There is nothing more precious and confidence-building when the weather is foul and the wind screaming than the sound of a familiar calm voice on the HF radio doing a 'sched'.
So when one of those voices goes silent we feel we have lost a real friend. Alistair Campbell, one of South Africa's greatest radio amateurs, has gone 'silent key'.
His coverage was vast, crossing most of two oceans in the southern hemisphere, the Atlantic and the Indian, and many a cruising sailor remembers his forecasts and scheds with gratitude.
The South African Maritime Mobile Net was started by Campbell (ZS5MU) some 30 years ago and always ably assisted by his wife Davina ZS5GC and several other coastal Radio Ham Operators.
The net operates each day of the week, and provides weather reports from around the SA coast and High Seas, and maintains Ham radio contact with boats off the coast of South Africa 'For Met area VII', ie. Brazil's east coast to Australia's west coast and up into the Mozambique channel.
Alistair Campbell gave many hours, actually more than 30 years to the South African Maritime Mobile Net, rendering a valuable service to his community, South Africa and the World. A really sad day and he will be sorely missed for many years to come.
Although his key went silent, he has left behind a legacy that must and will continue. Condolences to Davina, family and his many friends.