Welcome to the NavList Message Boards.


A Community Devoted to the Preservation and Practice of Celestial Navigation and Other Methods of Traditional Wayfinding

Compose Your Message

Add Images & Files
    Re: Shortwave radio and the evolution of celestial navigation
    From: Hewitt Schlereth
    Date: 2018 Jun 12, 14:03 -0700
    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.


    On Jun 12, 2018, at 1:15 PM, Francis Upchurch <NoReply_Upchurch@fer3.com> wrote:

    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).
    -----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]
    NavList message boards and member settings: http://fer3.com/NavList
    Members may optionally receive posts by email.
    To cancel email delivery, send a message to NoMail[at]fer3.com
    View and reply to this message:

    View and reply to this message

    Browse Files

    Drop Files


    What is NavList?

    Join NavList

    (please, no nicknames or handles)
    Do you want to receive all group messages by email?
    Yes No

    You can also join by posting. Your first on-topic post automatically makes you a member.

    Posting Code

    Enter the email address associated with your NavList messages. Your posting code will be emailed to you immediately.

    Email Settings

    Posting Code:

    Custom Index

    Start date: (yyyymm dd)
    End date: (yyyymm dd)

    Visit this site
    Visit this site
    Visit this site
    Visit this site
    Visit this site
    Visit this site