What began as a “let’s-see-if-we-can-do-this” effort resulted in successful Amateur Radio contacts on 475 kHz in early August by two Canadian operators aboard the sailing vessel Hakuna Matata off the coast of British Columbia. The accomplishment may be an Amateur Radio first. Mark Mattila, VA7MM, and Toby Haynes, VE7CNF, equipped Mattila’s 31-foot offshore-equipped Beneteau sloop with the gear necessary to make maritime mobile operation possible on 630 meters. The vessel already had a 46-foot mast with an insulated backstay antenna for marine and ham radio communication.
Haynes designed the overall system, and work done on the vessel prior to the sailing season facilitated the radio experiments. This included installing new batteries, a new RF ground system braid and counterpoise conductors, and an antenna for 2-meter FM communication. Before the Hakuna Matata set sail, word went out among the local 630-meter community to be listening for CF7MM/mm on 475 kHz CW.