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    Request, about polar navigation equipment.
    From: George Huxtable
    Date: 2005 Feb 17, 14:27 +0000

    I'm passing on this request for help, from Sally Grant of Keo Films. Any
    responses should go direct to Sally, and certainly not to me.
    George Huxtable.
    Keo Films is producing a major 6 part series for BBC2 and The National
    Geographic Channel.  This is a recreation of the expeditions of Scott and
    Amundsen to the South Pole.  Please find more detail on the programme, below.
    Our teams will be navigating to their destination using astro-navigation
    techniques.  Scott's team are navigating using a theodolite and Amundsen's
    team using sextants.  We have acquired these instruments, artificial
    horizons for use with the sextants, and a sledging meter.
    We are still looking for 3 chronometer watches per team.   There are some
    references made to the chronometers used in the 1911 expedition in the
    document, copied below.  What we are looking for are chronometer pocket watches.
    Whilst it would be lovely to use period pieces as long as they are not too
    altered from the originals and are able to do the same job, without the
    addition of modern components these would be suitable.
    Our sextants and theodolites have been very kindly donated by people who are
    interested in seeing them put to a good use rather than gathering dust on a
    mantlepiece.  It will be a really interesting way of retelling history to
    see them used in this way.
    We are hoping to find someone who has an interest in chronometers who would
    be willing to loan their instruments to us.
    We are also looking for a compass for the sledge of Amundsen and of Scott.
    Scott's team used a bowl compass for the purpose of navigation.  'A bowl
    compass with needle floating
    in spirit was used to some extent when giving the course when sledging.  It
    gave fair results when deposited on the snow, but it could not be used with
    accuracy when held in the hand.  A lighter handier design of spirit compass
    was much needed.  The ordinary prismatic compass proved to be of no value
    for taking bearings in the vicinity of Mc Murdo sound on account of
    proximity to the Pole, consecutive readings often differing by as much as
    five degrees" Deb
    We think that a yachting gimballed compass would be suitable for this
    purpose, one that can be used in Greenland where the expedition will be
    If you are interested in helping with the project and think you may be able
    to provide some assistance with finding these instruments then please do get
    in touch.
    I would like to confirm where we are getting them from by the end of this
    week if possible as we are shipping our equipment to Greenland at the
    beginning of March.  So if you are able to help please get in touch as soon
    as possible
    My email address is sally@keofilms.com and my telephone number is 020 7684
    Many thanks for your help.
    Best wishes,
    Sally Grant
    Sally Grant
    Keo Films
    tel:  0044 (0) 207 684 3357 / 490 3580
    fax: 0044 (0) 207 490 8419
    Here's some further information about the series:-
    The Great Race Info
    Keo Films has been commissioned to make 6 x 1 hour documentary films by the
    BBC, National Geographic and the History Channel (US) about the historic
    expeditions made to the South Pole by Scott and Amundsen in 1911/12.
    We will be setting two modern teams the challenge of a route similar in
    length and terrain to that covered by Scott and Amundsen, using only the
    equipment, clothing and food that were available to the original teams.
    The 2,500km journey will take place in Greenland between April and July 2005
    and should take a maximum of 99 days.  Filming the main expedition in
    Antarctica is not possible since dogs and other non-indigenous species have
    been prohibited from entering Antarctica since 1994.
    The end result of the filming will be a major six part series for the BBC
    and international television markets.  The series will interweave the
    contemporary experience of our teams with the history of polar exploration.
    The finished programmes will include archive material as well as interviews
    with historians, scientists, medical experts, explorers and others who may
    be able to shed contemporary light on history.
    Keo Films is a rapidly growing production company responsible for making a
    broad range of TV programming, from high-end linear documentaries through to
    popular light entertainment series.  Recent series include Surviving
    Extremes, Atlantic Britain, The Dark Side of Everest and River Cottage.
    Some information about the chronometers.
    Suggested that we take 3 per team - one to be set at mean time and the other
    2 to be checked against each other for accuracy
    Type of watch
    " Chronometer watches were used on the sledge journeys and were carried in a
    small wash-leather pocket sewn on to the innner vest just above the belt
    line.  At first they were wound daily, but on account of accidents in
    letting watches run down it became the practice later to wind watches twice
    a day, before and after the march.  As will be related later, no full
    account of their performance on the main journey can be given." (Debenhams
    Report on Maps and Surveys)
    Winding and use
    " Frequent comparison of watches - none returned to the base without running
    down - cause of watches could be due to not winding them correctly although
    the last word at night was "wind watches" before everyone went to sleep but
    problems could have been because on harder day's work such as at Beardmore
    the days were 15 or 18 hours in length" (Debenham)
    2 watches used once last party turned back
    Checked against each other every other day but on Jan 9th discovered that
    one had lost 26 minutes so comparisons were made every day which showed that
    one of watches was irregular and the other was used for all sights
    Mistakes affecting navigation
    "They were marching on meridian of 160 degrees east - on the 12th at Lat 89
    8' there is a mistake in applying watch correction which places party on
    163rd meridian instead of 161st 2 1/2 miles in latitude - corrected this by
    taking theodolite reading with great care next day (Debenham)
    Amundsen's chronometer settings
    At Pole they took readings every hour - not many details of watch error but
    watch no. 3 keeping Civil Time of the Framheim meridian which is 163 degrees
    37' West or 196 degrees 23' or 13h 5m.6 East of Greenwich Framheim Civil
    Time of Australiann date was 35h 6m in advace of Greenwich Mean Time of same
    date reckoned from noon in Nautical Almanac of that epoch.    ??? (Hinks

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