Reports today are suggesting that last week's incident in the Strait of Hormuz- where US ships came within seconds of firing on 'aggresive' Iranian gunboats- may have been caused by a prankster armed with a HAM Radio. The mythical 'Filipino Monkey'- who may actually be many people- has long plagued Persian Gulf shipping with abusive radio broadcasts. He- or they- ususally broadcast on VHF Marine Channel 16, an emergency frequency that all ships are required to monitor. Said retired Captain Rick Hoffman:
"For 25 years, there's been this mythical guy out there who, hour after hour, shouts obscenities and threats. He used to go all night long. The guy is crazy. Could it have been a spurious transmission? Absolutely."
The activities of Filipino Monkey may explain why the US ships reported hearing the ominous "I am coming to you. You will blow up in two minutes" message from the Iranian boats in a voice different from previous radio communications.
Filipino Monkey is regarded as a bit of a joke by mariners. Too bad the joke almost caused a war this time around. Also a little disturbing that the US Navy can't distinguish between military communications and a guy broadcasting from his mother's basement.
The Ham Radio: Empowering dangerous loners since the 1920s.