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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.


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.

Several times I had exciting experiences on my amateur radio. Like these contacts with a Canadian sailboat in the far reaches of the Pacific. Bill and Frances Stocks of Peachland, British Columbia, had been at sea for 2 1/2 years in their 13-metre sloop, Kleena Kleene II, with amateur radio for communication. I contacted them off the tip of West Irian, when they were heading for Flores Island-at a distance of

11,803 kilometres.Their fist child, Brandy,had been born in a "hospital" in Macang, Papua, New Guinea, a few weeks before. ("They were friendly, but not very clean"), Frances said. For some time it was a question that they would make land in time for the birth, being mostly under sail.

I contacted Child Welfare people in Victoria, to help, but they were not used to talking by two-radio at that distance!

The Stocks stayed in Macang briefly, following a successful birth, Frances' first at the age of 36. Brandy was a star on Macang, They were fascinated with her- they didn't realize that babies came in white!

Under sail again, heading for Singapore, they spent many sleepless nights, becaude of hundreds of native fishing boats in their path, many without lights.And Frances was trying to breast-feed her first child, with difficulty. That is where I came in- I first suggested Pablum, but where to buy it in mid-Pacific? So I contacted Doctor Mel Mair, a fellow Victoria radio ham, who gave the Stocks the advice they needed. It worked!

The Kleena Kleene II made it to Singapore alright, spending time ashore, when I lost contact, so there was no return trip on the airwaves for me.


Radio amateur Roy Parrett in Victoria

Another time on my amateur radio, I played cupid. It was the time of the Distant Early Warning radar line across the Atctic, with radio friends manning far-flung posts. Lonely radio men used to check in regularily, to call home by phone patches to check with girl friends or wives with problems.

One radio operator, on leave in Victoria met a nurse from St. Josephs Hospital while here. The date hadn't gone well, neither were impressed with the other person. But, back on station, the operator was very lonely. The nurse was suddenly four-star. He called me often, by radio, and had me patch him through to the nurses' residence. At first she was reluctant to talk to him, especially by radio with everyone listening in! But he won her over, proposed and set he day. They quarrelled several times, me playing a reluctant cupid. Once I had to phone the head nurse to get the girl to the phone. Finally she said, "I'll listen to what he has to say, but I am not going to answer him." The guy, realizing that the whole North was regularily tuning in to this early Canadian soap opera, stumbled along, being very careful with his words, which were hardly endearing.

Finally another highpowered voice broke in, "For gawd's sake- tell her that you love her!" He took the cue, and said the magic words. It broke the impasse. He came out to Edmonton, they met again, married, and the last I heard they were living in Eastern Canada with two children!

Unfortunatly, the Press was also tuning in to this extended radio romance, so it got into the newspapers, they created the headline, "A little Brandy goes a long way!"

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