The beginning was in May
1967 when I flew to Kure, Japan, a city near Hiroshima, a city well known
in the shipping industry. Here my shipping company, the Fritzen ship
agency in Emden, had built an OBO-Carrier of about 85,000 loaded Tons.
(OBO stands for Oil-Bulk-Ore).That is, the Balbina was a combination oil,
bulk cargo, and ore carrier. Here I made the "shakedown" cruise,
and stayed 18 unbroken months on this ship. The first three trips
were from the Persian Gulf to European ports. In Las Palmas we were
the largest ship this port had ever seen, and were written up for three
days in the local press. Eventually we were chartered to a Japanese
oil company, and put on line service between the Persian Gulf and Japan.
It was four weeks per round trip guaranteed work, and I took vacation in
Japan, a very interesting and beautiful land.
The radio station on this
ship was for the time very modern. This was the first entry for SSB
to be used in maritime communication.
The main receiving antenna
was about 150 Meters from the transmitting antenna, so one could work duplex
or full break-in, which made it fun to work DX. (long distance) Speech-connection
in A3J over Norddeich Radio from Singapore and Japan was not rare, and
in their free time the crew members were inspired to standing in line at
the radio station to talk to home. The 3 receivers provided optimal communications
possibilities to: Norddeich Radio, Choshi Radio, and San Francisco Radio/KFS,
which all gave their traffic lists at the same time. I could hear all three
together at the same time, which was no problem.
the difference between Greenwich Mean Time and the ship's local time. The
ship's position is probably in the Indian Ocean near the Malacca Strait.
down of the ship's air conditioning and the main