|GKR's HF service
started in 1948 as an experimental service -
and remained with that status until its close in
Two 300 watt transmitters capable of
transmission in the 4, 6, 8 and 12MHz maritime
bands provided the service for it's duration.
The service was primarily aimed at the UK's
distant water trawler fleet, working off Iceland,
Bear Island, Spitzbergen, the North Cape of
Norway, the White Sea, Greenland and
Newfoundland. Other vessels were worked from time
to time, notably the occasional Soviet vessel
coming from the north to the UK.
Northella - callsign GTIW
GKR HF working points
GKR mainly used 8MHz and 12MHz through
each day, with one Radio Officer monitoring each band. In
the evening the service dropped to one Radio Officer with
4MHz skeds alternating with skeds on the 1.6MHz service.
Where warranted the 6MHz frequency was put into use,
although this was rare.
All UK trawler traffic was routed to GKR by the
telegraph offices at Hull, Grimsby and Fleetwood. Traffic
lists were transmitted every two hours in parallel with
the MF traffic list on 432kHz. After each traffic list
the 8MHz and 12MHz martiime bands were full of British
trawlers, all calling GKR to claim their traffic. On each
band the GKR Radio Officers scanned for these calling
vessels and built up a QRY list (a queue), following
which each vessel was worked in turn.
|Each evening a blind
broadcast was made of all unclaimed telegrams.
Vessels could monitor at this broadcast time and
sometimes one vessel would attend to this duty
and pass traffic on to other trawlers in it's
vicinty. Receipt of these messages (QSL's) was
acknowledged later that evening on 1.6 or 4MHz or
the following day.
GKR's 300 watts of power was
quite adequate in the early days of the service,
when a well-equipped ship might have only 150
watts. As the years went on and ship's
transmitters grew to 400 watts, 800watts 1kW and
even 1.5kW, the GKR lower power level became an
embarrasement. Often GKR could hear the trawlers
without any trouble at all, but the ship's end
was having great problems.
Christmas was a busy time for GKR, with
huge numbers of greetings telegrams being transmistted to
and from the trawlers. Often there was just too much
traffic for the available circuits and additional
operational points were set up with the GKR Radio
Officers sharing transmitters. Additional transmission
frequencies were brought into use at night time by keying
transmitters on the MF RT frequencies and listening on 4
or 6 MHz. At the end of the day they always managed to
clear the traffic in time for Christmas Day.
Laterly, with the demise of the UK distant water
fishing fleet, GKR's hf service became more used by
merchant ships who found the service a useful, if
occasional, alternative to that provided by GKA.
Wick Radio GKR long range HF services in 1982
as detailed in Notice to Ship Wireless Stations No. 1 1982