Mid Winter greetings from an Antarctic veteran

Never too late … Let’s once again join the guys in Antarctica in the celebration of Mid Winter!

Our friend and Antarctic veteran Volker Strecke , DL8JDX reports his experience when he did overwintering in Antarctica and wrote to his colleagues who did share that experience at the time: -It is still fascinating that now, after 28 years from our joint overwintering we are still well connected-

Also,  Volker recalls his friend Mikhail Fokin RW1AI who was at Novo Base (WAP RUS-Ø8) at the time and who is currently working at the Arctic Research Station Cape Baranov on Severnaya Zemlya.
Kindest regards to the people spending this particular time of the year in Antarctica! Stay healthy. Happy Midwinter Day
Yours, Gabi and Volker Strecke, DL8JDX

Antarctic Overwintering Expeditions:
1.AE Georg Forster 1988-1989 Y88POL (WAP DDR-Ø1)
4.AE Georg Forster 1990-1992 Y88POL (WAP DDR-Ø1)
13.AE Neumayer II 1992-1994 DPØGVN (WAP DEU-Ø2)
TNX Volker Strecke, DL8JDX

Mobile networks helping with Antarctic research

Mobile networks have been assisting scientists with Antarctic research. Scientists have been studying giant holes of open water in Antarctic ice, called polynyas (see below), in the Weddell Sea. A team from the University of Washington has been assisted with robots and seals with antennas attached to their heads. The robots and seals have used mobile networks to send data back to the scientists.
The scientists’ latest findings were published in the journal Nature

polynya is an area of open water surrounded by sea ice. It is now used as geographical term for an area of unfrozen sea within the ice pack.

It is a loanword from Russian which refers to a natural ice hole, and was adopted in the 19th century by polar explorers to describe navigable portions of the sea.

Mid Winter 2019 in Antarctica

We have chosen a couple of sites in Antarctica  (Concordia Station WAP MNB-Ø3,  and Bharati Base WAP IND-Ø4) were the personnel  have shared  the happiness of June 21, better known as Mid Winter Day.

Midwinter Day marks the halfway point through Antarctica’s cold and dark season.

The first Midwinter’s Day was celebrated in 1898 by the crew of the Belgica, a Belgian vessel that became stuck in pack ice and was forced to overwinter until it finally broke free in February 1899. Unprepared to spend a winter in Antarctica, many of the crew suffered from scurvy, which was only alleviated after the men began to eat seal and penguin meat that provided essential vitamins.

Mid Winter Day is marked with a feast and other activities.

Below, the Artigas Base (WAP URY-Ø1) on the longest night on the planet celebrated during the “Day of the Antarctic Confraternity”.

La Base Artigas en la noche más larga del planeta celebrada durante el "Día de la Confraternidad Antártica". Este día marca el inicio del invierno y tradicionalmente se realizan festejos entre las bases antárticas para motivarse a sortear el desafío del rigor de ese espacio geográfico.#Antártida #Antarctica #MidWinter

Pubblicato da Instituto Antártico Uruguayo su Venerdì 21 giugno 2019

This day marks the beginning of winter and festivities are traditionally held among the Antarctic bases  as “Mid Winter day” in order to motivate themselves to overcome the challenge of the rigor in this unique  geographical site!

Summer in the northern hemisphere, “Mid Winter” in Antarctica

June 21, in the northern hemisphere the sun will rise at 5.36 and set at 8.51, remaining in the sky for 15 hours and 15 minutes, while between the Arctic Circle and the North Pole it will not fade at all. The Northern hemisphere will  live the longest day of the year.

In the Southern hemisphere, will happen just the opposite, in other words they will experience what happens to us on December 21st: their night will be the longest of the year, while between the Antarctic Polar Circle and the South Pole the sun will never arise.

Happy summer to all of those living on the Boreal hemisphere, and happy winter to those living on the Austral one!

To our Antarctic friends, Happy Mid Winter Day!

The NSF-managed Antarctic Program is offering an opportunity to report from the field.

Professional news media invited to apply to visit jointly funded US and UK research on Antarctic Thwaites Glacier.The National Science Foundation (NSF) and the International Thwaites Glacier Collaboration (ITGC) are accepting written proposals from media professionals to visit a “deep-field” camp on the remote Thwaites Glacier in West Antarctica in December.

NSF, the UK’s Natural Environment Research Council (NERC), and the ITGC Science Coordination Office (SCO) will jointly select a very limited number of media personnel-no more than three people in total–to deploy initially to the West Antarctic Ice Sheet (WAIS) Divide field camp, which will serve as the hub of the research being carried out at Thwaites Glacier. Media will be free to interview Thwaites research teams as they deploy through that camp. A visit to an additional Thwaites Glacier field camp will be highly dependent on weather and logistical variables, and, while possible, cannot be guaranteed.

There is also a separate opportunity for one person to report from the R/V Nathaniel B. Palmer when a team of ITGC scientists sails for Thwaites Glacier in February of 2020 for approximately 50 days.

Read more at:


Thanks and Credit to NSF

Shaclketon Field Camp, a possible WAP “New One”

US Shackleton Field Camp  85°05’24” South,175° 19’ 48” West is a “Summer camp” opened in 2015.

Shackleton Field Camp,  459 Nautical Miles from McMurdo Station (WAP USA-22) is one of the seven field camps managed by USAP in Antarctica where field sites have resident staff to provide logistical and operational assistance to McMurdo and vessel-based researchers. Personnel (logistics, scientists and researchers)  normally leave McMurdo aboard a Hercues C-130 to reach the remote Shackleton Glacier field camp  (WAP USA-NEW).

The Shackleton glacier is a vast glacier that descends from the polar plateau through the chain of mountains of Queen Maud (Transantartic mountains) and then flows into the Ross platform. Recently, from this well-equipped “base camp”, the researchers went to an area along the McIntyre headland by a Twin Otter and over there, they discovered the oldest Antarctic forest so far known, plus a number of other fossil plants that grew in the undergrowth and collected ashes from as many as six volcanic eruptions. The ashes contain a variety of zircons which in turn contain uranium atoms: this allows the scientists to date the fossils (radiometric dating) and to establish precisely the age of the Glossopteris forests and to understand if these plants have survived the great extinction of mass of the Permian.

See more at: https://www.usap.gov/sciencesupport/scienceplanningsummaries/2016_2017/fieldcamps.cfm

A list of Antarctic field camps can be seen at: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Antarctic_field_camps

So far, nobody (radio amateurs)  has been active on the Ham bands from Shackleton Field Camp which of course is still a WAP USA-NEW one. Now we will add it on the WAP WADA Directory hoping someone to be active one day or another from there!

Edmonson Point Camp, Antarctica

Located at 74°20’South, 165°08’ EastEdmonson Point is a rounded, largely ice-free point lying below Mount Melbourne along the west side of Wood bay, Victoria land.
It was mapped by the US Geological Survey from surveys and from US Navy air photographs, in the years 1955–63, and was named by the Advisoy Committee on Antarctic names for Larry Edmonson, a satellite geodesy scientist at McMurdo, winter party 1966.

The point has been designated an Antarctic Specially Protected Area (ASPA 165) because of its terrestrial and freshwater ecosystem. The volcanic lithology and substrates are nutrient-enriched by colonies of Adelie penguins and south polar skuas. The site contains a diverse range of freshwater habitats ,terrestrial vegetation and  invertebrates are abundant. Weddell seals breed on the adjacent sea ice.

In December 1985, during the first Italian Antarctic expedition, the Italian party placed the first Italian remote camp (few tents) over the hills overlooking the Terra Nova Bay, looking for the best place to build a new station (named after “Mario ZucchelliWAP ITA-Ø1). The first automatic weather station (AWS) called Eneide was installed at the top of an hill by Andrea Pellegrini; the place was called Campo Meteo.

See also: http://www.era.gs/projects/edmonson/SienaWorkshopFinalReport.pdf

and http://www.climantartide.it/chisiamo/storia/index.php?lang=en

See a short video at: https://www.facebook.com/penguinecology/videos/493736021153979/  

Antarctica told in 20 years of Magazines

An old collection of Magazines (1971-1992) from Argentina, tells us the history and life of the White Continent. (pics aside show the covers of a couple of magazines)

A good friend, Ham radio operator: Pedro LU1JHF, wrote:
– Knowing your passion for Antarctica,  I’m pleased to share with you this collection of Magazines, which, I am sure will be of your appreciation!- 
’73, Pedro LU1JHF


Everyone can download one by one the Magazines; they are available on the website of the Argentine Chancellery.


Just for everyone pleasure, here below are  the links:

https://www.cancilleria.gob.ar/userfiles/ut/revantar01_0.pdf    December 1971

https://www.cancilleria.gob.ar/userfiles/ut/revantar02_0.pdf    December 1972

https://www.cancilleria.gob.ar/userfiles/ut/revantar03_0.pdf    May-June 1973

https://www.cancilleria.gob.ar/userfiles/ut/revantar04_0.pdf    April-May 1974

https://www.cancilleria.gob.ar/userfiles/ut/revantar05_0.pdf    December 1974

https://www.cancilleria.gob.ar/userfiles/ut/revantar06_0.pdf    June 1979

https://www.cancilleria.gob.ar/userfiles/ut/revantar07_0.pdf    September 1976

https://www.cancilleria.gob.ar/userfiles/ut/revantar08_0.pdf    December 1977

https://www.cancilleria.gob.ar/userfiles/ut/revantar09_0.pdf    July 1979

https://www.cancilleria.gob.ar/userfiles/ut/revantar10_0.pdf    March 1980

https://www.cancilleria.gob.ar/userfiles/ut/revantar11_0.pdf    February 1981

https://www.cancilleria.gob.ar/userfiles/ut/revantar12_0.pdf    May 1982

https://www.cancilleria.gob.ar/userfiles/ut/revantar13_0.pdf    February 1984

https://www.cancilleria.gob.ar/userfiles/ut/revantar14_0.pdf    December 1985

https://www.cancilleria.gob.ar/userfiles/ut/revantar15_0.pdf    June 1987

https://www.cancilleria.gob.ar/userfiles/ut/revantar16_0.pdf    August 1988

https://www.cancilleria.gob.ar/userfiles/ut/revantar17_0.pdf   December 1988

https://www.cancilleria.gob.ar/userfiles/ut/revantar18_0.pdf    October 1992

TNX Pedro Sarli, LU1JHF

Argentina reaffirms sovereignty over the Argentine Antarctic Sector extending between the 25th and 74th meridians of west longitude, south of the 60th parallel of south latitude.

Ever since the opening of the first scientific station (Orcadas Base WAP ARG-15) in Laurie Island, South Orkney Archipelago, on 22 February 1904, Argentina has been constantly and uninterruptedly present in Antarctica, which constitutes the longest continuous presence in such continent. Argentina has six Permanent Bases:
(Carlini WAP ARG-2Ø, Orcadas WAP ARG-15, Esperanza WAP ARG-Ø4, Marambio WAP ARG-21, San Martin WAP ARG-Ø8 and Belgrano II WAP ARG-Ø6) and seven Temporary Bases (Brown WAP ARG-Ø2, Primavera WAP ARG-Ø9, Decepción WAP ARG-12, Melchior WAP ARG-13, Matienzo WAP ARG-Ø1, Cámara WAP ARG-16 and Petrel WAP ARG-17).

Argentina is one of the twelve original signatories of the Antarctic Treaty signed in Washington on 1 December 1959. The Treaty sets forth that Antarctica is to be used exclusively for peaceful purposes and forbids any military activity, as well as the testing of any type of weapons. Furthermore, it properly protects the reaffirmation of Argentine sovereignty over Antarctica in the face of claims overlapping Argentina’s own. Hence, the geopolitical significance for Argentina of maintaining a strong and effective Antarctic Treaty System, which also ensures the existence of a large peace zone along our southern border.

Source: https://www.cancilleria.gob.ar/en/foreign-policy/antarctica

Auroras at Scott Base (WAP NZL-Ø1) and more …

Ross Island turned green in the weekend! This epic shot of an Aurora Australis captured by the winter Leader Jonny Harrison.

Scott Base, is located at Pram Point, Hut Point Peninsula, Ross Island in McMurdo Sound at

77 o 51′ South, 166 o 46′ East; it’s the New Zealand’s only Antarctic Research Station, perches on a low volcanic headland called Pram Point at the Southern End of Ross Island, 3500kms south of Dunedin and 1350 kms from the South Pole.

Actually ZL5A is active from Scott Base WAP NZL-Ø1 just on FT8 mode, no CW no SSB!

Read more on Scott Base (WAP NZL-Ø1) at: http://www.antarcticanz.govt.nz/scott-base/


Incredible auroras have also been recently seen at Syowa Base (WAP JPN-Ø3) pic on the left, and over Macquarie Station (WAP AUS-Ø8) pic to the right.

Italian Icebreaker named in honor of Laura Bassi

Now the news is official: Icebreaker “Laura Bassi”, former “Ernest Shackleton” of the British Antarctic Survey, is the new OGS ship that will work for PNRA to replace the glorious Italica!
A great result for the whole Italian scientific community, and in particular for the one that studies the poles. The National Institute of Oceanography and Experimental Geophysics – OGS, thanks to a funding received from the Ministry of Education, University and Research (MIUR), has purchased the icebreaker “Ernest Shackleton” of the Norwegian Rieber Shipping already used by the British Antarctic Survey.

Laura Bassi, formerly Polar Queen and RRS Ernest Shackleton, is an icebreaking research vessel,  primarily a logistics ship used for the resupply of scientific stations in the Antarctic.

The Icebreaker ship, is named in honor of the Italian scientist Laura Maria Caterina Bassi Veratti who, in 1700 became the first woman, Italian physicist and academic.She was the second woman graduate of Italy after the Venetian Elena Lucrezia Cornaro, the first to pursue an academic and scientific career and the first in the world to obtain a university chair. The N/R Laura Bassi now becomes the only Italian oceanographic research vessel capable of operating in polar seas, both in Antarctica and in the Arctic.

Launched in 1995 as MV Polar Queen for GC Rieber Shipping, she was operated in the Antarctic by other national programs. The British Antarctic Survey acquired her on a long-term bareboat charter in August 1999 and renamed her RRS Ernest Shackleton after the Anglo-Irish polar explorer Sir Ernest Shackleton. She replaced RSS Bransfield.
Icebreaker ‘Ernest Shackleton’ will return to Antarctic waters one day as ‘Laura Bassi’.

BAS (British Antarctic Survey) did say goodbye to their former workhorse which will now be operated by the Italian National Oceanographic Institute OGS.
BAS is preparing for arrival of RRS Sir David Attenborough

More at: https://www.inogs.it/it/content/nr-laura-bassi?fbclid=IwAR1O54qbdHHEljdbYi5olrk4x2l48Y6-laDa3H8eA78SMgofbpwW5Xik_o8

Our Lady of the Snows Shrine, Hut Point McMurdo

The Our Lady of the Snows shrine is one of the many memorials atop hills along McMurdo Sound to men who lost their lives in Antarctica; this one is farther up the trail from Hut Point. The Shrine is dedicated to Richard T. Williams, US Navy – Seabees, who lost his life at McMurdo Sound on January 6, 1956 during initial construction of McMurdo Station.

Seabee Construction Driver third class, USN, Richard T. Williams died when the D-8 bulldozer he was driving, broke through the ice and sank; his body was never recovered.

He was hauling cargo along a track from the ice edge east toward Cape Evans, when his tractor crashed through the ice into 100 fathoms of water about two miles west of Cape Royds. Plans at the time called for a land airstrip to be built between Cape Evans and Cape Royds to support future exploration and the construction of South Pole Station. Heavy ice prevented the convoy from getting close to Ross Island, prompting the need for a long and hazardous traverse. (Immediately after the accident, this project was abandoned, and aircraft facilities were developed on the ice at what would become the Williams Air Operating Facility).

The following year the Our Lady of the Snows Shrine was erected on Hut Point in memory of Williams. At the original dedication on 6 January 1957; chaplain Father Condit is playing the organ, which had been carried up the hill to the site. During the ceremony, David Grisez, a friend of Williams, played “Taps”. The monument has been repaired and restored more than once…most recently in 1995-96 the statue was refurbished and repainted by Carmelite nuns in Christchurch. It was returned during that season, along with a new plaque furnished by the CEC/Seabee Historical

For many years the statue had faced McMurdo Station, but after the rededication she was turned around to face north out over McMurdo Sound toward where Williams was lost.

Thanks and credit to: https://www.southpolestation.com/trivia/igy/willy.html

TNX Pat McCormick (Antarctic Veteran)