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    Re: Shortwave radio and the evolution of celestial navigation
    From: Bill Lionheart
    Date: 2018 Jun 12, 23:22 +0100

    The BBC radio services have put out a Greenwich time signal ("the
    pips") since the 1930s I think. Pretty sure they were doing this on SW
    radio on the BBC World Service too. I meant to look for accounts of
    early British "Blue Water Sailors", especially the single handers
    Francis Chichester, Alec Rose etc to see if they mentioned time
    signals. Not yet found anything.
    On 12 June 2018 at 23:01, Hewitt Schlereth  wrote:
    > Yeah, Francis, time signals at sea are a great comfort. My first offshore
    > passages in the early 70s were made with an Omega Seamaster self winding
    > watch and a specialized s/w receiver called a Time Kube from Radio Shack -
    > just WWV broadcasts. In 1976 I splurged and bought an early (clunky) Seiko
    > digital, but continued to carry the TK.
    > Hewitt
    > On Jun 12, 2018, at 1:15 PM, Francis Upchurch 
    > wrote:
    > Frank,
    > I think you are right.
    > I have spoken to a couple of old local Penzance sea salt friends recently on
    > this. They both did the "milk run" UK-Canaries-West Indies-Azores-UK in the
    > late 1960s-early 1970s. Usually 24 ft wooden type semi seaworthy boats.)
    > Mostly using only meridian passages, no intercept method (far too
    > complicated!). What they needed was cheap quartz watches and SW radio time
    > signals. (not necessarily Sony transistors. Ordinary cheap valve jobs or
    > crystal sets would do). For simple trade wind sailing this would do fine and
    > probably still would?
    > So quartz watch and SW radio time signals received by whatever primitive
    > receiver technology would do. I guess if you had the radio time signal, you
    > do not even need the quartz watch.
    > My wonderful Invicta cheap mechanical copy of the Rolex submariner has kept
    > +3-8 seconds going rate consistently for the last 2 years (checked daily and
    > never outside this range) and would easily win the longitude prize. This
    > plus any cheap  radio time signal (transistor or otherwise, even crystal
    > sets, my experiments a few years ago prove this. Do not even need batteries
    > for these.)  Would do fine.
    > Trade wind sailing no problem with the simplest of equipment. Good
    > mechanical watch + time signal from simple SW radio. (Unless , like me you
    > are a lunatic! No watch time needed! No radio needed.). Lunars would do
    > it.(just).
    > Francis
    > -----Original Message-----
    > From: NavList@fer3.com [mailto:NavList@fer3.com] On Behalf Of Frank Reed
    > Sent: 12 June 2018 20:16
    > To: francis{at}pharmout.co.uk
    > Subject: [NavList] Shortwave radio and the evolution of celestial navigation
    > Bob Goethe, suggesting an addition to Ed's chronology, wrote a few days ago:
    > "*I think the combination of transistor shortwave radios, station WWV, and
    > Seiko's quartz watch is what finally allowed the St. Hilaire
    > intercept-method to come into its own among small boat sailors.*"
    > This is an interesting hypothesis. Bob, could you elaborate on your thinking
    > here? Can you think of any evidence that would support this model? Does
    > anyone else have thoughts on this? Did WWV really change things when it came
    > on the air? There were other radio time signals. How about shortwave
    > transistor radios? Transistor radios were more expensive than tube radios
    > for quite a few years. I do agree that quartz watches made celestial
    > navigation cheaper and therefore more accessible, but that seems like one
    > modest innovation among many in the 1950s and 1960s.
    > One suggestion: I think you should drop any mention of the intercept method,
    > per se, when describing this hypothesis. That strikes me as essentially
    > irrelevant to the issue that you're raising, and surely the intercept method
    > was the primary method of celestial navigation taught to the tens of
    > thousands of new navigators created in the Second World War, well before the
    > solid state electronics revolution.
    > Maybe this hypothesis should be considered in connection with a bigger
    > question. What made bluewater sailing more accessible in the past fifty
    > years? Was it some change in celestial navigation, or were other factors
    > really key?
    > Frank Reed
    > [plain text auto-generated]
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