What ships today still have radio operators?

Just curious… what ships today still have traditional radio operators?

Specifically one who is a member of the American Radio Association (or foreign equivalent) or a Merchant Mariner Credential with endorsements for Radio Officer?

Last I had heard, the American flag APL ships still had them but that may have changed by now. There may be some on the Matson ships as well. Besides that I think the MSC pre position ships have them as well.

None of this is gospel, just as I recollect.

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That’s what I recall from what I hear, APL, Matson and MSC. Also not radio operators but CEO, Chief Electronics Officer. Also heard in the engine dept now so unofficially CEO = Chief Engineer’s Orderly.

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I believe Matson gives their Master’s a choice between an RO or extra Third Mate.

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T-AGS ships still have them.

We have 2 x radio operators working opposite shifts. That’s their title, but their daily duties are primarily crew change logistics (flights, hotels, ground transportation, helicopter manifests, etc)

What licenses do they hold or required for the position?

Oh man do I envy you…

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GMDSS endorsed in flag state seamans book. We generally route our ABs through this position for those that want to hawespipe to 3rd Mate. They are part of the emergency management team as well, taking the muster as they manage the POB list.


2 posts were split to a new topic: Port Paperwork

The T-AGS have Radio Operators. The only requirement is that they have had GMDSS, EKMS and LAN Manager. RO’s get paid equivalent of a 2nd Mate.
The pre-positioned ship’s in Diego/Guam have Electronic Officers. The company prefers them to have an Engineering degree but a lot of the old timers are retired Navy. Due to the fact that they’re retiring at a high rate of speed, AMO has begun accepting Third Engineers as EO’s, and will put them through the basic schools required. They are however, not being paid as a EO (equivalent of 1AE/CM), and getting 3AE wages.

I believe all ships I’ve sailed had HF radio. The newer generation of HF (high freq) radio are pretty straight forward to utilize but one still has to know about frequency utilization if it is not automated which few are outside the military.
The pre digital HF equipment… I don’t think i ever saw it used even by the IT guys, more likely no one really understood it.
I am a ‘‘HAM’’ operator of several years. KD7P-xx

It’s not so long ago that I was pulling weather faxes off the HF. Northwood still broadcast them until 2000-something.

Still, I don’t think I ever heard anything on 2182.

I spent a year or two around 1989 intercepting SITOR telexes on HF. Had two receivers with a manual switch to shift the audio feeding the packet decoder from ship side to shore side and try to keep synchronization when the line turned around.

I also spoke to Maersk at that time. They said “talk to us when you have your First Class ticket.”

all those teletype machines are still being used every night on the ham bands, I signed up for E-mail updates and get a couple nearly every day from green keys.com … I think that’s the right name. I have finally gone digital mode which sure isn’t TTY but where everything is going!

A ‘traditional’ radio operator these days is empty handed as all coast stations on MF and HF have been closed down. They were the life lines to the ships at sea. Morse code was the common mode of communication, also that has disappeared with the closing of the radio coast stations. The distress system on 500 kHz Morse for deep sea vessels, the very reason that there were radio operators, is no more. The former distress frequency of 500 kHz is now used for other services. The system was phased out by SOLAS. Radio operators now depend on voice via GMDSS, VHF and may be HF, but then everybody can do that, no special skills are needed for that. End of game.

The transformation to Electronic Officer is a possibility but only the technically oriented RO’s, a minority in my opinion, could make that switch.

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Oh, pursers. . . . .


It’s interesting to read this. The Coast Station that I work at in Canada still relies very heavily on MF radio. There has been a lot of discussion on phasing this out, and many centres in Canada have done so. I am assuming all the US Coast stations have already phased out MF? It’s unfortunate because a large number of the distress calls I have picked up have been on 2182khz and far out of VHF coverage.

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2182 is no longer monitored.

4125 is the de facto calling and distress frequency, but few vessels actively monitor it, except maybe when they have a radio call in schedule with other stations.

The last US public coast stations WLO in Mobile, Alabama, and it’s sister station KLB in Seattle shutdown for lack of sufficient traffic to fund them on 1 July 2018. That is really unfortunate.

These public coast stations are an important back up. They should receive public subsidies to keep them functional.

What are the still active public coast stations in Canada? Locations? Frequencies?

Would be really embarrassing if people had to put HF ham rigs on board…