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Equipment (redirected from Further Developments)

Page history last edited by Alan Hartley-Smith 3 years, 8 months ago



Once wireless communication became a standard fit opportunities arose for other technology to be provided for the benefit of improved navigation, handling of goods and services of passengers.


This included shore installations in lighthouses and lightships, harbour masters' offices; afloat, pilot cutters and tugs, including radio installations; navigation aids including direction finders, radar, radio telephone and beacons, all playing a vital  role in everyday operation. Other ocean-going vessels also carried communications equipment and navigational aids.


Experiments had been carried out with the Italian Navy and in 1899 with the Royal Navy during that year's manoeuvres with equipment fitted in HMS Alexandra, HMS Europa and HMS Juno and as a result the Marconi Wireless Telegraph Co. obtained its first contract of importance.


As the Marine Company did not have its own facilities these were devolved to the research and manufacturing units of the principal Company covering most of the Marine equipment which is referenced on this sister wiki .


For outline equipment details it is worth viewing the archived editions of the MIMCO magazine, MARINER.


Another interesting journal article "Shipping Wonders of the World"


Direction Finding

As early as 1905 Marconi invented the bent or directive antenna for transmission and reception and utilised this improvement in the transatlantic stations to concentrate the signal, and as the corollary applied to reception he carried out experiments with HMS Furious on behalf of the Admiralty to show that he could determine the bearing of a sending station. In 1907 Bellini and Tosi began their experiments in directivity and in 1912 Marconi secured their patents. During the 1914-1918 war a seconded Marconi engineer Captain H.J. Round adapted valve reception to revolutionise the process for the British Army on the front by using two DF stations to pin-point the location of an enemy wireless transmission. Other similar stations were then set up in England to monitor movement of Zeppelins and warships, which led to the Battle of Jutland and the effective bottling up of the German fleet for the remainder of the war.


Wireless Regulations

Another consequence of the war was the demonstration of the utility if not necessity of a wireless telegraph installation on board every sea-going merchant ship coupled with the existence of a world-wide service organisation, which MIMCO had become. The result was that in 1916 a new regulation was promulgated requiring the owner of every vessel of 3000 tons and over registered at a British port in the United Kingdom to fit a wireless installation before August 21 1916 irrespective of whether his ship carried passengers or not. This increased demand for equipment was met by MWT through the resources it had built up during the war, and over 400 additional ships were fitted out in that year alone. This brought with it a requirement to build up the Company's business structure, so the remaining authorised capital shares were issued, and following the Government's decision in 1917 to make the provision of wireless telegraph apparatus compulsory on all merchant ships of 1600 tons gross and over plus requiring two operators to be carried on all vessels fitted, new shares were issued so the capital account was then effectively doubled.  


Extract from Roy Simons' notes

I worked on DF at Baddow from joining in 1943 as a member of R.J.Kemps section, which spent the war on DF systems and panoramic receivers with the associated CRT displays. With the end of the war, the DF work was run down and Kemp announced quite suddenly that ‘We are going to do radar’. This was a requirement by the Marine Company to enter the Marine radar market. The Marine Company did not have any development staff and subcontracted its development to the Telegraph Company. The Marine development section of MWTCo was in New Street under James Watt, but they only knew about echo-sounders, DF and radio, so the work was put into R. J. Kemp's section who did not know anything about radar.


However the first design was based on the American Type 268 or to be more exact on the Canadian version Type 972. The first person who returned who had radar experience was Fred Garrett and he took the transmitter under his wing, whilst I designed the display from scratch using a deflection system similar to that in the 972, which originally involved the deflection waveform being passed out to the antenna and, having been resolved, back to the display. I changed this by introducing auto-alignment and selsyn tell-back turning a three-phase magslip resolver which was coupled to a magslip stator round the neck of the tube. This was Radiolocator I, fitted on the Duke of Lancaster, or sometimes the Duke of Argyll, sailing between Heysham and Belfast daily (Ironically the latter was involved in a collision when the ship's Master deliberately ignored a clear radar indication of another ship.)


When Roger Shipway returned (he had never been in development before, being previously a lecturer at Marconi College and during the war at Malvern), he brought with him knowledge of the very latest valve circuit techniques - I worked with him when the Radiolocator II was designed and this was all new, and it became the basis of a profitable business by the Marine Company for many years. This was nothing like the Mk I (Baker's book is incorrect in this respect). Jimmy Watt's section took the Baddow design of the Mk II and, using the circuits, re-engineered it into possibly a more sea-worthy arrangement, with more aids to mariners incorporated, such as a simple form of movement correction based on the ship's log.


A spin off from this 3cm wavelength radar work on marine radar was an `Airfield Control Radar', involving several innovative


features, and purchased for use in Jersey, which launched the MWT Services Division into civil radar.


Whilst the ROTOR study was in progress, others at Baddow were engaged on further development of the Radiolocator for use on large Cunard liners and also on an Admiralty contract called POSTAL which was the research phase of the radar to be called the 984. The part of this latter work allocated to Kemp's section, which was for a time run by B. J. Witt and shortly afterwards by Shipway, was the transmitter monitor. This came out of our expertise in high-speed oscilloscope work. We had to design the oscilloscopes for testing the Radiolocator Mk II, as there was no suitable commercially available test gear. These 'scopes were the development and works standard for a number of years.


The development of marine radar progressed steadily; the Radiolocator series extended to more advanced designs and was joined by other electronic aids to navigation and ship control.




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