Join Date: Apr 2006
Thanked 173 Times in 170 Posts
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Fridge, the listening devices listen mainly for engine noises. Passive acoustic arrays and sailboats don't always work out well, case in point being how every few years either a whale or a submarine has an "incident" with a sailboat. In fact, when the USCG Notice to Mariners used to be mainly a print publication, the annual master guide in Distrcit #1 gave special extensive warnings about submarine "surfacing" warnings. (Like, if you're up by Groton or New London or the approaches leading in from the ocean, and a smoke pot or bouy pops up, BUG OUT OF THE AREA.)
Similarly, the classified intelligence systems including the satellites, even if they are targeted on your area and even if they have shown your boat, WILL NEVER BE USED to give information about your boat. Several Senators, including Moynihan, tried to get sat photos used in the search for Coyote when she went missing in the North Atlantic some years ago. DoD refused, quite rightly saying that ANY information they released would compromise the capabilities of the system. That's still current policy, unless you've got Osama on board and you've missed your landfall, that gear does not exist.
I appreciate your point, especially about range. I'm curious to know what others have found. On the east US, with the ICW and I95 and the coastal cities, there ARE a lot of towers on the coast. And of course, there are very few foreign ports you can reach quickly enough to scoot back home and still make the 9PM-7AM free minutes. (ok 7PM for some Sprint users.) Let's see...14 hours of paid minutes, 7 hours each way to make a mad dash to another country....I guess you could only slip out for a fast passage to the Bahamas unless you had hydrofoils and a turbine engine hidden in the keel.
Not such a bad idea though, most plans run $40/300+ minutes often $40/500 minutes, and by making one or two 30-second calls during the day, a whole ten minutes of airtime during any given week, you COULD document your location, if you were worried about it.