Among the DSC stations Faversham Radio, call sign MNC, is something special. You have the major Coastal Radio Stations and Rescue Coordination Centres (JRCC or MRCC) and then there are a few maritime colleges and training institutes like MarTec in Skagen, NuTec in Bergen and Trondheim, and the Constanta Maritime University. Faversham Radio in Kent, United Kingdom is also a training facility but operated by volunteers. It is situated in Faversham along the Swale, a tidal channel in the Thames estuary.

Roger Taylor was so kind to confirm my reception of Faversham Radio. After serving as a radio officer at sea and then teaching Decca radar systems all over the world, he joined the Merchant Navy College at Greenhithe in Kent. After a stint at the National Sea School in Gravesend he and a few colleagues decided to become independent and start Snargate Radio as a training facility for GMDSS. They gave it call sign MNC, referring to the old college at Greenhithe. But also the first coastal radio station in the UK using an M (as in the old days of the Marconi Stations) rather than G in their call sign.

Later MNC was relocated to Faversham, and the name was changed accordingly. The station is entirely voluntary run by ex seafarers. The transmitter is a Sailor 5000 SSB kit because, as Roger explains, this is the only kit that allowed them to program an MMSI number starting with “00” indicating that it is a coastal radiostation. This is indeed something that is odd with stations like MarTec, NuTec, CMU or ANFR Donges: their MMSI is like that of a ship.

Faversham Radio is allowed to acknowledge DSC test calls. Making it the only HF maritime provision in the United Kingdom. In the beginning (2013-2015) the station was heavily used. But then a drop in requests was noted. Apparently due to the fact that the UK MCA had asked the entry in the ALRS (Admiralty List of Radio Signals) to be deleted. This has no been decided otherwise, but the use of Faversham Radio is still very low. Making it a rare catch.

Sealter Road along the Swale