NSF invites professional news media to submit proposals to report from Antarctica

The National Science Foundation (NSF) is accepting proposals from media professionals to visit Antarctica to report on research supported by NSF’s Office of Polar Programs (OPP) through the U.S. Antarctic Program (USAP).

Those selected to deploy would visit Antarctica between early November and mid-December of 2018.

Applicants must submit to NSF a written expression of interest in participating in the program — the equivalent of no more than three printed pages — describing the media in which the reporting will appear and a description of the potential audiences.  For reporting unrelated to the Thwaites Glacier opportunity, U.S. media receive preference in selection.

Application deadline: 5 p.m. (local time) on July 15, 2018. Electronic submissions are required, either as an email or as an attachment to an email. The email subject line must read “2018 Antarctic Media Application” or the application will not be considered.

More details at: https://www.nsf.gov/news/news_summ.jsp?cntn_id=295843&WT.mc_id=USNSF_51&WT.mc_ev=click

Antarctica contaminated with microplastics

Microplastics and chemicals used in a range of household goods have found their way to Antarctica’s pristine waters and ice caps, research shows.
Greenpeace says the microplastics, which are commonly used in body washes and toothpaste, and polyfluorinated alkylated substances (PFAS), like those used in non-stick cookware, were found in samples taken from Antarctica’s waters and snow between January and March this year.
The findings have sparked calls from Greenpeace for an Antarctic ocean sanctuary to be set up, so penguins, whales and the frozen continent’s entire ecosystem can recover from the pollution pressures they are facing.
“We may think of the Antarctic as a remote and pristine wilderness, but from pollution and climate change to industrial krill fishing, humanity’s footprint is clear,” Greenpeace’s Protect the Antarctic campaign spokeswoman Frida Bengtsson said as the findings were released on Thursday.
“Plastic has now been found in all corners of our oceans, from the Antarctic to the Arctic and at the deepest point of the ocean, the Mariana Trench. We need urgent action to reduce the flow of plastic into our seas.”
The microplastics and potentially hazardous chemicals were detected in samples collected from the sea surface and seabed, as well as freshly fallen snow in remote waters and islands off the Antarctic Peninsula and Bransfield Strait.
Microplastics, which include synthetic fibres and beads found in personal hygiene products, were found in seven of the eight water samples, with at least one microplastic fibre per litre.
They were also detected in another two samples collected using a manta trawl net that scraped along the sea surface.
There is growing concern internationally about the increasing presence of polluting microplastics in waterways, with many countries having banned their use in cosmetic products.
While the United States has banned microbeads, which can be mistaken by sea animals as food, Australia is relying on companies to voluntarily phase them out by the middle of this year.
Greenpeace said while not much was known about the extent of microplastics in Antarctica, its research suggested that the continent’s natural barrier to seawater flowing from the north – the Antarctica circumpolar current – was being breached by the tiny polluting particles.
As part of Greenpeace’s research, traces of PFAS, which are used in non-stick cookware, waterproof clothing and fabrics, and fire-fighting foam, were found in seven of nine fresh snow samples that were collected and analysed.
“The findings in snow samples are unlikely to be due to contamination from local inputs as a result of research activities and tourism in the local areas, as the snow was freshly fallen,” Greenpeace said in a report.
“The chemicals found in the snow could have been transported in the atmosphere over long distances, washed out by precipitation and then deposited in the Antarctic snow.”
Source: https://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/latest-news/antarctica-contaminated-with-microplastics/news-story/eb6a8d6453ca2577da40b12ba8f56eed

Activation of VI7ØMI WAP-293

VI7ØMI is a Special Callsign issued to Commemorate 70 years of  ANARE (Australian National Antarctic Research Expeditions) for Macquarie Island, which since 1947 have served Australia in the South polar regions. The first ANARE Expedition to Macquarie Island was in March 1947.

A Special Event Callsign VI7ØMI (Both Zone 29 and Zone 30 will be using this call) will be active from June 20th until August 31st 2018.
All HF bands 160m-10m, SSB, CW, RTTY and possibly digital modes also.

VI7ØMI will be joining the WAP World Antarctic Program and the WAP reference given is  WAP-293.  (For further info on WAP, see: http://www.waponline.it)
*** Please Note: This Commemorative activity is from mainland Australia and NOT from Macquarie Island. ***

Back to the history:
In 1912, Australia pioneered the first radio communications in Antarctica at the Commonwealth Bay base via a relay station at sub-Antarctic Macquarie Island. Australia established its first stations in the sub-antarctic at Heard Island in December 1947 and Macquarie Island a few months later in March 1948.
The sub-Antarctic station on Macquarie Island was officially opened on 21 March 1948, with a team of 14 expeditioners staying for winter. For the first time, expeditioners were not cut off from the world; instead receiving regular news, and sending official and personal messages back home. Wintering Party on Macquarie Island in 1948 :
Officer in Charge : Alan R Martin
Medical Officer : A Roger Bennett
Cook : Charles F (Charlie) Du Toit
Diesel Mechanic : Charles H Scoble accidentally drowned 4 July 1948
Diesel Mechanic : T Frank Keating from 4 Aug 48. landed from RAAF Catalina flown by S/L R H S Gray
Radio Supervisor : Geoff Mottershead
**Radio Operator: Peter W King
**Radio Operator: Gersh Major

Biologist : Ron Kenny
Meteorologist : Alan R Martin
Weather Observer : William M (Bill) Monkhouse
Weather Observer : Ron M Chadder
Physicist : Ken C Hines
Physicist : Charles S (Charlie) Speedy
Photographer, Department of Information) : Norman R (Norm) Laird
The station was commissioned on 21 March 1948 after Wyatt Earp had arrived at Buckles Bay. The first ANARE wintering party comprised 13 expeditioners. On 4 August 1948 an RAAF Catalina flying boat piloted by R H S Gray visited the Island to put ashore a diesel mechanic to replace Charles H Scoble who was accidently drowned a month before. The Catalina returned to Wigram, New Zealand the same day with mail. Sheep and goats were introduced and comprehensive long term scientific programs were initiated. (Information above collected by Max Corry)

To date there has never been a Ham Radio DXpedition to Macquarie Island. The only activities are from Hams stationed on the island for Summer or Winter tours.
Currently Norbert VKØAI is the only active operator on Macquarie Island (WAP AUS-Ø8)

The Special event callsign VI7ØMI (WAP-293) is to commemorate the 70th Anniversary of the establishment of the first ANARE base at Macquarie Island, March 1948. The activity is to raise the profile of the Wireless Institute of Australia (WIA), Amateur Radio in general, ANARE, Parks Tasmania and the Antarctic Research programs globally and within Australia.
A special commemorative QSL card will be available after completion of the activation via MØOXO our QSL manager. https://www.m0oxo.com/oqrs/logsearch.php

QRS will be available and also LOTW.
*** Please do not send your QSL cards via the VK buro as they are not required – Please just request your buro cards by OQRS for a fast return! ***

Interesting and useful links:

TNX Malcolm Johnson VK6LC &  Peter Clee VK8ZZ

K1IED, Larry F Skilton, is SK

Larry did a long time service for the stations in Antarctica; years ago Larry was very active in the 14.240 DX Group to keep contact with the operators down in the Icy Continent and also acting as official  QSL manager for KC4USV, McMurdo (WAP USA-22),  KC4AAA Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station (old WAP USA-21 and most recent rebuild WAP USA-36), and KC4AAC, Palmer Station (WAP USA-23).

Larry K1IED is SK as of June 2, 2018; he was a great guy. He had been battling cancer for some time and it got the better of him recently.

We don’t know who might try now  to take over the  Antarctic QSL duties, but sure someone from the US will do that.

We will miss you Larry, R.I.P.

Adelaide & Rothera Stations (WAP GBR-13 & WAP GBR-12)

It was not until the British Graham Land Expedition of 1934–37 that Adelaide was confirmed to be an island separate from the Antarctic Peninsula. The Research Base at Adelaide Island   referred to as Adelaide Base “T”  (WAP- GBR-13) from July 1962,  was established on 3 February 1961 on the South-West tip of the island. This was in preference to Rothera Point as it had a better skyway for aircraft and less sea ice to hinder access by ship. It was closed when the skyway deteriorated and operations were transferred to Rothera Station.


Taken middle to late April 1976, showing the change from the summer weather to the winter,rain to snow and winds. Note the steps up to the front door of the base in the rain and then the snow steps up out of the base after the snow and blizzard.This was the last winter at Adelaide base before moving round to.

Rothera Station (Station “R”), 67° 34′ South, 68° 08′ West,   (WAP GBR-12) known as Rothera Point until 15 August 1977, was established in 1975 to replace Adelaide, where the glacier ski-way had deteriorated rendering the operation of ski-equipped aircraft hazardous.

A party  did camp at Rothera Point in the 1975/76 austral summer to open up the air facility.

There was a phased construction programme so that by 1980 the station provided accommodation, electrical power generation, vehicle workshops, scientific offices and a store for travel equipment.

Enjoy a drone tour of Rothera Station WAP GBR-12  at the video shown below

Polar 2018-Davos Switzerland 15-26 June 2018


The WSL Insitute for snow and Avalance Research SLF is organizing POLAR2018,  which will take place in Davos, Switzerland from 15 – 26 June 2018.

Where the Polar comes together
is a joint event from the Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research SCAR and the International Arctic Science Committee IASC.

The SCAR meetings, the ASSW and the Open Science Conference will be hosted by the Swiss Federal Institute for Forest, Snow and Landscape Research WSL under the patronage of the SAwiss Committee on Polar and High Altitude. The event, will include:

XXXV SCAR Biennial Meetings

Arctic Science Summit Week 2018 & IASC Business Meetings

SCAR/IASC Open Science Conference

2018 Arctic Observing Summit

15 – 18 June 2018 SCAR and IASC/ASSW Business & Satellite Meetings

19 – 23 June 2018 SCAR/IASC Open Science Conference & Open COMNAP Session

24 – 26 June 2018 SCAR Delegates Meeting & 2018 Arctic Observing Summit

Read more and follow the program at: https://www.polar2018.org/

Refuge General Jorge Boonen Rivera (former General Ramon Cañas Montalva) WAP CHL-NEW

View Point was the location of the British research Station “V”. It was active intermittently with the intention of searching in the survey, meteorology and geology. Located on Duse Bay, Trinity Peninsula, at 63° 32′ 15″ South 57° 24′ 15″ West,  the site was selected on 8 Feb 1953, foundations of first hut laid 3 June 1953. A second hut was erected on 20 Mar 1956 and called Seal-catcher’s Arms or View Point Hut ,
Station “V” was erected as a satellite base for  Hope Bay Station  “D”  WAP GBR-Ø4 (ceded to Uruguay in 1997 which renamed it  Base Lieutenant Ruperto Elichiribehety  WAP URY-NEW).

On July 29, 1996 the Station “V”  was transferred to Chile who renamed it General Ramon Cañas Montalva. Today Refuge General Jorge Boonen Rivera (former General Ramón Cañas Montalva) is a small Chilean Antarctic refuge, administered by the Army of Chile.

The refuge consists of a cabin enabled as a room and a second machine house, bathroom and storage. It is located about 50 km away from the Chilean base General Bernardo O’Higgins (WAP CHL-Ø2), on which it depends.


Currently the installation is regularly maintained by Chile, for use as an emergency shelter, allowing 8 people to survive in it for 20 days in the event of an accident. For this purpose, the station has an electric generator, as well as fuel, food, water and gas.

For full listing of all station histories, see: History of British stations and refuges.


Prathyusha inspires many towards Antarctica dream

Prathyusha Parakala is the only one from AP and TS to be part of the ClimateForce: Antarctica (CFA) expedition 2018.

HYDERABAD: Scores of Hyderabadis are making the city proud by trekking to Antarctica. Prathyusha Parakala is the latest trailblazer from the city, who was among the 90 global climate force ambassadors selected to create awareness about climate change.
“Until last year, there were spots in Antarctica where humans could not reach as it was covered with thick ice. This year, we could do so. This was after climate change, which led to melting of ice,” said Parakala, who was felicitated for her achievement by Telangana chief minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao with the ‘Visisht Puraskar’ on Formation Day.
Parakala is not the only one to have made it to the group of  ambassadors. Apart from this, city-based entrepreneur and engineer Vijay Raghav Varada was also selected to fly to Antarctica to evaluate performance of his innovation, a 3D printable vertical wind turbine that generates energy.
In 2016, Thammala Sandhya, a mother of two, was among many explorers from across the world to be a part of the International Antarctic Expedition. In January 2018, doing away with a comfortable job in an e-commerce firm, Sunil Kumar, a city-based chartered accountant took part in the expedition

This was the last year that the two-week expedition to Antarctica was hosted by reputed environmentalist Robert Swan.

Source: https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/hyderabad/prathyusha-inspires-many-towards-antarctica-dream/articleshow/64501307.cms
Bhagwati Prasad Semwal (VU3BPZ Ex-AT10BP/8T2BH)
(20,24,29,31,35th, WOT Maitri/Bharati )

ITALIA Valley Memorial, a job to be proud

The tireless PH D Julius Fabbri IV3CCT did accomplish the mission to build a Memorial to recall the Giacomo Bove Base (WAP ITA-Ø2) in Antarctica and the 1st Italian Antarctic Expedition (Antarctic summer 1975-1976) led by Renato Cepparo, I1SR, with the aim of bringing Italy into the group of states adhering to the Antarctic Treaty.


Following the laying of the foundation stone on February 24th 2018, last May 25 when the job was done,  a nice  ceremony was held at the “A. Malignani” High School of Cervignano (Udine); the inauguration of the Memorial, with Authorities and Students was a great moment of satisfaction even for the young students, Professors and all those who did help the construction of this Memorial which now a reality to be proud.

Malignani School will also be the location for the 2019  WAP Antarctic Activity Week,  on the air with the special call  II3BOVE WAP-271.


US Yesterday Field Camp, WAP USA-44

WAP and the Ham’s Antarctic Community are grateful to Dr. Ron E. Flick K6REF, for the New WAP Reference, USA-44 issued after his activity from the US  Yesterday Camp.

Here is a brief story told by Ron, K6REF, when he did come back home after his season in Antarctica.

Returned from Antarctica on schedule tired and sore (with wrist problems that should resolve) after many hours of flying! We deployed over 30 seismometers over the Ross Ice Shelf to measure ocean swell-induced vibrations, and to determine the structural properties of this largest ice shelf in the world. Ham radio was part of the public outreach for this National Science Foundation (NSF) sponsored project.

I was able to operate from the McMurdo Ham shack (KC4USV,  WAP USA-21) with about 450 contacts between 5 and 13 Nov 2014. We spent that time there training and getting equipment ready, and waiting for weather suitable to fly to the field camp.


On 15 Nov 2014 we departed McMurdo in an LC130 from Willy Field and arrived at Yesterday Camp (78° 57.35 South by 179° 53.19 West) located near the Dateline in the middle of the Ross Ice Shelf (RIS), which is the size of France.

We camped at Yesterday Camp in amazingly cozy mountain tents for 19 days. We had several larger heated work and eating tents as well, and after a few days the cold didn’t seem so bad! The temperature was about -25°C (-13°F) when we arrived, gradually warming to a balmy -10°C (+14°F) by the time we left. We drank some beer outside once during a cold snap, and by the time I got half my can empty the rest was turning into frozen slush!

I operated from Yesterday Camp as KC4/K6REF between 18 Nov and 3 Dec 2014, making about 150 contacts in 27 countries and 23 US states. I used my Yaesu FT847 barefoot with a simple wire dipole mounted on flag poles about 8 feet off the ice. Conditions were often frustrating with one-way in propagation. I spent almost an hour trying to reach TY2CD in Benin (where there are only two licensed amateurs), all the while hearing Wynand at 58, but with him utterly unable to hear me. There were a few pileups, especially from European stations eager to log a once-only Antarctica contact. Picture above show the science tent QTH shack with diplole antenna on flag poles.

Thanks for all the QSOs, and apologies if you could not get through! I’m especially grateful to Bill K7MT and Bob K4MZU for their relay help and general support, and to Bob KK4KT and Roy KR6RG for their perserverance  and the timeless (old fashioned) phone patch to my wife Myra (boy, was she surprised!). Also thanks to Joe AB6RM for posting a publicity piece in QST and to many other hams who spotted KC4/K6REF on the DX sites!


QSLs  for KC4/KC6REF (Yesterday Camp WAP USA-44) have to be requested  to:


For more information on the science see: https://scripps.ucsd.edu/centers/iceshelfvibes/taking-the-pulse  and the pages linked from there .


Albatros Refuge (WAP ARG-27)

Antarctic shelters are facilities open to all countries, to be used in cases of emergency or to support activities in the field. They are equipped with food, fuel (there are with generators and communication equipment), accommodation facilities and other logistics. On  King George Island (aka Isla 25 de Mayo), just to the South of Argentine Base Carlini ,WAP ARG-20 (ex Jubany Base) on Potter Peninsula  there is a Special Protected Area  (ASPA 132) which extends from Potter cove to Stranger point.

Outside the zone, there is a small shelter, called Albatros, on the cliff which looks towards the coastline, about 50 meters high from the beach and less than 1 Kilometer from the Elephant shelter, in the E-SE direction.

Ham radio activity from Albatros Refuge (pic above, WAP ARG-27) have been performed recently for a very short time on March 2016 by LU4AA/Z operated by Juan Manuel Pereda LU4CJM  (see pic aside).

The Albatros Refuge (WAP ARG-27) depends on Carlini Base (WAP ARG-2Ø ) and is located on the Potter Peninsula at  62 ° 15’09 South,  58 ° 39’23 West,  3 km from the Base, about 100 m above sea level.

The refuge houses a repeater of analogue / digital VHF of the latest technology powered by solar energy that provides telecommunications support from radio frequency to all the scientific and logistical personnel in the


field, allowing the geo-location of them in real time and a coverage of more than 35 kilometers.


Another Refuge nearby is Elephant Hut (pic to the left);  it is located about 1000 mts from Punta Stranger, in the northwest direction. It is usually used by research groups as a resting point. The shelter occupies an area of about 25 square meters and has capacity for two people. Elephant refuge still remains a brand “New One”!