This yarn from Port Moresby Radio concerns a small tug being delivered from
somewhere on the eastern coast of Australia to the north coast of PNG.
He called in using "Mayday" to say that he was hopelessly lost as he
hadn't seen the sun or sky for about 3 days due to heavy overcast. He
had no compass or other navigation gear onboard and had been sailing over
open ocean by dead reckoning !!!! He had no idea if he was heading North,
East, South or West.. We asked him if he had a portable radio onboard
so that he could perhaps get a null from 9PA in Port Moresby.
This would at least enable him to determine which of two directions
the station was from him, then knowing which side of his vessel the sky
had lightened that morning he'd have an idea which direction land would
be, but no, no portable radio. (One wonders at the naievity of some people)..
We scratched our heads and had discussions with the Superintendant of
Marine, Port moresby and decided that we'd have to call in someone who
could assist in getting fixes on his signal.
Army couldn't help, Navy couldn't help, Airforce couldn't help, none
had Radio Direction Finding equipment available so, as a last resort we
contacted some Amateur Radio operators, one in Rabaul, one in Port Moreby
and I forget where the third one was located.
They used their beam antennas to give us approx. bearings of the tug.
From that information, the Supt Marine was able to direct an aircraft
into the resultant cocked hat area and the tug was located.
Assistance was sent out to guide him on his way. He was found to be
near some unidentified reef. Oh yes, he hadn't seen another vessel in
the previous three days so couldn't get any help from that source. That
was quite an interesting exercise.