Tuesday, 12 January 2010

All The Nice Boys Love a Sailor !

The latest member of my collection arrived today.

As anybody who has read my recent AVO blog will testify, I have a liking for classic clunky electronics.

Sent to me by a friend who took it off an old vessel, this Sailor RT144B used to be the VHF of choice for fishermen all over the world.

 I like it because it has no complex integrated circuits and can be fixed with a soldering iron.

It works, but needs a bit of T.L.C.

It needs new lamps behind the dial for night time illumination and the volume pot needs replacing as the tracks are dirty/noisy, but otherwise it works well.

Lots of VHF radios were replaced when GMDSS came in and sets with digital selective calling became the order of the day.

Sailor sets are famous for their ruggedness and are characterized by their green colour.

The fishing skippers in Aberdeen, Peterhead and Buckie used to just ask for a new green set - no makers names were necessary.

Simon Petersen founded S.P. Radio (Sailor) in 1948 as a domestic radio and later TV manufacturer in Aalborg, Denmark 

Simon was born in 1901 at Bjergby, the son of a farmer. 

He is said to have studied with Bang and Olufsen at Aarhus Technical College in the twenties. 

S.P Radio faced increasing competitive pressure in the early sixties and finally stopped making television in 1965.

Meanwhile, Simon had noticed opportunities in the market for maritime radio communications equipment to small vessels. 

In 1970, they produced the VHF Radio Telephone type RT144A.

Suddenly, VHF was available at the reduced price of £3500.

(Ironically, you can now buy a VHF for under £100).

Sailor went on to build ships radio stations and a wide range of equipment.

Today, they are owned by the large communications group, Thrane & Thrane and their green sets were produced until only recently, still using the Sailor brand.

You can still get their later RT2048 and RT2047 VHF sets on eBay. These went out of production in the last year or two.  

Strangely, Willawaw has a fixed VHF set built into the control panel, which is an unusual grey version of the RT2048 - it's a very good VHF, which has been used on the Thames and Severn transit, but it is a pushbutton set !!

Thrane now use their corporate blue and so ends the era of the "green set".

Simon died in 1994.

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