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Author Topic: QE2 Radio Officers and Training  (Read 125 times)

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Online Lynda Bradford

QE2 Radio Officers and Training
« on: Sep 25, 2020, 05:48 PM »
Radio Officers

Maritime law stipulated that ships should have at least one fully qualified Radio Officer, who were either employed direct by shipping companies or worked for one of the Marine Radio Companies.  The Maritime Radio Museum website has an interesting article on Radio Operators that may be of interest to you. 

“The Radio Operators on QE2 were all employed by a Cunard subsidiary,  Radio and 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. “ Willum



Image above: Don Butterworth, Chief Radio Officer, who joined  Radio and Electronic Services in 1939, was the longest serving Radio Officer in the group. He had war service during WW2 and had survived onboard torpedoed ships.   Don had supervised the installation of the radio equipment during the building of QE2 at John Brown's shipyard in Clydebank. 

Radio Officer staffing compliment:

When the Radio Room was being planned in the 1960's it was envisaged that there would be nine Radio Officers onboard at any one time. 

However, when the ship went into service, the reality was six Radio Officers:

Chief Radio Officer
Five Radio Officers (1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th 5th Radio Officers)
The 3rd, 4th and 5th Radio Officer worked shifts similar to Navigation Staff of 4 hours on and 8 hours off
The Chief Radio Officer and 1st Officer filled in as additional staff as and when required.  Roger Latham also remembers that two typist assisted during the Maiden Voyages to operate the teleprinters.  (see Roger Latham’s article)


Photo: Willum seated, (Actually receiving a telegram from Buck House at that very moment) Standing L-R Brian Martin, Ian Hamilton, Allan Holmes and Peter Hughes.

After the re-engining of QE2 in 1987 advancements in Radio Communication resulted in the number of Radio Officer being reduced to three Officer, plus there were two assistants handling the telephone calls (source: QE2 Cunard's Flagship page 85). 
« Last Edit: Oct 17, 2020, 10:58 AM by Lynda Bradford »
I was proud to be involved with planning QE2's 50 year conference in September 2017 in Clydebank
www.qe2event.com

Online Lynda Bradford

Re: QE2 Radio Officers and Training
« Reply #1 on: Sep 26, 2020, 10:25 AM »
Radio Room Functions :

Routine checking of MF and HF Coast Stations for messages
Sending radiotelegrams to Coast Stations by MF or HF
Typing received radiotelegrams from Coast Stations by MF or HF and distributing them
Typing up and receiving telex messages to Coast Station
Receiving and sending met observations and msg ( Ships service messages)
Setting up and maintaining one or two HF radiotelephone circuits for the ships telephone exchange
Setting up satellite telephone circuits for the ships telephone exchange.
Sending photographic pictures mainly to the UK
Receiving a special copy of the Daily Telegraph on the ship by radio telex or piccalo system.
Maintaining a listening watch on 500kHz for distress traffic.
Maintain all radio office and certain navigational equipment such as echo-sounders

List provided by Roger Latham
« Last Edit: Sep 26, 2020, 10:27 AM by Lynda Bradford »
I was proud to be involved with planning QE2's 50 year conference in September 2017 in Clydebank
www.qe2event.com

Online Lynda Bradford

Re: QE2 Radio Officers and Training
« Reply #2 on: Sep 26, 2020, 10:25 AM »
Radio Officer Training

see Roger Latham's article for more information on training

At the time when QE2 was commissioned there were many new communication innovations requiring training

A comment in the Cunard Publication "The Radio Department has come a long way since 1922" sums up the extend of training that would have been required for QE2's Radio Officers.

"1968/68 was perhaps the most amazing year in the company's history, everything happened at once, Lincompex, notch aerials, auto-tuned transmitters, photo transmitters, synthesised digital receivers, RRT, Piccolo, Plessey, satellite navigator, computerised anti- collision radar, mast radiators and selective calling.  The power of transmitters had now reached 1500W (PEP) in SSB modes and frequency synthesised digital transmitters were just around the corner"

Roger Latham in his article about the Radio Room mentions the specialised training that up to four Radio Officer attended prior to joining QE2



Photo supplied by Roger Latham of Radio Officers receiving training for ITT ST1400 transmitter in 1968

« Last Edit: Oct 22, 2020, 08:34 PM by Lynda Bradford »
I was proud to be involved with planning QE2's 50 year conference in September 2017 in Clydebank
www.qe2event.com

Online Lynda Bradford

Re: QE2 Radio Officers and Training
« Reply #3 on: Oct 15, 2020, 10:38 AM »
Roger Latham has supplied these newspaper cuttings from his memorabilia collection. The Cunard Radio Officer were at the GEC, AEI (Electronics) Coventry to learn about the equipment being installed on Queen Elizabeth 2, prior to joining the ship.



« Last Edit: Oct 22, 2020, 09:26 AM by Lynda Bradford »
I was proud to be involved with planning QE2's 50 year conference in September 2017 in Clydebank
www.qe2event.com

Online Lynda Bradford

Re: QE2 Radio Officers and Training
« Reply #4 on: Oct 21, 2020, 10:27 AM »
Willum has provided this photo of Mike Rossiter, Radio Officer



and Sandy Dunn, Radio Officer

I was proud to be involved with planning QE2's 50 year conference in September 2017 in Clydebank
www.qe2event.com

Offline Rod

Re: QE2 Radio Officers and Training
« Reply #5 on: Oct 21, 2020, 03:31 PM »
What has happened to the like button?

Online Lynda Bradford

Re: QE2 Radio Officers and Training
« Reply #6 on: Oct 21, 2020, 03:45 PM »
What has happened to the like button?

Thanks Rod, I will ask Rob to have a look
I was proud to be involved with planning QE2's 50 year conference in September 2017 in Clydebank
www.qe2event.com

Online Andy Holloway

Re: QE2 Radio Officers and Training
« Reply #7 on: Oct 21, 2020, 05:03 PM »



Photo: Willum seated, (Actually receiving a telegram from Buck House at that very moment) Standing L-R Brian Martin, Ian Hamilton, Allan Holmes and Peter Hughes.

Brian Martin.
Like a lot, or possibly even all, Radio Officers Brian retrained as a Computer Systems Officer when the requirement for Radio Officers ceased. I served with him on numerous contracts/occasions with Cunard before we both ended up, via 'Ethnic Cleansing', working for Seabourn. He must be long since retired but a more helpful 'Compo' would have been difficult to find.

One story of an ex Cunard Radio Officer who became a Computer Systems Officer if worth retelling.
He completed all his courses and then applied for several jobs, finally being offered a position with HAL. Come the day of joining his new ship he arrived in Port Everglades 'hopefully' expecting at least a couple of days hand-over. WRONG! On joining, a new ship he had never been on, working for a new company he had never worked for before, in a position that was new to him which he had never done before, he then discovered that his predecessor had left 3 weeks prior him joining!
He said afterwards that it took him all of that contract to get the ship's computer systems running correctly.
Although i suspect that he might have found time for a couple of bottles of Belgium cherry beer somewhere along the way!!!


Online Lynda Bradford

Re: QE2 Radio Officers and Training
« Reply #8 on: Oct 21, 2020, 08:10 PM »
What has happened to the like button?

Rod, the "like button" should now be visible.
« Last Edit: Oct 21, 2020, 08:24 PM by Isabelle Prondzynski »
I was proud to be involved with planning QE2's 50 year conference in September 2017 in Clydebank
www.qe2event.com