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Ham Radio Provides Reliable Link for Solo-Circumnavigating Grandmother


Jeanne Socrates, KC2IOV, a 70-year-old sailor and retired math teacher, completed her around-the-world nonstop, solo sail on July 8. Socrates took off October 22 from Victoria, British Columbia, in her 38 foot sailboat Nereida. Ham radio was her link to terra firm during her voyage, which ended where it began. “My ‘email team’ of cheerful, helpful Amateur Radio operators are now out of a job,” Socrates quipped in her blog after she arrived in port. A coterie of ham radio regulars, including WA1RKT, N5TW, WB2REM and VE7TK, kept her company. Socrates used Winlink e-mail via HF ham radio, but in May her remaining onboard computer failed, bringing the e-mail traffic and blog to a halt. “Word of Jeanne’s difficulties made it through to the ham radio community,” reports Rick Williams, VE7TK, and within days her onshore ham friends had set up an e-mail reflector and were handling messages to and from KC2IOV using SSB. Although the UK native had been hoping for a Canada Day (July 1) arrival, she encountered some unfavorable conditions along the way that slowed her progress. Socrates also took along a satellite telephone, but it quit a couple of months into the voyage, and ham radio remained her only reliable link. In addition to ham radio, Socrates entertained herself by reading. During the trip, Socrates raised funds for Marie Curie Cancer Care, a United Kingdom non-profit society that provides free home care for terminally ill patients. “This is an amazing effort,” Williams enthused, “and the fact that so many amateurs around the world in some small part were able to participate is something that none of us will soon forget.” — Thanks to Rick Williams, VE7TK



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