Genoa Radio (Icb)

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Genoa Radio: twenty years of work with Collins receivers.
Lino Esposito - SWL: I1-3152/GE

When some one is aboard of a ship, in the middle of the ocean and the only contact with ground or home is through a radio, this important job is done by radiophonic or radiotelegraphic ground stations. Among these in Italy, to be moreprecise, in the city of Genoa, there is Genoa Radio ICB.
It is surely very comforting to listen or be called by someone from your country.

Many radio operators aboard ships have heard the call in SSB "Here Genoa Radio, radiotelephonic marine service, trasmission for receiver tuning" or in CW " VVV VVV VVV de ICB ICB ICB k8 12 16 MHz".
They have in this way felt in sure hands, swapedmessages with family, the shipowner, or in cases of emergence.
Genoa Radio consists of two stations, one receiver which can be found in the beautiful residencial area of Genoa Quarto, the other transmitting station is positioned a few miles away on mount Righi, which overlooks the city of Genoa.
The transmitters are inside of a majestic and antique castle called "Castellaccio".
The position of the receiving station is optimal, there are the receivers, the commands for the rotors of the directive antennas, and the CW board. The two stations are connected via cable and via radio, and thus manipulate the various trasmitters in function at Castellaccio, with a power of up to 25KW.

In the two stations work numerous and brilliant radio telegraphists and tecnicians, many of which have also worked on board of ships.
I have seen them myself at work trasmitting, talking, and receiving messages!
After various requests, I was authorised by the Ing. Malatesta of Roma, of Telecom Italia, to have access at the receiver radio station of Genoa, Quarto where I met Mr. Mirra, coordinator of the radio operators, who kindly helped me to get in contact with some older radiotelegraphists.

In this way I met Mr. Bruno Bassi, who said "you are very luckey, I love photography, and I have taken many photos during these years of when we used Collins receivers, I myself have always preferred and used Collins...."
He also added, " Collins....the best and most reliable receivers.....".
In the receiving station there were 51S-1's which were used for the CW service and the 651S-1's for the service in SSB in HF, in total there were ten 51S-1's and four 651S-1's.
They were used in turn, each week they were cleaned inside and out.
The radio operator and tecnician Mr. Sergio Musante told me, ( ham I1SRG, ex radio operator on petrol stations of Texaco and collector of R-390A) "Collins equipment never broke down.....we never had to realign, when we had to change the tubes, or when we cleaned the golden contacts of the wafers.

Once only in 1982, during a heavy thunderstorm right on top of the receiving station, the overvoltage of the power supply of 220 Vac burned the condensator on the power supply".
He went on to say " I was luckey to unpack two
51s-1's with the Collins-Rockwell emblem, they were wonderful, so new and shiny, I will " remember them forever...."

The radio station was built in 1952 and the first receivers vere BC-312's and BC-314's substituted later by the italian Allocchio-Bacchini OC-11's, but the stability and the selectivness where not those of the 51S-1, and the radio operators appreciated working with that kind ot apparatus with ecceptional charateristics.
They were connected to vertical antennas on line supported by two enormous trellises 60 meters high, which still exist, and log-periodic directive antennas Hi-gain.
On the 500 KHz frequence of emergency and international call in CW, the 51S-1's were connected to the Preselector 55G-1 and were switched on twenty-four hours a day, even for a whole month. They had for an antenna a line 600 meters long and 60 meters tall from ground.
They were the only Rx that stood up to the interferance caused by near by broadcasting.
Many Rx's of famous marks failed the 500 KHz test,
"when instead of listening in CW, you heard music!", remembers my I1SRG friend in a grin.

The 51S-1's and the 651S-1's were both also used on the 500KHz, and were also used in other italian radio stations, such as Roma Radio/IAR, Trieste Radio/IQX, Livorno Radio, Cagliari Radio, and others.

Just recently Genoa Radio has passed from the P.T. Minestry to Telecom Italia.
The CW and SSB in HF services have been centered to Roma Radio.
Genoa Radio is now in function on the frequencies of: 500KHz in CW, 2182 KHz in SSB and the VHF in FM with some ripetitors.

It has also been refurnished, and is very beautiful, it is now almost compleatly automatic and computerized.
At the end of 1992 the last 51S-1's and 651S-1's were remuved from service and sostituted by
Rohde-Schwarz receivers.

I thank for their help Ing. Malatesta and Mr. Mirra of Telecom Italia, the radio operators Bruno Bassi and Sergio Musante I1SRG and the translator
Ms. Monica Puggioni.

The fascination I have for the Collins receivers has spurn me in writing this article, and I am glad in having in some way contributed in the testimonial of the high tecnology and leadership of the products Collins in the world.


Mr. Antonio Biddocchi
Assistant chief of Genoa Radio/ICB (amateur radio with call IK1-NHE)
with Siemens receiver (November 1991)
Mr. Vincenzo Mirra
Assistant chief of Genoa Radio/ICB operators
with Collins Receiver 651-S1 on 500Khz frequency mediterranean sea area 1992
Letter of thanks from Italian Navy
Guido Guida Award
for all radio operators of Genoa Radio/ICB


QSL-CARD of Genoa Radio / ICB
(in front view)


QSL-CARD of Genoa Radio / ICB
(in back view)


  Click here to listen to Genoa-Radio's morse code signal (.wav/156Kb)


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