This is about Canada's Weatherships off of the West Coast on Ocean Station Pappa for weeks at a time in the stormy Pacific,
and our contacts with the crew, on station, by amateur radio, linking them to family and friends ashore.
These are the early ships Stonetown and St. Catherines, converted from wartime frigates. Their radio types brought their
home stations aboard, for that purpose. Later, when new weatherships were built, the Vancouver and the Quadra, ham shacks
and new radios were included when launched.
A LITTLE BRANDY GOES A LONG WAY!
And this "Brandy" was a new baby, born to a British Columbia couple, heading on a 2-year round-the-world in their
small sailboat, and how they made it ashore near Flores Island in the Pacific, for the birth, in a "hospital" friendly
but not very clean!
The newspapers got hold of the story, and dubbed it: "A little Brandy goes a long way!"
This is one of Canada's Early Warning radar sites, at the height of the Cold War. They were situated along
the defence lines as shown on the map below.
This is your host, Roy Parrett, adding some interesting photos and adventures on the Website. I hope you find them of interest.
Do I qualify for a midwife licence for assisting a birth on a yacht half way around the world by amateur radio?
"A little Brandy goes a long way!"
And "Romance by Radio."
And "The Distant Early WarningLine."
Below is a photo of one of Canada's Distant Early Warning radar sits, at the height of the cold war. Thousands of young
men found themselves technicions or radio operators i the far north, away from friends and family for long periods of time.
Fortunatly, many were amateur radio operators, and able to keep in touch with civilization by ham radio.
A Canadian Distant Early Warning radar station seen below.
The Early Warning Lines and the Mid-Canada radar lines during the Cold War, hosted hundreds of operators, far from home and
family for months on end.
For sailors at sea and radar operators in Canada's outposts, often radio was the only link with wives and families. Amateur
radio operators frequently linked the posts with the outside world, and at no cost! With the building of The Distant Early
Warning radar line, and The Mid- Canada Line, during the Cold War, many lonely radar operators soon became radio amateurs!
For many years Victoria was host to Canada's Weatherships. At first these were converted wartime corvettes, replaced later
by a new fleet, built especially for the purpose. The "Vancouver" seen below was the first of these.
The Weathership Vancouver on Ocean Station PAPA.
In the days of the West Coast Weatherships, stationed a thousand miles off the British Columbia coast for months on end, in
all weathers, the crew had only one link with home- amateur radio. Sparked by Jack Scarlett, meterology officer
on the Stonetown, and later on the Saint Catherine, and with the enthusiastic support of Captain Linguard, most weatherships
had amateur radio stations for contact with mainland hams, who phone- patched lonely sailors through to wives and children.
When the Distant Early Warning radar line was built in the Canadian arctic, amateur radio performed the same link with home.
The weatherships reguraily dropped sonobouys, to chart the direction and speed of the ocean curents, and the salinity at various
depths- or they were dropped from Neptune aircraft. The sonobouys sent signals to satellites to be picked up by the weatherships,
or offices ashore, and printed out on a chart. One of the sonobouys washed up on a beach on Queen Charlotte Island, and was
picked up by someone who took it home, on the other end of the island, and displayed it on his mantelpiece. But the current
chart traced its movements, even while in his truck, and soon the police called for the missing bouy!
Talking to an arctic outpost by radio!
Your Host, Roy Parrett, at his amateur radio station in Victoria.