Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Steven Roberts, who shares the following update:
Hi, Thomas!! Thought I’d send an update… I did in fact find a buyer for Nomadness, and have since gone to the Dark Side… for 8 months, I have been living aboard my Delta 50 named Datawake. The sale of Nomadness was via the geek grapevine… last Spring I built a power cart named Shacktopus, and West Mountain Radio used my story about it as their quarterly newsletter. A fellow on the East Coast read that, followed the links, recognized my bike, saw the Amazon 44, and bought it… and he is now preparing to head down the Pacific Coast.
Photo: Steven K. Roberts
Here’s the new ship, and the console now includes four HF rigs, D-Star, a few SDR devices, crosspoint audio routing with web interface, electronics lab, and networking goodies. Nice to be back on the air after a year without a proper skyhook!
Amazing, Steven! You have a super power in your ability to turn boats, bikes and pretty much anything into mobile techno-wonders! What craftsmanship!
I love Datawake and appreciate the tour with photos and details you’ve posted. I noticed the Icom IC-7300–perhaps we can have a QSO someday on the air? I’ll look forward to any report you may have about the IC-7300 as a maritime mobile station.
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 radio.
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!
SWLing Post contributor, Jim Clary (ND9M/VQ9JC) contacted me in June to obtain details about the BBC’s Midwinter broadcast to the British Antarctic Survey Team. Jim has been working on board the USNS Sgt William R Button since mid-June. While on board Jim has no web access, but he can send and receive emails and some files. I kept Jim informed about the time and frequencies of the BAS broadcast.
Jim had hoped to make a recording of the Midwinter broadcast at sea, but timing and some technical problems got in the way and he missed the bulk of the 30 minute program.
That’s okay, though, because Jim is an avid SWL and ham radio operator. During time off, he has logged a number of stations, so I asked if he would consider making a recording for us. I mean, SWLing from a Navy ship?! How cool is that?!
Within a week, Jim sent me a recording of the Voice of Korea. Here are some of his notes:
I’d heard [the Voice of Korea] many times before when Stateside (and they were Radio Pyongyang at the time), but their signals were always weak and had major polar flutter. Out here, the signal was in-my-face loud, so even though the station is not much of a rare DX catch, I wanted to get them on tape.[…]
[M]y location is the east southern Atlantic Ocean, not far from St. Helena.
[…]My ship is named USNS Sgt William R Button. The ship has been active since the mid 80s and was a “motor vessel” (M/V) until we became a Navy asset in 2009.
[…]My receiver that I’m currently using is my QRP rig, a Yaesu FT-817ND. I changed over to a Navy antenna that I’m feeding with about 70 feet of 75-ohm RG-6 cable. There’s obviously some signal loss from both the length and impedance mismatch of the coax, but at these freqs it’s fairly negligible.
The antenna itself is an AS-2815/SSR-1 that’s mounted above the wheelhouse (bridge) of the ship. I can’t really describe the make up of the antenna simply because I don’t see why it works so well but it really does a good job. If I’d figured out where its feed point is a couple weeks ago, I would’ve had no problem logging the BBC’s Antarctic service!