Atlantic Region

Closed Stations
Marine Communications Officers
The Canadian Marconi Company built and operated a Direction-Finding station that opened on October 10, 1901. Starting September 01, 1904, the station also offered a wireless radio service to vessels transiting the Strait of Belle Isle.

The original call letters were 'BI', 'MBI' and finally 'VCM' in 1912. A radio station was built at Belle Isle due to the unreliability of the undersea cable connecting Newfoundland with the North American continent. Icebergs damaged the cable which resulted in frequent disruptions.

As it turned out, Belle Isle proved to be exceptionally reliable in providing communications, such as news and weather conditions, to vessels transiting the Strait of Belle Isle. The station was also in constant communication with the Point Amour station, located some 110 kilometers to the east.

To highlight this point, it is interesting to note that Empress Liner vessels navigating the Strait of Belle Isle would at times send fresh fruit to the operators at VCM. The fruit would be put into plastic bags which were then pumped with air. The bags would then be thrown overboard and float to shore for the operators. The liners would sail so close to shore that the radio operators would often be able to hear the captain's voice over the loudspeakers, describing the landscape to passengers.

Belle Isle was the station for many vessels crossing the Atlantic to first make contact with. Messages would often deal with special berthing requirements and also revealed the subtle wishes that crew members had to meet local ladies.

The Direction-Finding service was discontinued in 1961 and Belle Isle CGRS was closed on October 1970. The services provided from Belle Isle were transferred to St. Anthony CGRS in 1969.
Unifor Local 2182
Belle Isle / VCM
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