Z-fids Newsletter No. 18

October 2008

      Z - F I D S    N E W S L E T T E R   No. 18   08 Oct 2008 

Editor: Andy Smith  (email andy@smitha.demon.co.uk)
Website: www.zfids.org.uk

News from Halley
Dave Stephenson, the Meteorologist/Electronic Technician currently
at Halley, sends the following news:

It's now October, and there is a noticeable "springyness" within
everyone at Halley! Those of you who have wintered here before will
appreciate what I mean. I'm not just referring to the time of year
here in the southern hemisphere, but am referring to the general
mood of everyone. The sun has returned, the mid-winter blues are
over, and there is now a renewed focus to wintering at Halley. The
overall effect is that people are back to their quirky and normal
ways, and everyone is happy.

Saying that, the winter months have not been too bad at all. With
such a small wintering party at Halley [only 11 - Ed.], there has
been plenty of work to keep us all busy and occupied. Lance (our
vehicle operator) has been busy dozing in the pitch dark, managing
the numerous windtails produced by the buildings, containers,
winterised vehicles etc. Scotty (vehicle mechanic) has been
practically living in the garage servicing and winterising the
large fleet of vehicles we now have here at Halley. The demands of
the Halley VI construction mean that the vehicle fleet is currently
rather large, keeping Kiwi Scotty very busy. 

With so few on station, general base duties and work have to be
shared amongst us more often. Raising the handlines and catenaries,
refuelling the Laws, jacking/levelling the buildings, digging for
water, cooking on chef's days off, and (of course) the dreaded
gash-duty are all activities we are now more than familiar with. 

As for science: Although the majority of the science has been
removed from Halley during the Halley VI construction, the amazing
52-year historical record of the meteorology, ozone measurements,
radiosonde launches, and low frequency physics experiments are
remaining intact throughout this interim period. My role as sole
scientist on base has been fully occupied by conducting
experiments, maintaining the science equipment and fixing the
occasional breakdown.

At the moment everyone at Halley is preparing for the arrival of
the Ernest Shackleton and the input of next year's personnel. Our
winter is much longer than originally planned, starting when the ES
arrives at Christmas rather than the early input of personnel at
the beginning of November. So, we all have a couple of months more
to relax before the furore that is inevitably a common trait for
every summer. 

Currently we are in the middle of winter trips. An already small
team gets even smaller when people go off on their holidays in
groups of 3! Has Halley ever seen a team of 8 running the base
before?! Probably not, but it's just about manageable, if a little

All in all, Winter 2008 has been a very busy but also very
enjoyable time. No doubt I will look back to my time here in years
to come and marvel at the penguins I came face to face with, the
aurora displays I saw, the -50C temperatures of mid-winter, the
camaraderie of living and working with the same people day-in
day-out, and the fun and games we all had along the way.

Jim Burton
Sadly we have to record the death of Jim Burton on 30 July 2008.
Jim was one of the scientists of the Royal Society International
Geophysical Year 1957 - 1958, one of the dwindling band of
survivors from those pioneering days. He was able to attend the
Halley Bay 50th anniversary ("Z-50") in 2006 and appears on the
front row in the Group 1 photograph to be found on the Z-fids

Sledge dog memorial
The latest (September 2008) issue of "The Fan Hitch" 
(http://homepage.mac.com/puggiq/) contains the latest update from
Hwfa Jones on the Antarctic sledge dog memorial. He says "The fund
is almost there and the project guaranteed. We will have a model
mid-December for approval and the bronze will be cast and finished
15th May 2009, ready for erection in the summer." Recent issues of
the journal also contain a "BAS Vignette". In the September issue,
Pete Noble writes about saying goodbye to his dogs on leaving
Halley Bay; he also notes that his book "Dog Days on Ice -
Antarctic Exploration in a Golden Era" will be published in the New
Year. In the June issue Hwfa writes about lampwick harnesses. As
mentioned in a previous newsletter, the vignette in the March issue
was by John Shepherd who bought the Mike Skidmore painting of
Changi. John says he was radio operator mechanic at Halley Bay in
1971. Now here's an odd thing: I was at Halley Bay in 1971 and I
don't remember anyone called Shepherd. However one of the radio ops
was John Flick. Have you changed your name by any chance, John?

BAS micros
In response to an item in the last newsletter, James Broadway sent
in some pictures of some of these machines at Halley. See "BAS
micro" in the Picture Index. The BAS micro was one of the first
computers sent to the base, in 1983. It was used for controlling
some of the experiments until recent times; in fact according to
David Maxwell, the last BAS micro, in the magnetometer shaft, was
not switched off until September 2007.

In correspondence following the publication of the article on page
31 of BAS Club Newsletter No 59, about the ex-Halley caboose
"Golly's Folly" now at Goose Green in the Falkland Islands, Tony
Wincott ("Winkle") is appealing for more information or anecdotes
about Halley cabooses, of which there were several over the years.
Many had nicknames: besides "Golly's Folly" I remember the
"Clockwork Orange" and "Hooters". Please send any information,
including pictures, to me and I will put it on the website.

Halley Bay Midwinter Magazine 1974
Graham Chambers sent me a digital version of this amusing magazine
which he had produced by scanning each page. Unfortunately it was
quite large and there was no room to put it on the Z-fids website.
However, if any of the '74 winterers would like a copy, please
contact Graham (his email address is on the website) and he will
send you one. Incidentally if anyone can offer any webspace to host
Z-fids material of this type please let me know. Also I would like
to hear if anyone has any advice or recommendations regarding use
of "free web space".

Stamp man
John Youle, editor of "Polar Post" the newsletter/magazine of the
Polar Postal History Society of GB, has written to me. He is a
stamp collector who has several thousand envelopes and letters
relating to the Antarctic including several hundred envelopes and a
few letters from Halley Bay, from 1956 to date. He is about to
embark on a lengthy project to write up all his Antarctic
philatelic material from Halley including letters from various
deputy base leaders. He would be pleased to hear from any FIDs who
served at Halley and have tales to tell about dealing with the
requests of stamp collectors - positive or negative towards the
collectors. Please contact John on jyoule@hotmail.de.

Halley V model and Hungarian cricket
I recently visited Dave Brown (wintered 1993) at his home near the
Danube north of Budapest. Dave is the owner of the Halley V model
which was made for an exhibition at the Royal Society in London in
1999 and was then on show in the BAS foyer at Cambridge for a
while. The model is now on display in the basement of Dave's house
and he has written an article explaining how it came to be there,
and what is the connection with cricket in Hungary. For details,
see "Model" in the General Index on the Z-fids website.

As usual this newsletter is being sent out by email only, to 451
people. If you are on email but have not received it by that route,
please register or re-register on the website (links on home page).
350 people have now registered on Z-fids. If you have, your name
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09 October 2008
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