GB> Copied from 12952.4 kc tonite.

Joe Buch joseph.buch at DOL.NET
Tue Jan 26 16:18:35 EST 1999

At 10:15 1/26/99 -1000, Jeffrey Herman (WH6U) wrote:
>With no shore stations now
>monitoring the MF CW distress freq'y (500 kc) or the 4,6,8,12,16,22
>Mc HF calling frequencies, some ships (owned by countries not willing
>to spend the cash for satellite comm gear for their fleet) will have no
>one to hear their distress message if they encounter trouble at sea.

About 5 years ago I had a conversation with a US Coast Guard operator at
the facility in Chesapeake VA.  He stood the 500 KHz watch.  He said they
had not had a 500KHz distress call in years.  I'm sure that in the
intervening time the incidence has gone down even further.

The suggestion is made that hams and SWL's could use their old boatanchors
to provide this service.  Hams or SWL's who would volunteer for watch duty
from their homes would soon lose interest from lack of activity.  Hours and
hours of static and white noise are very tiresome and not a lot of fun.  I
am a member of the Navy-Marine Corps MARS program.  The advent of satellite
relayed phone calls and e-mail messages has all but dried up traffic on
MARS nets.  With nothing to do and no feeling of satisfaction that comes
from making a difference, MARS membership is not the rewarding experience
it once was.  The same would be true of a volunteer monitoring program.  If
the ships are taking out the capability to send on these frequencies, there
isn't going to be anything to listen to and interest will soon fade.  It's
called progress.

Ships in commercial service must now carry satellite distress transmitters.
 Here in coastal Delaware even the charter fishing boats carry such devices
which can automatically relay latitude and longitude from a GPS receiver up
to a satellite.  If a small fishing boat operator can afford one of these
units, I venture to say that any third world shipping line should also be
able to afford one.

Let's not encourage cheap entrepreneurs to neglect the purchase of proper
emergency equipment and thereby increase the hazard to their crews.

                                                /     \
                                               {) o o (}
On the keyboard of life,                |  _               _  |
always keep one finger on the escape key| |_| @ @  @  @ @ |_| |
~*-.,_,.-*~'^'~*-.,_,.-*~'^'~*-.,_,.-*~'|      @ _____ @      |
Joe Buch                                |  @  @ |     |  @    |
Amateur Radio N2JB                      |       |_____|       |
joseph.buch at                     |    @  @ /-\ @   /-\ |
-*~'^'~*-.,_,.-*~'^'~*-.,_,.-*~'^'~*-.,_|        |   |   |   ||
There are two rules for ultimate success|     @   \__/Oooo\__/|
in life. Never tell everything you know.|____oooO____(   )____|
                                              \ (     ) /
                                               \_)   (_/

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