SERVING THE MARINER SINCE 1920 - A FRIENDLY VOICE ON MANY A DARK NIGHT
"The only contact with home once out with the range of British Coast Stations.on the hour every 4 hours the traffic list, very efficient and understanding when signal weak. Enjoyed my time at sea 1963 to 1969 and many memories of Portishead Radio"
"I was sailing in the 70´s when the receivers were analogic and very sensitive to pitch, roll and temperature changes. Looking for GKC, GKH or any other was an heroicity as the operators at Portishead waited for you a very short time. Otherwise was a nice station to work"
"I remember Portishead as being a very professional station with good operators. The only problem I remember was it wasn't always easy to know which location was active"
I worked GKA in the early to mid 90's. PCH was our main link with shoreside but often it was hard to raise them. Mostly CW but some occasional SSB traffic. Never had any issues with Portishead. Europe was still full of big HF signals at that time - OST, PCH, DAN etc, but GKA stood out as something special where they would go the extra mile. They seemed to have easy access to telecommunications landlines and could redirect to or have traffic redirected from any coast station in the world you'd care to name. The only issue I found slightly annoying was when you were on a working frequency such as GKC, there would often be multiple operators on the same frequency working other ships - when they broke in it would take you a second or 2 to realise it wasn't for you, so you'd just continue clearing your traffic as normal. Other than that it was probably the flagship coast station of the world followed closely by some of the American stations. I used to listen to Russian stations and they worked very fast but also very efficiently, no messing around with them. Best operator I ever worked was XFF/Coatzacoalcos - Mexican Gulf Coast. Pretty sure he or she was using a straight key but near perfect sending at around 30 wpm, I figured they also might have been a landline operator."
"I used WCC for the western U.S. Atlantic, KPH for the eastern U.S. Pacific and GKA for everything else. GKA was my favourite station. You would get a QRY 30 and still clear your traffic in 30 minutes and the R.O. would usually have time for a chat; re the weather or something mundane. Wonderful memories,"
"GKA has been one of the best Coast Radio stations that I have contacted in the past from 1979 to the end of the morse period. No problem to QSO from everywhere"
"They were clever forwarding msgs to Singapore Radio when we were in those parts of the planet.... "
Inge Bjart Torkildsen
"In addition to retired, U.S. Coast Guard & U.S. Navy, officers & sailors, I knew a few British expats here in Southern California, who served in the Royal Navy during WWII, who have talked about Portishead, with great admiration."
"I was always impressed working GKA especially when operating from the Pacific. Amazed they could always find you out of the noise and longed for that QSL by return. Closer to the UK I always had a preference for GKR. Strange I was born in Wick when my father was stationed there before moving to GPK at Portpatrick"
"I worked Portishead since 1980 when I was with the Ceylon Shipping Corporation. When I joined Denholms,and afterwards Ocean Tramping Company, we always used GKA and I have only admiration for your services. I used to contact GKA from the Antipodes area, that's exactly opposite on the globe. I was planning to settle down in UK and join Portishead but somehow it didn't work out. Finally I would like to say you are the best"
I only served as a R/O for 4 years with B.P. Tanker Co. Ltd 1966-1970 but would say that I found GKA was the best radio station in the world. I’ve had a slot of 22 in the working queue and been up and worked in less time than a queue slot of only 3 for a radio station elsewhere in the world. Brilliant operators and very efficient. So sad to read on Wikipedia than the station was flatted to make way for a housing estate! RIP GKA .
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