Saturday, September 12, 2009

Sky wave!

Reboot is equipped with a medium frequency/high frequency single sideband (SSB) transceiver.  I use it to keep in touch when out of cell phone (3 to 5 miles) and VHF Marine radio (25 miles) range.  My normal procedure is to check into the Maritime Mobile Service Net on a frequent basis.  They enter the offshore position reports for me.  (For lots of information on the MMSN see http://www.mmsn.org.  You can also listen in as they have an audio stream of the net on their web site.)

Most of the net controllers are on the east coast of the US with a few in the Midwest and further west.  After putting the mast back up I reconnected the antenna for the radio.  (Since the antenna is also the backstay holding up the mast, no mast up, no antenna.)  I wanted to test that everything was working correctly so I tuned in the net several days in a row.  I heard nothing but was aware that at least the receive side was working as I could hear other stations.  This is not unusual as propagation is a funny thing, sometimes you can hear a station and sometimes not.

Last night I took a break from installing the watermaker and turned on the radio.  Since I could not hear the MMSN I decided to tune around 20 meters and see if I could make contact with anyone to assure myself that the radio was working.  Within a 15 minute period I talked to Croatia, Spain, Germany, and Italy.  Sometimes that sky wave is just burning hot!

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