A FRIENDLY VOICE ON MANY A DARK NIGHT........CELEBRATING 90 YEARS OF GKA 1928-2018
Information on current news about the station
News on ex-staff
List of staff members
Press cuttings and articles about GKA
Some legendary stories about working at GKA
This site was created to celebrate the life and history of Portishead Radio. You will find many photographs and stories about the station; what it was like to work there; and many recollections about the station from those who worked there and also those who used the services.
The history pages are extracted from a book about the history of Portishead Radio which is still being researched.
One of the most common questions we are asked is why is the station called Portishead when it is operated from Highbridge?
Easy - it is traditional for maritime radio stations to be called by the name of the transmitting aerials and not the control centre or receiving site. The Post Office transmitters were located at Portishead - hence the name. And even when the Portishead aerials were taken down in 1979, the name remained.
Sadly there is nothing left of the Highbridge receiving site. A housing estate was built following demolition, called Mulholland Park (after the name of a former station manager and his father who worked there). Street names include the unimaginative "Marconi Drive" and "Maritime Walk".
The local council have been asked on numerous occasions to commemorate the station, but sadly our appeals have so far been unsuccessful.
A sad and disgraceful way for such an important establishment to end its days.
Receiver console using the Racal RA1217 receiver. Above are the channel selector switches which indicated the channels being monitored i.e. GKB2, GKB3. GKB4 etc. A switch linked to the control room updated the QRY (turn number) given to the vessel. One flick of the switch updated the QRY by one, whilst the switch in the control room decreased the QRY by one as each ship was passed to a working position.
To the right of the receiver is the aerial selector unit - rotating wheel selected the appropriate rhombic aerial. The toggle switch beneath it selected either the rhombic or stacked quad receiving aerials.
Olympia typewriter (capital letters only) used to transcribe incoming messages onto "green" telegram forms.
Transmit/receive switch adjacent to the Post Office morse key.
Microphone linking to the Control Room to receive details of the next ship requiring contact.
The large unit on the right is the transmitter selection unit. Log book visible in front of the unit.