Our Lady of the Snow … Old memories by Patrick McCormick, a proud Antarctic veteran

Coming across a social network, I found an interesting page, set by someone set foot in Antarctica and left a tangible sign of what they did!
Here below is a piece of the a long and distinct period of history with a particular feature or characteristic; WAP have to be grateful to Mr. Patrick McCormick a veteran who spent a period of his youth in Antarctica and we are so happy to relive such great memories!

Patrick (pic aside) wrote: I wintered at McMurdo in 1956 and had a hand in building the “Our Lady of the Snows” Chapel. The following is an excerpt from my memoir describing its origin. The attached photo was taken in late December 1956. “There was one building that wasn’t exactly in the original plan.
The Chaplain, LT Father John Condit, universally known as Father John was a free spirited and very persuasive soul began to accumulate and stockpile “scrap” building material at end of the street near the base of Observation Hill. It was only a matter of time until he began recruiting, practically under threat of court martial, “volunteers” on their off time to put this “scrap” together to form a small Quonset Hut. Work began in mid February with some work, much to the chagrin of Mr. Canham, done on Navy time, but it was well into winter before completion. We had no plans, but with “Seabee Ingenuity” and “Can Do” spirit it turned into a chapel complete with altar, confessional, storage closet, steeple and belfry. After the port tanker ships had reached their winter berths, a bell from one of them somehow made its way up the hill to its place in the belfry. On May 6,1956, the Chapel was consecrated to Our Lady of the Snows and the bell consecrated to Saint Dismas, the good thief.”

This is a genuine story and today, after more than 60 years, it revive here as a great example for everyone, certainly a source of pride made relive!

Patrick’s daughter, Maureen McCormick, add an unpublished piece of his father’s story: -My father, Patrick McCormick, whose birthday is today, did not mention that he was the first person baptized as a Catholic in that chapel, at age 18, and , therefore, the first person baptized in Antarctica (most likely!)!

Well at this point,  it takes me a bit of emotion and I just close the story with the comment came from Patrick:  – I am more than happy to share those memories with anyone who will listen to an old man ramble-

TNX Patrick and Maureen McCormick … and Happy Birthday to this great old man rabble!

Undersea drone lost in Antarctica

Antarctic hunt for Endurance wreck, ends after expedition loses undersea drone in “evil conditions”
An audacious attempt to find explorer Sir Ernest Shackleton’s ship Endurance has been called off after the expedition team lost an undersea drone beneath Antarctic ice. Endurance, which was lost in an ice floe off Antarctica more than 100 years ago, is one of the world’s most famous undiscovered shipwrecks.

The Weddell Sea Expedition’s icebreaker, S.A. Agulhas II, broke through heavy pack ice to reach Endurance’s last recorded position Sunday and scientists began their search for the wreck using an undersea drone. Experts were initially hopeful that Endurance would be spotted by the robotic device, but have been forced to call off their search.

Read more and see an interesting  video  at: https://www.foxnews.com/science/antarctic-hunt-for-endurance-wreck-ends-after-expedition-loses-undersea-drone-in-evil-conditions

TNX and credit for video to:  Foxnews.com

Antarctic research vessel to deliver ailing individual to British research station

Acting on the advice of medical experts, National Science Foundation (NSF) officials have directed the NSF-chartered research vessel Nathaniel B. Palmer to put ashore a person in need of a level of care not available aboard the ship.

The R/V Palmer, which is at sea in Antarctic waters, will divert to the British Antarctic Survey’s Rothera Station.  After arriving at Rothera, the patient will be flown to Punta Arenas, Chile.

The Palmer is on a first, extended research cruise related to the International Thwaites Glacier Collaboration.

Thanks and credit to NSF.

 

Read more at: https://www.nsf.gov/news/news_summ.jsp?cntn_id=297734&WT.mc_id=USNSF_51&WT.mc_ev=click

1904 – February 22 – 2019, Argentina Antarctica Day

115 years of uninterrupted Argentine permanence in Antarctica!
Today,  Friday, February 22nd  is the Argentina Antarctica Day and more than 115 years of uninterrupted Argentina stay in Antarctica!

On 22 February 1904, Argentine flag flames on the Laurie Island of the group of Orkney Islands, when the current Orcadas Base (WAP ARG-15) was inaugurated.

Very few people know that February 22nd  is Argentina’s Antarctic Day even if,  it’s already one hundred and fifteen years ago that Argentina sets his presence in Antarctica, of which the first forty years Argentines were the only permanent occupants!

 

Happy Argentina Antarctica Day to the Antarctic lowers all over the world

 

Princess Elisabeth Station’s 10th Anniversary

Febr. 15th  marks the  10 years anniversary  of the inauguration of the Belgian Princess Elisabeth Station in Antarctica (15 Febr-2009 _ 15 Febr-2019).

The link between Belgium and the Antarctic has always been strong since the first overwintering of the scientific expedition led by Adrien de Gerlache from 1897 to 1899, passing through the construction of the King Baudouin Base (WAP BEL-Ø1) in 1958 and Belgium’s participation in the Antarctic Treaty negotiations in 1959. This link reflects the close cooperation that exists between the challenges of exploration and scientific research on this continent of extremes.

The construction  of  the  new  Belgian Polar Research Station, Princess Elisabeth (WAP BEL-Ø2), the fruit of the indefatigable will and energy of Alain Hubert, a man who takes up any challenge, together with the enthusiastic engagement of the Federal science policy and the indispensable financial support of private partners willing to contribute to this scientific tool, is a modern example of how coordinated action can ensure the success of advanced research.

Read more at: https://www.belspo.be/belspo/BePoles/publ/psf_en.pdf

Thanks to Mr. Eddy de Busschere, Secretary of the Belgian Polar Exploration Society (BPES) for sending a nice gift from Antarctica; a stamped envelope with covers to celebrate the 10th  Birthday Anniversary of Princess Elisabeth Station.

Casey Station WAP AUS-Ø2, Happy 50th Birthday

Antarctic expeditioners celebrated the 50th  anniversary of the opening of Casey Research Station today. The station was officially opened on 19 February 1969, and named “Casey” in honour of the then Governor-General Sir Richard Casey, a staunch supporter of Australia’s early Antarctic program.

Australia’s presence in the region began a decade earlier in January 1959 when Australia took over the operation of the United States-built Wilkes station , on the Clarke Peninsula.

Director of the Australian Antarctic Division, Kim Ellis made a commemorative presentation to station leader Christine MacMillian while in his first visit to Antarctica.

Thanks and credit AAD.  

Read more at: http://www.antarctica.gov.au/news/2019/50-years-of-history-at-casey-research-station

CASEY Station is referenced WAP AUS-Ø2 for  Antarctic chasers and WAP Award’s Program purposes.

Unused Antarctic research station to be reactivated

After 40 years, Polish Antarctic Research Station A. B. Dobrowolski at Bunger Hills will be reactivated.

The Polish Academy of Sciences (PAN) has signed an agreement with Geoscience Australia establishing joint research in the Antarctic. The cooperation between the two countries includes the exchange of scientific thought and technology as well as the exchange of scientific data for the development of maritime and land research on the Antarctic continent. As a part of that agreement, the Polish Antoni Dobrowolski Station is set to be reactivated. Poland has two research stations in the Antarctic: the H. Arctowski Station in the Southern Shetlands, in constant use since 1977, and the Antoni Dobrowolski Station in the Bunger Oasis in eastern Antarctica, which has been unused since 1979.

Once reactivated, the facility is to act as a bridgehead to site an autonomous geophysics station on the exposed rocks of the Antarctic continent. The first Polish expedition to the Bunger Oasis in forty years is planned to leave in three to four years with the use of a modern Australian ice-breaker, the Nuyina.

Read more at: https://polandin.com/40616447/unused-antarctic-research-station-to-be-reactivated

Sebastian Gleich SQ1SGB remembers that Dobrowolski was only active in a short time’s  expeditions when Poland “cooperate” with Soviet Union. The reason is that it’s quite hard to get there without icebreaker and helicopters.(Pic here aside shows the old Gravimetric pavillon)

-I don’t know anyone who was there, but a good friend of mine–  Seba says  -collects lots of info about Dobrowolski station. I will ask him but now he is on Arctowski station till the month of May-.

Macquarie Station: Two new WAP References issued

We have learnt something we didn’t know before, and the various point of view have been transformed into certainty. Just to sum up, a revision of Macquarie paragraph on the WAP-WADA Directory will be as follow:

 

All the calls for which we don’t have details of the operation’s site will be consider as WAP AUS-Ø8, thus:

WAP AUS-Ø8 –Macquarie Station will incorporate “HUT HILL” (aka-Ham Shack) & Transmitter Hut (both are 500 mts from the Macquarie’s Station buildings)

 

WAP AUS-Ø9 – New reference
Brothers Point Hut Brauer Bay, Macquarie Island,  54°56’ 00” South, 158°52’56” East.

WAP AUS-1Ø – New reference
Waterfall Bay Hut, Waterfall Bay, Macquarie Island,  54°40’29” South, 158°23’37” East

While will not be an easy task to identify who did  operate from the several Huts & Refuges scattered around the coasts of Macquarie Island  and the dates of each one, te mail of Trevor VKØTH, forwarded on the Antarctic reflector by Mehdi F5PFP was a good surprise. Trevor says: -I operated from the Ham Shack on the hill at the Station, also operated from the Refuges at Brothers Point and Waterfall Bay-.

TNX F5PFP & VKØTH

Now we suggest the Antarctic chasers to check their cards to see  if there are some details that will allow WAP to allocate a correct reference to the so many Hamcalls operating from Macquarie in the past and recently.

We kindly ask the operators who have been active at Macquarie to inform WAP  by e-mail through wap_info@virgilio.it of the exact location they have been active from.

We suggests  the next operators at Macquarie, to mark the location of the operation site on their QSLcards .

Now a brief information on the two new References just issued:

Brothers Point Hut (WAP AUS-Ø9) is located on the east coast, 8 km south of Macquarie Station. The fiberglass hut, known as a “googie”, provides comfortable accommodation for three people but may fit five in an emergency. It is a popular destination for short duration field trips and is also used as a lunchtime or overnight stopping point as part of longer trips heading down the island.

The hut is accessed from the station via the overland Sandy Bay track, or along the picturesque east coast, when tide and swell conditions allow. The hut is also accessible via inflatable rubber boat, however opportunities to travel on water are typically limited by the weather and availability of suitably qualified boating personnel.

 

Waterfall Bay Hut  (WAP AUS-1Ø) is another “googie” style fiberglass hut similar to the one at Brother Point. It was installed in 1993-94 as a replacement for the original Lusitania Bay Hut located to the south.
The hut comfortably sleeps three people. As the crow flies, Waterfall Bay Hut is approximately 18 km south of Macquarie Station.

The hut is conveniently located for personnel travelling down island, and is well placed as a research base for the large king penguin colony at Lusitania Bay.
It is easily accessed via the Jessie Nichol track from the north, or the Mt. Martin track from the south. These tracks are subsidiaries of the main north-south overland track.

15-17 February 2019 “11th American LH Weekend” Chilean new ones

On the  weekend from 15th through 17th  Febr. 2019, Hams will get a chance to  work a couple of lighthouses located in the Chilean Tierra del Fuego Province, Magallanes Region. They are listed on the WAP-LH Directory and so far brand new-ones .

Pontón Muñoz Gamero Lighthouse  ARLHS CHI-NEW  WAP CHL-LH New

Faro Pontón Muñoz Gamerois a light house located at Punta del Rio, at the Punta Arenas Bay  at 53° 10′  33”  South, 70° 55′ 6” West .

The “Muñoz Gamero” (former “County of Peebles”)  was a large four-masted boat launched in Scotland in 1875. It was acquired by Chile in 1898 along with two other sailboats. After his active life, he started operating in 1966 as a pontoon reservoir in Bahía Muñoz Gamero and finally ended his days as a breakwater in Punta Arenas in 1975. It is the boat that made a hall for public relations of the Navy.

A full-day walk around the center of Punta Arenas includes 26 locations that connect the city’s rich heritage with memories of expeditions to Antarctica since the end of the 19th century. One of this place to visit, is the one on  which, a lighthouse seems to be mounted  is the shipwreck of the “Muñoz Gamero” Unfortunately, we have not been able to find any other more detailed information, sorry about that!
The site will be activated by CE8RPA

 

FARO BAHIA PORVENIR,  ARLHS CHI-034 , WAP CHL-LH New

Built in 1928 at 53° 18′ 56” South, 70° 27′ 26” West  the lighthouse Bahía Porvenir is a lighthouse located in Tierra del Fuego on Porvenir Bay on the Chilean Tierra del Fuego

Positioned at the entrance to the bay of the same name, it mainly guides the ferries that make the connection between Porvenir and Punta Arenas as well as fishing boats.

Bahía Porvenir LH will be activated by CE8RJN

Being located on the Chilean Antarctic territories, both lighthouses will also qualify for WAP-WADA CHL-13

15-17 February 2019 “11th American LH Weekend” Argentina New ones

Among the long list of Lighthouses that will be activated during the weekend from 15th through 17th  Febr. 2019, three of them will be particularly interesting from the Antarctic chasers as they are located in the Peri-Antarctic areas included on the WAP-WACA and on the WAP-LH Directory.

1) Old LH at Cabo San Pablo, ARLHS ARG 031, WAP ARG-LH-NEW. Callisign L2ØX

Hams from Tierra del Fuego will be on the air activating the two Lighthouses at Cabo San Pablo,  115.8 km from the city of Ushuaia, in the department of Rio Grande, second city of Tierra del Fuego, Antarctica and the South Atlantic Islands (Argentina). The lighthouse are located on the Cape of the same name, on an isolated mountain, very characteristic for its rounded shape that protrudes from the coastline. Its construction began on March 15, 1945, and during the month of December 1949 there was a seismic movement that caused a dangerous inclination of the tower, a situation that forced the removal of the luminous equipment and deactivated the signal. The building, still remains onsite and it will be activated for the first time in its history.

QSL direct to LU1XP

 

2) New LH at Cabo San Pablo, ARLHS ARG 074, WAP ARG-LH-NEW

Callsign LU2XWL/XP

In 1966 the reconstruction of the Lighthouse has been ordered and currently, the lighthouse is on a yellow pyramidal trunk tower 6 meters high, with a black triangle with its vertex down.

It also has a platform in the upper part to house the luminous lantern powered by photovoltaic solar energy, which gives it an optical range of 12.5 nautical miles.

Operators  will be LU2XWL & LU5XTS. QSL only direct to LU2XWL

 

Both Lighthouses (Grid Locator: FD65OQ) will be on the air the same day and in different bands and schedule in FT8 and SSB.

 

3) Les Eclaireurs LH, ARLHS ARG 016, WAP ARG-LH-ØØ5
Callisign LU8XW/XP 

Located in the Beagle Channel marking the approach to Ushuaia, the lighthouse guarding the sea entrance to Ushuaia,  is still in operation, since it was put into service on December 23, 1920.

It is remote-controlled, automated, uninhabited and is not open to the public. Electricity is supplied by solar-panels. The lighthouse is a popular tourist attraction, reached on short boat tours from Ushuaia. It is known to the Argentines as the Lighthouse at the End of the World (Faro del fin del mundo), although that name is misleading. Les Eclaireurs  lighthouse is often confused with the San Juan de Salvamento lighthouse on the east coast of the remote Isla de los Estados, that earned that nickname made famous by Jules Verne in the novel The Lighthouse at the end of the World, which is really  much further east.

QSL direct to: Radio Club Ushuaia, P. O. BOX 58, Ushuaia – Tierra Del Fuego,  V9410WAB, Argentina

M/V Vasiliy Golovnin did reach Bharati Station in Antarctica

According to NCPOR the 38th Indian Antarctic Research Expedition  will use the Icebreaker  “Vasiliy Golovnin” for supply the Indian Scientific Bases in the Icy Continent.  FESCO Transportation Group signed a contract with the National Centre for Polar and Ocean Research (NCPOR, Ministry of Earth Sciences, Government of India) for 2019 Antarctic Season.

By the terms of the contract, FESCO icebreaker ship “Vasiliy Golovnin” is to deliver general cargo, food products, fuel to the Indian Antarctic stations Bharati and Maitri. NCPOR scientists are joining  to this expedition aboard FESCO vessel. The ship  did start its Antarctic voyage, under the command of Captain Iksan Yusupov, at the port of Cape Town last  January 26th  with members of  the 38th IAE led by Dr Shailendra Saini.

The involvement of  M/V Vasiliy Golovnin in Antarctica  will last for three months.

Few days ago the icebreaker did reach  Bharati Station (WAP IND-Ø4). As far as WAP know, there aren’t  Ham radio operators among the Indian Team this year!

India’s scientists and personnel did celebrate the 2019’s Republic Day at Maitri (WAP IND-Ø3) last Jan. 27 and on at Bharati Station (WAP IND.Ø4) on last Jan. 28.

Turkey is ready for its new Base in Antarctica

A Turkish expedition team, departed for Antarctica to set up a temporary scientific research base, arrived in the world’s coldest continent on Monday Feb. 4.

This year’s project, supported by the Turkish Presidency, Ministry of Industry and Technology and Istanbul Technical University Polar Research Center as well as eight other Turkish universities, will carry out scientific studies over 30 days. With this  third expedition, Turkey looks to become a “consultant country,” in the new term of the Antarctic Treaty System and continue scientific studies at its own base

It is not clear where Turkey is going to set its own Base; some sources indicate Robert Island as a possible site, where in 2018, 28 Turkish researchers built the country’s first campsite.

Turkey also sent 12 scientists to the research bases of different countries, including Poland, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Bulgaria and Chili, in 2017 and 2018. As the feasibility study for a permanent Turkish Research Base in Antarctica continues, a temporary base will be built during the current Turkish expedition that kicked off earlier this week.

Whatch a short video and read more  on both of the two websites below:

https://www.aa.com.tr/tr/vgc/foto-galeri/0

https://www.aa.com.tr/en/vg/video-gallery/turkish-team-arrives-in-antarctica-for-polar-research#

Hut Hill, Macquarie a brand new WAP AUS-Ø9 Ref.

Macca Station Communications Tech, Norbert Trupp VK5MQ, is the Ham radio operator actually at Macquarie (WAP AUS-Ø8). He spends some of his spare time working other Hams worldwide operating as VKØAI from the shack set on Hut Hill, facing the East coast’s sea just in opposite site of the main building’s station of Macquarie.

Let’s not forget that Macquarie Island is rated in the top 10 of  “Most wanted” locations in the Ham world.

Using “Squid pole antenna” set outside the Ham Shack on Hut Hill it is reported that, so far, he logged nearly 1500 contacts worldwide.

Hut Hill, 54°29’57” South, 158°56’24” East is still a non WAP referenced site on the “Section 2 of the Sub-Antarctic Territories list” of WAP-WADA Directory.

Following the activity of Norbert as VKØAI, at the light of the evidence posted by himself on  http://www.antarctica.gov.au/living-and-working/stations/macquarie-island/this-week-at-macquarie-island/2019/this-week-at-macquarie-island-25-january-2019

 

A brand new WAP reference AUS-Ø9 has been issued.

Norbert, will remain in site till the end of March 2019

Antarctic Base Belgrano II (WAP ARG-Ø6), Happy Anniversary

BaseBelgrano II  was founded on February 5, 1979, to replace the Belgrano I (WAP ARG-Ø5). Subsequently, a third base, Belgrano III (WAP ARG-Ø7), was added, which was in operation from 1980 to 1984 when it was deactivated and evacuated on January 14, 1984,  due to the glaciological composition endangering personnel and equipment.

The only one of the three Bases that is still in operation is the Belgrano II (AP ARG-Ø6).

 

At present, after the shut down of Base Belgrano I on Jan.1980, after the deactivation of Base Belgrano III on Jan.1984, Belgrano II remains the Southernmost of the permanent bases of the Argentine Republic.

 

 

 

Be careful Belgrano I, II or III have not to be confused with the “Puerto Belgrano Naval Base” (BNPB)  (see the QSL hereby shown) which is the main base of the Armada Argentina; “Puerto Belgrano” is located to the South of the Province of Buenos Aires, in the city of Punta Alta,  24 km to the city of Bahía Blanca.

Vostok Station WAP RUS-13

Alexey  Turkeev, RD1AV is the  Season team leader  at Vostok  Station (WAP RUS-13). He is active in his spare time since last December 2018 and will be there until the end of February 2019 as RI1ANV , sometimes in tandem with Alex (Alexander Solodov, RX3ABI) signing  RI1ANM. They operate SSB, CW and FT8

 

RI1ANV QSL via  RN1ON (log is online at RI1ANV page on QRZ.com)

 

RI1ANM QSL via RX3ABI. QSLs should be available after Alex will be back home at June 2019

Redonda Island WAP ARG-23

Redonda Island 54° 51′ 49″South,  68° 28′ 54″ West,  is a small island territory at the mouth of Lapataia Bay, belonging to the Ushuaia Department of the Province of Tierra del Fuego, Antarctica and the South Atlantic Islands in the southern tip of Argentina.

 

It is surrounded by the waters of the inter-oceanic pass called the Beagle Channel, in the Pacific Ocean. It has an area of about 50 hectares. Its maximum length is 1022 mts and its maximum width is 840 mts.

On the island, more than 100 years old, the prisoners built  a large structure used as Hut residence of which, ruins still remain in site. Actually,  a small detachment of the Naval Prefecture hosts 3 person and the site is equipped  with a kitchen, dining room, two rooms and a radio room that serves to communicate with all ships and boats that navigate the area.

 

 

As per WAP Directory, Redonda Island is incorporate on the Sub Antarctic Territory, reference  WAP ARG-23

Great opportunities at the 16th Antarctic Activity Week

While waiting the start of the 16th AAW, next febr. 16th, just few comments on the new entries.

EM16UAP, Ukrainian Antarctic Program (WAP 295) is a  special call sign on the occasion of the start beginning of the work at the Ukrainian Antarctic Station Academik Vernadsky (WAP UKR-Ø1), which began its activities in Antarctica on February 6, 1996 and now is joining the 16th  International Antarctic Week (AAW). QSL via UT1KY

An Award of the National Antarctic Center is available to Hams that make contact  with the special station EM16UAP. The Diploma can be requested by e-mail with a log extract of QSOs to the Award secretary: ut1ky@ukr.net

 

Another  ”New Entry”  in the 16th AAW is Sebastian Gleich SQ1SGB who has got his AAW callsign as SPØANT (WAP-298) and will join the International Antarctic Activity Week. QSL via SQ1SGB.

 

To everyone, get ready,  two weeks from now, then the 16th AAW will be on the air

Arctowski Station: What is the wooden building next to the Shag Point lighthouse?

Continuing our studies on the peculiarities,  or simply the curiosities enclosed in the perimeters of the Antarctic Research Bases , we came across a wooden building near the lighthouse of Arctowski  Station (Pic aside).

The Polish Station in Antarctica has a lighthouse on the rock at Shag Point (62°09′28″ South,  58°27′56″ West) that provides navigational aid in Admiralty Bay. Its construction started in December 1977 and the lighthouse was operational on March 16th, 1978.

Recently, when browsing the web, we discovered very close the Rock that surmounts the lighthouse,  a wood building. What is that, we asked?

In some websites it is called “Chapel” , in other websites it is called “Tourist and souvenir shop”, but what is the truth?

We put a question to our great friend Sebastien Gleich  SQ1SGB, who kindly explains the story that now,  we are happy to share:

Seba wrote: – Although it may seems a chapel, that house  was a “Turist house”! Upon being established, its location was barely a dozen meters from the sea. Now, during high tide, it is less than a meter away. That little house,  was build in 1998 from wood waste after the general rebuild of the Station. The main builders was Zubek brothers and  Suszczewski, originator and chief builder of Arctowski.
We experienced that, the sea rises about  1meter shore per year….

 

 

 

During the 2016 Antarctic campaign,   storm waves touched the house. Warsaw (Command Center) decided to demolish the house!
That year, it was one of the tasks in my expedition. I and couple friends took on the work to move it near the Station, so to rescue it from demolish. We did rise the complete building on round pieces of wood, then we slid them on huge sleigh, after having destroyed a couple of rocks by hammer because the  road was too narrow (photo here in the Left). We did relocate the little house near the main station buildings (photo below to the Right).

This operation lasted for a week … but we saved it!

We have to be grateful to Seba SQ1SGB; thanks to him,  now we know  little more about that building that looked like a Chapel!

 

TNX SQ1SGB