Itinerant Ham

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Winter

Typically, I spend the winter on our boat, Amazing Grace. It’s a 42ft catamaran made by Broadblue in the UK. It’s our winter home and we enjoy the outdoors, the space and the companionship of other cruisers.

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We crossed the Atlantic Ocean in this boat in 2009 and have been in the Carribbean, Bahamas or on the east coast of the USA. We like to cruise around the Bahamas and sometimes visit Cuba and other islands.

With so many islands, the Bahamas offers excellent opportunities for IOTA activations and general radio fun. The islands are grouped into 6 IOTA groups and that provides plenty of variety. There are some really beautiful QTHs for beachside operations too. The Bahamas is one of the places that seems to have the most abandoned ‘projects’ and these abandoned buildings can make excellent places to operate from.

At Stocking Island, there is an abandoned beach bar and until this last summer there was a bar and shelter with its feet in the water!

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Imagine the convenience of lashing your vertical dipole to the leg nearest the water and then sitting inside in the shade to run the pileup? The only downside was that the bar was indeed closed!

Anyway, you get the picture. However, it can get a bit tedious carrying the ‘shack’ including a small car battery to every QTH. I’m looking forward to having a decent capacity LiFePo battery sometime in the future – it really would make life a bit easier.

The attraction of the seawater is immense! It allows me to operate with the simplest of vertical dipoles which I prefer since I can get the station QRV in about 20 minutes from leaving the boat. More complex antennas I reserve for when I am at a remote location that I’m going to be at for several days and there are few other people around that might wanted into it.

However, I’m getting carried away with radio stuff again. This page was meant to satisfy the curiosity of those who have written to me asking for more details of our wanderings. Of course, you can get some of the radios stuff here but we also have a page on Facebook called Adventures with Amazing Grace where you can follow more of life on board. (I hope this does not sound in any way ‘boastful’ – I’m astonished that anyone is interested to be honest and I’m just trying to satisfy the curiosity of others).

So we have 2 engines, a water maker and a fridge and freezer. We prefer to sail whenever we can – out typical expenditure on fuel for the winter is about $900. We like to fish and we buy our fresh provisions wherever we can in the Bahamas. At any one time we have sufficient food and toilet paper on board for about 3-4 months without visiting any shops. That said, we prefer fresh fruit and vegetables and buy them wherever we can. Our water maker allows us complete independence of movement so we can stay as long as we want in any particular location, weather permitting.

This makes it possible to visit places like Acklins Island (NA-113) where there are 600 inhabitants who get all their supplies on a mailboat that comes 3 times a month. We can also go to places like Hog Cay, North of Ragged Island (pop 56) and stay till the food runs out!

Here’s a picture of the Silver Spirit at Spring Point, Acklins Island this morning.

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