For the technically minded, some details of the equipment we used:

The equipment we used at the time was mostly by Racal. The receivers, pictured below, were RA17L's, a good triple superhet design, that hardly ever went wrong. This receiver seems to remain popular, some twenty years later, on the second hand market for short wave listening purposes. The transmitters were the TA127's with a nominal 1Kw output

Above the receivers in the picture sit the fsk demodulators. Although I didn't use RTTY on the amateur bands, they were used quite extensively on the commercial bands. One of the main jobs I had to do was collect meteorological information by morse code, three times a day, from other British and American Antarctic bases, compile them into a report and broadcast them by RTTY to the Antarctic peninsula and the offices of the World Meteorological Organisation in Beunos Aires. We would also have two schedules a day with Cable & Wireless in Port Stanley for the passing of scientific data, official messages and private telegrams.

The antennas were set up between three 50ft (15m) masts. They comprised dipoles on receive and cage dipoles (wideband) for transmitting. Our main problem was a 2000ft (600m) mountain that restricted direct communication back to the UK. Communications in the direction of the Americas and Pacific Ocean were not such a problem, and during the nine months I spent operating from South Georgia, I spoke to people in around 150 different countries.

On the right is an external view of the shack. The spade to the right of the door was needed on a number of occasions when there had been a heavy overnight snow and we had to dig our way in to work. The building was originally used as accommodation for one of the Government officials living at King Edward Point to monitor the whaling industry catches. 

 

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©  Copyright Jonathan Ainge 1999 - 2004