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Anyone talk or listen to Heyerdahl's communications during his RA ( papyrus raft) voyages from Morocco to around Trinidade? I was the assistant Party manager for one of the Western Geophysical vessels working out of Takoradi, Ghana in the summer of '69. Borrowed some eqpt from the radio room to put up a 2 element 15m quad antenna on the roof of the hotel I was staying at. In any spare time Id tune my ham radio ( Swan 500C) and make contacts around the world. One day I heeard a very loud station talking to " his PR manager" near Washington DC, telling him how the "raft" was holding up and what info to relay to the media." Finally learned it was Heyderdahl himself via ham radio and batteries on the raft. His main concern was the papyrus taking on water and slowly sinking in the aft.

For three days his signals were very loud and armchair copy as she floated past West Africa. then he was gone. talk about luck to be able to listen to his personal communications while floating across the Atlantic. As a kid I had read his books on similar voyages in the Pacific (Kon-Tiki).

Bob, W3HKK
 

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Anyone talk or listen to Heyerdahl's communications during his RA ( papyrus raft) voyages from Morocco to around Trinidade? I was the assistant Party manager for one of the Western Geophysical vessels working out of Takoradi, Ghana in the summer of '69. Borrowed some eqpt from the radio room to put up a 2 element 15m quad antenna on the roof of the hotel I was staying at. In any spare time Id tune my ham radio ( Swan 500C) and make contacts around the world. One day I heeard a very loud station talking to " his PR manager" near Washington DC, telling him how the "raft" was holding up and what info to relay to the media." Finally learned it was Heyderdahl himself via ham radio and batteries on the raft. His main concern was the papyrus taking on water and slowly sinking in the aft.

For three days his signals were very loud and armchair copy as she floated past West Africa. then he was gone. talk about luck to be able to listen to his personal communications while floating across the Atlantic. As a kid I had read his books on similar voyages in the Pacific (Kon-Tiki).

Bob, W3HKK
All that I can contribute is that I read the Kon Tiki a long time ago with much enjoyment ; must find a copy and have another read .

Derek ( An Engineer with no communications skills ; except to my serfs.)
 

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Ft101

Sorry for the delay. Just found this post.

I read the mail for a long time but dont recall them ever saying what rig they used. Just traffic about the condition of the vessel, and what to relay to the media ( all was well.)

They were so loud as they drifted by Ghana/West Africa it was like I was on the raft with them.

And I agree about reading the book (again. ) It would be worth it.
Thor was a helluva guy.
 

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Hallicrafters donated a FPM-300 transceiver to the Ra Expedition. It was all transistorized or nearly so, ran on AC or 12 VDC. It had terrible frequency resolution, on CW it drifted and chirped. I was disappointed Ra wasn't on CW like KON TIKI / LI2B was.
 

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Thor Heyerdahl - RA Expedition Radios

Thanks for your info on the radio used by the RA folks. I had never heard of that transceiver.

Nor am I aware that the RA did any CW operating. All I heard for three days were their very strong 15m ssb signals, in late afternoon Ghana time. So for their purposes, ssb seemed to be a very effective mode. I didnt notice the RA having difficulty in communicating, requiring a large number of repeats, etc. Granted, I was hearing one hop propagation ( signal levels at around 59+20bd on my Swan 500C xcvr and 2 element cubical quad antenna at about 100 ft high, and their destination station, near Washington DC, as I recall, was likely just two hops.... so they likely had strong signal copy of at least 59, for an extended period of time ( 1 hr each day) . The amount of info they exchanged was extensive and easily done.

I am primarily a cw operator myself, fwiw. And I "assume" with their crew limitations, adding one person just because he was capable of cw operation might have been a luxury they felt they couldnt afford, given the rather good HF conditions of the time, ie with 15m being relatively wide open worldwide, and the distances involved.

I do know my SWAN500c radio was very easy to operate and had good frequency stability and audio clarity on usb/lsb, and stability on cw. So the gear of the time seemed easy to use and effective in the ssb modes.

Bob
 

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When the American novelist William Styron was a young reader for McGraw-Hill, he rejected Thor Heyerdahl's ''Kon- Tiki.'' The way he told it, he had once been visited by a completely mad Norwegian with a many volume viking saga, a man he had difficulty getting rid of. So when another Norwegian arrives with a story of a balsa raft drifting along to an island with a sparse population buth with a plethora of large identical extremely long nosed sculptures, he does not want more Norwegian madness and throws Mr Heyerdahl out with dire threats if he are to return. Styron did not last long with McGraw-Hill, as the Kon Tiki book was an immediate international hit. But it is not difficult to sympathize with him.
 

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I got the impression that Heyerdahl's premise was that because he got to Easter Island on a balsa raft, the ancient Incans must have too. Probably he found a sextant made out of a rock too. Made a good movie but sounds a bit dubious to me.

#1 . Elek ... were you staying in the Atlantic Hotel at Takoradi? Used to be a good place for a laugh but I saw it on TV a couple of years ago and it was derelict.l I bet a gang of Aztecs had been through it.

John T
 

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Heyerdahl drew attention to the fact that much more rubbish was apparent in the ocean during that voyage than there had been on the first voyage years before.
 

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Heyerdahl drew attention to the fact that much more rubbish was apparent in the ocean during that voyage than there had been on the first voyage years before.
He was right of course but we should remember that his first voyage was in the Pacific and his second in the Atlantic. Was he still juggling statistics?

John T
 

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When the American novelist William Styron was a young reader for McGraw-Hill, he rejected Thor Heyerdahl's ''Kon- Tiki.'' The way he told it, he had once been visited by a completely mad Norwegian with a many volume viking saga, a man he had difficulty getting rid of. So when another Norwegian arrives with a story of a balsa raft drifting along to an island with a sparse population buth with a plethora of large identical extremely long nosed sculptures, he does not want more Norwegian madness and throws Mr Heyerdahl out with dire threats if he are to return. Styron did not last long with McGraw-Hill, as the Kon Tiki book was an immediate international hit. But it is not difficult to sympathize with him.
I'm reading "The Boundless Sea" by David Abulafia. It is a rich and academic work. The author refers to the Kon Tiki voyage; he writes that the only evidence of South American influence in the Pacific, found so far, is the presence of the Sweet Potato (native to South America) among the Polynesians - but proposes no theory how that might have arrived.
 

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He was right of course but we should remember that his first voyage was in the Pacific and his second in the Atlantic. Was he still juggling statistics?
John T
Yes, I was aware of that but still felt that his report was of value. After all, that ghastly giant island of plastic in the Pacific didn't exist in 1947 so we can perhaps assume that conditions in the two oceans were similar at that time.

The experience of someone like Heyerdahl who was constantly looking at the sea surface close-up must be worth listening to, and however bad it was in 1968, how much worse now! Let's accept and value his report - a useful and valid warning to us.
 
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