (2,4,6,8,12,16,22) and Crystal (1 to 12) selector switches

At No3 ST1430 exciter control for A1, SSB, Tune, Drive level push button 'key' and the knob on the right test meter position.

At No4   Rx Antenna selector unit and passive RF preselector. This also had Nixie tubes, very extravagant as there was a tube for each switch so if you put on Rx AE4 then a tube with '4' lit up above the switch, as if you didn't know! The 2 knobs on the right are Band and Tune for the preselector and the right hand switch switches the preselector in or out.

The 2 knobs above the headphones patch panel are the Band/Channel for the tell-tale indicators that were never used.
Incidentally you'll notice one of the headphones selector buttons is black and all the others are white. This is the 'home' position and in this case its button 3 showing that this is bay 3. In the Aft console photo you can see its home position is 1.

Bay 3 eventually got a synthesiser as per bay1 but not when this photo was taken.


++++

As to what happened to the gear, well I left QE2 in 1988 after 10 years there, so the Radio Room was still in business though we had a second Std-A Inmarsat by then. The one memento I would have liked would have been one of the straight IMR morse keys. But I actually have a better memento - XYL! (for those casual readers thats Ham-speak for wife, YL is Young Lady and X is Ex)

Keep 'em coming Roger, or have I done it? and should this be my specialist subject on Mastermind?

Willum
Willum

Offline Willum

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Re: The Radio Room
« Reply #38 on: Jun 10, 2014, 09:53 AM »
Hello,

Ref the Debeg website, the middle photo shows the synth set to 2182, but the section underneath shows the exciter controls, a very similar panel to the ST1430 controls we had on QE2 but our freq gen was crystal controlled until the synths turned up.
Willum

Offline Roger Latham

Re: The Radio Room
« Reply #39 on: Jun 10, 2014, 11:05 AM »
Hi Willum

We crossed our posts. I was posting draft 2 and corrections then found you had posted in the meantime !

Anyhow thanks - you have given me more information which I could add later to drawings.

Its the first time I have tried to produce drawings from a photo like this. It took a bit of experimenting to get the right look.  It  looks more like some of the pages in a handbook ! 

I did it by cutting part of the original image image. I had to correct some of the distortion due to perspective with Serif PhotoPlus X5. I then posted into an Excel spreadsheet. Then resized it.  Added the captions. Easier to do in spreadsheet than on an image.  Then selected the print area. 
I then saved as pdf with Cute Writer.  I then opened the PDF with PDF-Xchange Viewer ( free version) and then exported as jpg.

Saving via a PDF removed all the grid lines and cleans it up.

There you are. The only trouble is the time it takes to make a correction to the diagram.

Now I have to try the other consoles which have a greater distortion due to perspective !

Fine about wanting the morse key but getting an XYL - agree you had the best of the bargain !   As I say I wonder what did happen to the equipment or the thousands of radio equipments removed from ships when radio officers became redundant. I suspect scrapped but as an amateur it sounds an awful waste !


I put the drafts of the the other consoles here. Can  you please advise errors.  Thanks

I found an image on the web of the exciter of a Debeg ST1200 transmitter.  It looks identical to QE2 except it has an additional switch on the right.  Perhaps that was the MF frequency switch and probably what used with the ST1400 on QE2 originally.

I have had to find numbers for the consoles so I named them 1 to 5 from forward clockwise to aft. I know that is not their real number but its the only way to make sure we are talking the same units ! I am not sure how the transmitters are numbered. If you advise I can correct the diagrams.

I have had difficulty with the centre console which I called console 3.  I am unsure about the A1 A2 units but I thought one should SR401 but my photo has only the right 1/3 of units !

OK I think thats the lot for the consoles.  I await your reply on the centre console .


All the best

Roger




« Last Edit: Jun 10, 2014, 03:10 PM by Roger Latham »

 

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