The Solas II Survival Radio

 This rather weighty item accompanied distressed mariners to the lifeboat in days of old. Nowadays I believe satellites are on the lookout for SOS's but a few years ago it was more difficult to make oneself heard on the airwaves. The box is sealed against water ingress and embossed in the lid are the reassuring words "THIS WILL FLOAT". Inside are supposed to be the means and the necessary ancillaries to transmit and receive on the major LF and HF bands. Headphones and mic are cabled in and can't be unplugged; the ground lead (sorry water lead, complete with lead weight might have doubled as a fishing line?), aerial and straps for providing the means for physically fixing the radio to one's person are to be found under the lid. Once secured, and once feet and waist tension the box, handles can be turned to generate power. Unfortunately in my example someone has pinched the aerial and the pair of handles. There's even a clockwork arrangement for sending morse code (the spring seems to be broken in mine) and a meter for checking things (which has come loose inside). I don't really know anything about these sets having first seen one (this one) at the local car boot sale. When I've time I'll look inside and see if it uses valves or transistors. Testing is really out of the question unless I want a helicopter landing in the back garden. I remember once being asked by a local yachtsman to align a marine transceiver and used the facilities in our factory in Liverpool city centre. I was setting the frequency for each of the preset channels using a multi-thousand pound signal generator (AND using screened leads with microvolts of input) when on one particular channel a loud voice suddenly came up and told me to turn off the signal as it was jamming the VHF distress frequency.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 I believe the radio was manufactured by S T C INTERNATIONAL MARINE LTD, founded in 1930 but now no longer trading.

The name "SOLAS" stands for Safety Of Life At Sea

The three frequencies used by the SOLAS II were:-

500KHz (now no longer universally used for distress calls)

2182KHz (now moved to 2187.5KHz) and

8364KHz (now moved to 8414.5KHz)

 

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