For the last week I've been at sea. Well, my family and I were on some of Britain's canals, gently coasting along at around four miles an hour. And as we relaxed and enjoyed the great weather I noticed a few things that reminded me of the pirate hobby . . .
It's been a little while since I heard Odynn on MW, but he was testing with a new antenna a couple of months ago and will hopefully be active during the autumn and winter months. As for Alaska, looking back at the logs I see it was just about 12 months ago I last heard him, and before that he was making it across the North Sea on New Year's Eve 2012.
Anyway, it was nice to be reminded of the pirates as we meandered along some countryside waterways, and I even managed a little listening with my old Sony ICF 2001d and small portable loop. Now, tuning the bands while inside a metal box isn't ideal and there was all sorts of interference, even with most appliances switched off. So, on Thursday night in the pitch dark I took the receiver and loop outside and sat at the front of the boat and was very surprised to hear some cracking signals, none more so than Professor Sickbok, who was very strong on 1640 while qsoing with Casablanca.
We're back home now and I've been doing some antenna maintenance. Yesterday I replaced the coax cable in the shortwave dipole antenna and tomorrow I'll be reinstalling the outdoor loop antenna which has been on the sidelines for a couple of weeks waiting for a new part. I can't wait to get it back in working order - it's essential for pulling in weaker signals on AM, and I've been lost without it. Trying to listen to MW, for example, with a SW antenna is not ideal and it's frustrating when signals are being received with only a fraction of the strength they should be, together with loads of noise as well. The right antenna for the job is so important . . .