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Monthly Archives: February 2014

Moya Mareea Safe

Just a quick update. Thanks to an amazing network of people who organized a salvage vessel, Moya Mareea was re floated and is now proceeding for repairs.

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Contact Reestablished

The crew of Moya Mareea are still ok and on board the vessel. They are waiting to be towed off the reef. Contact was regained throughout the Maritime Mobile Net (14300) and they have been of immense assistance with hams standing by who speak Spanish, to liaise with the Cuban authorities, stations who have phone patch capabilities in case they want to speak to anyone. Most important of all, there are hundreds of ears listening and relaying. KM4MA and 6Y4RP are working as relays between the vessel and net control and are doing a great job.

This is a prime example of what we can do for each other. It does not have to be as dramatic as today’s maritime action but everyday nets have a role to play here if they want to. The maritime mobile net is organized and runs every day and I for one, am very happy they are there!

If you would like to know more about the Maritime Mobile Net please click here

Lost contact

It’s been well over an hour since the last contact with Moya Mareea. Although that may not sound good, it could be for all kinds of reasons. Propagation has not been good although we have used 4 bands. Happily they occasionally call on the East Coast Maritime net on 14300 MHz so they have another net to fall back on even although they can’t reach us here in FL22cf.

The last news received was that there was a Cuban coastguard vessel in attendance and a large coastguard cutter had been dispatched from Varadero to attempt recovery.

Our thoughts remain with those on board.

Are You Ready?

We met a nice couple from a sailing boat called Moya Mareea a few weeks ago. He holds a Canadian Ham Callsign. They were off to cruise the coast of Cuba on their way back to Canada.

The weather here has been pretty windy over the last week and we have been monitoring it closely so we can get back on the air without the antenna being bent over too far. This morning we were listening before the SSB weather net here in the Bahamas and we heard Moya Mareea call “MAYDAY” on the frequency. They were stuck on a reef off the Cuban coast and were barely readable.

Another boat picked up the call and notified the US coastguard who passed it over to the Cuban authorities.

So why am I telling you this? Well simply that while we’re all chasing DX or chewing the rag we might hear that call. We have the ability to communicate across the world and answer that call for help. So the question is, what do we do next?

Every nation will have different telephone numbers to contact the authorities. Do you know who to call and what the numbers are? Do you have a list of the details that you need to record so that any rescue services can get to the location and provide the right assistance?

As I sit here, over 3 hours after the initial call, I am listening to the radio traffic, coordinated by hams. There have been many stations taking part, relaying part of the details where they could hear and another station coordinating. One operator walked down to the coastguard station in Cuba and gave them all the details and impressed upon them the urgency of the situation.

The coastguard vessel arrived a few minutes ago so the couple will be safe.

Are you ready to act as a coordinator or as a relay? It’s great to listen to hams working together to aid another ham in distress.

I don’t have all the answers as to what you would do in your location if you heard a call but I think it’s would be good to know a few appropriate telephone numbers in your country and have a checklist of details to write down should you hear the call.

I’ll update the blog as the situation unfolds – in the mean time… Are you ready?

QRT at Acklins Island

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It’s a nasty day at Camel Point, Acklins Island. There’s a cold front stalled over us and that means easterly winds at 22-28 mph and frequent, heavy rain showers. Worse still, it’s going to be the same for the next few days.

Both IOTA and DXCC require land based operations so we shall not be operating from the shelter of the boat. So it’s a day for cleaning, tidying and maybe watching a movie or two and maybe seeing if I have enough wire to make a VDA.

I shall not be popping down to the hardware store for any bits and bobs I need either. It’s over 100 miles away as the crow flies. So I’ll just have to make do with what I have.

It’s possible that the weather will not improve enough for operations to continue before we have to leave later in the week – my apologies to everyone who tried to work the station.

On a brighter note – there’s always next year and also the activations of the Berry Islands group and the Bimini Group later in the spring. By the way, if anyone is interested in coming along on the Berry Island trip, see my earlier blog on that and get in touch.

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Acklins Island Activation (NA-113)

We finally got to do our 2nd IOTA group activation of the new year today. We worked 204 stations during about 2 1/2 hours on 10m this morning in good conditions.
I concentrated on Europe since propagation had not been good during previous activations of NA-001 and I wanted to get a lot more European stations in the log. I intended to work North America and west later in the day as the band moved along.

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The session was not as long as I would have liked since nature took over. Initially I had planted the antenna in a ground spike at the waters edge. Unfortunately after about 2 hours, the tide rose a bit and undermined my foundation and all it took was a gust of wind and, mid-QSO, the antenna toppled into the water. After re erecting it, and checking the SWR was still low, I continued, but it was only a few minutes until all the stations disappeared and I saw the SWR was up at 3 so I went QRT and took some time to check things over and dry out.

Lesson learned! Secure the antenna against ALL possibilities!

Happily I was able to get on the air later in the afternoon and work as far as JA on RTTY.

So not a bad day on the available 17 Ah of battery power. It was especially nice to work Michael, 9H5DX a good friend and DXer from Malta. Hopefully more tomorrow!

Thanks for all your patience today, it was pretty hard work trying to hear some stations. There was a continuous wall of callers who unfortunately would not stop calling even when we had a QSO running. But thanks to everyone’s patience and persistence we worked a lot of stations – I look forward to working those that could not get through today.

I forgot to say – all logs uploaded today. My apologies to the DL who was somewhat offended by my not offering a card via the bureau but the bureau is slow enough – I won’t get back to Malta for some months yet and the thought of sending the thousands of QSL cards via the bureau is something that I really cannot face (nor can Robin at the 9H bureau either – I’m sure)

Oops!

Spring Point, Acklins Island, FL32da

Spring Point, Acklins Island, FL32da

We were doing just fine till there was a gust of wind….

And the antenna slowly toppled into the water… Got it back up and all was well for a few minutes then the SWR climbed.

so, my apologies to all for the interruption. Perhaps next time I’ll mount the antenna a bit better rather than being in a rush to get on the air.