Radio Stations

UK maritime coast radio stations oban radio gne


Content researched by
Bob Dixon



Oban Radio's roll was principally to provide communications to the North West coastline of Scotland. This it achieved with difficulty. The vast size of the area to be covered and the ruggedness of the coastal terrain have always made the West Coast a difficult communications area. But Oban's signals sometimes got into places they weren't supposed to go!

While monitoring the distress frequency of 2182kHz one day, the Radio Officer's could here a vessel making repeated calls to various Coast Radio Stations without response. There was no distress or urgency element to the calls but, as time went, the voice of of the ship's operator grew more and more agitated. Oban Radio eventually called the ship and asked if they could help in any way. It turned out that the vessel was berthed at Buncrana in the Irish Republic and a member of the crew had gone berserk and, weilding a large fire axe, was baying for the Captain's life. The Captain had locked himself in the wheelhouse and, while the madman hacked away at the door with his axe, the Captain was frantically trying to obtain help via his ship's radio. Oban Radio, with the assistance of Malinhead Radio, made immediate contact with the local Garda station and very soon help was on hand.

giving good service to the Paddle Steamer Waverley

paddel steamer waverley - UK maritime coast radio stations oban radio gneDuring the course of a routine watch, the staff at Oban could here P.S. Waverley calling Northforeland Radio without any success. On one call the Captain, perhaps doubting the functioning of one of the crystals on his SP Radio R105 receiver, was heard to say "listening 1848" - a frequency shared with Oban. When there was no evidence of successful communication, Oban made a tentative enquiry as to whether the Waverley could receive them - "LOUD AND CLEAR" came the answer FROM THE ENGLISH CHANNEL! There followed a very successful link-call with a resulting very happy ship's Master.

One evening a call was received from a Scottish fishing vessel off the Butt of Lewis who wanted, and received, a link-call to his home. After the very successful call the skipper gave the GNE officer his position and told him that this was the last communication he would be able to have because he was on his way across the Atlantic to a fisheries exhibition in Canada. Having established that the vessel was not equipped with HF radio, and therefore could not communicate with the long-range station
Portishead Radio, Oban Radio told the skipper to set up his radio equipment on the same frequencies at 0200 each day and they would be listening and would give him a link call back home. "Would that work" enquired the skipper. It did and the vessel maintained his daily reporting-in until it's safe arrival at the destination port.

In the course of a routine morning at GNE, the telex machine chattered into life. Not an unusual event at a Coast Radio Station, but in this instance the message was unusual in that it came from Awararu Radio (callsign ZLB). "Hello OM", it said, "just to let you know that we heard you working your distress traffic last night on 2181 - you were communicating with a French trawler at the time. Nicely done and nice to hear you." Nice to get a compliment from a fellow Coast Station - but what was really unusual about this one is that Awararu radio was in NEW ZEALAND!