A Community Devoted to the Preservation and Practice of Celestial Navigation and Other Methods of Traditional Wayfinding
From: Francis Upchurch
Date: 2014 Jul 29, 20:49 -0700
I still have my old Lokata 7 handheld RDF from the 1980's. State of the art then, with digital readout! Kept it as a great hand bearing compass (now adapted with folding "make-up mirror" as accurate azimuth compass). Remember getting a "fix" in sudden fog off Scillies in about 1988, from beacons on Round Island and Brittany. (I had no Decca then, others did. Very poor young sailor then, but that scared me enough to later get a very expensive Decca . Could use the RDF to "home in" on cross channel trips to France and Ireland.) Never as accurate as visual bearing from lighthouses etc.
Probably +/- 3-4 miles "cocked hat" so would not have saved me from the rocks, so I went about and ran for the sea. Today, put 4 AA batteries in and it still works! No marine beacons, but picked up RTE Radio 1 from Summerhill , County Meathe, Ireland (several hundred miles away), which still broadcasts on 252KHz! Got a "fix" from some morse signal on 370KHz which I think was some "Non Directional Beacon (NDB) from a local small airport (so far un identified). Not sure what they are or how useful they may be.
The Scillies apparently has one on 321KHz, but range only 10 miles. (my garden 40 miles). I'll check closer to if I ever get to sea again.Ironic that this primitive and now obsolete electronic nav method should be considered by us old salts as "traditional".
Good fun though. Anyone know anything about these morse NDBs? Do pilots use them? I may look into it. Cautionary note. Radar /GPS and chart plotter have saved me from the wrocks in sudden, unforecasted fog since. Twice. Wouldnt go to sea without them and never plan to sail in fog. Any information on remaining NDBs and anything else on 250-450KHz would be interesting.Francis