Chilean Isla Gonzalo, WAP CHL-21

Gonzalo Island (56° 31’ 15” South, 68° 42’ 40” West), is a Sub-Antarctic island, uninhabited except for a Weather and Research Station (WAP CHL-21) operated by the Chilean Navy. With an area of 38 hectares (94 acres), Gonzalo is the second largest island of the Chilean Diego Ramirez Archipelago after Bartolomè island. The archipelago lies in the Drake Passage between the continents of South America and Antarctica.

The Diego Ramírez Archipelago is a group of small Chilean islands and islets, located about 100 km southwest of Cape Horn and 93 km SSW of the Ildefonso Islands, in the Drake Passage, about 790 km NNW of the South Shetland Islands (Antarctica). They comprise about 8 km. from north to south, reaching latitude 56º32.2′ South and can be considered the southernmost point of the American Continent, the land closest to the Antarctic Territory.

Gonzalo Island was activated  from 15 through 17 January 2021 by  CE9/PA3EXX  and CE9/VE3LYC


Approaching to the Chilean Antarctic territory is the Gonzalo island  Lighthouse (ARLHS CHI 020, CHI-020, CHI 020 , aka Diego Ramírez Islands Lighthouse), after the end of the American continent in one of the most important areas stormy of the world, projecting Chile towards Antarctica.

The Chilean lighthouses are the most important constructions of the national network of national navigation aids, which have the purpose of allowing safe and expeditious navigation of ships along authorized national routes.

This network is basically made up of 960 lighthouses and beacons, 135 buoys and 133 electronic equipment, installed from the maritime limit leading to Concordia, to the Chilean Antarctic Territory.

For operational, logistical and administrative purposes, it is administered at the national level by the “Maritime Signaling and Navigation Aids Service”, dependent on the General Directorate of the Maritime Territory and Merchant Navy, DIRECTEMAR. In turn, this network is served by five Zonal Maritime Signaling Centers, located in the ports of Iquique, Valparaíso, Talcahuano, Puerto Montt and Punta Arenas.

The important mission of the Diego Ramirez Island Lighthouse
Maritime signaling not only helps Chilean-flagged vessels, but also contributes to internationally navigated vessels being made by the endowment of lighthouse keepers who fulfill isolated periods of 6 months in those remote territories.
The Work of the lighthouse keepers is carried out in isolation and maintenance communication via satellite and radio, maintaining control tasks of maritime traffic and carrying out an important work of effective sovereignty in our national territory. 
Supporting Extreme temperatures, wind gusts of 200 kilometers per hour and a temporary constant, are part of the usual conditions, in which These men must perform their tasks between sea and solitude.
The Naval servers that fulfill these tasks have to be self-sufficient, highly prepared in state-of-the-art technology at the same time time they must learn to master cooking, maintenance and temperance, enduring the harsh isolation in that remote territory.
The Logistic support of the aforementioned distribution is organized from the Zonal Center of Maritime Signaling of Punta Arenas, where They prepare the elements and naval servers that are destined to the task, coordinating with surface and naval means of the Third Naval Zone for the development of refueling and relays of personnel.

TNX: Armada de Chile