28 September 2006

Musket Cove, Fiji

  • Mooring Ball
  • Musket Cove Yacht Club
  • Malolo Lailai Island
  • Fiji Islands Southern Group,
  • Fiji South Pacific
  • 17°46.2'S/177°11.4E
We are currently on a mooring ball at the Musket Cove Yacht Club, which is part of the Musket Cove Resort. When we arrived after a 20 mile sail from Lautoka. We grabbed a mooring buoy provided by the yacht club, and went ashore to check in. After registering with the yacht club, the facilities of the resort are open for the boaters, including showers and swimming pools. At sunset we met up with our friends from the s/v Sheriaz and the s/v Blue Sky at the $3 dollar bar, situated on a small sand island. The resort also has BBQ pits, and they provide the firewood and plates. So all you have to do is bring your meat!

We finally figured out how to change the settings on our stereo to get the local Fiji radio stations here. The radio stations in the U.S. end in odd numbers. Out here, they end in even numbers . For example, in the US a station might be at 101.5. But in Fiji, it would be at 101.4. All radios in the U.S. are preset to only stop on odd numbers. So you have to find the function on your stereo that changes its settings from U.S. standards to European standards. The local FM station plays 80's American music all day long.

Our current plan is to stay here through the weekend, and then go back to Lautoka to check-out of Fiji for our crossing over to Vanuatu. At Port Vila, the capital, we will pick up my brother Ron for the Port2Port Rally to Australia.

More when it happens,

Tom and Amy

Notes From Ron:
(1) The Port2Port Rally is a sailing event similar to the Baja Ha Ha that Tom and Amy traveled with from San Diego to Cabo San Lucus last November. This event is put on by the Bundaberg Cruising Yacht Club. It is a way for for cruisers to come back to Australia from the South Pacific and cross the Coral Sea as a group. Most the of the cruisers, like Team Sandpiper, are leaving the area for safer waters before cyclone (hurricane) season starts.

(2) Why do U.S. FM radio stations end in an odd number? From the FCC's own web site:
FM radio stations all transmit in a band between 88.0 megahertz (millions of cycles per second) and 108.0 megahertz. The band is divided into 100 channels, each 200 kHz (0.2 MHz) wide. The center frequency is located at 1/2 the bandwidth of the FM Channel, or 100 kHz (0.1 MHz) up from the lower end of the channel. For example, the center frequency for Channel 201 (the first FM channel) is 88.0 MHz + 0.1 MHz = 88.1 MHz. So there can be a station at 88.1 megahertz, 88.3 megahertz, 88.5 megahertz, and so on.

The 200-kilohertz spacing, and the fact that they center on odd numbers, is completely arbitrary and was decided by the FCC. In Europe, the FM stations are spaced 100 kilohertz apart instead of 200 kilohertz apart. So they can end on even or odd numbers.
So there you have it. Europe felt they had to be able to squeeze more stations into the FM band. So they sliced it up the band into thinner slices that the US did. I suspect that they were able to do this because FM came later to Europe than to the US. So by the time they set up their standards, the broadcasting and receiving equipment had improved to the point were having a 100 khz instead of a 200 khz wide channel was not a problem.

This is similar to the reasons why the US uses different, and technically inferior, standards for electricity, television broadcast, and mobile phone standards. The US tends to establish an industry, and the standards get set more by corporate greed versus technical superiority. When the rest of then world adopts a standard, they get the benefit of seeing what works, or doesn't work, in the US.

For example: The US settled on 110 volts, while the rest of the world went with 220 volts, thanks to Thomas Edison's "War of the Currents" fight with George Westinghouse on what electrical standards to establish in the US. The battle got so bad that Edison even electrocuted an elephant in a publicity stunt to make Westinghouse's Alternating Current seem dangerous.

In the US, we use a television standard called NTSC (484 lines). Most of the rest of the world uses PAL (a flicker free 625 lines). That is why you can't play US videos in Europe.

The US mobile phone industry went with CDMA for their digital cell phones, while the rest of the world with with GSM. Here is a comparison of the two standards. Hence, taking your US mobile phone out of North America is usually worthless.

No comments: