Farewell Comox MCTS – This will be the final broadcast ...

by Lynn Salmon 2017

Ed Tickner

Ed Tickner (retired MCTSO) reads the final broadcast for Comox Coast Guard Radio (Photo from the Lynn Salmon collection.)

"All stations, all stations, all stations. This is Comox Coast Guard radio. The consolidation of Comox MCTS to Victoria MCTS has been completed. This will be the final broadcast originating from the Comox communication centre. It has been an honour to serve the maritime community over the last 108 years. Comox Coast Guard radio out."

Last Radio Shift

Last operational crew at Comox Coast Guard radio: L to R Wendell Hoyseth, Lynn Salmon, Joe Komadowski, Mike Bonnor (Photo from the Lynn Salmon collection.)

The steady timbre of Ed Tickner’s voice carried over the airwaves on May 10th 2016 at 1030 PDT to announce the closure of VAC (Comox Coast Guard radio) concluding 108 years of continuous service under the radio call signs SKD/VAC. In 2012 the Federal Government embarked on a consolidation project for coast guard services across Canada including the closure of three MCTS centres in BC: Vancouver and Tofino in 2015 and lastly Comox in 2016.

I was on the last operational watch that morning, following the usual work routine until advised by the technicians, who are stationed at the remote sites on Discovery Mountain and Texada Island, that the final cut–over to Victoria MCTS was ready. Our Acting Officer–in–Charge, Dale Gross, wrote a simple yet elegant announcement to be broadcast but no one on duty felt up to the challenge of reading it on–air. Fortunately, among the visitors who had come to the station that morning to say goodbye was retired MCTSO Ed Tickner, whose voice mariners would recognize from his decades of service at Comox, accepted the offer to make the final broadcast. He executed it with grace. Later, he told us that if the broadcast script had been any longer, he would not have been able to get through it.

The radio technicians (under Trevor McIvor who made the recording of the last broadcast) kindly delayed the cut–over for two minutes, allowing mariners to say farewell with an out-pouring of thanks that was completely unexpected. We were all taken off–guard and it marked a very special moment for those of us hearing it first-hand.

Here are just a few of the kind remarks captured all of which were much appreciated on that very difficult day:

"Many thanks ... We will miss you Comox ... Thank you for all your dedicated services ... Thanks Comox ... Better to keep you on, miss you already ... Thank you for all your service over the years ... Thank you life-savers ... Will be sorely missed ..."

Here is the link to hear the broadcast:

To read more about the first 108 years of service at Comox MCTS.

As an interesting afterthought from marine radio historian Frank Statham we received after publication of this article: "An item not mentioned was that Ed Tickner is the son of Les Tickner, a west coast marine radio station operator all his life. Les passed away some years ago, and was lastly the station manager of Victoria Coast Guard Radio. So it was more than fitting that Ed did the last transmission."

To quote from this article please cite:

Salmon, Lynn (2017) Farewell Comox MCTS – This will be the final broadcast .... Nauticapedia.ca 2017. http://nauticapedia.ca/Gallery/Comox_Last_Day.php

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