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Old 8th Jul 2018, 10:50 am   #21
M0FYA Andy
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Default Re: Lancaster Bomber Radio signals and communications.

Here's a book I have, the story of a Wireless Operator in Bomber Command -
'First Wave' by Kenneth Ballantyne, ISBN 978-0-9550601-6-8

Is it just me, or do others find it odd that someone starts this thread and asks a question, but then doesn't join in the discussion that ensues?

Andy
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Old 8th Jul 2018, 11:42 am   #22
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Default Re: Lancaster Bomber Radio signals and communications.

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Is it just me, or do others find it odd that someone starts this thread and asks a question, but then doesn't join in the discussion that ensues?
It seems to happen quite often. The OP has only one post against his name and has probably 'carpet bombed' various groups for information. He might return, or may be MIA. ISTR someone waxing lyrical about a mercury rectifier some time ago who disappeared fairly quickly after acquiring one.
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Old 9th Jul 2018, 2:04 pm   #23
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Default Re: Lancaster Bomber Radio signals and communications.

Buried by the avalanche of suggestions, perhaps?

An acknowledgement is nice, even if that's the last post!
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Old 9th Jul 2018, 3:03 pm   #24
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Default Re: Lancaster Bomber Radio signals and communications.

Whether the OP responds or not I have found this thread most interesting.
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Old 9th Jul 2018, 3:16 pm   #25
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Default Re: Lancaster Bomber Radio signals and communications.

Thank you all, I haven't disappeared at all I've been working on raising the money to make the film and I'm a bit overwhelmed by the response, and intend to respond to everybody! Some really fascinating info, so many leads and its really exciting to know so many people are interested in the topic, I had no idea. Bob

Thank you Dave, I've heard that clip you mention and have read suggestions that because you can hear no engine noise it might be a propaganda clip issued by the war office, what do you think? I'm particularly focused on the internal conversations between the crew and messages with base and any other dialogue needed to fly a mission that the wireless op would have heard, in other words his entire audio experience of the flight. Look forward to what you find in your books. Bob

Thank you, I link forward to hearing from them direct, if I don't I will get in touch myself, Thanks again, Bob

Martin, Thank you! All the details help me build a timeline and this helps immensely, If you think of anything else Id be pleased to hear... Thanks again, Bob

Sorry to hear about your father, luckily mine stayed around until 1993, but he would talk about it much which of course makes it all the more intriguing ! Bob

Quote:
Originally Posted by M0FYA Andy View Post
I think the third paragraph of post 3 is confusing, as is the comment regarding 'the WOPs role in short-range communications with their airfield'.

The Lancaster (and the other heavy bombers) were fitted with two radio systems. The T1154/R1155 HF system was under the control of the Wireless Operator, and its primary use was receiving instructions, weather report etc from control, using Morse code. He had to monitor regular broadcasts every half hour, and log a code-word which was then checked at debrief to prove he hadn't been asleep!
There was then another radio system, initially a TR9, then replaced by a TR1196 (both on HF), this was then replaced by a TR1143 and finally by the SCR-522, the latter two being on VHF.
This second system was normally used by the pilot, on voice, to communicate locally with other aircraft or with the airfield on return from a mission.

In American terminology, these two systems were the 'Liason System' and the 'Command System', but this terminology wasn't used by the RAF.

So normally in failure-free conditions, the WOP wouldn't have any involvement with the TR9/TR1196/TR1143/SCR-522, and the pilot would have no involvement with the T1154/R1155

Of course in the event of equipment failure or crew injury whatever radio was working would be used by whoever could use it!
Hi Andy, Thats interesting, do you think if the Pilot was talking to other planes the rest of his crew would heard the conversation? Bob

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Originally Posted by Sinewave View Post
I wonder if the Air Historical Branch of the Royal Air Force may be of help? They have large records and archives for historical purposes and are usually helpful.
A good lead, Thank you! I will follow up, Bob

Quote:
Originally Posted by M0FYA Andy View Post
One of the books I have is the recollections of a Lancaster Wireless Operator, I'll dig it out and check its title/author. I do remember that one of his major jobs once over enemy territory was acting as lookout, with a lot of time spent with his head in the astrodome whilst keeping an eye on the Fishpond Indicator (mounted on his table alongside the T1154/R1155) to spot night-fighters approaching from below, not forgetting to listen at the scheduled times for any important messages from control.
Thanks, interesting, I look forward to hearing the title, Bob

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Originally Posted by ms660 View Post
My step Grandad's son was on a Lancaster mission to Leipzig, needless to say he and his mates never returned GWGC says Wireless Op./Air Gunner. 625 Squadron.
Luckily for me my dad was one of the lucky ones, he did in tour of 30 then 5 more for luck! Bob

Quote:
Originally Posted by G3VKM_Roger View Post
One source of (fictional) info on Wireless Ops is the book by the late Alan Sillitoe, who was an RAF ground op post WW2, "The German Numbers Woman". The main character in the book is a blinded op who keeps up his skills as a short-wave listener post-war. Sillitoe wrote other fiction with a radio aspect, e.g. "The Lost Flying Boat" with R1155 and T1154 being mentioned.

Also, although it's 50 years since I read it last, Hammond Innes's "The Land God Gave to Cain" covers a disabled ex-op with the callsign G2STO. (never issued!).
Hi Roger, great leads I shall follow up, many thanks, Bob

Quote:
Originally Posted by GW3OQK Andrew View Post
Bob, This could give you an idea of what it sounded like in the operator's headphones. We had a net commemorating the radios used during the great Dams Raid 75 years before with four T1154 transmitters on air. Here's an edited version. http://www.v-d-r.net/images/DAMS NET.mp3 When MW0LUK tunes his T1154 onto frequency that's what it must have been like on air from a hundred aircraft tuning up before a raid.
Hi Andrew, Thank you but I'm having trouble with the link with this which is really frustrating as it sounds fascinating and I can't wait to hear it! Is there any other format you could let me hear of perhaps a mp3? Bob
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Old 9th Jul 2018, 5:51 pm   #26
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Originally Posted by ex 2 Base View Post
Have you been in contact with East Kirkby ? They have a Lancaster and run up the engines from time to time, the plane isn't airworthy any more, they also have lot of information about the airfield when it was operational and might have what you are looking for. Ted
Yes, that is where my Dad was stationed and Im planning a visit soon, thanks for the heads up!Bob

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Originally Posted by The Philpott View Post
It is (or was) the case that you could buy your way into one of the turrets for a slow taxi run in 'Just Jane'. Quite expensive but understandably so.
Yes, and hopefully when I get finance I can do that. Bob

Quote:
Originally Posted by valveaudio View Post
You could try contacting The Nanton Aircraft Museum in Nanton, Alberta, Canada They have a good Lancaster there which is occasionally run up. They may have some info/contacts as many were flown by Canadian crews.

http://www.bombercommandmuseum.ca/main_museum.html

I have internal photos if they are any use to you.
Thanks Trevor, I shall follow that up, and yes Id LOVE to see any pictures you may have. My email is [removed by mod] Thanks for posting, Bob

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Originally Posted by The Philpott View Post
There is an authentic clip of intercom chatter a few minutes long, available on youtube. A failed nightfighter attack occurs during this, which suggests it is a short sequence chopped out of a much longer recording.

The Lanc was deemed fairly docile apart from a tendency to nose over in the dive as around 330-360 IAS was exceeded (!) Losses in training (Heavy conversion units, mainly) were significant compared to losses in action. Bail out-survival rates from a couple of the crew positions was poor compared to the Halifax and Stirling, the interior being rather cramped and the main spar a large obstacle. American manufacturers considered that their a/c had to hold men, who needed to move around and be relatively comfortable. British a/c, not so much!

An engine failure, even on the return journey, was more of a problem than we might think- 3 times out of 4 this knocked out the hydraulic power assistance to one of the turrets, reverting it to 'mandraulic' manipulation. There was a version which used Bristol Hercules engines, to mitigate the effect should there ever be a shortage of Merlins. I don't know of any that still remain.

I can focus this info more on the role of the WOp when i find my books.
Great Dave, I look forward to hearing anything you discover, Bob

Quote:
Originally Posted by M0FYA Andy View Post
Here's a book I have, the story of a Wireless Operator in Bomber Command -
'First Wave' by Kenneth Ballantyne, ISBN 978-0-9550601-6-8

Is it just me, or do others find it odd that someone starts this thread and asks a question, but then doesn't join in the discussion that ensues?
Its not odd Andy, Im just overwhelmed ! Thanks for this suggestion, I will follow it up..Bob
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Old 9th Jul 2018, 6:29 pm   #27
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Default Re: Lancaster Bomber Radio signals and communications.

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Originally Posted by AC/HL View Post
Totally off topic, but coincidentally a Lancaster flew over here about an hour ago!
Unlikely to have been on HF though, most likely 123.75 (from memory)
It was on the way to the Southport air show, I saw it on Sat.and Sunday
A most impressive beast.

There was a long detailed article about WW2 bomber comm's in radio bygones mag, issue 159, spring 2016, sadly this mag has now ceased publication and has merged with the Radiophile mag as the owner/editor is in poor health.
if you get in touch with radiophile they may have back numbers but there may be copyright issues depending on what you want to do with the info.
regards Mike.
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Old 9th Jul 2018, 8:15 pm   #28
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Default Re: Lancaster Bomber Radio signals and communications.

I think I'm right that the article in the VMARS magazine mentioned in post #2 was a reprint of the article originally published in Radio Bygones.

'When the pilot was talking with other aircraft could this be heard by the rest of the crew?' is an interesting question. My first reaction is probably yes, because he only had one microphone (in his oxygen mask) and I don't think it could be switched between the TR9 (and successors) and the intercom system. But it warrants a closer look at the aircraft wiring diagram, including checking the way that the Plugboard Type 192 (mounted by the WOp) interconnects the two Comms Systems and the Intercom.

Andy
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Old 10th Jul 2018, 10:56 pm   #29
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Default Re: Lancaster Bomber Radio signals and communications.

Hi

In my research on the Stirling I got to talk to Jim Coman DFC, a W/O who interestingly had been on over 30 sorties but stated that very little had happened to them - that's statistics for you I guess. Mind you, his story of being 'coned' and his pilot dropping to roof top height with the 'computer' controlled flak guns shooting off the roofs of the said houses was something to wonder at!

He said that the communication with the ground was very clear and reliable - like talking on the telephone. Every 30 mins after take off he had to monitor a transmission from their airfield because the aircraft might be recalled.

He stated that he would play the BBC broadcasts to the crew - just low enough that the crews voices would be louder - just in case.

Part of his job was to broadcast a signal derived from a microphone in the inner engine nacelle so that he would deny that frequency to the Germans.

The crew would use nick names or christian names on the intercom. All the microphones and earphones were common so that everyone heard everyone talking. I think that you had to switch your mic ON to talk and switch it off afterwards - you see crew doing just that on old films. The pilot did have another switch that he could let the crew listen to the Beam Approach signal - nice for them. I think that the W/O could connect his comms to the crew or keep them private.

I think that he said that he operated the Fishpond equipment.

He noted that the engines exhausts glowed brightly and would 'flame' frequently. He always wondered just how visible the aircraft were to the enemy.

The Stirling had a very spindly undercarriage (a result of RAF bureaucracy demands for short take-off) which was prone to collapse on landing. Jim had to decant from his a/c on three such occasions. He said that they would often see a burning engine sliding past as they spun around on the airfield.

Cheers
James

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Old 10th Jul 2018, 11:34 pm   #30
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Default Re: Lancaster Bomber Radio signals and communications.

I also collect real life stories so that I will be able to make an authentic documentary myself - here are some W/O sections:

The gunners and wireless operators went out to their aircraft to do their D.I.s (daily inspections); wireless operators had to change the two-volt batteries for the radio set. There were eleven of them to change, which was a problem of carrying eleven batteries out to the aircraft.

Once the under carriage and flaps were up I went back to my wireless duties where I kept a listening watch on the group frequency in case of recall and switched off the IFF (identification friend or foe) 50 miles out from the English coast.

As we approached the enemy coast the wireless operator's duties were to listen on frequencies he had been given at briefing and listen to German broadcast waiting to hear the word 'enda', which was the same as our word for 'over' at the end of a transmission. When we heard that word we had to back-tune our transmitters to that frequency and turn the transmitter to R/T (radio telephone). There was a microphone fitted in the port inner engine nacelle so when I switched to R/T it transmitted engine noise on that frequency and would hopefully interfere with the night fighters' instructions.

I had to get a fix on the MF DF (medium frequency direction finding); this gave us our exact position at the time so we could then set a course for home base. I switched on the IFF (identification friend or foe) at 100 miles from the English coast then I could get QDNTs (a course to steer to reach base with zero wind) from our HF/DF (high frequency direction finding) at Newmarket. This brought us right over base where we made a good landing.

OTU was almost entirely devoted to navigation practice. The w/op was fairly well occupied obtaining a quota of QDMs, loop bearings and radio fixes.

we lost Gee which was our primary position finding device. The navigator called for a radio fix, but to transmit on medium frequency I had to reel out the trailing aerial which was 150 feet of wire; this was also located in the mid-fuse, near the reserve oil tank.

The Loop Aerial, Radio Fixes and QDMs.
These facilities were of no use over enemy territory, but could be useful for finding your way home in an emergency. The loop could give a bearing from a radio beacon, or allow the pilot to 'home' on it. To provide a radio fix, there were groups of three Direction Finding (DF) stations at a number of points over the British Isles. The w/op called the control station on Wireless Telegraphy (WT /Morse) requesting a fix,and the three DF stations each took a bearing on the aircraft's transmission. The outstations relayed their numbers to the control station by land line where the bearings were triangulated and the position was transmitted to the aircraft. There were DF stations spread over the whole of the British Isles from where the w/op could obtain a QDM by WT. Strictly speaking, QDM meant "Your course to fly to reach me is ...", but in practice they were mainly used as bearings - at least by BC aircraft. Finally, there was 'Darkie', which was raised on channel D of the TR 1196 - the pilot's Radio Telephony (RT/voice) HF set. This was a low powered channel with a very short range which was mainly used by fighters to ascertain their position. However, it did have the added use of receiving 'squeaker beacons' attached to 'friendly' barrage balloons to warn of their presence.


There are a good many such stories on the internet - you just have to search for them really then draw out the operation sections which are fewer as the authors don't seem to talk a lot about their everyday 'jobs'.

I also have a document which details how the pilot calls up ground stations if you are interested.

Cheers
James

Cheers
James
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Old 11th Jul 2018, 7:28 am   #31
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Default Re: Lancaster Bomber Radio signals and communications.

Re post #30:

I was recently given a TNA file on "Squeaker" beacons which, as James says, were used to roughly indicate that an a/c was close to the various UK balloon barrages. The file has the various (HF) frequencies listed and a technical manual for the ground beacons, they were NOT attached to the balloons but were set up close to the barrage. They did not emit an identification and so were not much use in finding the a/c posistion.

Cheers

Roger

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Old 11th Jul 2018, 7:26 pm   #32
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Default Re: Lancaster Bomber Radio signals and communications.

I'm amazed that they bothered to use a microphone in an engine cowl to jam the enemy, there must be more easier ways to modulate the TX with noise.

Did they calculate on it having a psychological effect on the enemy?
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Old 11th Jul 2018, 8:03 pm   #33
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I can see that it was a simple and cheap way to generate broadband noise with the technology of the day. Why do anything more complicated which would then have to be interfaced with the existing transmitter?
Doubtless nowadays it could be done with at least a dozen microprocessors...…………...
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Old 11th Jul 2018, 8:39 pm   #34
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Doubtless nowadays it could be done with at least a dozen microprocessors......
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Old 11th Jul 2018, 9:54 pm   #35
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Default Re: Lancaster Bomber Radio signals and communications.

For reference, the microphone-in-the-engine-bay noise-jammer was "Tinsel"

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tinsel_(codename)

It was just a jammer: there were smarter approaches: "Operation Corona" initially used German-speaking RAF men flying in bomber-formations to impersonate German ground-controllers: the Germans responded to this by using female ground-controllers (thinking - quite rightly - that the Allies wouldn't put women up in aircraft) - the Allied approach was to use UK-ground-based German-speaking WAAFs with transmitters/antennas to beam their fake signals over Germany.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Operation_Corona

Photo shows R1155 and AR88... !
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Old 11th Jul 2018, 10:47 pm   #36
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Default Re: Lancaster Bomber Radio signals and communications.

More code names for you- Monica and Village Inn. Luftwaffe nightfighters discovered the Monica tail warning emissions rather quickly, and used them to home in... she was quickly dumped.
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Old 11th Jul 2018, 11:23 pm   #37
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http://cdn.justflight.com/support/La...ualwithMos.pdf


I hope this is of some help. ... Cecil ...GM0EKM.
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Old 12th Jul 2018, 12:43 am   #38
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Default Re: Lancaster Bomber Radio signals and communications.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jamesinnewcastl View Post

Part of his job was to broadcast a signal derived from a microphone in the inner engine nacelle so that he would deny that frequency to the Germans.

I think that he said that he operated the Fishpond equipment.

He noted that the engines exhausts glowed brightly and would 'flame' frequently. He always wondered just how visible the aircraft were to the enemy.
Apparently, this original location for picking up wideband jamming noise resulted in fairly rapid degradation of the microphone capsule with the sheer vibration intensity, it was, ISTR, relocated first to a place near the wing root facing the engine, then someone had the idea of fitting it in the transmitter power pack itself, the dynamotor racket presumably making a good enough broadband nuisance.

Fishpond sounds interesting to the point of fascinating- apparently, the first H2S operators would sometimes notice fleeting returns on their displays from aircraft in the vicinity (there was of course a good chance of them being hostile), so it was realised that the normally blanked signal before first ground return after the transmitted pulse was a potentially very valuable source of warning information and worth developing a separate display for.

It was said that bomber crews were sometimes aghast and horrified at just how visible the exhaust flares were when they fortuitously encountered other aircraft in the stream. Suppressor manifolding and overall shields were apparently developed, but someone calculated that they would add to weight and detract from performance sufficiently to mean more bombers would be needed for the same overall load and that the inevitable higher losses would cancel the advantages gained from fitting exhaust shielding in the first place. All very well for someone firmly ground-based to say, I suppose.... I used to live near Lossiemouth, where Shackletons (essentially the grandson of the Lancaster by way of the Lincoln) were based until the early 'nineties, when these flew low overhead in anything darker than twilight, the eight exhaust stacks were strikingly prominent as bright orange streaks.
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Old 12th Jul 2018, 11:59 am   #39
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Thanks Andy, a good lead I can follow up, I appreciate it. Bob

Quote:
Originally Posted by livewireless123 View Post
There was a long detailed article about WW2 bomber comm's in radio bygones mag, issue 159, spring 2016, sadly this mag has now ceased publication and has merged with the Radiophile mag as the owner/editor is in poor health.
if you get in touch with radiophile they may have back numbers but there may be copyright issues depending on what you want to do with the info.
Thanks Mike, I appreciate the lead, I will follow up... Bob

Quote:
Originally Posted by jamesinnewcastl View Post
In my research on the Stirling I got to talk to Jim Coman DFC, a W/O who interestingly had been on over 30 sorties but stated that very little had happened to them - that's statistics for you I guess. Mind you, his story of being 'coned' and his pilot dropping to roof top height with the 'computer' controlled flak guns shooting off the roofs of the said houses was something to wonder at!

He said that the communication with the ground was very clear and reliable - like talking on the telephone. Every 30 mins after take off he had to monitor a transmission from their airfield because the aircraft might be recalled.

He stated that he would play the BBC broadcasts to the crew - just low enough that the crews voices would be louder - just in case.

Part of his job was to broadcast a signal derived from a microphone in the inner engine nacelle so that he would deny that frequency to the Germans.

The crew would use nick names or Christian names on the intercom. All the microphones and earphones were common so that everyone heard everyone talking. I think that you had to switch your mic ON to talk and switch it off afterwards - you see crew doing just that on old films. The pilot did have another switch that he could let the crew listen to the Beam Approach signal - nice for them. I think that the W/O could connect his comms to the crew or keep them private.

I think that he said that he operated the Fishpond equipment.
Thanks James, very interesting stuff, as well as operational demands of the comms details like the playing of the bbc make it all the more touching, Thanks again, Bob

Quote:
Originally Posted by jamesinnewcastl View Post
I also collect real life stories so that I will be able to make an authentic documentary myself - here are some W/O sections:

The gunners and wireless operators went out to their aircraft to do their D.I.s (daily inspections); wireless operators had to change the two-volt batteries for the radio set. There were eleven of them to change, which was a problem of carrying eleven batteries out to the aircraft.

Once the under carriage and flaps were up I went back to my wireless duties where I kept a listening watch on the group frequency in case of recall and switched off the IFF (identification friend or foe) 50 miles out from the English coast.

As we approached the enemy coast the wireless operator's duties were to listen on frequencies he had been given at briefing and listen to German broadcast waiting to hear the word 'enda', which was the same as our word for 'over' at the end of a transmission. When we heard that word we had to back-tune our transmitters to that frequency and turn the transmitter to R/T (radio telephone). There was a microphone fitted in the port inner engine nacelle so when I switched to R/T it transmitted engine noise on that frequency and would hopefully interfere with the night fighters' instructions.

I had to get a fix on the MF DF (medium frequency direction finding); this gave us our exact position at the time so we could then set a course for home base. I switched on the IFF (identification friend or foe) at 100 miles from the English coast then I could get QDNTs (a course to steer to reach base with zero wind) from our HF/DF (high frequency direction finding) at Newmarket. This brought us right over base where we made a good landing.

OTU was almost entirely devoted to navigation practice. The w/op was fairly well occupied obtaining a quota of QDMs, loop bearings and radio fixes.

we lost Gee which was our primary position finding device. The navigator called for a radio fix, but to transmit on medium frequency I had to reel out the trailing aerial which was 150 feet of wire; this was also located in the mid-fuse, near the reserve oil tank.

The Loop Aerial, Radio Fixes and QDMs.
These facilities were of no use over enemy territory, but could be useful for finding your way home in an emergency. The loop could give a bearing from a radio beacon, or allow the pilot to 'home' on it. To provide a radio fix, there were groups of three Direction Finding (DF) stations at a number of points over the British Isles. The w/op called the control station on Wireless Telegraphy (WT /Morse) requesting a fix,and the three DF stations each took a bearing on the aircraft's transmission. The outstations relayed their numbers to the control station by land line where the bearings were triangulated and the position was transmitted to the aircraft. There were DF stations spread over the whole of the British Isles from where the w/op could obtain a QDM by WT. Strictly speaking, QDM meant "Your course to fly to reach me is ...", but in practice they were mainly used as bearings - at least by BC aircraft. Finally, there was 'Darkie', which was raised on channel D of the TR 1196 - the pilot's Radio Telephony (RT/voice) HF set. This was a low powered channel with a very short range which was mainly used by fighters to ascertain their position. However, it did have the added use of receiving 'squeaker beacons' attached to 'friendly' barrage balloons to warn of their presence.


There are a good many such stories on the internet - you just have to search for them really then draw out the operation sections which are fewer as the authors don't seem to talk a lot about their everyday 'jobs'.

I also have a document which details how the pilot calls up ground stations if you are interested.
Hi James, this is exactly the kind of detail I need and is very useful and yes Id really appreciate seeing the details of how the pilot calls up ground stations as, if I understand it correctly, the rest of the crew would have heard the interaction too. Its all building a picture but as you say details of the actual job are elusive ! Look forward to hearing from you, Thanks again, Bob

Thanks Roger

Thanks Dekatron!

Quote:
Originally Posted by gm0ekm cecil View Post
http://cdn.justflight.com/support/La...ualwithMos.pdf

I hope this is of some help. ... Cecil ...GM0EKM.
Thanks Cecil, Ive had a quick look and its very informative, exactly the sort of info I need to digest, Thanks again, Bob
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Old 12th Jul 2018, 5:50 pm   #40
jamesinnewcastl
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Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: Newcastle upon Tyne, Tyne & Wear, UK.
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Default Re: Lancaster Bomber Radio signals and communications.

Hi Bob

Turns out that I may have a lot more than I thought - sady it's all formal stuff and not necessarily what the W/O might actually do in practice but here are some extracts from various documents for the interest of people reading the thread.

IM me with your email address (and anyone else interested) and I'll mail you the documents in return.

AP 3024 - Flying Control in the RAF (rather oddly undated but would be WW2)
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