Ham radio operators make a big difference


January 6, 2017

I had one of those rare times when the universe came together and the ham conditions were perfect. First I spoke with the wonderful operators of the Pacific Seafarer’s net who are looking out for me. Tonight at 03:00 Zulu (05:00 ship’s time) on 14300 mhz. I spoke with Jane NH7 TZ who is located on the Island of Kauai as well as net controller Randy KH6 RC who is located on the big Island of Hawaii.

They take calls through relay stations just like Peter ZL1 PWM in Russell, Bay of Islands, NZ as well as operators from Australia, and the mainland. They call for people with emergencies or in need of medical help first and then vessels either in port or getting ready to leave port that want to join their roll call. They record  your Lat, Long, Course, Speed, Wind, Wave conditions, Cloud cover, Barometer reading and Miles covered in the last 24hrs. At this time of year there are very few vessels on the roll call. As a matter of fact West wind II is the only one in the Pacific at the moment. I give them my report and if they have a message they pass it on to me or if I have one, they pass it on for me. So, with only me on the roll call I had a chance to have a good chat with Jane and Randy this afternoon. It’s always wonderful for a single handed sailor to talk to anyone, but there is something special about a woman’s voice on the radio and so it is always nice to hear Jane.

After that Sked I switched to 14140 mhz at 04:00 Zulu and picked up my old friends who were first with me on the air in 2006-07 when I was going around in Kim Chow. Cliff ZL4 AS, based in Balclutha (south Island NZ) was was operating on a mobile radio. He was with his wife Isobel (same birthday as MaryLou’s Jan 14th)  and stopped on the side of the road on his way to their summer cottage near Wanaka.


Ham radio operator, net master, the unsinkable Cliff Gray in his radio room in Balclutha, New Zealand with our daughter Claire who visited Cliff and Isobel several times and talked to Glenn on the radio in 2013/14.

The casual net master today was my very dear friend Barry Mitchell VK2 GGA who is a stone’s throw from the east coast of Australia, in New South Wales with his partner Julie on their 100 acre parcel. An there is Wayne VK4 XG in Brisbane along with Bruce VK4 YS also in Brisbane and today we also had Bob E51BQ on the Island of Rarotonga whom I met when I was there. We all got to talk to each other through the miracle of ham even though we were thousands of miles apart and for free.


Barry Mitchell (l) with Glenn and Alek Petkovic in Binningup, Australia. Alek and Barry were both key ham radio operators for Glenn in 2007/8 and again in 2013/14.

Conditions are not always so good and sometimes we have to relay messages between our selves. For instance Ted VK6 NTE who is in Binningup, 150 miles south of Perth (Australia) can here Cliff in Balclutha, but not me out here in the Pacific so Cliff relays our messages.

We don’t solve the worlds problems but I know all those guys care about me and Marylou and it is such a privilege to have that friendship which goes for the Operators of the Seafarer’s net as well.

I know they all know about my compromised situation and they are there to do whatever they can if need be.

This is truly an example of woman and man kind at its very best. As I have said before, I feel very lucky and honoured to have them there.

Thank you all very much for being there. It makes a big difference to Marylou and me, to know you are there.

Cheers Glenn.



  1. Sally and Geoff Dolman says

    That’s great news re The Ham Radio connections around the world. Unfortunately the only Ham we have is the leftover Christmas Leg Ham in the fridge :-)
    Cheers and Good Onya from The Dolman’s Downunder.

Speak Your Mind