Once again, our SSB radio has failed. It’s very frustrating.
The symptoms are similar to what we experienced during our Pacific crossing in April– namely, it won’t tune up. We aren’t trying to transmit, because that can only damage the unit. When we crossed from Mexico to the Marquesas in April, transmitting after failing to properly tune resulted in blowing the internal power amplifiers. I sincerely hope we haven’t done that again (since making the expensive repair in Papeete, we’ve been extremely vigilant about ensuring a proper tune before transmitting).
Our good friends Chuck & Peggy, from s/v Alert, had offered to send us a dipole antenna back when we had the original problem. Good souls from our radio clubs on Bainbridge Island and at the Seattle Yacht Club offered ideas and assistance as well- the troubleshooting ideas helped, but it was the feeling of support out there that was at least as important. We felt good about the repair in Papeete and decided to wait for the end of the season in Australia before figuring out our backup plan (dipole antenna, secondary ham radio, sat phone, or some combination of the above)… it’s feeling like hubris now!
On the other hand- we know we can do this. Although being without a functioning SSB is very difficult for me, the primary communicator on Totem. The important thing is that we can recieve: so we will be able to get weather faxes and can listen into the various nets, which will help us get useful weather data during the coming weeks. Meanwhile, we have been rethinking our route to Australia- making choices to shorten the number of passage days we’ll have.
We’re departing today for Noumea. It’s frustrating, but we’ll get by, and we’ll learn more about how little we really need.