There is nothing older than yesterday's news -- even for sailors thousands of miles from their local or national newspaper.
There is nothing older than yesterday's news -- even for sailors thousands of miles from their local or national newspaper. But in West Germany a new system has been developed to radio a newspaper to almost any ship, wherever it may sail. And it reaches the sailors sooner than it reaches its subscribers at home. The system is called "Funkfax", meaning 'radio facsimile', and recently (August) it was tested for the first time.
SYNOPSIS: the newspaper offices of on of West Germany's biggest daily papers -- "Die Welt" in Hamburg. Here the new radio paper is being put together in much the same way as the day's edition Germans will be able to buy from their newsagents.
After the headlines,pictures and text of "Funkfax" have been laid out, instead of going to point, the paper is transferred onto a metallic master sheet. This master is then sent for transmission by the Post Office.
"Funkfax" is transmitted in a similar way to wire pictures -- each line in turn is coded and sent out for re-assembly by the receiver. The "Funkfax" paper is made up of national and international news, sports items: even the weather at home and the result of the German state lottery.
There have been teething problems with "Funkfax" -- at first the journalists back in Germany received reports that their paper was well received by boats sailing round the Horn of Africa, but sailors half way between Hamburg and Edinburgh radioed back saying their "Funkfax" paper resembled more a knitting pattern for a bikini than a newspaper.
But these problems seem to have been overcome -- initially the Post Office tried to transmit the signals too quickly, and the frequency used for the first transmissions turned out to be unsuitable over shorter distances. Now sailors all over the world can enjoy "Funkfax" -- provided their radio room has weatherchart printout equipment for receiving the paper on board.
Only one copy is transmitted and it must be hung up like a wall poster for all to see; one reason why sailors call it he "Peking Times"