By Gus Browning, printed in 73 Magazines in 1966-11 reprint by PA0ABM Gus Browning story, Part 17 Heading for Chagos Here I was on Mahe, trying to arrange some way to get to some of the rare islands in that general area. I nearly lived down around the docks, cornering any and all ship owners, I had plenty of time to observe the way of life on the Seychelles. These people know how to take it real easy they don't worry about the various troubles throughout the world; in fact, most of them aren't aware of what's happening beyond Mahe. They are too busy enjoying life to worry about anything else. With the YL population a lot higher than the OM population, the fellows I guess have quite an interesting life. Some of the carrying on that I have heard about would shock some people, I'm sure. The people here do what they want to do, when they want to do it; the least of their worries is what other people think of them. One day as I was operating in my little thatched hut» I saw an old man setting under a coconut tree right out in front of my ham shack. I walked out and had a talk with this old fellow. I asked hira where did he work. His answer was, that he did not work at all; I then asked him if he had retired, but he replied he could not retire because he had not ever really worked. About this time three or four porpoises were passing by a few hundred feet out in the ocean; he pointed at them and asked if I ever heard of any fish working. I had to admit I never did. Then he pointed up at some sea gulls and then lie asked me if I had ever heard of any bird working; again the answer was no. Then he said to me, "Tou know God made the birds, and fish, and then made man as His own chosen people. The Good Lord takes care of the birds and fishes, so since man was His own chosen people, I know that God would take care of me." After thinking it over and looking around the Seychelles, I know it's possible for someone to live there a long time and never go hungry. The only clothing you really need is a pair of shorts; you can sleep under a coconut tree on a few leaves or maybe out on the beach. So maybe the old fellow has something there, I still think he was telling the truth about bis not ever working. So there you are fellows scram over to VQ9 land. You 'll have it made —but their immigration department says you have to have a reasonable income if you want to stay there. No working allowed I I even went to a few native dances there, and listened to their home-brew musical instruments. They have a native dance that's very much like the old square dance that we occasionally have in South Carolina. Their version lasts one solid hour. They call out the instructions to their dancers in their native tongue, singing the instructions along with the musicians. This was one time I wished I had along my tape recorder. This would have been sometlung unsual to listen to back here right now. Things were very cheap when I was there, A good carpenter could be hired for $.25 per day. Now, according to what I hear, the same carpenter wants $.75 per day, if you can get him! This inflation is blamed on the few USA technicians working there on a satellite tracking project! How such a few fellows can bring inflation to an island with about 45,000 population I myself cannot understand. You soon become a part of the scene and everyone takes you for one of them after a few weeks on Mahe, You are invited out to dinners almost every night and soon everyone is calling you by your first name* You soon come to know many people there and you begin to see how they enjoy life, I don't tliink there is anyone on Mahe who has ulcers, unless they had them before they arrived there* The color of the population is anywhere from jet black to blonde,^ and there seems to be no sign of a color bar there. After hanging around the docks for a number of weeks, I was invited by a captain of a boat to go with them to what they call Bird Island to gather eggs laid there by various sea birds. When we arrived at the island, which was only a short distance from Mahe, everyone picked up an umbrella before he boarded the small boat that was taking them ashore. I asked the captain if he thought it was going to rain. He looked at the sky and said he did not think there would be any rain from up there, and sort of smiled. I almost got on the boat without an umbrella, but giving it a second thought decided there must be some reason why everyone else was taking an umbrella, so I grabbed one myself, just in case. Away the little boat went for shore. When it arrived on the sandy beach, the sky darkened with squawking birds, I mean the sun actually went out. Then it started to rain, but this rain did not come from any clouds. Back we went to the big boat; we spent the night there and the next day went back, A total of some 900,000 eggs were gathered. Back on Mahe for the next few weeks plenty of eggs were served usually scrambled, and very cheap too. Usually they are only allowed to gather these eggs during July, and only one trip to the island is allowed. There must have been a several million birds on this island. If you ever go, boys— take your umbrella. Finally after sticking around the docks all the time I got word that a ship was taking off for the Chagoes Islands, I had been having daily schedules with France, VQ8AM, trying to get a license for the VQ8 islands. It was sort of touch and go regarding issuing a license. When I got word that there was a ship leaving for the Chagoes I immediately got in touch with France, telling him of the situation. He went down this time I think with Leny's brother, Gilbert, who still lives on Mauritius Gilbert told the head man of their FCG the situation I was in, and he informed them that I should not miss this chance of getting to Chagoes. Telling them that if there was any trouble due to my operation there, he would come to my assistance. The story I got after I finally arrived on Mauritius was something more or less like that. I got in touch with the owner of Chagoes, and got the all important letter of introduction for me to hand to his island manager in Chagoes. Then I located the owner of the ship that was going there, got his approval to go, then went to the captain and got his approval to go on his ship. I was all set. I still say I had a perfectly legal right to go there and operate. It was a clean operation as far as I am concerned and even to this day I think it should count as a new one for the fellows that I worked when I was there. Nothing anyone says or tells me will make me change my mind on this operation. Incidentally, I think the same of my BY operation. I wonder how many BY licenses the APRL has ever seen? What proof have they that every BY station is not a pirate? Did Chiang or Mao issue the licenses? If Mao, do they consider this legal? I am under the impression that from the USA viewpoint Chiang is the legal government of China, If the present BY stations are using licenses issued by Mao— are they not pirates from our legal viewpoint'? Kinda interesting, all this, eh fellows? I have not ever heard any answers to all tills myself. While I am on the subject I am still not 100% sure what is and what is not a country either. Maybe there is no real good answer to this one, I guess there are some good solid rules but there also seems to be so many exceptions to these rules. Russia in their country list says that the Soviet stations down in Antarctica are separate from the rest of them and they call it another country. How about those other countries that are represented down there? Let's not get involved in this country business— it seems to be an endless debate, never quite coming to any definite conclusion. But it is something to think about when you are sitting there tuning your receiver for a new one. Back to my story again. Here I was with a boat about to depart for Chagoes with only a verbal understanding; the trip was only costing a very small sum of money. I went since there was no time to monkey around. All the way it was up wind, which meant a lot of tacking back and forth all the way; this added quite a number of days to the trip. Remember, most all boats in these parts are made for sailing, the diesel powered boats are used only to bring others up to the docks and take them away. As usual I did some/MM along the way. About the third day out, around 10 a.m. one morning, I was operating when all of a sodden one of the deck hands ran into the dining room where I had the equipment mounted on the dining table and grabbed me by the arm saying something and pointing back to where my I4AVS Hy-Gain vertical ground plane antenna was mounted. I ran back with him to see what was wrong. On board a ship I had previously discovered that there usually was not room for all the ground radials, so I would connect a random length of 18 Copperweld to the ground plane and would keep the other end of the wire under the water. To do this, I had picked up from the engine room a bolt about 4 inches long and I inch in diameter; this big bolt was fastened to the end of my ground radial and tossed overboard to trail in the water. Incidentally, this makes a FB ground radial and the SWR is very close to 1:1. When I got to the antenna, believe it or not, a fish had swallowed this bolt and was really whipping back and forth in the water, I grabbed the wire and tried to pull the fish in. The Copperweld wire darn near cut thru my hands, so someone handed me a pair of greasy mechanics gloves. This time I managed to pull the fish up to the deck; it was a nice 17 pound tuna, and we ate him for supper that night. We had to cut him wide open to remove the bolt, for it had gone into the stomach of the fish. Back to the shack I went and began operating. After operating about 30 minutes I noticed the SWR all of a sudden went up (I always operate with the SWR bridge in reflected power position). Out to the antenna I went again, expecting to find the ground wire broken off on account of the swishing back and forth of that tuna fish* As soon as the antenna came in view, I saw what was wrong —a flying fish about 10 inches long had gotten himself wedged in between the 20 meter stub and the rest of the antenna. You know the model 14 AVS Hv-Gain has a 20 meter section running up beside the other part of the antenna; the spacing in mine was about 2,5 inches, just the right spacing for this flying fish to get caught between when he tried to fly in between the elements. T called this my "fish catching" antenna, and those two fish were the only ones I have ever accidentally caught in my life. The new 14ASQ Hy- Gain antenna has no 20 meter stub, so the flying fish catching feature is now gone. As fish were needed the deck crew would trail a hook with a piece of meat or fish on it; they always kept fresh fish on hand to eat when needed. A number of large boats passed us on their way to Aden, Mombasa, and tankers to the Persian Gulf; we saw a number of Japanese fishing ships also. Seemed to be plenty of traffic down there— Chagoes next month, boys. Gus

Gus Browning, W4BPD

Hams - W4BPD - Gus Brwning 02
This is not a dolfin Map of the Seychelles VQ8AM, France How to catch a fish?