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Old 19th Jan 2022, 8:52 pm   #21
bikerhifinut
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Default Re: On-board ship communications

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Originally Posted by kellys_eye View Post
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I have read that morse keys were used for communication within ships.
You may be mistaking that for the Morse (Telegraph) used between wheelhouse and engine room to communicate engine demand. The 'morse' in this case is the name of the cable used to connect the two telegraph devices together - basically a sheathed steel wire physically connecting the two handles on the telegraph unit.

The wheelhouse would crank one handle to the required speed/direction and the engineroom would 'reply' by copying the handle position to acknowledge the call.

This was necessary as there is no direct connection between the wheelhouse and the engine (like a throttle cable and carburettor!) - the engineers had to make the necessary adjustments to the main engine in regard to speed and rotation direction.
I never saw such a device on any vessel I was on that didnt have direct bridge control of the engine.
The Telegraph was an electrical device that worked on the principle of the "Powerotor" .
A permanently polarised armature, bearing mounted, and moved by the electromagnetic field produced by interconnected coils in the stator section forms the receiver part of the system. And in the same manner, the transmitter section which is moved by the bridge control lever rotates an armature in the field produced in the transmitter stator, causing an imbalance in the field which is transmitted by wires to the engine room control platform. So the pointer in the ER moves and the imbalance is also used to operate a relay to sound a buzzer. When the command is acknowledged, the lever in the ER is moved and the pointer on the bridge receiver moves to match the engine movement commanded, and the buzzer stops.
Thats a rough precis I just dug out of my old cadet workbook, now falling apart.....................

Andy.
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Old 20th Jan 2022, 6:02 am   #22
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Default Re: On-board ship communications

I have asked a little around, and it seems like the 3 most common solutions was:
1) Really old tube system with whistle
2)Magneto telephones with local batteries
3)Magneto telephones with voice powered transmitters
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Old 20th Jan 2022, 8:28 am   #23
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Default Re: On-board ship communications

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The Telegraph was an electrical device that worked on the principle of the "Powerotor
So that is why in all the films I see the handle is waggled to the extremes before the wanted position, to reset the system. Also makes the bell ring.
 
Old 20th Jan 2022, 10:29 am   #24
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Default Re: On-board ship communications

Again, I have no personal experience of these, but I know a range of electrical and mechanical systems were used for the engine order telegraph, depending on the era.

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

On modern ships everything is controlled electronically from the bridge of course, apart from when the emergency backup arrangements are in use.

The Royal Navy in particular distrusted electrical communications and believed they were vulnerable in combat. Most RN ships were still using speaking tubes and engine telegraphs well into the 50s.
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Old 20th Jan 2022, 12:41 pm   #25
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Default Re: On-board ship communications

In reply to Merlin's question, There wasn't generally a connection between ships' internal phone system and a shore line. In the pre satelite phone days, as mentioned in a previous post by an ex RO, any personal messages would have to go through the RO and be sent via HF radio if deep sea and generally only for serious health problems, births or deaths.
Nowadays there is generally Wifi on board for crew use as well as official business, using satelite phone at sea and local mobile network when in port.
Mechanical telegraphs were in use on new vessels up to around 1960. Those which I remember used a chain connection similar in size to a bicycle chain; not a problem when the bridge was directly above the ER, but when the bridge was midships and the ER aft, that would mean very long chain runs.
The electric telegraph took over in the 1960s and remained the primary means of engine control communication until bridge control of the main engine(s) became commonplace in the 1970s.
Rod
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Old 20th Jan 2022, 12:51 pm   #26
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Default Re: On-board ship communications

Hi,

I believe that the navy at one time had communications from lookout positions
on ships to 'whoever they reported to' using a morse key. Perhaps wind noise would
have been a problem with verbal communications.

I have seen such a device made by McGeoch's of Birmingham incorporating a morse key.

Kind regards
Dave
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Old 21st Jan 2022, 12:10 am   #27
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Default Re: On-board ship communications

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Originally Posted by merlinmaxwell View Post
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The Telegraph was an electrical device that worked on the principle of the "Powerotor
So that is why in all the films I see the handle is waggled to the extremes before the wanted position, to reset the system. Also makes the bell ring.
No that's Artistic licence, no such drama or histrionics in real life.

Andy.
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Old 21st Jan 2022, 12:30 am   #28
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Default Re: On-board ship communications

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Originally Posted by roadster541 View Post
In reply to Merlin's question, There wasn't generally a connection between ships' internal phone system and a shore line. In the pre satelite phone days, as mentioned in a previous post by an ex RO, any personal messages would have to go through the RO and be sent via HF radio if deep sea and generally only for serious health problems, births or deaths.
Nowadays there is generally Wifi on board for crew use as well as official business, using satelite phone at sea and local mobile network when in port.
Mechanical telegraphs were in use on new vessels up to around 1960. Those which I remember used a chain connection similar in size to a bicycle chain; not a problem when the bridge was directly above the ER, but when the bridge was midships and the ER aft, that would mean very long chain runs.
The electric telegraph took over in the 1960s and remained the primary means of engine control communication until bridge control of the main engine(s) became commonplace in the 1970s.
Rod
I may of course have been lucky in that I did my cadetship with a company that embraced relatively modern technology in its newbuilds, but none of the ships I sailed in that were built in the 1950s had anything other than a Robinsons or similar electric telegraph.
As to verbal comms, the sound powered telephone was present in all vessels to enable comms between all places that mattered, ie Bridge ER Steering Flat and masters bedroom. (not cabin)
and the old soundpipe to the masters cabin and ER was in evidence, and it was used.
Most ships I was in had a morse key of some sort on the bridge that operated an all round light usually mounted at the top of the signal mast above the wheelhouse, not used much but there in case.
a previous posters comment about "Shuttered searchlight" would be the Signal lamp, usually called the "Aldis" in much the same way as all vacuum cleaners are called "hoovers", there were a few methods of executing the shuttering action, some more reliable than others. They did make a usable portable searchlight though.
For reasons that may be explained by psychologists, Radio Officers capable of phenomenal morse speeds seemed to hate sending messages vis signal lamp, whereas deck officers like myself had a similar phobia about morse sent by "sound", this is a topic I have discussed with fellow radio amateurs and there must be a reason for it.
Andy
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Old 21st Jan 2022, 12:17 pm   #29
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Default Re: On-board ship communications

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By this, I mean the likes of passenger cruise ships, cross-Channel ferries and so on. Were/are they fitted with GPO-style telephone exchanges with simple telephones in cabins, crew quarters, bridge, engine room etc ? Or were wired or wireless intercom or sound-powered telephones used ? I acknowledge that marine band VHF radio would be found on the bridge.

Thankyou.
I have one of the three GPO style pre-decimal 'Button A/B boxes that were fitted/used on the Canberra cruise liner until 1992. They then became 'unusable' because the old 'Florin' sized 10p piece was withdrawn in 1992. Although they were 'pre-decimal' the slots weren't the usual Penny/sixpence(6d)/shilling (1/-) .

Instead they had a 2/- (florin/two shilling) slot at the front with the usual 6d and shilling at the rear. There was a 'stick on' notice on the front of the A/B plate stating -
6d = 5 cents
1/- = 10 cents
2/- = 20 cents

Thus both old UK pre-decimal coins and Australian decimal coins could be used depending where the ship was. Not sure of New Zealand coinage?

The 'coin denomination' plate was the old style cast metal silver finish but with '2/-' for the front slot and the usual 6d and 1/- slots further back.
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Old 21st Jan 2022, 2:00 pm   #30
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Default Re: On-board ship communications

Both Australia and NZ decimalised the 'ten bob note' rather than the pound, giving 10 cents to the pre decimal shilling. Britain didn't do this because the pound sterling was still an important global reserve currency at the time.
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Old 21st Jan 2022, 8:58 pm   #31
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Default Re: On-board ship communications

What a fascinating subject!, thanks
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Old 22nd Jan 2022, 1:57 am   #32
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Default Re: On-board ship communications

When I used to listen to ship-shore traffic, phone calls were often charged in Swiss Francs.
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Old 22nd Jan 2022, 11:04 am   #33
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Default Re: On-board ship communications

It appears our ships have covered all means of wired communications. Quite a melting pot.
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Old 22nd Jan 2022, 2:11 pm   #34
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Default Re: On-board ship communications

Interesting video here with voice pipes etc. Engine room telegraph stuff starts about 18 minutes in:-

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ocUD07fvf48
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