Sailor Receiver/RDF, elephant proof
On a day when it’s hard to avoid heavy memories of 9/11/2001, it’s a bit of relief to go back much further. I remember these bullet proof Sailor receiver/RDF sets from some of the higher end sailboats I delivered in the 80’s. This particular unit belongs to panbote Gary Wood who was kind enough to answer my call for old electronics and to haul this knobby beauty out of his garage and photograph it, bigger here, with Puget Sound in the background. He’s had it for awhile, having:
“…bought it new for installation on our Wauquiez Hood 38, delivered in France in 1981. At that time, RDF was state of the art technology. Sat Nav hadn’t arrived, and Loran-C did not yet work in the English Channel and North Sea. I used it to find Heligoland in the middle of the night, an island in the North Sea about 40 miles from Cuxhaven, Germany. Other than that, it was great for listening to the BBC and to hear, but not talk to, SSB communications. We were in the Mediterranean a year later, and bought a Si-Tex Loran C. It was the size of a large loaf of bread, and it cost $1,500. But we knew where we were all the time! GPS has certainly changed all of this.”
Gary also reminded me that the 80’s ads for this radio featured an elephant standing on it. Rugged! The Sailor brand is still around, incidentally, but now, as part of Thrane & Thrane, the gear is pretty much solely focused on commercial ships.
PS. The comments reveal that some Panbo young’uns are baffled by the gray gadget at left in the picture (top down view below). Pardon me for not explaining better! Kids, it’s a hand bearing magnetic compass—hence the dampening fluid (which it needs desperately) requirements—with the Sailor’s directional antenna and remote controls attached. The odd doodad at the top is a mirrored magnifying prism so you could read the compass card as you swung the whole device at arm’s length, seeking the maximum signal from a radio beacon (probably through earphones). Or you could just use it like a regular, if bulky, hand bearing compass without RDF turned on.