What broke down in the Marconi room?


May 3, 2005
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(1)So the reason that Evans transmitted his "I say OM..." when he did was simply that he could not hear Cape Race sending to Titanic and thought the frequency was clear ?

(2) And the reason that Evans could not hear Cape Race was not due to "skip" or some other - possibly "freak" condition, atmospheric, etc. - was simply that the overall sensitivity of his receiving apparatus was less than Titanic's - shorter receiving antenna , lower receiving antenna , etc. since Californian was a much smaller ship than Titanic ?

(3) And "Radio Conditions" can be very unpredictable !
 
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Nov 14, 2005
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Good explanation. Thanks. You seem to know this stuff pretty well which I don't. Are you a HAM operator? I have an off topic question sort of for you or anyone else. Sometimes when I'm up in the mountains I will turn on the CB radio just to listen. I often pick up people far away. At first I think their just shooting skip. But a lot of them and it seems more than ever are running some big linear amps. They aren't shooting skip at all just power. My question is has the FCC just given up on those guys and not enforce the regs any more. Some of them will say exactly where they are. Just curious.
 
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Hi Steven -
Not sure if that was directed at me or not . LOL.

If so, yes I am a ham (50 years since I was once a teen-ager) and I also worked in radio communications equipment and radar as an Electronic Technician Petty Officer (ET2) in the USN 4 years and the FAA 38 years in radio, radar and computers as an Electronic Maintenance Technician. Also have held FCC Commercial Radio License.

It does seem as if the FCC has given up on regulation on CB. It sounds like it has just gotten out of control. You hear all kinds of all kinds of illegal operations and goings on in CB - linear power amps, truckers asking where the "smokies" are, etc. I hear there is a lot of drug trafficking and a lot other namby-pamby going on too.! Disgusting ! Apologies for the soap-boxing . LOL.

There are probably a lot of "good buddies".....People using CB in a perfectly legal way, but "CB" is a dirty word in the ham fraternity.

I once had a white Mercury Grand Marquis with a ham radio "whip antenna" on the trunk lid that looked a lot like one of the Texas Highway Patrol cars at the time.
I took along a CB on one trip...Mainly just for monitoring. I stopped on an overpass to take some pictures of the scenery . I heard a CB (trucker) say ..."Look Out ! There's a smoky on the overpass taking pictures ! "
( My video camcorder must have looked a little like a radar gun.) ..LOL.

Luckily the place where I bought the CB had a generous refund policy for the CB ! LOL

Meanwhile.....Back On Topic.
 
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Rob Lawes

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Hi Steven

I was a signaller and then a comms engineer in the Royal Navy. Radio Wave propagation was about six weeks of lessons in basic comms school.

Regards

Rob
 
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Don't get the mistaken impression that I am claiming to be an expert.
Far from it.
You never stop learning.
It seems I have never stopped going to some kind of a school ever since First Grade and now this website is a never ending learning process.
 
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Hi Steven

I was a signaller and then a comms engineer in the Royal Navy. Radio Wave propagation was about six weeks of lessons in basic comms school.

Regards

Rob
In the US Navy we had Signalmen when I was in but I understand that rate is gone now along with a lot of other ratings. I don't think they even have the Radioman rating any more. Everything being taken over by computers, satellite, internet. When I was in it took 3 to 4 weeks to write a letter home and get a response. Now I guess they can do video conferences every night back home on the internet. Way different than when I was in. Yeah I know, I also walked uphill both ways to school and back in the snow...*L*.
 
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Don't get the mistaken impression that I am claiming to be an expert.
Far from it.
You never stop learning.
It seems I have never stopped going to some kind of a school ever since First Grade and now this website is a never ending learning process.
Well you sound like an expert compared to me on this subject. I know the HAM guys disdain for the CB world. Understandable. I just thought the FCC would be worried about interference with some guy blasting with a 1000 amp linear. From what understand they have a couple of channels on the 40 channel where those guys hang out and test their rigs. Anyway thanks again guys for the explanations.

P.S. "You never stop learning". Absolutely right. When I got my pilots license one of my instructors told me something I always remembered. He said that no matter how many hours you have or how many ratings you get its always best to think of yourself as a student pilot.
 
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Incidentally.......I know this is getting off topic.
But on that trip with the CB (it was the first, last and only one) the truckers seemed to be hanging out on Channel 19, mostly with those reporting where to look out for the "smokies" on I-40 going through Oklahoma, Texas and New Mexico..

There seemed to be some channels where it sounded like there were teen-aged "gangs" in those towns as you passed by them.

But there were a lot of other channels that were being used for friendly chats, groups traveling together, where to find the next best restaurant or camp ground, etc.It sounded like the RV's
and trailer groups had their own designated channels. I made some notes on this, but have forgotten what they were.

Back on topic. :
On Marconi it seems Phillips and Bride where the combined RM's and ET''s and the "nerds" or "geeks" of their day.

It was very fortunate that they knew enough about the technical aspects of the Marconi equipment to recognize what the trouble was, diagnose it, and most of all how to fix it and get it back on the air. Just think ......If they had obeyed the Marconi instructions that only trained Marconi repair persons were allowed to work on the equipment what the consequencies would have been ?

There have also been a lot of changes in Ratings in the USN, especially in those of a technical nature.
 
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In the US Navy we had Signalmen when I was in but I understand that rate is gone now along with a lot of other ratings. I don't think they even have the Radioman rating any more. Everything being taken over by computers, satellite, internet. When I was in it took 3 to 4 weeks to write a letter home and get a response. Now I guess they can do video conferences every night back home on the internet. Way different than when I was in. Yeah I know, I also walked uphill both ways to school and back in the snow...*L*.
Well......I spent 36 weeks in ET School at Treasure Island and we marched both ways to school and back to the classroooms, labs and barracks...........But T.I. was flat....no hills up or down.... and it never snowed.....but there was some(?) rain and fog in San Francisco Bay on that island. LOL.
 
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Ok this will be my last off topic post on the Marconi Room. Channel 19 has always been the truckers channel. Beside smokie reports there is some good info on that channel like road conditions up ahead. Especially valuable the rare times when the interstate ices up. Treasure Island...I knew it pretty well. When I was assigned temp duty to the M.A.A. I used to have to take prisoners from the ship to stand their Court Martial's there. It was the Navy's legal center for the area. I did not like that duty at all but you do what they tell you. I understand the Navy sold T.I. to San Fransisco a few years back along with a lot of other naval facilities... Alameda N.A.S. ect. Alameda was my ships home port. I don't think the bay area has anything left to handle the big ships but I don't know for sure.

On Topic: Yes it was good they had tech knowledge to repair it. I know they were supposed to wait for the repair techs but do you or anyone know if the Titanic and or other ships carried a supply of spare parts for the radio? Or if that became standard after the disaster?
 
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Good question, Steven-

On Topic :

I've never seen any mention of spare parts for the Marconi equipment.......Only descrptions of the on board equipment .
It may have been since only the Marconi repair specialists were supposed to work on the equipment, no spare parts were stored on the ship.
Philips and Bride may have had to improvise.

Did they have any machine shops or other facilities for making repairs, such as gears or mechanical parts on those ships as the Titanic ? Did they have any equivalents to Machinist Mates on those ships ?

I know they didn't really have a Tailor Shop on Titanic. (Re : "Titanic" (1953 Movie) . Richard in his dinner jacket and Norman's long trousers. LOL

Off Topic again. I will try to make these my last :

On the ship on which I served, there was a special storage room (were they called "compartments" ?) which was reserved only for the storage of electronics spare parts, especially those special parts for each individual piece of equipment, whether it was a magnetron or a special tube for the radar or an antenna current meter for a radio transmitter in addition to all the tubes, resistors, capacitors, etc. Taking inventory of them at regular intervals was another part of the ET's job. :-(

This was also the home for our clandestine dark room. LOL.

Just one more comment on Treasure Island. The Administration Building (The would have been Airport Terminal Building ) is shown briefly in the movie "The Caine Mutiny" (1954) as rhe site of the Court Martial trial . It is also in another one of the Harrison Ford movies as the Berlin Templehof Terminal Building.

I liked my duty on T.I. for two main reasons. LOL.
(1) They had a Locker Club and you could wear your "civvies" on Liberty. I had a locker full of brown slacks, brown sweaters, brown jacket, brown loafers , etc. No Navy Blue.
(2) Most of the books in ET School were "Classified Material" and you didn't have any home work since you couldn't take them out of the class room or the lab.

North Island NAS in San Diego was our ship's home port. 6 months there ; 6 months in Iwakuni, Japan. (With transit time to and from in between) September to March in San Diego. March to September in Iwakuni.

And finally. CB is not all bad if used legally..
 
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I found this poking around the site:
“Olympic's Engineers' Workshop was outfitted with a large lathe, milling machine, drilling press, grindstone and emery wheel which were operated from an overhead shaft via belts driven by a 7½-BHP electric motor supplied by W. H. Allen; Titanic's would have no doubt been the same. That's as much as I have been able to uncover -- no specifics as to manufacturer, specifics as to actual size/capacity of the lathe, etc. …

its in this thread: Machine Tools

I was looking at various schematics of the radio equipment. What struck me as odd was the lack of fuses on the components. They had disconnect switches but very little circuit protection. I would think the one circuit I did see fuses (the main DC feeder) on one schematic that they probably had spare fuses at least for that.
 
May 3, 2005
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I promised no more, but I couldn't resist this one.:
One of the class mates was one of the early dropouts at ET School in the USN..
He was eventually assigned to the cargo ship USS TITANIA (AK-13)
Sounds like a "double-whammy"
Almost "Titanic" and the number "13".
LOL

Cheers !
Robert
 
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Yeah sounds like double jeopardy. You ET's had a long A school. Mine was only like 12 weeks plus 2 week for basic electronics then Aircraft fire fighting school and then Magazine/ordnance fire fighting school (which was basically flood the space and run like hell). But keeping on topic do you or anyone know how long a an apprenticeship was for say a ships company electrician during the time of Titanic...2-3 years...or longer? During my career I went through 2 apprenticeships...3 years for Electrician and 3 1/2 years for Instrument and Control tech. I'm curious as to how long theirs were.
 

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