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Valentia Radio

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Valentia Radio became operational
on 26th August 1914

The Valentia Island Wireless Station took over service from Crookhaven Radio, which closed down.  

Since then Valentia Radio - callsign EJK - and her sister  station at Malinhead  have provided a continuous service to shipping to the present day. 

Valencia Island wireless station was held on lease for 99 years from 1st September 1912 at a rent of £10 a year from the Knight of Kerry, Sir Maurice Fitzgerald.

The station was transferred to the Admiralty in 1918 and was taken over by the Irish Provisional Government as agents of the Post Office in 1922.

The first Officer in Charge of Valentia Radio was Mr W C G Harrison. Mr Harrison had been Officer in Charge of Seaforth Radio and responded to a circular dated 30 December 1913 inviting interest in the post at Valentia.

Mr Harrison was advised that he would travel to Valentia ahead of the station coming into operation in order that he might become familiar with the radio equipment. He was requested to hold himself in readiness at short notice. His advice to travel came by means of a telegram dated 10 February 1914 and which read "Proceed Valentia tonight if convenient."

Telegram to Officer in Charge Seaforth Radio

As instructed, Mr Harrison left Liverpool Lime Street Station on the 11pm train on 10th February 1914 to catch the Irish Mail Boat on the start of his journey to Valentia Island.

Valentia Radio Station

The primary function of a coast radio station is safety of life at sea with Valentia Radio being well located to cover the Southwest approaches to Europe from the Atlantic.  Also provided is a service to provide medical assistance from ship to shore.   In addition to the safety of life factor, both stations were well placed to handle W/T ship-to- shore radio traffic and provide services to trans-Atlantic shipping.

The records will show that Valentia Radio handled more traffic than any other UK Radio Station during the mid 20's.   This was during the days of the big trans-Atlantic liners, when Radio signals were limited to a range of a few hundred miles.

Valentia Radio was the last radio station in Ireland to use Morse code, this old and trusted method of communication being an international and reliable means of long distance communications. During the second world war Valentia received a faint message from a civilian liner way out in the Atlantic. Even though the message was very faint Valentia co-ordinated the rescue operation and a great many lives were saved.   With the full implementation of the Global Maritime Distress and Safety System (GMDSS) in 1999 the Morse service from EJK closed, the station joining with others from Europe and Canada in a final farewell to this manual, but very effective, mode of communications.

The commercial side of Valentia Radio's activities took on a new lease of life, with the introduction of link call facilities during 1972.   Again Valentia Radio found itself in the ideal location in respect of one of the main European fishing grounds being situated off the west coast of Ireland.   Within a relatively short space of time, the Spanish fishing fleet, whose traditional fishing grounds are on the Porcupine Banks and along the Atlantic Shelf became aware of this new service and despite language problems a number of radiotelephone links calls were successfully operated to Spain.   When it became known that there was potentially a very substantial traffic source available within the area under our control, the staff very quickly took it upon themselves to acquire a sufficient knowledge of the Spanish language to enable them to provide  service, and this has developed over the years to a stage where it now forms a very large part of the day to day operations. In addition to the commercial aspect Valentia Radio are also frequently involved with Spanish vessels in such matters as medical assistance and advice, not to mention casualty operations, whenever they get into difficulties.

A further bonus, traffic wise, emerged from the EC regulations concerning fishing in territorial waters, when the Spanish fleet were obliged to report movements and catches via EC Radio Stations when in EC waters. This still applies.

The real purpose of the Radio Station has always been to monitor emergency frequencies in the maritime bands and respond to calls for assistance from vessels getting into difficulties or where medical problems arise. The appropriate emergency services  are then activated to deal with the problem.  Today, Valentia Radio and it's sister stations at Malinhead and Dublin are THE primary safety link for maritime related casualty incidents around the Irish coast and into the Atlantic.

Click here if you came from some other site and wish to go to the Valentia Island Website's Main page

The original contents of this page orginated from the Valentia Island website.


Valentia Radio EJK