The Intercom System
While we were still working on small problems with the TBM Transmitter the ship's maintenance supervisor came to us with a request for help. The ship was having a problem with the paging or intercom system. It seems that the only place you could hear the paging system was on the main deck. This is a problem when the ship is trying to contact someone, have an emergency or when they are announcing that the ship is closing for the day. The people below deck would not hear the paging system. The ships paging amplifier was a new modern day 70 volt system. The problem was that there was no speaker's below deck on the new system. The ship wanted us to help them get a paging system working below decks and wanted to know if we could use the existing speakers from the 1MC and 2MC speaker system.
The next couple of weeks are spent studying the drawing that we retrieved from the ship's archives on the 1MC and 2MC intercom system. There appeared to be about 180 speakers through out the ship on the 1MC and 2MC intercom system. There is also a RBO intercom system with about 15 speakers on it.
When the ship went into mothballs they cut out the paging amplifiers. Now, I do mean cut out, the wires were hanging down and the amplifiers had been removed. A plan is starting to emerge. We have the ends of the wires and the plan is to re-route them to our new, state of the art, paging amplifier. We would do them by sections if we could.
About March 2002 we started on the first group. Man, had we opened a can of worms. Most of the speakers were in bad to terrible condition. We took the speakers down and carried them to our work room. We had to take the paint or finish off them, put on a primer coat of paint and then put on the finishing coat of paint. Carl, Terry and I spent many hours scraping paint and painting.
We also found many of the speaker cones had gone bad and we had to replace a lot of the speakers. We had to mount 70 volt transformers in each speaker and of course wire them in. Now folks we are talking about some serious time on each run! Many speakers were missing and each run of speakers was in series so we had to either get the speaker replaced or splice the wires through.
As the summer of 2002 comes we have one run of speakers working. It's time to quit for the summer because of the heat and thousands of tourists.
The fall of 2002, October finds us with a lot of speakers to work on. It's a long slow task but by the end of summer of 2003 we have the paging system working all over the ship. We have 90 working speakers; the paging can be heard on the entire tour route!
In the fall of 2003 we started to work on the last of the speaker system project. The RBO radio system was a system of about 15 speakers in dinning halls, rest area's and sick bay. If the ship could pick up any news, radio programs or even Tokyo Rose, it was played over the RBO system to the ship.
The RBO system was a separate system but we approached it the same as the 1MC system. By the spring of 2004 when we were ready to quit for the summer, we had 10 working speakers going into a computer with a DVD. It plays continuous old music, some old news cast and a little of Tokyo Rose.
The RBO system adds a lot to the tour of the ship.