I am leaving for Spain on July 7th in an attempt to bring my sailboat Ragnar back to France. Hopefully the boat will be put back in the water on the 9th and I should set sail on the 10th. The problem is getting to Spain with ever changing restrictions on travel due to Covid-19. If all goes well and I can get there and leave port, the trip should last about ten days. The boat is a Havsfidra 20 built in Sweden, a good ocean-going full-keel double-ender sailboat.
As far as radios I think I will bring my Minion SDR and MTR3b; subject to change... The antenna will be the Chameleon MPAS with the whip. I am also carrying an inReach satellite beacon. You will be able to follow me at: https://share.garmin.com/svragnar (https://share.garmin.com/svragnar)
I am not sure if I will be able to be on the air during the day but I plan on following the coast and stop at night, so most likely will be on the air in the evening, starting at around 19:00Z. Frequencies will probably be 14300, and I might browse around 20m, 14285 and around. I should be also on 10123 CW. I'll have probably only one antenna so it will be 20 or 30m. I might bring a random wire with a 9:1 UNUN hung from the mast spreader, but not sure about that.
For those who might be living in the south of France, I will also listen to HAM VHF on coastal repeaters, as well as 145.5MHz. So far I have programmed only Toulon, but I will add more to my VX6. For those who might also be maritime mobile in the area, I will of course monitor marine VHF channel 16 as required by law. My MMSI is 227245060. I have an AIS receiver but no transponder, so the Garmin map will be the only way to follow my progress, or lack thereof.
I was planning on using JS8Call but could not get the hardware on time and my laptop crapped out, so no computer aboard.
What I would like is that you guys report any contact with me here. I won't be able to update this thread starting on the 7th.
I will be using a very short antenna but the Mediterranean ground plane should help ;-) My starting point is smack between Barcelona and Valencia, destination is Antibes.
This is a very exciting but also stressful endeavour for me after losing my previous boat Dagny in the Bahamas at the end of 2015. I am also not in optimal physical shape after this long confinent and I know it will be a very physically demanding trip on an unknown boat. Wish me luck... I will update this thread until the 6th, then it will be radio only. Also watch Twitter as I should be within phone network at times and might be able to update Facebook as well. You are welcome to repost here for those who do not use these applications.
Have a good en save journey!
Maybe you're be able to make some video footage of your trip? would be awesome.
Thanks you, I certainly will!
Gil's Garmin track shows that he has launched into the Med Sea , making almost five knots !
Bon Voyage Gil. Are you sailing solo? Will be listening for you in the evenings and following your progress during the day.
Martin Vanek KN4MNA
RadioRay could you post a link to Gil's Garmin map, please?
Has anyone managed to work Gil or heard him /MM?
Searched on DX cluster but no spots.
I believe that we know this fellow :-). Port tack and a beautiful day.
>>> Gil said that he will try to be on freq tonight. Looking at his course and speed , I am assuming his QTP/QTH should be the coast slightly west of Barcelona.
Reverse Beacon Network showed the following. // Gil reported that these are fake, not him. //
F4WBY 10118.0 CW CQ 31 dB 17 wpm 2033z 11 Jul
F4WBY 10118.1 CW CQ 50 dB 17 wpm 2033z 11 Jul
F4WBY 10118.0 CW CQ 34 dB 17 wpm 2033z 11 Jul
I tried calling Gil on 10118 and 10123 but no luck.
Hi guys! Safe and sound in Vilanova. 30m was closed when I called, bummer... BTW there are three high-db reports of me on 10118 on the 11th. Those are fake.
I will try 14300 during the at sea next, but no promises... Unfortunately it is always late when I'm ready to go on the air.. On top of that there is a contest going on!
TTYL! And thanks Ray!
Gil said : ..."there are three high-db reports of me on 10118 on the 11th. Those are fake."
That explained those huge signals in the Canadian/US Pacific North-West, yet nothing in Europe at that time.
I hope that you get some good rest tonight and a continuing fine sail.
EA3/F4WBY/MM all day 14300.
Someone tried CW on 14300, heard. Try again.
All 26wpm reports are fakes.
First MM Contact F4WBZ Jim on 10123.
Listening to 10123 today EA3/F4WBY/MM.
Heard your CQ on 30m CW this morning. You were pretty week, but I thought a QSO was doable.
But the QSB made me look like an idiot! Sorry to say, but every time you answered me, you just disappeared into the noise. :-(
Then later I heard you calling CQ again. This time I let some time go by, to make sure the QSB did not rear its ugly head again. Satisfied, I answered you. But same thing happened.
Oh well, in any case good to hear you on the air, and good to see on the map that you are making progress back to France.
73 from the "CIA Norwegian CW station" that never manage to finish the QSO. (I do think I heard you get my CALL correct, so I'm not going to write it here. :-)
Heard weak callsign /mm yesterday on 14300 and tried to call but not sure was that You or someone else.
Following you on map and hope to hear you on air.
Today and tomorrow 10123 CW. Last message before being out of cell service. Tomorrow night, Toulon VHF repeater.
Three MM contacts yesterday on 10123...
Thanks Yall ;-)
20:25 utc: tried calling on 10.123, no luck. Will listen on 10.123 for a while.
If anyone makes contact via radio ( I am too far away in the USA) please post details here :-)
RadioRay ...- .-
Following your progress on garmin map. This last 24 hrs trip mast have been a challenge.
It looked like a rough night out there. Satellite weather last night indicated constant 27kt winds with gusts to 40kt , quartering/beam seas average wave-height of 2 meters with occasional larger waves (up to 2x) . On-watch in the cockpit must have been exhausting. Today's forecast looks a little better.
73 de Ray ..._ ._
Bonsoir <Gil, bonsoir à tous.
QRV sur le relais VHF de Toulon ce soir (15 juillet).
Bon vent et bonne mer!
Tomorrow run the British blockade?! :-)
SAFE @ 02:51 , in a marina 8 km south/east of Toulon. Sailing across in rough weather and navigating into an unknown small marina in the dark, >solo<, with little or no sleep... VERY difficult.
Well done Gil!
de RadioRay ..._ ._
Ps. It may take some time to feel normal to walk on UNmoving land after those days in a bumpy sea.
40 hrs solo on open seas. Holy Sh*t. Gotta respect that. Glad you're safely back to French soil Gil.
Gil is safe in the home port. Now time to RECOVER from his 'vacation'.
-RadioRay ..._ ._
I'm glad he is home ok, (no mishaps), was a wee bit concerned when he said his fitness level was low before the trip. He'll sleep for a while. Followed his journey, guesstimated he's done 730km over 102 hours sea time at over 7km/hr.
Great job, all the best.
Thanks Ray and all of you guys for your support and atemps to contact me, much appreciated. I did make a few contacts. It will take some time to edit the video. Not as much radio as I hoped but you will see why... I am safe and sound at home, though exhausted. 40hrs at the helm in 7 Beaufort winds is something I did not think I could do. There was a few SAR operations those two nights, fortunately I wasn't the object of one. It is a constant psychological and physical battle to stay on the boat, not being thrown off and exert constant pressure and movement on the tiller. Legs, arms, core muscles, everything works constantly at max capacity. The boat was laid on its side twice and I was both times times thrown in the opposite stanchions, "launched" would be a better expression because I am pretty sure I was briefly airborne for an instant. Thanks to my safety harness! I could only use my electric auto-pilot for a few hours, as it could not cope with the conditions. But then, what other choice is there? To me staying home watching TV is more risky ;-) in the grand scheme of things...
Now I am catching up on sleep and recovering, which will take a couple days...
Thumbs up Gil.
Hello everyone :-)
Back to normal, almost, with a sailboat in port! Just to conclude, I found operating maritime mobile very difficult, and commercial radios completely inadequate for the marine environment, no surprise there... You simply can't have a radio in the cockpit, period. Either it will get sprayed with saltwater or be washed overboard, and the little RG-316 antenna cable isn't going to prevent that. You may fish it back but it will likely never work again. My Yaesu VX6 did well though, to monitor marine channel 16.
My solution will be to install a PRC-320 inside the cabin for voice comms and a 30m QCX for CW with extended key and headset cables to the cockpit. I will place those radios at mid-level in the cabin between bilge and roof. You always have to think of what would happen if the boat was, however briefly, upside-down. I also need to think of a means to receive messages while under-way, which may involve a Raspberry Pi and JS8Call, maybe Winlink.
I do not know if my salted Minion SDR will work again, and I better hurry troubleshooting it before more damage occurs...
Boat-wise, I have a long list of modifications and safety equipment to add. I just installed two new batteries... Solar panels will follow. I am looking at Solbian but it's very expensive; not this year probably. Right now I am setting it up for safe coastal cruising, with the objective of upgrading to an ocean-crossing vessel as time progresses. There is a lot of cosmetic work to do, inside and out.
Now let's resume our regular program ;-)
Gil, I really enjoyed your maritime videos. I'm looking for a Compac 19 or something similar to trailer. Looking forward to getting on the water. Your videos are an inspiration!
I can only recommend a full-keel boat :-)