Monday, August 10, 2015
Antiartica KC4AAA Story #2
I think it was the Winter of 1982 at the Pole. This makes it June or July here since the seasons are reversed or opposite in the two hemispheres. On one of our skeds Pat told me they were going to have an air drop. This had never been attempted before because of the great distance and weather conditions the planes would encounter coming and returning from New Zealand. The planes would be a pair of C-130s with no skies, as there would be no landing and hopefully a round trip. The planes would have to be mid-air refueled coming to the Pole and returning to Christ Church New Zealand, so you see it was quite a complicated trip to organize. I think we talked about it for more than a month. The families of the men (and one woman) were contacted and told they could send one package. Each person at the Pole could make one request for anything in reason. Most wanted some type of food ranging from ice cream to kiwi fruit, did I say ice cream, yes he wanted chocolate flavor. Pat told me I could send a package also, so I sent some things about Ham Radio and a 5 X 7 photo of myself. I told him to hang it above the radio to keep the mice away and do you know it worked as there has never been a mouse in the radio room to this day. I hope it is still hanging there. The packages were to be sent to New Zealand for relay on the air drop. The day came and all the crew were lighting flairs (it is dark for about 3 months) to mark the drop zone and trying to call the planes that were coming. I was at my radio listing and could hear the Pole calling the planes and I could hear the planes call the Pole, but neither could contact each other. I called the Pole and told them I could hear both of them. The planes were on a frequency that I was not allowed on, but they were also listening on the Ham frequency so they could hear me. I transmitted in the Ham band and I listened on the military frequency, this is called operating split. It worked very well. I relayed the location and arrival times to the Pole. It worked great and I have to tell you I thought I was really something being able to relay the como for this big adventure. It all went off without a snag, there were a few things that took place when the planes made the drop, but I am sworn to secrecy, I can say they were pretty low to the ice when they kicked the freight out of the planes.(nuff said) To end this story and get the point across that I wanted to make. All the crew got sick about a week or two after the air drop. There are no germs as we call them at the Pole because it is just like the inside of your freezer here at home, its just too cold for them. All the packages and food were carrying loads of bacteria and viruses attached to them. All was brought inside the dome that is heated and spread to the crew. Almost all came down with a nasty cold or worse. No one thought of this, but that ended all future air drops. I always think of the story ‘War of the Worlds’ that is what killed the aliens that were from Mars you know. They could not tolerate the germs here on earth that we are all immune to.
I hope you enjoyed reading this, as most people know little about the South Pole. I will tell you that things have changed with all the satellites and Internet. The crew at the Pole now can communicate just about as well as you and I do now from our homes here in the good ‘ol USA. But back 20 years ago and longer, the Ham Radio fellows sure provided a wonderful service to the stations in the Antarctic and I am very proud to be one of them...... Jack WB9OTX
Click to Read Story #1