(Puerto Villamil, Isla Isabela, Galapagos)
I spent all yesterday in bed hiding from food and light. Today I wasn’t much more of a contributing citizen, but I did get out on deck to help Greg up the mast.
During our crossing from Panama to the Galapagos we tried to stay within VHF radio contact with our friends aboard Ednbal the whole time. In practice, our VHF should reach about 25 nautical miles, as it turns out, ours was only working to about seven. Before the crossing we never had any need, let alone opportunity, to test our radio’s range beyond the marina or anchorage. It was now clear that ours wasn’t operating at its full capacity.
Before today Greg had chased the antenna’s coaxial cable through the boat and up the mast. What he found was three separate connections in piss poor condition. Not to mention, the cable to antenna connection at the top of the mast was essential corroded through. To correct these problems he ran tracer line and pulled the cable down through the mast. He cut back rotten cable from each connection and rewired all three into healthy cable with protective heat shrink. Then, pulling the cable back up through the mast he replaced the connection from cable to antennae and hoped for the best.
(It should be noted that we had professional Electrical Engineer consultants oversee the work. Roger and Sasha both worked as Electrical Engineers in another lifetime and are a wealth of knowledge on the subject.)
Because our AIS system runs through the VHF radio, it is correspondingly affected with the same woes. So for an initial check on Greg’s electrical, handyman efficiency, once the corrections were made, we turned on the GPS monitor and waited for the AIS to load. Wouldn’t you know, as the screen came to life, we were now seeing boats sending AIS signals as far away as 90 miles! The fixes worked, and they worked well. Handy and handsome Greg strikes again.