The Earth’s oceans are absolutely immense, so it’s no surprise that they’re largely devoid of humans once you get away from the coasts. Sure, container ships and cruise liners cross oceans all the time, but the goal is generally just to get to the destination port in a timely manner. Combine that with the fact that oceans are deep, and it makes sense that we really don’t know much about the them and the aquatic animals within.
Humpback whales in particular are still fairly mysterious, and scientists have difficulty studying them once they reach deep ocean. That’s why the Jupiter Research Foundation developed the autonomous Wave Glider vehicle. It’s powered by solar energy and the waves themselves, and can slowly traverse the seas pretty much indefinitely. Equipped with a hydrophone, it’s perfect for studying whales over long periods of time.
But, that’s not all the Wave Glider is good for. In addition to their interest in whales, the Jupiter Research Foundation also has an amateur radio club. And, that club has recently launched the HF Voyager on a trans-Pacific journey from Hawaii to California. Enclosed in a waterproof housing onboard the HF Voyager is a HF (high frequency) radio.
As the JRFARC (Jupiter Research Foundation Amateur Radio Club) puts it, “Our mission is to deploy a ham radio station that roams the world’s oceans while providing an opportunity for amateur radio operators everywhere to make contacts with rare locations.” It will spend time in the Equatorial North Pacific, where ham radio isn’t normally accessible. The club plans on sending out certificates to people who are able to make contact with the HF Voyager, and it sounds like a fun goal for ham operators.