The Story Behind The Card Series 2 – #4 Pitcairn The Mutiny Island

Wireless. In 1938 when still a schoolboy I received VR6AY. He was using AM on the 20 metre band. I think it was during one of my daily looks over that band before I left for school each morning. My homebrew receiver was a four valve ‘straight  ‘  (In USA a ‘blooper’ ) which had an aperiodic RF amplifier ( an RF pentode ) to prevent the swamping of regeneration in the triode detector ( my 20m dipole would ‘ suck out ‘ the RF when I used reaction) and then two AF amplifiers.

The Pitcairn station was operated by a descendant of one of the 18th century mutineers and his equipment had been donated by an American amateur. Of course I duly sent off a report and much later received a VR6AY card ( NOT the one illustrated ). Sadly during my absence on War service my granny threw out most of my books and ‘ toys ‘ including the prized Hornby railway set and about a dozen QSL cards. I never forgave her.

The card illustrated is a reproduction of a highly imaginative painting. The artist did not have a clue technically and the VR6 gear is depicted as a transceiver (unknown before WW2). The Morse key could not work (It opened contact when the key was depressed )  and that coil with the feeder wires tapped on sits on the equipment case. The rig has no meters, a couple of tuning dials and just two other control knobs. It demonstrates that when having artist drawn illustrations for QSLs etc. make the sure that the artist can copy real equipment.

pitcairn-qsl-card-g3bdq-1 pitcairn-qsl-card-g3bdq-2Pitcairn is one of an isolated Polynesian group of islands and is the only inhabited one with an area of just 2 square miles. It is one of the few remaining British possessions with the status of a colony. It has a single small town named Adamstown. In 1927 the Island population was 193 but in 2002 it had fallen to just 47.Pitcairn’s Internal Government is a Council presided over by the Island’s Mayor.

Quite recently there was a DXpedition to Pitcairn organised and staffed by only female amateurs, Sadly I never worked or even heard them.

The film ‘Mutiny on the Bounty appeared in 1935. It was a British film directed by Frank Lloyd and gained a Best Film Oscar Award. A film having the same title appeared after WW2. I saw both of them and think the earlier version was the most realistic and believable.

Captain Bligh’s tomb can be seen in the tiny churchyard of a redundant Lambeth church located at the junction of Lambeth Palace Road and Lambeth Road in London. This church is now The Museum of Gardening and is open freely to the public. The great plant collector Tradescanth is also buried in the churchyard.

The call sign VR6AY was first issued in the late 1930s by the New Zealand Radio Licensing Authority who still keep an eye upon all activities radio or otherwise on Pitcairn. Should you have an envelope or postcard that was used from Pitcairn before WW2 and which has clear postmarks you can realise a tidy sum from its sale at a Philatelic Auction. Pitcairn uses New Zealand postage stamps.

By John Heys G3BDQ – Vital Spark May 2012.

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