John Sidney Sharp VK2FR  SK

 John  VK2FR was  a Great Ham, keen Antarctic Hunter and owner of several Antarctic Awards, including WAP-WACA and WAP-WADA. John VK2FR passed away  on last jan. 12 2021 at the age of 65 from a sudden heart seizure

It is difficult in such a particular moment of the life to find words that are not usual. Life is unpredictable and sometimes puts us to the test.

John is gone from our sight, but never from our hearts,  our thoughts and prayers for him. We are lovers of Antarctica, John VK2FR was one of us, a good friend, one of us … that’s why we are fondly close to his family, joining this immense and unjust pain.

Even though his heart has stopped beating, John VK2FR will continue to live in those who did contact him on air, thanks to the Ham Radio bands.

A hug from the bottom of our heart. Sincere condolences to his loved ones, to  his wifew Kate Warren, his daughter Aimee, his brother Will and life long friends.

by WAP staff and friends  from all over the world

January 18 2021,  118th Anniversary of the First Transatlantic Wireless message from the USA to Europe

KM1CC has been  “on the air” to commemorate the 118th Anniversary of Marconi sending the first transatlantic message from the USA to Europe (UK) on January 18, 1903. The message was sent from Marconi’s South Wellfleet, MA USA Wireless Station and received at his Poldhu Station, in UK.

The historic Marconi Wireless Station site,  is part of Cape Cod National Seashore, it is listed by the National Park Service as a National Historic Landmark.
(Picture aside is an old QSL of KM1CC)

For more information:  https://www.nps.gov/caco/learn/historyculture/marconi.htm

WAP-WADA Honor Roll Plate to VE1HQ Sheldon R. Donaldson

VE1HQ, Mr. Sheldon Roy Donaldson from Pubnico, NS, Canada,  is a keen DXer and Antarctic chaser. He has just received  his WAP-WADA Honor Roll plate and certificate on Jan 8th  2021.

«I am very pleased with both and wish to thank the WAP staff for the awards. They are proudly  on display  in my radio shack. Now on to working lots more Antarctica bases towards a Top Honor Roll award»  he said. 

We at WAP, are happy to see our Ham fellow enjoying Antarctica, same as we do. The Honor Roll plate is the high evidence of long time chasing and sharing the beauty of the Icy Continent through the Ham radio bands … it’s really a magic world.

Thanks to you Sheldon Roy, to you our compliment!

From WAP Staff

NOCTILUCENT CLOUDS … Let’s know a bit more 

Forwarded by our friend Dr. Volket Stracke DL8JDX, this new issue guides us through a very interesting world.

Something strange is happening 50 miles above Antarctica. Or rather,  not  happening.  Noctilucent clouds (NLCs), which normally blanket the Frozen Continent in December, are almost completely missing. These images from NASA’s AIM spacecraft compare Christmas Eve 2019 with Christmas Eve 2020.

The comparison really is astounding,” says Cora Randall of the University of Colorado’s Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics. “Noctilucent cloud frequencies are close to zero this year.”

NLCs are Earth’s highest clouds. They form when summertime wisps of water vapor rise up from the poles to the edge of space. Water crystallizing around specks of meteor dust 83 km (~50 miles) above Earth’s surface creates beautiful electric-blue structures, typically visible from November to February in the South, and May to August in the North.

The southern hemisphere stratosphere is very unusual this year” says Randall. “The ozone hole is exceptionally large, until recently zonal winds have been blowing in the wrong direction, and overall the stratosphere is much more ‘winter-like’ than it should be in December

Hours after publication of this news item, NASA’s AIM satellite reported an uptick of NLC activity over Antarctica. “It’s still nowhere as many clouds as last year, but it makes sense given the recent steep drop in zonal wind speed and ozone hole area” notes Randall. “The atmosphere definitely has a mind of its own this season!

Thanks and credit to: http://www.spaceweather.com and to Volker DL8JDX

Pic aside (Photographer: Jorgelina Alvarez) shows  a noctilucent cloud s  as viewed from Base Marambio (WAP ARG-21) in Antarctica.

Raltime Noctilucent Cloud Photo Gallery can be seen at:   https://spaceweathergallery.com/nlc_gallery.html

Happy New year 2021

Dear friends, followers and Antarctic chasers,

another year is gone and thanks to Lord, we are here, chasing Antarctica, following the evolution of the Icy Continent and the new Scientific Teams involved in the 2020-2021 Antarctic campaign.

WAP is always with you , working hard to keep the interest around Antarctica always alive.

Next 18th Antarctic Activity Week  is planned for next 20-28 of february 2021. (Check : http://www.waponline.it/antarctic-activity-week/aaw-2021/ )
Join the international event and you will enjoy Antarctica on the radio waves!

Enjoy Antarctica as much as we do!

Happy and prosperous New Year to all of you, from WAP Staff.

 

R/V NUYINA embarks on sea trials

This marks the start of a month-long “Sea Trials Phase” and an important milestone for all involved in the icebreaker project across the Australian Antarctic Division, ship managers Serco and ship builders Damen.
Sea trials will be followed by additional weeks of deepwater trials. Testing of the ship’s speed, noise, propulsion systems, steering, advanced electrical systems, and science equipment will take place as the vessel prepares for final sea ice trials in the Arctic early next year.
One of the most advanced vessels of its kind in the world, R/V Nuyina will form the centerpiece of the Australian Government’s Antarctic Strategy and 20 Year Action Plan.

                             —->    Click the red button to see a short video
R/V Nuyina will provide a world-class scientific platform for Antarctic researchers, carrying cutting-edge equipment to study the depths of the Southern Ocean, sea ice and the upper atmosphere.
With capacity to carry 117 expeditioners, 1200 tonns of cargo and 1.9 million liters of fuel, the icebreaker will be the main lifeline to Australia’s Antarctic and sub-Antarctic research stations for decades to come.
Nuyina (meaning ‘southern lights’ in palawa kani, the language of Tasmanian Aborigines, pronounced noy-yee-nah) is expected to arrive in its home port of Hobart in mid-2021 to commence Antarctic operations in next year’s summer season.
Thanks and credit to: https://www.antarctica.gov.au/news/2020/rsv-nuyina-embarks-on-sea-trials/

Merry Christmas 2020

To celebrate the Christmas holidays, we have chosen a photo that is coming from Concordia Station (WAP MNB-Ø3) on the Antarctic Plateau. WAP wish a very Merry Christmas  to our readers and followers, to the Researchers and Personnel that are working in the various scattered Scientific bases on the Icy Continent as well as the other friends and crew on board of Polar Ships on the way to Antarctica

For the good time, gratitude
For bad, a lot of hope
For each day, an illusion
And always …  and always, happiness

Merry Christmas from WAP Staff

61 years of Antarctica Treaty signature. December 1st, Antarctica day

UK Antarctic Heritage Trust (UKAHT) remind us that, today is Antarctica Day, marking 61 years since the Antarctic Treaty was signed by 12 countries, to set aside the Antarctic continent for peaceful, international scientific cooperation. The Antarctic Treaty is the world’s most successful international agreement and in its time the Treaty has endorsed the Protocol on Environmental Protection, designating Antarctica as a nature reserve and committing signatories to the protection of the environment and its ecosystem.

This day falls in what is already a very special year with UKAHT celebrating the 200th anniversary of the first sighting of Antarctica through our Antarctica In Sight program. Whilst many of our planned events this year

Along with our Podcast series A Voyage To Antarctica which has received over 6K listens so far, we’ve created three short films in response to the programme themes of Human endeavour: courage and exploration; Climate: scientific legacy; and Geopolitics: exploitation to preservation.

We spoke to Antarctic Photography Guide, Neill Drake, Climate Scientist and Explorer, Felicity Aston and UN Patron for Oceans, Lewis Pugh, about their experience of working in Antarctica and how they have been inspired by the history of the white continent.

From Antarctic explorer and photographer Frank Hurley’s extreme efforts to capture the mood of the moment, scientific breakthroughs in Ozone layer research in the 1980’s to chilling reminders of the destruction of the whaling industry in the early 20th Century.

With each film under 2 minutes, we think this is the perfect break time escape. Find out more on our Antarctica in Sight page at:  https://www.ukaht.org/antarctica-in-sight/

Antarctica, the continent with no language.

Antarctica has been called “the continent without language”. True languages are spoken only by human beings, and although there are many visiting scientists and support workers in Antarctica these days, this is a modern situation: the continent has never had indigenous languages because it has never had an indigenous human population.

When at school, we all learnt about the glorious British failure of the Scott expedition to the South Pole. A party consisting of Robert Scott and four others from his 60-strong team arrived at the South Pole on the January 17, 1912, only to discover that a Norwegian expedition led by Roald Amundsen had beaten them to it by over a month, arriving on December 14. In anticipation of Scott’s arrival, and in case the Norwegians did not make it back alive, Amundsen had left a tent at the Pole with a letter in it. Amundsen had written it in his very individualistic polar-explorer kind of Dano-Norwegian, but it was addressed, in English, to “HM King of Norway”.

The Scott expedition’s tragedy was that, not only did they fail to become the first humans to reach the South Pole, as they had aspired to be, but all five of them died on their ghastly 900-mile trek on foot back towards their base.

Thanks and credit to Peter Trudgill on Antarctica, and its most famous story
Read more at: https://www.theneweuropean.co.uk/brexit-news/peter-trudgill-antarctica-language-4808928

Giant berg on collision course with South Georgia

The colossus iceberg that split from Antarctica’s Larsen C ice shelf on 12 July 2017 is on a collision course with South Georgia.

Over the last three years, satellite missions such as Copernicus Sentinel-1 have been used to track the berg as it has drifted in the Southern Ocean. For the first two years, it remained close to its parent ice sheet, impeded by sea ice. But now, as the map shows, the main chunk of the A-68 berg, known as A-68A, is heading rapidly for South Georgia. It is now about 350 km from the island.

About the same size as the South Atlantic island, it could ground in the shallow waters offshore and cause real problems for the island wildlife and seafloor-dwelling life. Penguins and seals need access to the sea to feed so the iceberg could easily block their foraging routes and life on the seafloor could be crushed if the berg grounds. The fear is that if the berg does anchor against the South Georgia coast, it could remain there for up to 10 years. When the A38 grounded here in 2004, many dead penguin chicks and seal pups were found along the shoreline.

Thanks and credit ESA.   Read more at:

https://www.esa.int/ESA_Multimedia/Images/2020/11/Giant_berg_on_collision_course_with_South_Georgia

TNX Volker DL8JDX

RRS Sir David Attenborough New Britain’s Icebreaker

Sir David Attenborough (IMO: 9798222, Callsign ZDLQ3 ) is a Research Vessel registered and sailing under the flag of Falkland Islands. Her gross tonnage is 15000 and deadweight is 5000. Sir David Attenborough was built in 2018/2020.. Her container capacity is 0 TEU. The ship is operated by British Antarctic Survey .

 RRS Sir David Attenborough, Britain’s new polar ship, heads out for the open seas
The state-of-the-art polar research vessel will carry out ice trials in the Arctic in early 2021, before a maiden voyage to the Antarctic in November later that year
Britain’s new polar ship, the Sir David Attenborough, headed for the open seas on 3 November to start trials after a storm delay, before making its maiden voyage to Antarctica next year for climate change research.
The 200 million pound ($260 million), state-of-the-art, polar research vessel, with its red hull and a bright yellow crane on its stern, sailed past Liverpool’s historic docks and out into the sea, headed for north Wales. Officially the ship is named after the veteran BBC naturalist David Attenborough, but to many Britons it will always be known as “Boaty McBoatface”, after that suggestion topped a public poll to name the vessel in 2016.
Its departure from Liverpool was delayed by around a week due to stormy weather, a British Antarctic Survey (BAS) spokeswoman told Reuters, with calm seas preferred to test and calibrate its specialist equipment for the first time. It will remain at sea for just under a week before berthing in Holyhead, Wales, once the current Welsh coronavirus lockdown ends on November 9, the spokeswoman added.
Watch a short video by clicking the red button:

Read more at:
https://lifestyle.livemint.com/smart-living/environment/rrs-sir-david-attenborough-britain-s-new-polar-ship-heads-out-for-the-open-seas-111604474377367.html

November 6th , Chilean Antarctic Day

On   November 6th, Chile has celebrated the “Chilean Antarctic Day”. WAP join the event  and share it  with all the women and all the men who love Antarctica and dream of the White Continent.

It was 80 years since the historic date when President Pedro Aguirre Cerda set the limits of the Chilean Antarctic territory in 1940. Only seven years later, the Chilean presence on said land became effective, with the installation of the first base, baptized as Arturo Prat (WAP CHL-Ø1). Chile today has 12 facilities in its Antarctic territory.

As a way to celebrate such a visionary act, in 1965, November 6 was decreed as the Chilean Antarctic Day, during the presidency of Eduardo Frei Montalva and as Chancellor Gabriel Valdés.

Each year Chilean Antarctica is explored and studied intensely by a growing group of researchers belonging to the National Antarctic Science Program. Almost 30 universities and research centers throughout the country sponsor these projects financed by INACH (61.2%) and Conicyt (34%), mainly. In this way, the country complies with the principles enshrined in the Antarctic Treaty of dedicating this continent to peace and science in a framework of intense international collaboration.

Read more at: https://laprensaaustral.cl/2020/11/07/dia-de-la-antartica-chilena/

KØGVB/MM USS Burton Island (AGB-1)

A rare old QSL of KØGVB/MM forced us to know a bit more about USS Burton Island (AGB-1), an icebreaker with a long and intense story. It could be that some Old Timers did work  KØGVB/MM from 1967 and up, that was a great time to contact such a rare ones!

Starting in 1967 through 1978, I/B USS Burton Island went on eight different Deep Freeze operations to the Antarctic. In the operations, I/B USS Burton Island was responsible for creating and maintaining aids to navigation, clearing channels through the ice for supply vessels, laying cables, delivering and dispatching the U.S. Mail at remote stations and vessels, search and rescue, fisheries patrol, law enforcement.

In addition to Deep Freeze operations, Burton Island served as a floating platform for scientific surveys and research around Alaska and other isolated polar areas. Burton Island also conducted numerous search and rescue (SAR) missions. In early 1964 I/B USS Burton Island was at Cape Hallett, Antarctica, bringing supplies to the scientific station.

Rigs on board for Ham radio purpose were: HT-32A, GSB 101, SX 101. Antenna 14AVS vertical 80-10 mts, modes AM/SSB/CW

From 9 July 1977 to 8 September 1977 I/B Burton Island undertook a cruise to the Arctic, during which time her crew constructed several radar navigation towers along the north coast of Alaska and conducted gravity surveys of the Arctic Ocean.

She was decommissioned on 9 May 1978.

To know more, check : http://www.navsource.org/archives/09/08/0801.htm?fbclid=IwAR3l7Sp0ZpJQgu5KRXMyY4JQeR1qWAIthhnf2gIf9_EBXtnZdfVv3kEUWVM

TNX the Antarctic veteran Dr. Volker Stecke DL8JDX, the attached QSL comes from his collection

18 Sept. Chile celebrates its Independence Day

Happy National Holiday Chile … and Happy celebration to the personnel at Chilean Antarctic Bases in Antarctica!

This public holiday is always celebrated in Chile on September 18th and marks the date when the Chilean people declared the independence from Spain in 1810.

Chile’s National Day,  along with Christmas, are the most important holidays time in the year in Chile.

Chile is one of 12 nations that first signed the Antarctic Treaty in 1959.
Picture on top shows the Scientific Research Station O’Higgins (WAP CHL-Ø2) , named after Chile’s independence leader, on the Antarctic Peninsula.

Station V (View Point) WAP GBR-NEW

View Point 63°33’ South, 57°21’ West, is a 150m long eastern tip of a promontory on Antarctica.

It was the location of the British research Station “V”, which was active intermittently from June 3, 1953 to November 25, 1963 and called Seal-catcher’s Arms or View Point Hut, with the intention of searching in the survey, meteorology and geology. Established as a satellite base for Hope Bay (Station D) WAP GBR-Ø4 , the construction of the first hut started on June 3, 1953, the second was established on March 20, 1956.

On July 29, 1996 the “Station V” was transferred to  Chile who renamed it General Ramon Cañas Montalva Sub Base (WAP CHL NEW … never been activated). In reality, this is a small Chilean shelter, actually known as General Jorge Boonen Rivera Base (formally General Ramon Cañas Montalva) administered by the Chilean Army.

View Point, situated 6.79 km east of Skomlya Hill and 6.45 km southeast of Boil Point  was discovered by a party under J. Gunnar Andersson of the Swedish Antarctic Expedition 1901-04. So named by the Falklands Islands Dependencies Survey (FIDS) following their survey of the area in 1945 because from this promontory, good panoramic photographs were obtained.
Picture aside (1956) shows  interior of old Base “V”  hut at View PointThanks and creditBAS archive (Photographer: Hugh Simpson, medical officer; Archives ref: AD6/19/3/D25)

Source: https://www.bas.ac.uk/about/about-bas/history/british-research-stations-and-refuges/view-point-v/ 

Keeping Antarctica free of COVID-19 means longer stay for Aussies

The battle to keep Antarctica free of coronavirus will see Australian expeditioners spend up to an extra four months on the ice-covered wilderness.
Antarctica is the only continent without a single recorded COVID-19 case.
Members of the Australian Antarctic Division (AAD) are based at isolated stations and sub stations around the South Pole. Stringent precautions taken by the AAD and the 28 other nations with polar bases have stopped the pandemic reaching Antarctica.

Read more at:
https://www.9news.com.au/national/coronavirus-keeping-antarctica-covid19-free-means-longer-stay-for-australian-expeditioners/87b4a867-0a2e-48ac-9268-20933dd426a8

Sir Edmund Hillary’s Antarctic hut , a  virtual reality tour  by NZAHT

WAP suggests the Antarctic hunters and followers  to visit and join the  Antarctic Heritage Trust https://nzaht.org/ and sign in to receive the always interesting monthly newsletters.

On the recent september issue, NZAHT is delighted to officially launch a unique virtual reality (VR) experience of Sir Edmund Hillary’s Antarctic hut. Developed in partnership with Auckland University of Technology (AUT) the VR was recently launched in person by New Zealand’s Prime Minister Rt Hon Jacinda Ardern, who described the experience as “deeply moving”.
Donning a headset, people are invited to step inside Hillary’s Hut and to explore the first building at what is now New Zealand’s Scott Base (WAP NZL-Ø1, picture aside).

A fully immersive experience, which includes a guided tour through ‘A’ hut, it celebrates New Zealand’s first presence in Antarctica as part of the Trans-Antarctic Expedition and International Geophysical Year.
As part of our commitment to sharing the world’s greatest polar exploration stories the Trust is utilizing virtual reality. It is a powerful medium to allow people to access Antarctica’s remarkable history of exploration and the legacy of the expedition bases, which the Trust cares for on behalf of the international community.
It is a ground-breaking project in terms of its scale and approach with more than a dozen AUT students and staff contributing over 4000 hours to the project.  AUT Associate Professor Barbara Bollard, who helped collect the data to create the experience, says it was a privilege to be involved in bringing the hut to life.  “It’s one thing to read about a place or see photos, but to interactively walk around and experience it as if you are there, really cements the connection. It creates a greater awareness and appreciation of the importance and value of these places.”

Read more at: https://nzaht.org/the-explorer-september-2020/

Nuclear-powered «Sevmorput» gears up for Antarctica voyage

The world’s only civilian nuclear-powered cargo ship will later this year bring construction material to the coast of Antarctic aimed for Russia’s Research Station Vostok II (WAP RUS-NEW) in inland Princess Elizabeth Land.

Polar  I/B  “Sevmorput”. Photo credit: Thomas Nilsen

Later this year, the Sevmorput is due to sail to Antarctica with a shipment of construction material for this brand new Base which will be called Vostok II Station

Rosatom, Russia’s state nuclear corporation, informs in a Facebook update that the «Sevmorput» later this year will sail across the globe with construction materials aimed for the country’s Vostok II Research Station in inland Antarctica

Founded by the Soviet Union in 1957, the old Vostok station (WAP RUS-13) is the place on earth with the lowest ever reliably measured temperature with −89.2 °C. The station is 1,253 km from the South Pole. The «Sevmorput» will deliver the cargo on the coast from where it will be transported into the frozen continent. 

Thanks and credit to: https://thebarentsobserver.com/en/industry-and-energy/2020/02/nuclear-powered-container-ship-sevmorput-gears-antarctica-voyage

It will be great to have a chance to contact  I/B Sevmorput on HF bands,  during his way down to Antarctica. The ship will enter on WAP WADA Directory if it will be put on the air. Russian radio amateurs did never disappoint us. They know how to operate professionally at any latitude and with even modest means . The world of radio amateurs trusts in them, hoping they can operate HF  on board!

ALE 2020, Antarctic Season cancellation

With more than 30 years of experience, ALE (Antarctic Logistic & Expedition)  is the leader in polar expeditions and the premier provider of deep-field experiences, private retreats & logistical services supporting responsible tourism in Antarctica.

In a press release signed by David Rootes on behalf of ALE’s Partners, the Company regrets  to announce that after careful deliberation of the issues and uncertainty from the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, we have taken the difficult decision to cancel their  2020-21 Antarctic season.

ALE feels that the  correct action now is to cancel our season, limiting the potential spread of the virus, ensuring our most vulnerable populations are kept safe, and ensuring we do not inadvertently bring COVID-19 into Antarctica.

Ale is now looking into  2021-22 schedule to identify ways to accommodate guests who may wish to carry over as well and those who are already planning to travel with us during the 2021-22 season. Revised 2021-22. Dates & Rates will be released on September 18, 2020.

 TNX Adam Brown K2ARB for the information.

Read the full statement at: https://antarctic-logistics.com/

Deep grief for Dr. Vilas Jogdand

NCPOR condoles the death of  Dr. Vilas Jogdand, Leader of  Maitri Station during the 35th Indian Scientific Expedition to Antarctica (2015-16).

He was a meteorologist with the India Meteorological Department, posted at Pune, Maharashtra.

Born, 10 Dec 1970 died on 02 September 2020

Vilas Jogdand, a meteorologist with the Weather Forecasting Division of India Meteorological Department (IMD), Pune, died of suspected coronavirus infection on Wednesday. He was 50 years old.

Jogdand had last reported to duty 10 days ago.

He had been undergoing treatment at YCM Hospital, a dedicated Covid hospital, in Pimpri. Jogdand had undergone a Covid-19 test, the results of which are awaited.

With his rich experience in meteorology, Jogdand was among the recommended experts to participate in the upcoming Indian Scientific Expedition to Antarctica (ISEA).

He had earlier represented IMD at the 31st and 35th ISEA expeditions, in 2012-2013 and 2014-2015, respectively. He was the Leader of the expedition in 2015–2016.

During these expeditions, organised by the Ministry of Earth Sciences, scientists visit and stay at the Maitri station  (WAPO IND-Ø3) in the South Pole and carry out scientific experiments.

Source: https://www.msn.com/en-in/news/newsindia/vilas-jogdand-meteorologist-and-former-leader-of-indias-antarctica-expedition-dies/ar-BB18GzF9

WAP and Antarctic community join the family’s condolences for the premature loss of Dr. Vilas Jogdand

Salute to the Sun at  Concordia Station (WAP MNB-Ø3)

After four months of darkness, the sun finally rises on 11 August at  Concordia Research Station (WAP MNB-Ø3) in Antarctica. The crew are understandably reverent.

For nine months, researchers  are holding down the base in one of the most isolated, confined and extreme environments on Earth, with no way in or out of the Station.

They run experiments in human physiology and biology, atmospheric physics, meteorology and astronomy, among other disciplines, as well as maintain the base,  one of only three to run year-round in the Antarctic.

Read more at:
https://www.esa.int/ESA_Multimedia/Images/2020/08/Salute_to_the_Sun

Funkamateur magazine, talks about  Antarctica

From page 789 and ahead, the newest Edition of the Funkamateur includes four Antarctic-related articles

One is about the Radio Broadcast Station LRA36 from Esperanza Base (WAP ARG-Ø4) which seems to thrill the readers who are playing to catch this Antarctic broadcaster transmitting also on USB mode!

The second one is about the most successful Antarctic and Sub Antarctic  DXpeditions of the last 30 years and the last 20 years. These include VK0IR, VK0EK, 3Y5X, 3Y0X, 3Y0PI, FT5ZM, VP8STI, VP8SGI. See https://www.dx-world.net/the-dxpedition-of-the-last-30-years/

The third one is about new videos from VKØIR (Heard Island WAP AUS-Ø7) , see  http://www.cordell.org/HI/index.html

and http://www.funkamateur.de/nachrichtendetails/items/VK0IR_1997.html

The fourth one is about the Fire in Mirny Station (WAP RUS-Ø7).

Info kindly forwarded by  Dr. Volker Strecke DL8JDX

Where Did Penguins Originate? Hint: It’s Not Antarctica

Penguin populations are usually associated with the polar ice caps, most likely originating from Antarctica. A team of scientists from Berkley University of California  has determined that penguins first lived in Australia and New Zealand nearly 22 million years ago.
The new study has been published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences journal. Collaborating with several other universities and museums, the team analyzed the origins of 18 penguin species.
According to the paper, “the penguin crown-group originated during the Miocene period. Penguins first occupied temperate environments and then radiated to cold Antarctic waters.”
Blood and tissue samples allowed scientists to trace back how penguins became diverse throughout millions of years, and how they moved south to Antarctica. They believe that the emperor and king penguins left their ancestors and migrated to Antarctica due to the abundant supply of food available. These two specific penguin species have caused experts to debate about where they fit in the penguin family tree and are believed to belong to a ‘sister group

Read more at:
https://www.sciencetimes.com/articles/26941/20200819/penguin-populations-originate-antarctica.htm

74th  Independence Day celebrations at India’s Maitri Station (WAP IND-Ø3)

The 74th  India Independence Day celebrations  has been a great moment  at Maitri Indian Research Base in Antarctica (WAP IND-Ø3).

Mr. Deepak Gajbhiye,  Leader of the 39th Indian Scientific Expedition to Antarctica (ISEA) has been the head of  the Flag Hoisting Ceremony together with Mr. Kailash Bhindwar (Deputy Leader) and the whole  Maitri Team overwintering in Antarctica. Guests of honor, Mr. Vladimir Bondarchuk, chief of the nearby Russian Novolazarevskaya Station (WAP RUS-Ø9) and it’s  team.

Unfortunately, the Ham community worldwide is missing HF contacts with both Antarctic stations Maitri and Novo. Too bad, in this year’s Antarctic Campaign there aren’t Ham radio operators active among the personnel at  the Bases.

Christchurch (New Zealand) one of five Antarctic Gateway cities in the world.

Christchurch is the world’s main gateway to Antarctica. Around 100 direct flights a year leave its airport, carrying more than 5,500 passengers and 1,400 tons of cargo, including fresh food.

Antarctic connection began in 1955 with Operation Deep Freeze, when eight US Air Force aircraft made the 14-hour flight from Harewood Airfield to McMurdo Station. Operation Deep Freeze continues today, and with the arrival of the International Antarctic Centre in 1992, Christchurch continues to embrace its Antarctic connection.

Christchurch’s Acting Mayor Andrew Turner is welcoming news that international workers bound for Antarctica will be allowed to stop-over in the city on their way to the ice.

The Government has announced it is granting essential staff from various international Antarctic programs an exemption from the current border closures.

The international staff arriving in New Zealand will need to spend time in managed isolation before they are allowed to travel onto Antarctica to resupply bases and change-over team members who have been stationed on the ice through the winter.

The first of the workers will arrive in Christchurch on Friday 7 August to begin their two weeks isolation.

“I’m pleased to see Christchurch playing its key role as an Antarctic Gateway City by being able to welcome and safely host these international visitors in this way’’,  said Turner.

More at: https://www.odt.co.nz/star-news/star-christchurch/christchurch-welcomes-international-antarctic-workers?fbclid=IwAR3t2hiklzDZCzcazfVurP-gjP-mJ1cP_RfMrkuM-48L85mSX3iaFXTif4U

Read also: https://defpost.com/new-zealand-defence-force-begins-its-annual-airlift-mission-to-support-scientific-research-in-antarctica/
WAP pays credit to both websites

Climate change: Satellites find new colonies of Emperor penguins

Satellite observations have found a raft of new Emperor penguin breeding sites in the Antarctic. The locations were identified from the way the birds’ poo, or guano, had stained large patches of sea-ice.
The discovery lifts the global Emperor population by 5-10%, to perhaps as many as 278,500 breeding pairs.
It’s a welcome development given that this iconic species is likely to come under severe pressure this century as the White Continent warms.

The Emperors’ whole life cycle is centered around the availability of sea-ice, and if this is diminished in the decades ahead – as the climate models project – then the animals’ numbers will be hit hard.
One forecast suggested the global population could crash by a half or more under certain conditions come 2100.

Thanks and credit to: https://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-53549299

Museo Maritimo y Antarctico,  Ushuaia-TdF, Argentina

Ushuaia has grown by the sea but also under the watchful gaze of the prison. Both the Maritime, Antarctica and the Prison Museums bear witness to the passing of time in this southern land. While one tells the great adventures of seafarers, the other narrates the lives of those condemned to reclusion.

Facing the bay, within the Argentinian Navy venue, the building housing the Navy Museum was once the Recidivist Prison. Granted National Historical Monument by Congress in 1997, it bears witness to the origins of Ushuaia City.

At present, Marine and Antarctic Museum is directed by Dr. Carlos Pedro Vairo  of a  non-profit civil association with support from the local authorities and the Navy. It opens its doors to visitors who wish to know more about the history of the city.

A brochure with the location of the different rooms is handed out at the entrance. Guided visits are highly recommended and, while waiting for them to begin, visitors can walk through the first rooms devoted to the naval past of Tierra del Fuego. Just like the other southern islands, its development is closely tied to the sea, the only means of communication to the continent until 1948.

Created in 1994, the Museum has revalued the building of the former Presidio of Ushuaia. It began as a Maritime Museum, exhibiting a complete collection of naval models. It also houses an interesting collection on Antarctic Expeditions. It was declared National Historical Monument in April 1997. It was a good way to understand the early history of Ushuaia: the maritime history is very informative, particularly the Antarctic history; the penal colony and conditions of prisoners and the important native history of Tierra del Fuego and this is very well captured in the Yamana native exhibits.
The old prison itself is very well kept and is formatted in a very interesting way. Each cell containing a separate piece of history. Once stepping into the cell,  the information begins. One can feel the hardship that the prisoners experienced in that cold place. The maritime exhibits are excellent as are the postal exhibits. The Antarctic exhibits are particularly gripping,  bringing the rescue missions back to life.

Read more at:  https://www.welcomeargentina.com/ushuaia/maritime-museum.html

Antarctic Nations Trophy & Antarctica 2020 Trophy

Two  interesting Plaques  for the Antarctic Trophies collectors!

Some details about Antarctica 2020 Trophy  was already published last march 4th 2020 here on the WAP pages: http://www.waponline.it/antarctica-2020-trophy/

Now, Volker DL8JDX is pleased to show both Trophies he has just received: Antarctic Nations Trophy and Antarctica 2020 Trophy

Information on the Antarctic Nations Trophy, are available at https://www.dxtrophy.com/antarctica, more info can be requested by e-mail to: mydxtrophy@gmail.com

To get more on the Antarctica 2020 Trophy, issued to celebrate the 200 years of discovering Antarctica, see https://www.dxtrophy.com/200-antarctic

 Oleg UA6GG, www.dxtrophy.com wrote:
In honor of 200 years of the discovery of Antarctica “DX TROPHY Awards Group” is  ready to present the conditions for another  special trophy: ANTARCTICA CUP,  small trophy cups will be for true hunters of Antarctica, and for sure  the activators of Antarctica will not be forgotten-

Congrats and  TNX  Volker, DL8JDX, Antarctic veteran for sharing them with us

NASA satellite exposes “uncharted island” Antarctica

Sif Island is the name given to an island in  of the Amundsen Sea, in Antarctica. It is 1,150 feet (350 m) long and made of volcanic granite. Scientists spotted this “uncharted island” earlier this year, but a NASA satellite has been tracking it since 2014, the United States Geological Survey (USGS) revealed.

A scientific expedition off the coast of Antarctica in early February, spotted an island that appears on no maps,  a finding that demonstrates how quickly the continent is changing as a result of climate change.

“I think I see rocks”,  shouted an officer aboard the RV Nathaniel B. Palmer as the ship passed through Pine Island Bay, Antarctica. After consulting their charts, the crew realized they were looking at a brand-new island. There was a commotion as everyone onboard rushed to see the rocky, ice-covered

The small island is only about 1,150 feet long (350 meters) and mostly covered in ice, but rises from the sea with a layer of brown rock distinct from the surrounding glaciers and icebergs.

After making a brief landfall, the researchers confirmed that the island is made of volcanic granite, and even hosts a few resident seals.

Read more at: https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-020-00489-4

and  https://www.express.co.uk/news/science/1273004/antarctica-nasa-landsat-sif-island-thor-south-pole-climate-change-global-warming-spt

Casa de Bote Marambio Hut (Marambio Boat house) WAP ARG-NEW

The need to have a laboratory at sea level, on the coast of Marambio Island, arose when the research project on “methane hydrates” began at López de Bertodano Bay, Seymour Island, Antarctica.

What follow, explains how the idea of carrying out a construction came up. Initially named “Casa de Botes Roberto Argentino Vallverdú” , later called “Casa de Botes Marambio” .

The boathouse is located on the coast of López de Bertodano Bay on Marambio (Seymour) Island at 64° 15′ 22.9″ South,  56° 44′ 23.4″ West, and its construction began in 2007 with the main purpose of serving as a logistical support base for studies on methane hydrate leaks.

Construction and improvements of the “Casa de Botes” stopped in 2016, being unfinished as well as the research project that motivated its creation, due to the lack of objective decisions by the DNA (DIRECCIÓN NACIONAL DEL ANTÁRTICO) and the IAA (INSTITUTO ANTÁRTICO ARGENTINO).

Casa de Bote (Boat house)  is mentioned and reported inside the Argentina’s “Annual Antarctic Plan 2019-2020”..

See: https://www.cancilleria.gob.ar/userfiles/ut/plan_anual_antartico_del_programa_antartico_argentino_2019-2020.pdf  In the year 2007,  its facilities were halfway there. They were not completed in due course; especially the large “shed” destined to keep land vehicles (4×4, 6×6) and snowmobiles, as well as smaller boats (Zodiac MK3 / MK4 inflatable boats and Zodiac Hurricane ZHT-733OB semi-rigid boats) essential to carry out the multidisciplinary research project on Methane Hydrates.

In the year 2008, the National Antarctic Directorate  designed Casa de Bote (aka Vallverdú boathouse) as a model logistical support point for the development of scientific and technical activities related to Earth Sciences, Life Sciences, and personnel training.

Read more at: http://www.marambio.aq/travesiaenmoto2005.html?utm_source=email_marketing&utm_admin=12&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Boletin_de_Noticias_JULIO

Casa de Bote Marambio Hut (Boat house) at 64° 15′ 22.9″ South,  56° 44′ 23.4″ West,  López de Bertodano Bay, Seymour Island, Antarctica will be add to WAP-WADA Directory under ARG-NEW. A WAP reference will be given if and when an Ham Radio operation will come on the air from this site.
Note that Marambio Base (WAP ARG-21) is located at 64° 14’ South, 56° 37′ West, so that Casa de Bote Marambio Hut is relatively far away the Base, that’s why WAP considers it a new entity on WADA Directory.

Plastic pollution reaching the Antarctic

Food wrapping, fishing gear and plastic waste continue to reach the Antarctic. Two new studies into how plastic debris is reaching sub-Antarctic islands are published last month  of April 2020 in the journal Environment International.

New findings include analyses of some of the longest continuous datasets in the world on plastics ingested by seabirds and washed up on beaches, and insights into where this plastic originates. They also highlight the ongoing prevalence of plastic in the Polar Regions, its impact on the environment and the animals that inhabit these remote areas.

Scientists from British Antarctic Survey (BAS) have systematically collected marine debris washed up on the beaches of Bird Island (South Georgia) and Signy Island (South Orkneys) over three decades. Their findings reveal an increase in the amount of debris collected. Over 10,000 items were recovered, the majority of which was plastic.

Read more at: https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2020/04/200428112544.htm

Kharkovchanka, huge Antarctic off-road vehicles made by the Soviets

“The Kharkovchanka”  Russia’s Colossal Antarctic Cruisers which have been continuously operating in some of the most extreme environments on Earth for over 50 years.

Produced in Kharkiv, Ukrainian Soviet Socialistic Republic and originally operated by USSR, the ‘Харьковчанка’ (literally ‘Kharkiv Women’), these amazing Snow Cruisers were built in the late 1950s and featured everything a polar explorer could need in the field. In their half-century mission, they have crossed thousands of miles on Antarctic Ice, visited the South Pole, the Pole of inaccessibility as well the dozens of outposts and research stations on the Icy Continent.

Read more at:
https://jalopnik.com/soviet-versions-of-the-antarctic-snow-cruiser-were-so-m-1844211018

https://boingboing.net/2020/07/03/short-documentary-about-kharko.html

June 21 Día de la Confraternidad Antártica

June 21 is the shortest day of the year, when  in the southern hemisphere the winter begins. It is a tradition in this day,  to commemorate the  “Antarctic Fellowship Day” , a day to greet each other in the Argentine’s Antarctic Bases and that date is taken as a reference, to teach about Antarctica in the schools.

So, next Sunday, June 21, it’s  an important date for the Argentines that send greetings. It’s a day well recalled in most of the country’s schools, that will fulfill the objective established by the School Calendar by “promoting the culture and awareness and the importance of Argentina’s presence on the Antarctic territory, recognizing the work of  the people involved in scientific matters on the Icy Continent and also, provide that the elderly know more about the Antarctic theme, so little spread.

To get more information on this commemoration, click below: www.marambio.aq/confraternidadantartica7.html

And about 21 June, the date of the Antarctic friendship, we cannot forget that this is also  the day of the Winter solstice  in the southern hemisphere that marks Midwinter in AntarcticaWAP is pleased to relay a message  forwarded  by an Antarctic veteran,  DL8JDX, to the friends actually involved down there.
Antarctic Mid Winter Day Greetings
Dear Antarctic friends,
all our happy Meetings, during work and during celebrations, are still in my mind too. What a great time. Wish you all a happy midwinter and stay healthy!
Kind regards, Volker

TNX Volker Strecke DL8JDX

Summer Solstice: June 21 will be the longest day of 2020; here’s what it means

On June 21, the world will witness two astronomical events:  an annular solar eclipse visible in parts of India, and the summer solstice. The summer solstice of June is the longest day in the Northern Hemisphere.

The summer solstice usually falls on June 21, and is said to mark the onset of summer in the Northern Hemisphere. It occurs when the North Pole is the nearest to the Sun. It is derived from the Latin word ‘sol‘ which means ‘sun’, and ‘sistere‘, which means ‘to stand still’ and occurs two times in a year,  once in each hemisphere.
The Earth’s rotational axis is tilted at an angle of about 23.5 degrees from vertical.
As the Earth orbits the sun, the Northern Hemisphere is angled toward the sun for six months and angled away from the sun for the other six months of the year.
When the Northern Hemisphere is tilted towards the sun, sunlight falls at a steeper angle causing the hot months of summer.
The moment the North Pole is nearest to Sun, the Northern Hemisphere experiences the Summer Solstice. At the same time, the South Pole is farthest from the Sun, and hence, the Southern Hemisphere experiences the Winter Solstice, i.e. the longest night, and consequently the shortest day in the year.
The Summer Solstice is seen as an auspicious day in many cultures.

Read more at: https://www.moneycontrol.com/news/science/summer-solstice-june-21-will-be-the-longest-day-of-2020-heres-what-it-means-5423871.html

US- A fleet of icebreakers and new bases in push for polar resources

President Donald Trump has ordered the construction of a fleet of icebreakers and bases to pursue US interests in the Arctic and Antarctic by the end of the decade in a signal that his administration is going to take a more aggressive approach to the contest with Russia and China for polar resources.

Trump issued a memorandum on     “safeguarding US national interests in the Arctic and Antarctic regions” which calls on the administration to come up with a plan within 60 days that would include at least three heavy icebreakers to be built by 2029, and recommendations for locations to build two support bases in the US and two on foreign soil.
The memorandum appeared designed to expand and inject extra urgency into a longstanding US Coast Guard plan to build three heavy and three medium icebreakers. It suggests the US look into leasing arrangements while the new fleet is being built.
Source:  https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2020/jun/09/trump-icebreakers-bases-arctic-antarctic-polar 

Which is colder, the North Pole or the South Pole?

Arctic & Antarctic … both are fascinating worlds!
It’s not a contest: the South Pole is much colder than the North Pole. The explanation is a matter of geography. The North Pole is located in an ocean (mostly) surrounded by land and the South Pole is located in a continent surrounded by ocean. The North Pole is located a few feet above sea level. The elevation varies because the thickness of ice covering the ocean at the North Pole changes during course of the year. The South Pole sits at an elevation of 9,301 feet and, in general, the higher one goes, the colder it gets.
Average temperatures: 32 degrees F in the summer and -40 degrees F in the winter at the North Pole; -18 degrees F in the summer and -76 degrees F in the winter at the South Pole.
 

More at: https://wgntv.com/weather/weather-blog/which-is-colder-the-north-pole-or-the-south-pole/

and at: https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/why-is-the-south-pole-col/

Researchers go cuckoo: Antarctic penguins release an extreme amount of laughing gas

In a new study, researchers from the University of Copenhagen have demonstrated that penguins in Antarctica emit copious amounts of nitrous oxide via their feces. So much so, that the researchers went ”cuckoo” from being surrounded by penguin poop.
More than 1600 kilometers east of the Drake Passage between South America and Antarctica lies the Atlantic island of South Georgia.
Here, king penguins live in huge colonies. Their days are spent chomping on krill, squid and fish, feeding their chicks and producing ‘guano’, which means poo in penguin. Nothing mind-boggling about that, you might say.

However, there is something very special about the comings and goings of king penguins. Tremendous amounts of nitrous oxide, better known as laughing gas, are released via their guano, according to a 2019 study completed by researchers from the University of Copenhagen and their colleagues.

“Penguin guano produces significantly high levels of nitrous oxide around their colonies. The maximum emissions are about 100 times higher than in a recently fertilised Danish field. It is truly intense — not least because nitrous oxide is 300 times more polluting than CO2,” explains Professor Bo Elberling, of the University of Copenhagen’s Department of Geosciences and Natural Resource Management.

Besides being a strain on the climate, nitrous oxide has an effect very similar to the sedative laughing gas used in the dentist’s office ….

Read more at: https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2020/05/200519114237.htm

Is Antarctica the Safest Place to Visit in 2020 and beyond?

If your dream has been to follow in the footsteps of the great Antarctic explorers Amundsen, Scott and Shackleton, this could be the ideal time to do so. Antarctica is vast – roughly the size of China and India combined – and is the coldest, windiest, driest and highest-altitude continent on Earth and the only continent with no native human population. Nobody owns, or can claim sovereignty in Antarctica and it is governed by an international treaty signed by 54 nations. The Antarctic Treaty sets Antarctica aside as a scientific preserve, establishes freedom of scientific research and bans military activity on the continent. Emperor Penguins and spectacular scenery aside, knowing that Antarctica is the only continent with no confirmed cases of COVID-19 makes it even more appealing. It is an excellent place to holiday, post COVID-19, as it is the ultimate in inert environments.

Plus, the vast open landscapes are the exact opposite of all we have been enduring while in lockdown and offer holidays focused on mindfulness and escapism – the opposite of a hectic city life

Read more at:
https://www.forbes.com/sites/joanneshurvell/2020/05/18/is-antarctica-the-safest-place-to-visit-in-2020-and-beyond/#6ea86a4d3e95

The Forgotten American Explorer who Discovered Huge Parts of Antarctica

It’s been 180 years since Charles Wilkes (April 3, 1798 – February 8, 1877) an American naval officer, ship’s captain, and explorer led the United States Exploring Expedition, 1838-1842. He voyaged to the Antarctic continent and his journey has never been more relevant!

The early-1900s exploits of intrepid explorers like Robert Scott and Edward Shackleton captured the public imagination. With the benefit of cameras and deft handling of newspaper media, the Edwardian British explorers, alongside their Norwegian rival Roald Amundsen, established themselves as heroic polar pioneers. In the process, however, the south polar exploits of their American forerunner, Charles Wilkes, have been largely forgotten.

It was the round-the-world expedition by Wilkes, whose scientific collection constituted the first treasures of the infant Smithsonian, that first established the continental dimensions of Antarctica. But in a twist of 19th-century international politics, that claim to Antarctica was denied to the Americans by the pole-hungry British. Fast forward to today, and the United States finds itself in another nationalistic race to capitalize on the frozen southern continent. This time, its sparring partner is China.
Amundsen might have been the first man to reach the South Pole, in 1911, but the discovery of the Antarctic continent occurred several generations earlier. In January 1840, when Wilkes was commander of the United States Exploring Expedition, he charted 1500 miles of the east Antarctic coastline in his flagship U.S.S. Vincennes (picure on the right, shows the  19th-century painting, based on a sketch by Lieutenant Charles Wilkes, USN, depicting USS Vincennes in Disappointment Bay, Antarctica, circa January–February 1840).

Before this American expedition, only small, rocky outcrops of Antarctica had been sighted. Most exploreres believed an open polar sea or, at most, a scattered archipelago lay at the planet’s far south.

Read more at: https://www.smithsonianmag.com/science-nature/charles-wilkes-antarctica-explorer-180974432/

Coronavirus: How amateur radio is connecting people during lockdown

Amateur radio use in the UK has seen a “significant” rise during the coronavirus lockdown as people seek new ways of staying connected. The national body that represents users – the Radio Society of Great Britain (RSGB) – has said many people who formerly enjoyed the hobby are also returning to it.

Mark Rider‘s social life before the coronavirus lockdown consisted of the occasional trip to the pub, rehearsing with musician friends and visiting his wife in her care home.

“But when I knew that wasn’t going to happen any time soon I decided to dust off my amateur radio equipment to seek out some other social interaction,” he says.

Mr Rider, a retired engineer from North Warwickshire, said “ragchewing” – or chatting to people on the airwaves – “has become one of the highlights of my day”.

“Because I live on my own, and because of lockdown, I knew I couldn’t do what I used to do, which wasn’t going to be very good for me or my mental health.”

Read more at: https://www.bbc.com/news/amp/uk-england-52442553?fbclid=IwAR1gABcOgHcy0VYwIht2NmrbuKlMvMsDkLJPft8alhHhZRUvhHQpsAwBop0

Antarctica cruises check bucket lists

As the number of travelers cruising Antarctica swells, polar expedition companies are launching sustainable vessels designed for these bucket-list trips.
Interested in seeing the southernmost continent? Here’s a roundup of some of the tour operators planning itineraries for this year and next.
Antarctica21
In November, Antarctica21 debuted the world’s first vessel purpose-built for Antarctic tourism: the 73-passenger Magellan Explorer. A forward-facing observation deck and glass-enclosed lounge offer prime wildlife viewing, while designer guest rooms feature balconies and single cabins.
Most itineraries, including the eight-day Classic Antarctica Air-Cruise, bypass the turbulent waters of the Drake Passage by flying from Punta Arenas to King George Island. Full board rates begin at $13,995 per person and include Antarctic flights and activities.
Cruise operator Hurtigruten in March will unveil the 530-passenger MS Fridtjof Nansen, the sister ship to the just-launched MS Roald Amundsen. Both vessels feature science centers and citizen science projects, and both are hybrid electric-powered with low-emission engines.

The MS Fridtjof Nansen’s Highlights of the Frozen Continent, a 12-day journey, explores some 20 sites across the Antarctic Peninsula. Prices start at $7,875 per person.
https://www.nwaonline.com/news/2020/feb/02/antarctica-cruises-check-bucket-lists-2/

Here below a short  video of a trip down to Antarctica … just and example how it could be! amazing isn’t it?

Argentine Antarctic Institute (IAA). Happy Birthday

For more than 116 years, men and women (civilians and military) have been working in and for Argentina’s Antarctica, revealing the secrets of this frozen and mysterious land, carrying out important national and international scientific missions.

In view of the number of organizations that participated annually in Antarctic campaigns, the Argentine government decided to establish a central entity responsible for the scientific work carried out in the Icy Continent.

69 years ago, on April 17, 1951, the Argentine Antarctic Institute, was created to be the depositary of the information gathered on previous expeditions, as well as for future activities.

More information at: www.marambio.aq/iaa.html

Covid-19 forces Spanish researchers to endure odyssey

Although there have been no confirmed Covid-19 cases in Earth’s southernmost continent, the disease has nonetheless taken its toll on those there. Just ask the researchers and members of the military who recently experienced major difficulties in making it back home from the two Spanish bases in Antarctica.

After being dropped off in Chile by the ‘Hespérides’ research vessel, an initial party was able to return to Spain in early March, but coronavirus-motivated air-space closures over South America then left a 37-person group stranded.

The situation left Jordi Felipe Álvarez, the head of the Juan Carlos I Spanish Base (WAP ESP-Ø1 picture above) , contemplating the possibility of a four-week-long voyage to Spain by boat. “It’s the most likely option,” he told the newspaper El Confidencial. “But we’re trying to avoid it so that people aren’t away for another month.”

According to reports, however, they were finally able to travel back home after a ‘humanitarian air corridor’ was established from Carrasco International Airport in the Uruguayan capital of Montevideo.
Read more at: https://en.as.com/en/2020/04/11/other_sports/1586607691_521116.html

VU3BPZ sends Greetings from Dehradun, Himalaya

Bhagwati Prasad ,VU3BPZ is an Antarctic veteran.  Several times in Antarctica, active from the Indian Base of Maitri (WAP IND-Ø3), Bharati Station (WAP IND-Ø4) and Indian Bay Camp (WAP IND-Ø2). See: https://www.qrz.com/lookup/vu3bpz

Bhagwati, wish to express his sentiments WW, to all the friends and families who are  suffering deadly virus desease. Bhagwati could not sent to everyone his prayers and ask WAP to do it for him.

No corona virus cases reported in his QTH, since 3 days but he’s conscious how many are suffering WW.

Bhagwati wrote:

Dear radio friend OM/YLs & all,
My best wishes on the occasion of Holy Easter.  We are in lock down,  hopefully we all  will win COVID-19 pandemic &  not extended lock down further mid of May. India,  as well as many other Countries WW  is under the lockdown and maintain social distancing to contain Covid-19 pandemic!  Follow the govt norms in  COVID-19 crisis. I  hope everyone to celebrate the Easter fets and offer prayer from respective homes without disregarding the social distancing. Being Ham and humanity basis my sincere sentiments to my friend and their families. Take care and have a great Easter day!

Best 73s, Bhagwati Pd Semwal (VU3BPZ/Ex-AT10BP /8T2BH )

17 de Agosto Refuge, WAP ARG-NEW

Located at 68° 07’53” South, 67°10’16” West, “Refuge 17 de Agosto”   is an Antarctic refuge located in the north east of the Millerand Island in the Marguerite Bay, on Fallières Coast.

It is operated by the Argentine Army and was inaugurated on August 17, 1957.

It depends on San Martín Base (WAP ARG-Ø8), which is five kilometers away on Barry Island. The refuge consists of a red hut, used by the personnel employed in the missions carried out in the area, and has a capacity to accommodate four people, enough food for two weeks, fuel, gas and first aid kit

Even of this facility  is listed on WAP-WADA Directory, the Argentinean   “Refuge 17 de Agosto”   has never been activated by Hams, so it remains a WAP brand “New One”.
While hoping next time the guys going there can bring a RTX & antenna and put this Refuge up “On the Air”, enjoy the 5′ video here below

The sun set at the South Pole last week

The sun, won’t rise again until September.

Six months of darkness are one of the reasons powerful telescopes are located at the South Pole. (Amindsen-Scott US South Pole Station, WAP USA-21 & WAP USA-36).
The photo by Danny Hampton (here aside), shows the South Pole Telescope, operated by the University of Chicago, as they study the origins of the universe.
Thanks and credit to: The Antarctic Support Contract

The Antarctic Support Contract team provides station operations, logistics, information technology, construction, maintenance and more on Antarctica and at support facilities worldwide.

Supporting scientific research on the highest, driest, coldest, windiest and emptiest place on Earth requires exceptional logistics and planning expertise. Leidos is the prime contractor for the National Science Foundation’s United States Antarctic Program (USAP).

See more at: https://www.leidos.com/competencies/operations-and-logistics/antarctic-support-contract

Antarctica the only Continent untouched by the coronavirus

One continent has not yet confirmed a case of the novel coronavirus. It’s a place of barren ice, where the all-consuming cold and darkness of winter is fast approaching.

Over the past few months, some 4,000 people from around the world have watched from Antarctica as the coronavirus pandemic,  swept around the globe, reaching all but its southernmost reaches.
“You’d better stay there, you’re safer there,” Alberto Della Rovere, leader of the 35th Italian expedition to Antarctica, said his colleagues at home told him via WhatsApp.

For now, they appear to be right. Even in normal times, only a limited number of people are allowed in and out of Antarctica, with medical workers screening for signs of influenza and other illnesses before arrival.

“Right now, this, Antarctica, is the safest place in the world,” Della Rovere said. “There are no outside contacts and we’re far away from any settlement.”

 More information at: https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/2020/03/24/one-continent-remains-untouched-by-coronavirus-antarctica/

HSM-53 Memorial at Elephant Island, Antarctica

Someone call it “Shackleton Memorial”, others “Frank Wild Memorial” while  HSM (Historical Sites and Monuments) with its official HSM-53 call this place “Endurance Memorial site”.

Beyond all names that are attributed to it,  Point Wild on Elephant Island, hosts the bust of  Luis Antonio Pardo Villalòn, the Chilean Navy Officer who, in August 30th 1916, commanded the steam Tug Yelcho to rescue the 22 stranded crewmen of Sir Ernast Shackleton’s expedition who survived the wreck of the ship Endurance living for four and one half months in this island.

As a matter of fact, most cruises stopping at Point Wild , an epic place where part of the Shackleton’s expedition members camped waiting for a rescue. It’s not easy to set foot at Elephant Island where in spite of beautiful landscape, the very rugged coastline and  frequent extreme weather makes landings difficult.

As second-in-command of the Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition, Frank Wild was left in charge of twenty-one men on desolate Elephant Island as Shackleton and a crew of five, made their epic rescue mission to South Georgia aboard a lifeboat. From 24 April to 30 August 1916 Wild and his crew waited on Elephant Island, surviving on a diet of seal, penguin and seaweed untill they were finally rescued by Shackleton aboard the Chilean ship Yelcho.

Point Wild (61°03′ South 54°50′ West) is though named after Frank Wild  with a monument dedicated to the Chilean captain Luis Pardo who rescued him and his men.

The Bust of Captain Luis Alberto Pardo,  monolith and plaques have been placed on Elephant Island and their replicas on the Chilean bases Capitan Arturo Prat (62°30’South, 59°49’West) WAP CHL-Ø1 and President Eduardo Frei (62°12’South, 62°12′ West) WAP CHL-Ø5. Bronze busts of the pilot Luis Pardo Villalon were placed on the three above-mentioned monoliths during the XXIVth Chilean Antarctic Scientific Expedition in 1987–88
The plaque displays the following words: “Here on August 30th, 1916, the Chilean Navy cutter Yelcho commanded by Pilot Luis Pardo Villalón rescued the 22 men from the Shackleton Expedition who survived the wreck of the Endurance living for four and one half months in this Island”.

Antarctica snow turns ‘blood red’

Snow has taken on a sinister-looking blood red colour at a Ukrainian Vernadsky Research Base (WAP UKR-Ø1) due to a  type of algae which contributes to climate change.

For several weeks, scientists working at Vernadsky in Antarctica have been surrounded by what they call “raspberry snow”. Images released by Ukraine’s Ministry of Education and Science on Monday showed the phenomenon, which is caused by microscope snow algae when weather conditions are favorable during Antarctica’s summer months.

The ministry explained that the algae is able to survive the extreme cold temperatures during the Antarctic winter and begins to sprout when warmer temperatures arrive in the summer (between October and February). The algae’s cells have a red carotene layer which protects it from ultraviolet radiation and produces red spots in the snow like “raspberry jam”, the ministry said.

Thanks and credit Conrad Duncan (at) theconradduncan

Read more at: https://www.independent.co.uk/environment/red-snow-antarctica-research-station-ukraine-algae-climate-change-a9361091.html

The former British outpost houses the world’s most southerly Post Office

At the northern tip of Antarctica, 800 miles from the nearest pub, lies the world’s most southerly Post Office. Port Lockroy a former British outpost and now an Antarctic research station (WAP GBR-Ø1),, has no running water and lies on an isolated island about the size of a primary school playing field.
A team of four adventurers live there for a few months each year tasked with running the Post Office and keeping an eye on the 2,000 gentoo penguins that inhabit the island.
With workers bracing frigid -10C temperatures and sometimes going days without a wash, you might ask who’d be mad enough to take a job there.
Step in Laura MacNeil: A librarian based in Edinburgh who describes her stint at Lockroy as a “once in a lifetime trip”.
Running the base’s gift shop between November 2016 and March 2017, Laura, 40, admits she had a few tough moments at the site on Antarctica’s Goudier Island.
Port Lockroy is run and maintained by the UK Antarctic Heritage Trust (UKAHT), a charity that conserves historic buildings and artefacts in Antarctica.
Read more at: https://www.thesun.co.uk/tech/11032252/antarctica-port-lockroy-research-station-gift-shop-job-apply/

Just today I’ve received a post card (see pics) stampded at Port Lockroy. It was a great surprise , a gift from my good friend Eddy De Busschere a keen Polar Philatelic collector  at  BPES (Belgian Polar expedition Society).
TNX Eddy!