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    Re: Did transistors transform celestial navigation?
    From: Frank Reed
    Date: 2018 Jul 22, 16:48 -0700

    Mark Coady, you wrote:
    "You jogged another memory with that interesting analysis of early tube radios. Another joy of Pre GPS marine radio was the RDF. "

    I never had the pleasure of using an RDF, but what you say here resonates. Nearly everyone who speaks about RDF devices talks about the visceral pleasure in using them. 

    You added:
    "I also remember playing with time signals and world broadcasts on an ancient giant zenith tube radio "wave magnet" that at my young age felt like you were picking up a small car."

    Ha. Yeah, I bet! Have you tried to locate an old one? Restoring these things is "good geeky fun". I successfully restored one tube radio a few years but eventually gave up on another. Replacing bad vacuum tubes is a traditional challenge, but it's interesting that a modern tube radio restoration often hinges on "re-capping" as they call it --replacing capacitors that have dried out or chemically melted down. 

    You wrote:
    "From his USCG Officer days (Early 1960's), he related to me a rescue of a disabled vessel in storm off Hattaras by the large tug Chilula. He stated the rescue was done entirely (along with some amazing luck) by running down a fading RDF signal as the batteries failed on the powerless vessel until finally found by searchlights. I think that experience, was what caused him to carry it sailing."

    It would be fun, and I think possible, to hunt down the record of this rescue. I wonder where you could begin a search? The USCG surely has records from the tug in detail, but are they accessible?

    Frank Reed

       
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