Receiving Station Utlandshörn
|I remember very well my first contact. After sitting beside an active radio operator for one or two hours, the watch leader, Tamme Heyen, said it was time for me to become active. My first ship was, of all things, at that time the largest German passenger ship, "Bremen," (DDQP) for which I had a whole pile of telegrams. I was the same as a beginner on my first ship! What radio operator hasn't lived through this experience? With anxiety about the key, and cramping and sweat breaking out, I sent the first telegram, and my opposite, the operator on the Bremen sent "QSG." (send ...telegrams at a time) (Who knows these Q-Groups?) For QSG I have a funny story - read it under Episodes.|
|I have often thought about how many
telegrams I handled in 25 years of working; a careful extimate is about
The service from Norddeich Radio ran around the clock, naturally with reduced personnel at nighttime. There were about 180 people at the receiving station, and about 45 people at the transmitting station at Osterloog.
It was becoming not very attractive to see the different work places with always the same people sitting there. On this basis one could develop a seating chart:
The watch time with Norddeich Radio
was organized to accomodate the daily traffic flow, and was typically
Day 1 1:00 to 8:00 pm
Day 2 1:00 to 8:00 pm
Day 3 7:00 am to 1:00 pm, and 8:00 pm to midnight
Day 4 Midnight to 7:00 am
Day 5 Free time
Day 6 Free time
Day 7 4:00 pm to 8:00 pm
Day 8 9:00 am to 1:00 pm and 8:00 pm to midnight
Day 9 1:00 pm to 8:00 pm
Day 10 7:00 am to 1:00 pm and 8:00 pm to midnight
Day 11 Midnight to 7:00 am
Day 12 Free time
Day 13 Free time
Day 14 Free time
Note that we are not using the so-called Pick-Up Procedure in radiotelegraph for short-wave work.
After 3 days, the first watch relieved in the receiving station Utlandshörn
No passage available...
After three long days the snow plows
and excavators had cleared the way to near the stations. Then I heard
from the 'Volunteer Troops" that they needed relief. With a truck
we could get within about 1 km from the station, and the rest of the way
we fought through 3 foot deep snow. Inside the buildings our disheveled
and unshaven colleagues waited with pleasure that the end was in sight.
They had had no problem with hunger and thirst because there was a deep-freeze
chest full of various things to eat, but we of course brought essential
eating and drinking reserves anyway. Luckily we had sufficient personnel
to keep the station going. We endured two more days, and then the
station slowly returned to normal.
Night shift during the blizzard. 48 hours of service remaining.
My last Contact
Over the end of Norddeich Radio there was much reported in the media. Television, radio, and the newspapers reported daily, and I don't want to repeat it all here. It was unpleasant for us, the afflicted, to watch the business slowly stall. One by one the individual services closed; radiotelegraph on medium-wave and short-wave, radiotelephone on short-wave and coastal telephony.
On the last day of radiotelegraph service on short-wave, I had already found a new job in the same building, and packed away my telegraph key and headphones. My last ship was between Cape Town and Durban. The call sign began with TC... Their reason for using hf was because the SatCom equipment on board wasn't working. It was somehow reflected in his keying that he had not used a hand-key in a long time. After receiving the telegrams, I gave the acknowledgment of receipt, and slowly sent a leave-taking text in "Plain English." "...After 30 years in marine radio this is my last contact with a ship, and I wish to say goodby and wish for a good future for my colleagues on board." After a long pause came a short answer: PSE RPT. (Please repeat) That was not what I was expecting; I didn't know whether to laugh or cry. At last I tuned the receiver off, packed my key and headphones away, and began my new job. I was not becoming sentimental.
So that was the end of maritime radio
for me, for ever.
|back to summary "Norddeich Radio||Photo Gallery Receiving Station Utlandshörn until 1981|
|Photo Gallery Receiving Station Utlandshörn 1981 - 1998|