Z-fids Newsletter No.2

March 2005


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      Z - F I D S    N E W S L E T T E R   No. 2   March 2005 

Editor: Andy Smith  (email andy@smitha.demon.co.uk)
Website: www.zfids.org.uk
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I have just recently returned from a trip to Halley, and this seemed
like a good time to send out the second Z-fids Newsletter. The
natural environment of the Brunt ice shelf does not change much, but
the place is less remote than it used to be, with an always-on
Internet connection, cheap high-quality phone calls, and frequent
flights from Rothera. This season there was even a visit from a
tourist ship, the "Kapitan Khlebnikov", and one day a hundred
tourists were helicoptered in for a tour of the base. More
information and pictures can be found in the web diary. During the
second call of the 'Ernest Shackleton', in February, none of the
nearby creeks were workable for cargo due to lack of fast ice, and
relief was done from N9 50 km from base. Halley-5 is still in good
shape, though the planning of the new Halley-6 is a subject of much
discussion.

After a busy summer season, the sixteen 2005 winterers have now been
left in peace to get on with their winter, the 50th consecutive one
that the station has been occupied. Here is a message from Simon
Coggins, the current winter base commander.

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"Halley is now back in winter mode after an eventful summer. This
year the CODIS* system was installed which means we have internet
access and cheap phone calls for the first time, a strange
experience for those of us who spent the previous year without it.
We also had a visit from the Halley 6 design teams who took home a
great deal of useful information about the current base to
incorporate into their designs. The final location of the new base
has now been decided and a weather station installed so a few lucky
people can already claim to have visited Halley VI! 

At the moment winter trips are in full swing and enjoying clear
skies and reasonably warm temperatures. Already the first signs of
winter are on their way with the Sun setting earlier each day and
the number of dark hours creeping up. Many of us wintering this year
will be back in the UK in time for the reunion so we look forward to
meeting everyone next year."
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* CODIS is an acroym whose meaning I have forgotten, but has now
been renamed "BASnet". [Ed.]

While I was at Halley, I was asked if I knew the origin of the bar
top, which is of sturdy wooden construction with an inlaid brass
outline of the Antarctic continent; very tasteful. I didn't, but
perhaps one of the readers of this newsletter does, in which case
please let me know. Who made it, and when?

The Z-fids website (www.zfids.org.uk) has continued to develop. It
was not updated between mid-January and mid-March, while I was
South, but I have now added all the material which accumulated while
I was away, including a new 2005 page, and an updated statistics
page. The group photo of the 2004 winter harks back to an earlier
era, with moustaches, pipes, and ties being much in evidence; nice
one! Any contributions to the website are always welcome. 227 people
have now registered on the site; this includes more than a third of
all the 653 winterers, plus a number of summer residents.

The 50th anniversary celebrations and reunion, to be held in
Northampton on the weekend of 14-15 October 2006, continues to be
planned by the organising committee. A programme of talks, films,
displays, discussions etc. is being devised, and on the Saturday
evening there will be a reunion dinner and hopefully a live link-up
with Halley. Some information is already on the Z-fids site, and the
Second Circular, which includes a booking form and more details,
will be published in May. That will be the time to reserve your
place on the weekend, and book your accommodation. The circular will
be mailed to BAS Club members with the May BAS Club Newsletter. Non
members will be able to download it from the Z-fids website, or
request a copy by post. Speaking of the BAS Club, the Club's
Membership Secretary, Keith Holmes, has contributed the following
article.

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The BAS Club

As Membership Secretary of the BAS Club I have watched with pleasure
and admiration the way in which Andy has developed the Zfids website
in so few years.  It is very good to see that so many of you have
subscribed to it, and to hear that plans for the Halley 50 Reunion
are proceeding well. The BAS Club wishes both enterprises every
continuing success.

Many, if not most, of you are Members of the BAS Club.  However, we
would like to recruit even more and I would like to extend a warm
welcome to all of you who may not have heard of us, may have not yet
joined, or whose Membership may have lapsed.  Each year, around the
northern mid-summer, we hold our Annual General Meeting and Annual
Reunion at different locations throughout the country, which usually
attract a hundred or more Members. We produce two very good
Newsletters each year and our comprehensive Members address list is
available to Members who would like to get in touch with former
colleagues. We also have a website which is linked to BAS itself and
which keeps us informed about current BAS activities.  The
subscription is currently a very modest 5 per annum, although this
may rise to 10 next year. If you would like further information
please visit our website www.antarctica.ac.uk/basclub, which
contains an Application Form, or get in touch with me directly.

Keith Holmes, BAS Club Membership Secretary, 3 Capel Close, 
Oxford OX2 7LA; 01865 318 914; kdhox@hotmail.com
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A final thought. One offer I received in relation to the 50th
anniversary weekend was: "If you want an original Halley Union Jack
(authentically tattered) for display I could bring one down for the
weekend. There should be 50 of these around somewhere but let me
know if none are making their way to Northampton." So who has the
other 49?

28 March 2005
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