GB> Copied from 12952.4 kc tonite.

Jeffrey Herman (WH6U) jeffreyh at HAWAII.EDU
Wed Jan 27 02:03:33 EST 1999

On Tue, 26 Jan 1999, Joe Buch wrote:
> 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.

I sat a Coast Guard 500 kc watch for 4 years in the late 70s when all
maritime traffic was still going via CW - distress calls were not a
monthly or even yearly event. That's what made it so scary when one
did occur. (Two have occurred within the last three years, BTW - both
on 500.)

> 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.

I don't believe you can speak for everyone. Some of us have had a 500 kc
rcvr running for years while puttering around the shack. (No worse than
the background noise the local 2m rptr produces!)

>Hours and
> hours of static and white noise are very tiresome and not a lot of fun.  I

That's why the Auto Alarm was invented some 70 years ago. Let it deal with
the static if one gets tired of the lightning crashes.

MF/HF rcvrs in the CW reception mode don't encounter much white noise. You
might be thinking of VHF.

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

That's a pretty cruel stance. I hope I don't interpret you as
residing in the "It served them right for not having up-to-date
equipment on board" camp. Many of the third-world ships will
keep their CW gear whether we're monitoring or not. To ignore any
possibility of calls for help is cold-hearted.

72.9, Jeff WH6U

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