Dear Sparks,

today 27 Sept. 2018 had a QSO with UR3IDD/MM on board M/V MARGARETHA in the Atlantic on her course between Port Arthur (USA) and Norway, it is long time I am following this Maritime Mobile station but the ship was sailing in the Gulf of Mexico and the sigs were very low, today for first time I have heard her with a nice signal on frequency 14019.0 kHz at time 12.57 UTC, the OM is very active when off watch.

Good watch and best rgds,




Dear Sparks,

tonight at 21.00 UTC worked on 10.116.0 kHz OM Oleg (former Radio Officer now Chief Mate) and he is on board the big Bulk Carrier “MINERAL BRUSSEL”, Oleg is just out of Gibraltar bound to Canada (Sept-Iles), Oleg arrived with RST 559 working QRP with an FT 817, at the moment he is still on the air.


Below a video of the ship when named “TOM SELMER” (video taken near Cape Good Hope).

Best regards,



Marine Radio – Main transmitter Standard Radio ST1200

Dear Sprks,

following article by Technical Journalist Dr. Marcin Marciniak – SP5XMI

This masterpiece of old tube technology is quite rare comparing to Marconi, Mackay or even Dansk Radio (the Elektromekano brand). It came from a Swedish company „Standard Radio & Telefon AB” in the 50s, it was installed on three Polish vessels including s/s SOŁDEK callsign SPCJ (, now a museum ship. You can see this ship as a part of National Maritime Museum in Gdańsk, Poland. Unfortunately none of the original radio sets onboard are in working condition. A group of enthusiasts wanted to restore main transmitter and one of the receivers but the process is very complicated as of now.

There were also three sister ships that had similar radio setup: s/s BRYGADA MAKOWSKIEGO/SPCN (written off in 1979) and s/s JEDNOSC ROBOTNICZA/SPCK (written off in 1978). It’s Standard Radio ST1200 *)  that covers maritime bands 4-6-8-12MHz (A1/A2), telegraphy on whole 500kHz band and AM coastal telephony on 1,8MHz band. Therefore its range and modes were more than adequate for voyages all over Baltic Sea or the English Channel. This is where s/s SOŁDEK sailed.

It’s comprised of separate modules: exciter and final stage of HF CW transmitter, MF AM coastal telephone transmitter, 500kc main transmitter, power supply and A2/A3 modulator for W/T and R/T. It uses standard chain on HF W/T: crystal oscillator, frequency doubler/tripler chain, separator, driver and C-class power amplifier. One stage of the doublers is bypassed on lower bands. MF R/T is also crystal controlled, uses standard principle with Class-C PA, anode modulated. The 500kc main transmitter uses free running oscillator. The HT is in the kilovolt range. Power supply requires AC converter (a dynamotor perhaps) and separate voltage regulator because many vessels of that time used DC power supply. The s/s SOŁDEK/SPCJ was no exception – it was a DC ship.


The radio room of s/s SOŁDEK/SPCJ

not to be confused with ITT ST1200, the American one works SSB, this one comes from the 50s and is only CW and AM.


Two racks of the main transmitter. On the left-hand side: local power supply and modulator for A2 mode, exciter and driver and the finals. On the right-hand side: power supply and charging panel, AM radiotelephone transmitter for medium wave and main 500kHz CW transmitter.


Main transmitter for 500kc band. Uses free running oscillator with a tuning lock knob. This transmitter uses oscillator, separator and C-Class power amplifier. Tuning switch enables transmitter on low power settings.


Exciter of the shortwave W/T transmitter. It’s crystal controlled – 6 pcs of 2MHz crystals can be used (on SPCJ only three of them were inserted). Frequencies used: 4178, 4201, 4222 ; 6268.5, 6301.5 , 6333; 8358, 8402, 8444 and 12537, 12603. Third crystal on 12MHz after doubling and tripling was 12666 MHz therefore outside of the usable 12Mc maritime band in Poland.
Signal from oscillator is fed into the doubler that works also as a tripler for 6MHz band. Changing the band swich position bypasses one of the doublers in chain. It’s similar to the doubler/tripler chain used in Marconi Oceanspan transmitter. Then the driver stage is tuned to resonance. All voltages and currents can be measured using a selectable meter. Cathode current of the last driver stage is measured by a separate meter. Tuning procedure: set a proper crystal to be used, set the band switch to position depending on the band and tune doubler to resonance within band (cathode meter should deflect some, tune for maximum deflection). Then tune final stage, then tune the driver stage to maximum deflection and correct doubler tuning if needed. Take care of maximum reading of anode current in the final stage.


Final stage of W/T shortwave transmitter. Tx uses direct heated tubes in parallel working in class C. Final stage tuning is typical – set the band switch to proper position and then tune the output tank for maximum aerial current. Correct final drive by driver tuning if needed.


This is the transmitter for R/T on medium wave (1,8MHz). It is also crystal controlled, tuning is similar to W/T module. Besides crystals that are installed inside, there is a socket for external crystal. Frequencies used: 1960, 2049, 2056, 2090, 2107, 2182 and additionally external crystals: 2411, 3331. All in AM of course.

wt modulator

Power supply, modulator and mode selector for W/T. Power switch enabled filaments (“START”), enabled screen and HT but with lowered voltage (“TUNE”) and finally full HT voltage (“SEND”). A2 mode enabled oscillator for A2 W/T mode.


Main power supply panel – the input voltage after rotary DC/AC converter (s/s SOŁDEK/SPCJ was a DC ship) was fed into a voltage regulator for stabilizing input voltage. All voltages (mains, battery, bias, HT and battery charging) could be measured by selectable meter.




Portishead Radio QSL cards

Dear Sparks,

past July have been activated by a group of former Portishead Radio R/O’s some special callsigns to celebrate the 90th anniversary of one of the main coast radio station of the world, callsigns of special activation were GB0GKA, GB0GKB and GB0GKC. This morning I received my QSL card for the QSO with GB0GKB operated by R/O Larry Bennet and below the magnificient card.


Many thanks Larry and good luck!




INMARSAT-C reception for amateurs

Dear Sparks,

with less than 100 Euro is possible to build a simple system to receive EGC messages from INMARSAT-C satellites, you can buy on the web the necessary products, since last year there was a distributor in U.S. selling a simple antenna known as DIY antenna, it is not necessary to have a big gun system or a paraboloid one, INMARSAT signals at our latitude are very strong and with the help of a small LN-Amplifier put at the feed point of the antenna you have enough signal everywhere and in any WX, ,it is only necessary to put the antenna pointing the South from your home (for people living in Northern emisphere) you know the INMARSAT satellites are geostationary on the equator, for people in Europe it is possible to receiver two of these satellites of the constellation the IOR (Indian Ocean Region) and the AOR-E (Atlantic Ocean Region – East). From the 18th of September there will be a migration for both of the two mentioned satellites but they will be still available, there will be necessary only to adjust the azimuth of your antenna, it will be easier to receive the IOR Sat will migrate at 15°East, the AOR-E will migrate at 52°West, anyway after this brief introduction some pictures below, the EGC message shown has been received about 10 minutes ago.


DIY antenna

LNA 1.5 gHZ

LNA (Low Noise Amplifier) it is available on e-bay and it is powered by the 5 Volts of your RTL SDR dongle


Common RTL-SDR dongle stick available on the web


SDR SHARP software for tuning your RTL stick (AOR-E) is on frequency 1.541.450.0 kHz with less 2 kHz in USB


Message received few minutes ago

GL es GW,


SV Apostol Andrey

RT9K/MM – Sailing vessel “Apostol Andrey”

Dear Sparks,

our friend Giampiero IZ6FCK reported following Maritime Mobile activity from Arctic waters:

From August 25 to October 1, a russian team will work on the air from the sailing yacht “Apostol Andrey” on the crossings between the islands from Arkhangelsk to Cape Chelyuskin with callsign RT9K/MM.

Some info using a translator:

Best regards,




Dear Sparks,

tonight on frequency 14.020.0 kHz OM Zele is on the air from M/V SIDER BOSTON and below the marinetraffic PSN. Zele when on board is very active on CW mode.


Gud watch and best regards,



M/V MIKHAIL SOMOV in Arctic waters – RW1AI/MM

Dear Sparks,

R/O Mike is on board I/B Mikhail Somov sailing in Arctic waters to supply provisions to russian scientific bases before the winter. Mike is often active, at the moment he is working on 14.022.5 kHz and QTH Loc is MP09 (along the coast) as shown in the picture below. Good watch!


Best regards,


G4ETQ in QSO with Karl – DL6MLA/MM

Dear Sparks,

received a message from our friend OM John Davies G4ETQ:

On the 28th August I worked on CW ,7020, M/V Henneke Rambow. She was abeam of Cape Finisterre in a rough sea. I’ve just worked Karl again on 14.029, this time she was nr Huelva. I made this recording.

Regards John/G4ETQ


OY1R/MM – OM Regin from the North sea

Dear Sparks,

frequently on DX Cluster we can see DX spot for OY1R/MM, OM Regin works on supply vessels in the North sea, this evening he is calling CQ on 30 meters band on frequency 10118.0. Regin seems to be interested only in DX stations due to the format of his call “CQ DX” but if nobody replies you can try to send a call and usually it is possible to make a QSO with him, more info on QRZ.COM searching for OY1R/MM.

Have a GUD WATCH and best 73’s