The maritime VHF calling and distress frequency

In the good old days, an Eastern fishing fleet comprised many ships off the east coast of Canada. Sometimes these ships were "fishing" for more than fish. Inevitably there would be breakdowns at sea which required a port call. Sometimes it was not the machinery which would break down but the crew.

Purdy's Wharf in Halifax was a routine landing spot for the Eastern ships. Now Purdy's Wharf is the site of the local casino. (The ladies are better dressed now)

Two radio inspectors were dispatched to the waterfront one day to find the source of serious and continuous rf interference on Channel 16, 156.8 MHz.

Eventually the culprit was located at Purdy's wharf. The name of the ship is long forgotten but a radio inspector in those days and in that environment never forgot a call sign. After a great deal of argument the Canadian government pair was permitted on the bridge. The source of the interference was a faulty microphone on the bridge VHF.

After the interference was stopped the radio inspectors requested to speak to the Captain. Presumably it was the ship's radio officer who escorted the Canadian radio inspectors on board.

The captain was located, dead drunk in his cabin, his bathtub completely filled with empty vodka bottles. The radio officer, who was also probably the ship's political officer, allowed as though a friendly drink would be in order since all problems seemed to have been resolved.

Language difficulties became less and less as the English of the Eastern radio officer and the foreign language of the Canadian radio inspectors became more fluent.

Could it be that vodka improved the language competencies of these people?

When the visit was finished all conversation was summed up by "di di dah di dah".


From another Easterner ..


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