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[Articles Home]  [Add Article]  

Headed to Antarctica? Help Out KC4AAA:

Jerry Keller (K3BZ) on February 22, 2003
View comments about this article!

OK, who's headed for Antarctica? Many of you have worked KC4AAA on 20 meters, but what about the other bands? Well, maybe here's a way you can help make that possible.

A thread on the SteppIR@yahoogroups.com reflector addressed working KC4AAA on bands other than 20M. Antarctica on other bands would be a nice addition to a great many logs. Ford, NFP suggested that the SteppIR reflector members take up a collection to provide KC4AAA with a SteppIR antenna.

Upon seeing this, John, WA7IR of SteppIR Antennas immediately offered to donate a 3 element plus 6M SteppIR yagi to KC4AAA if the reflector members could find a way to get the antenna to Antarctica!

So, we are looking for someone headed to Antarctica who will take the antenna, or who has a means of getting the antenna there.... please contact Ford, N0FP with a post to SteppIR@yahoogroups.com. Or contact me at k3bz@arrl.net and I will forward the information. Let's see if the amateur radio community can pull together to make this happen.

Thanks and 73, Jerry K3BZ

PS: please pass this message on to any other HF, antenna, or other amateur radio forums to which you may have access, or to anyone you think could help.

Member Comments:
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Headed to Antarctica? Help Out KC4AAA:  
by KG4VGH on February 22, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
You have a few options....if the antenna is bound for a US station or the NZ Station at Scott Base....
They have a US Postal address.....if it can be shipped by Air.....keep in mind ONLY the Military flys down to the US stations on the continent.....Those being South Pole, McMurdo and Scott Base (NZ) Palmer Station on the Penninsula is a bit more accessible.....
IF the antenna is to large for Air travel....next option would be surface (Ship) that comes in once a year in January....
I have spent numerous seasons with the United States Antarctic Program.....so should be able to get you info that you need.....just need to know final destination
Pete
 
Headed to Antarctica? Help Out KC4AAA:  
by KG4VGH on February 22, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
You have a few options....if the antenna is bound for a US station or the NZ Station at Scott Base....
They have a US Postal address.....if it can be shipped by Air.....keep in mind ONLY the Military flys down to the US stations on the continent.....Those being South Pole, McMurdo and Scott Base (NZ) Palmer Station on the Penninsula is a bit more accessible.....
IF the antenna is to large for Air travel....next option would be surface (Ship) that comes in once a year in January....
I have spent numerous seasons with the United States Antarctic Program.....so should be able to get you info that you need.....just need to know final destination
 
RE: Headed to Antarctica? Help Out KC4AAA:  
by KC4TCD on February 24, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
The QRZ.COM lookup shows KC4AAA at Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station.
 
RE: Headed to Antarctica? Help Out KC4AAA:  
by KA2UUP on February 24, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
Please, check with the Schenectady NY Air National Guard Base. They do support for the polar cap missions, both North and South flying their C-130s.

73 DE Bert @ KA2UUP
 
RE: North Pole Stations  
by K1MKF on February 25, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
I've heard and read plenty about the South Pole stations but know nothing about North Pole stations.

Can someone point me to some references of North Pole scientific or HAM activity? Is there a permanent station on the ice?

Mark
 
RE: North Pole Stations  
by N3BIF on February 25, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
I believe a Nicholas Claus has a qth up there but I do not know if he is licensed. I did see in a Radio Shack ad after Christmas that he was goofing off in the tropics somewhere . He "forgot" to provide batteries etc with some of the gifts he delivered and radio shack was willing to help out (for profit of course). In any event in the footage I saw he certainly had the physique of a ham but no HT on his belt .
I do know that many clubs assist him at Christmas time but as to him holding a ticket I am not sure maybe it is all third party traffic.
 
RE: North Pole Stations  
by KC8CWI on February 25, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
There are no permanent stations at the North Pole, since the entire northern ice pack is floating in the Arctic ocean. The closest that you can come are Stations above the Arctic circle in the US, Canada and Greenland as well as other countries.
 
RE: Headed to Antarctica? Help Out KC4AAA:  
by KC8CWI on February 25, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
Besides the address, which was an FPO address a few years ago when the Navy used to do the flying, the people to check with is the current support contractor to the National Science Foundation, Raytheon Polar Services Company. They would be the ones to work through, since they manage the South Pole Communications department and the Ham Shack for KC4AAA.
 
RE: Headed to Antarctica? Help Out KC4AAA:  
by NH6ON on March 19, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
All,
As one of the communications engineers supporting South Pole, I thought I'd pass on some e-mail exchanges which transpired recently related to this thread. You will see the original message towards the bottom and the various internal e-mails on the subject. The original e-mail got to Pat Smith of National Science Foundation who in turn sent it my way. My response to Eric Rosenburg (WD3Q) follows with the rest of the e-mail thread. If anyone has questions, please drop me a note. Thanks

Nick Powell
South Pole IT Engineer
Raytheon Polar Services
nick.powell@usap.gov

Eric,
Sorry I didn't get back to you sooner. Yesterday I had a visitor and was looking at some performance characteristics of our South Pole satellite communications ground station so it was a bit hectic here. Pat asked me to review and update as necessary Ham radio procedures for the US Antarctic Program (USAP) last year. Unfortunately, events on other projects precluded me from doing it then. Never-the-less, its time to take a hard look at Ham Radio. This is driven by a couple of things:
1. New HF radio and antenna systems (including Ham Radio) at South Pole scheduled for installation in the FY 05 time frame.
2. Recognizing program wide operating improvements are needed in light of evolutions in communication technology, capabilities, digital modulation schemes, etc.
Also, I'd like to resurrect an idea to develop an agreement between ARRL and National Science Foundation (NSF) on the matter of Antarctic Ham Radio similar to those in place for National Communications System, Red Cross, National Weather Service, etc. FYI, FCC has no formal jurisdiction in Antarctica. NSF is the FCC with technical assistance from the Navy's Space Warfare Center Systems Center Charleston and O&M support from us (Raytheon Polar Services). However, we use FCC rules and regulations as the foundation for operations.
Not to sound onerous, but as Pat points out there are a host of issues which need attention and updates to our procedures including but not limited to:
1. Equipment procurement
2. Equipment Installation, operations, & maintenance
3. Operator technique
4. Spectrum management
5. Training
Keep in mind we need to develop procedures for the entire continent (3 permanent year round stations - South Pole, Palmer & McMurdo; summer only field camps; and perhaps research vessels).
Also, there are a variety of constraints which govern Ham Radio activities. To name a few:
1. Propagation - From South Pole 20m - summer and 40m - winter have historically proven vary reliable given our position inside the auroral oval and system limitations. I can't speak for McMurdo and Palmer since I have not operated there.
2. Logistics - Getting material to the continent, and South Pole in particular, can be very difficult and requires significant planning, in some cases well over a year beforehand. Weight and cube especially to South Pole with the new station construction and major scientific research projects planned for the next several years have put material movement under the microscope. Every pound counts and each item is scrutinized.
3. Personnel - We have a large number of contract personnel with knowledge levels which vary from year to year. We must have procedures, material, etc. in place which maximize our personnel resources and account for operator expertise. Too, operating time, particularly in the summer, can be limited due to high time demands for labor on other projects. BTW, technically in Antarctica, you need not have an FCC license to operate Ham radios (see my note about FCC jurisdiction above). Also, on call signs, the blocks KC4AAA-KC4AAE and KC4USA-KC4USZ are reserved for USAP though this is not always clear when looking at the FCC call sign database. I'd like to get with FCC at some point to improve "advertisement" of this fact.
All the above being said, Ham Radio is an important activity in Antarctica. We recognize the high interest in getting those Antarctic QSOs as well as the visibility it gives the USAP. In some ways its the terrestrial equivalent of ham radio on the space shuttle. Antarctica is as close to space as you can get on earth. The educational and public outreach opportunities are immense and not tapped nearly to the extent possible.
To kick off updating Antarctic ham radio procedures, I'm thinking I'd like to convene a workshop here in the office with all our Hams as well as a few local hams who've been active in the program to get some ideas and input ($$$ are tight so travel out of the area for meetings elsewhere is probably not possible). Too, if we have an agreement with ARRL, we might seek involvement there as well. With NSF approval of procedures, I'd like to share information on USAP Ham radio with the community, perhaps through a QST magazine article. The bottom line here is to get the word out once we've updated and formalized things.
A couple of other thoughts:
1. We have a new 3 element 40m beam at South Pole which will be installed in a couple of years as part of the HF modernization program. Its waiting for installation of a tower in the new HF antenna field. Equipment and antennas probably need a look see over the entire program with lifecycle replacements made as required.
2. If you haven't seen it, take a look at the cover article in the Oct 2001 edition of QST. Its about my experiences at South Pole and Ham radio ops. That was my first season there and things have changed much so its probably time to write an update.
It is my belief Ham radio in Antarctica, like that elsewhere, is dynamic and on the threshold of some exciting possibilities. Many share a strong desire to make Antarctic Ham radio part of that and bring it into the 21st century. Please feel free to get touch with any comments, questions, recommendations, etc. We look forward to your thoughts as well as those of others interested in USAP Ham radio. Thank you for your interest.
73
Nick Powell, NH6ON and sometimes KC4AAA
South Pole IT Project Engineer
Raytheon Polar Services
(720) 568-2209
nick.powell@usap.gov

-----Original Message-----
From: Smith, Patrick D. [mailto:pdsmith@nsf.gov]
Sent: Monday, February 24, 2003 9:11 AM
To: 'Eric Rosenberg'
Cc: Smith, Patrick D.; 'Nick.Powell@usap.gov'
Subject: RE: [PVRC] Anyone going to Antartica or know someone who is?

Hi Eric:
I am copying Nick Powell at Raytheon Polar on this. Nick is my defacto USAP
Ham Radio program coordinator. He is the main force behind South Pole
Station's amateur radio station. McMurdo's station is being managed by
seasonal contract techs who work in the RPSC electronics shop at McMurdo
during the summer, but they go off contract in the austral winter when the
depart Antarctica for CONUS. Nick is a full timer.
Nick - please put this on your Tickler List to check into and see what this
is all about and if this is needed. We need to make sure we have a good
grasp on the on-Ice issues associated with installing equipment, workload
planning of the techs, etc., plus the property ownership issue of taking
donated equipment - you would need to ask your property people what does
this mean relative to NSF ownership of the facilities.
Thanks all,
Pat

-----Original Message-----
From: Eric Rosenberg [mailto:wd3q@erols.com]
Sent: Sunday, February 23, 2003 10:50 PM
To: pdsmith@nsf.gov
Subject: Fwd: [PVRC] Anyone going to Antartica or know someone who is?

Pat --
Thoguht you might be interested in the ham radiao wishes of those
wanting to contact the station at McMurdo.
Enjoy!
Eric
>Date: Sat, 22 Feb 2003 09:22:26 -0500
>From: Jerry K3BZ <k3bz@arrl.net>
>To: dx4win@mailman.qth.net
>Reply-To: Jerry K3BZ <k3bz@arrl.net>
>Subject: [Dx4win] Headed For Antarctica?
>
>Are you headed to Antarctica? Know somebody who is? Here's a way you
>can
>help KC4AAA get on bands other than 20 meters.
>
>A thread on the SteppIR@yahoogroups.com reflector addressed working
>KC4AAA
>on bands other than 20M. Antarctica on other bands would be a nice
>addition
>to a great many logs. Ford, N0FP suggested the SteppIR reflector
>members
>take up a collection to provide KC4AAA with a SteppIR antenna. Upon
>seeing
>this, John, WA7IR immediately offered to donate a 3 element plus 6M
>SteppIR
>to KC4AAA if the reflector members could find a way to get the antenna
>to
>Antarctica! So, we are looking for someone headed to Antarctica who
>will
>take the antenna, or who has a means of getting the antenna there....
>please
>contact Ford, N0FP with a post to SteppIR@yahoogroups.com.
>Or contact me at k3bz@arrl.net and I will forward.
>
>Thanks, Jerry K3BZ
>
>Also, please pass this message on to any other HF, antenna, or other
>amateur
>radio forums to which you may have access. Thanks and 73.
 
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