Maritime emergency ham radio recording


An SWLing Post reader recently sent me the following YouTube video–a recording Hanz (W1JSB) made on the 20 meter ham band several years ago. Here’s his description from YouTube:

Several years ago I was tuning around the 20 meter amateur radio band and heard this lively, engaging, and impressive exchange on the maritime mobile frequency, 14.300 MHz.

Vessel ‘Elusive’ at sea in the North Pacific was being followed by another ship. The occupants felt threatened that it might be a pirate, so they called for help on the HAM

Volunteer radio operators around the country worked together to communicate and relay messages with the Coast Guard in California. They also came up with some brilliant ideas to stay safe and get direct help as soon as possible.

The following is a recording from my location in New Hampshire.

– Hanz W1JSB

Many of us who’ve been long-time SWLs and ham radio operators have heard interesting broadcasts and exchanges on the HF bands. Please feel free to comment with your notable listening moments!

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7 thoughts on “Maritime emergency ham radio recording

  1. Tom Servo

    This is certainly an interesting recording and it makes me happy to be a ham (although I don’t have HF privileges because until recently it didn’t interest me), but I would love to know the back story behind it, whether Wendy ever received Coast Guard help so far out in the Pacific and why her vessel was unable to contact the CG directly on their HF distress frequencies. They utilize a whole table of frequencies, many of which are monitored 24/7, in addition to the short range VHF maritime mobile channels they monitor.

    I could actually make out much of what the MM station was saying, so I dunno if those questions got answered in the recording or not.

  2. Caryn

    I got my amateur radio license last year after a long paramedic career. This operation is exactly why I finally started learning the technical material (lifelong swl) to participate. Wonderful learning tool. Kudos to all involved.

  3. Rob

    Back in the late 70s I heard comedian/actress Phyllis Diller being interviewed while sailing on a cruise ship. She was talking with a reporter via the ship’s HF radiotelephone from somewhere in the Caribbean. Exciting catch because she was popular on TV at the time.

  4. Ed McCorry (KI4QDE)

    Thomas and Hanz, thanks for sharing this. It’s always a great thing when Ham radio pulls together in an emergency. Total professionals and edge of the seat listening!

    Way back in the 80’s I picked up a conversation between a doctor in the hurricane struck Yucatan Peninsula, an air ambulance service in Florida and the patients relative in New Jersey. Apparently the patient was in critical need of a large hospital and ham radio was the only communication available. There were a number of relays and phone patches and they finally made the arrangements to fly him out of there. Of course unlike Hanz I didn’t have the foresight to record it. There was plenty of interesting listening coming from there for the next few days.


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