Gate Vessels  - Radio Fit

Ships of Canada Naval Forces 1910-2002, provides this introduction to Gate vessels.
"The vessels were named after gates in the French fortification at Quebec City and Louisburg.  Although designed specifically to operate the gates in anti-submarine booms during wartime, these craft served primarily as training vessels in peacetime. Porte Saint John and Porte Saint Louis were based at Halifax with summer forays into the Great Lakes while the others were based in Esquimalt. Porte Dauphine wore a coat of bright red paint while on loan to the Department of Transport as an environmental research ship on the Great Lakes".
During the Second World War, at least six Gate Vessels were constructed by the Canadian Dredge & Dock Co., Ltd., Kingston Ontario. They were deployed in their traditional role at harbour entrances. These vessels were transferred to Crown Assets & Disposal Corporation for disposal at the end of the Second World War. They were:

• GV–3 Built at the Canadian Dredge & Dock Co., Ltd., Kingston ON 1944. Sold post-war as the Foundation Fasolt, later renamed as R.C.C. No. 28 (#154447)
• GV–4 Built at the Canadian Dredge & Dock Co., Ltd., Kingston ON 1944. Sold post-war as the Foundation Fafnir, later renamed as R.C.C. No. 29 (#154445)
• GV–20 Built at Canadian Dredge & Dock Co., Ltd., Kingston ON 1944. Sold post-war as C.D. 101 (#171899) (Fate not known)
• GV–22 Built at Canadian Dredge & Dock Co., Ltd., Kingston ON 1944. Sold post-war as C.D. 151 (#134442) (Fate not known)
• GV–(apparently not numbered) Built at Canadian Dredge & Dock Co., Ltd., Kingston ON 1944. Sold post-war as C.D. 102 (#150487) (Fate not known)
• GV–(apparently not numbered) Built at Canadian Dredge & Dock Co., Ltd., Kingston ON 1944. Sold post-war as C.D. 152 (#134443) (Fate not known)

After the Second World War five gate vessels were constructed in the Porte–class. They were named for historic gates in Quebec City.

• Porte St. Jean (RCN Gate Vessel YMG 180) Built by Geo. T. Davie 5-Dec-51 Retired in 1996.
• Porte St. Louis (RCN Gate Vessel YMG 183) Built by Geo. T. Davie 29-Aug-52 Retired in 1996.
• Porte de la Reine (RCN Gate Vessel YMG 184) Built by Victoria Machine Depot 12-Jul-52 Retired in 1996.
• Porte Quebec (RCN Gate Vessel YMG 185) Built by Halifax Shipyards 19-Sep-52 Retired in 1996.
• Porte Dauphine (RCN Gate Vessel YMG 186) Built by Port Arthur Shipbuilding 12-Oct-52 Retired in 1996.

Photographs of the Gate Vessels, when painted dark grey with the white pendant number, would have been taken shortly after they were in commission. Gate vessels started their service with YMG pendants but ended their careers as YNG's. In their latter years, they were mostly manned by naval reservists.

Halifax, Sydney,  Shelburne (N.S.) and several other places had gates and gate vessels during WWII. They used the Battle Class Trawlers of WWI as gate vessels and often one was painted red and the other green to indicate the side of the channel they were working. In peacetime there were no gates, however it is believed that crews went though the exercise of opening and closing a gate.

It is Commissioning Day for HMCS Porte Quebec YMG 185 in North Vancouver, 1952. Note St Laurent class DDE under construction in the background.  At this time,  Porte Quebec is fitted with both boom defence gear and minesweeping equipment at the stern along with a Bofors A/A  gun on the bow. (DND photo submitted by David Shirlaw) 

gate_porte_st_jean_s.jpg In this mid-1970's photo, Porte St. Jean is being used to represent the entire class. Click to enlarge. (National Film Board photo #1H79-281 LO:39825 submitted by Spud Roscoe VE1BC)

PORT DAUPHINE YMG186  CGYL [1] Native N 16/5/51 10/12/52 12/1995
PORTE DE LA REINE YMG184 CYVB Yearly S 4/3/51 7/12/52 19/12/96
PORTE QUEBEC YMG185 CYVO Hoodlum G 15/2/51 19/9/52 19/12/96
PORTE SAINT JEAN YMG180  CYWJ [2] Wallop F 16/5/50 5/12/51 31/03/96
PORTE SAINT LOUIS YMG183 CYWS [2] Thunderbolt U 21/3/51 29/8/52 31/03/96
Like hundreds (maybe even thousands) of Canadian Naval Reserve personnel, the first taste of naval sea training was as an Officer Cadet in the University Naval Training Division on board a Gate Vessel.

The Gate vessels were certainly not designed for training relatively large groups of trainees. Living conditions were cramped and there was no space for instruction. They had a bit of a poor reputation among reserve officer trainees and later on they acquired the nickname ‘Pig Boats’. Since the navy wasn’t offering any other kind of sea time, trainees embraced every aspect of it, In retrospect, it gave everyone hands-on experience with all the equipment and jobs on the ship – something which would not have been acquired on a larger vessel. They were certainly not designed for training relatively large groups of trainees. Living conditions were cramped and there was no space for instruction.

The Gate Vessels were the last ships in the Canadian Navy to accommodate crew members in hammocks. There were some fitted bunks, but the large numbers of trainees carried at one time necessitated the use of hammocks. Those who used them grew to like them but the additional chores of lashing it up at night and taking it down and stowing it in the morning were tedious. Having a bunk assigned gave a place to relax when off watch whereas hammocks could not be lashed up and used until later in the evening. Even then a movie might be projected beneath them or the watch coming off duty after midnight might have a ‘mug-up’ (late night snack) beneath the hammocks while men slept above.


Displacement: 429 tons full load Dimensions: 125' 6"L  x 26'4" beam x 13' draught
Speed: 11 knots Crew: 3 officers, 20 men 
Armament: 1 x 40 mm A/A gun ( later removed)  


As always, there were variances depending on the era.
gate_porte_st_jean_antennas1_s.jpg (1960's). This excerpt from the main photo shows the antennas. Click to enlarge. (DND photo provided by Spud Roscoe)

1) Radar antenna ?
2) Radar antenna - Marconi LN-27 in the early 1950s. . 
3) VHF whip
4) AT-150 UHF vertical dipole.
5) Sloping wire antenna (HF)
6) Whip (HF)

CM11 transmitter (1952) Confirmed as still fitted in the early 1980's. See CM11.
TDQ  (1952) VHF transmitter. Records show two frequencies for S/N 2039: 119.34 and 117.90 MHz. 
RCK .  VHF receiver- (1952) Records show one frequency for  S/N 2773: 117.90 MHz
AN/URT-502 UHF transmitter (225 to 400 MHz). 
AN/URR-35  UHF receiver (225 to 400 MHz) 
CN-86 HF "Seaway Set" as recalled by John MacFarlane. An example was found in Port St. Jean 

Type 135  ASDIC
765 AJ  Echo Sounder 
LN-27  Radar (Wavelength: 3 cm )
BT-501  Unconfirmed Decca radar 
BT-502 Unconfirmed. Decca radar 
Model (?) Sound Reproducing Equipment (SRE) 
Some gate vessel photos reveal a flattop antenna between the foremast and main mast. In later years, communications were conducted from the wheelhouse using state of the art ship/ship/shore equipment. These vessels had concerns regarding top weight and stability.

Terry Misner recalls. "My tape recorder came in handy for copying broadcasts while we were at sea as not only were we Sparkers, we were a bit of everything being 'reg force' and all."


A document from 1952, indicates the type LN-27 radar was fitted. In latter days,  they co-located 2 radars (E/I bands) on the main mast.  These were the BT-501 and 502 series slaved together and were part of the Decca family of radars. (BT means Bright-Track). When the Gate vessels were paid off they were fitted with Decca radars - one for the X band and one for the S band. The time line for these radars is unknown. It sure would be nice to see a photo of this dual radar arragement.

Mike Hodgson was a Gate vessel commander (plus Fort Steele) from 1978 to 1994. He indicates that the Gates had a Kelvin Hughes 12C radar.  By 1981, these radars were replaced with  the Decca RM series and a Bright Track 570.  That package became the small craft standard for the navy including the tugs. He further states . "When I took command of Port St. Louis, she was fitted with a Kelvin Hughes 12c radar.  In the 1981 refit, the radar was replaced with a Decca RM radar and a second radar was fitted which was a Decca Bright track.  The model numbers escape me at the moment. But I am guessing the BT was a 370.  The RM radar was fitted to the main  mast, while the BT had its own mast mounted in front of the funnel.

This photo of Porte Dauphine shows the LN27 radar (?)  antenna in the upper left corner of the photo. Taken in 1985. (Photo # IST85-2016 by Capt. Andrea Rowe)


A document from 1952 indicates the Gate vessels were equipped with Type 135 ASDIC,  commonly called Harbour Defence ASDIC (HDA). This technology was developed by the Royal Navy  late in WWI and was first used in 1939. The 135 set first entered service in 1942. It was  a special, sea-bed mounted form of the shipborne ASDIC.  The US had access to this technology and called their HDA a "Herald" - Harbor Echo Ranging And Listening Device if left on the seabed. It cases where the  seabed and tides were unsuitable, the ASDIC could would be secured to the side of the ship.

The 135 set used a magnetostriction transducer operating at 15 KHz and suspended on a long shaft. The circuitry was based on the Model 758 echo sounder. A printout was provided on a type 758 synchronous recorder.


[1] When new with the RCN, her call sign was CGYL. As CCGS PORTE DAUPHINE her call changed to  CGBM. When the Coast Guard returned PORTE DAUPHINE back to  the navy, she was assigned CZGL.

[2] In the mid 1960s, Porte Saint Louis and Porte Saint Jean had the collective call sign IMPOSITION.

Contributors and Credits:

1) Ships of Canada's Naval Forces (1910-2001) by Ken Macpherson and Ron Barrie. Vanwell Publishing 2002.
2) Spud Roscoe <spudroscoe(at)>]
3) John M. MacFarlane (VE7AXU / VA7PX)  <John.MacFarlane(at)>
4) Douglas Stewart <>
5) Sentinel Magazine 1983/3
6) Terry Misner <lightning91(at)>
7) Robert Langille    EWCS <ewcs(at)>   provided National Archives file: RG24 1983-84/04958
10) Dave Shirlaw <djshirlaw(at)> and John M. MacFarlane
11) Indicator Loops
12) Mike Hodgson.   < hodgson8(at)>

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Jan 21/18