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ZD8JR Ascension Island

Henri, OH3JR will be active from Ascension Island 14 November - 1 December 2014 as ZD8JR.
He will operate on HF bands CW, SSB, RTTY.
QSL via home call.

Ascension Island

A brief on the island

The equatorial waters in South Atlantic Ocean gives a nice area of 1,000 miles across the African coast. This is a part of South America area and it is situated in the midway between the two continents. the archipelago is a remote area.


A Portuguese sailor, Joao da Nova discovered Ascension island in 1501. However, it was not a big discovery and soon be forgotten. Along the way, another famous Portuguese, Alfonso de Alburquerque arrived at the island and that time was Ascension day. This is why the island is named after the feast day.

The passing ships have been a great panorama especially when they collect the fresh seafoods. Many people hunt for seabirds and turtles as they lay eggs on the beaches. The Portuguese bring along livestocks like goats and pigs.

William Dampier arrives in February 1701 and spotted at the Clarence Bay. He arrived at the north west of the island. William and his men found water spring at the higher place of the island. the valley is later called Breakneck. The small water source is now named Dampier drip.

The island was believed to be use to as prison to criminals. They would be shipped there and there were documentations like officer of the Dutch ship as he was punished for sodomy. Leendert Hasenbosch died of suicide after being left in the island.

Ascension Island ZD8JR QSL

The British came across the island and in 1815 they organized a better settlement in the Ascension. After Napoleon I was imprisoned, the Royal Navy of the British decided to make Ascension as Frigate. Ascension became a stopping point for ships who sailed across. The work include slave trades to West Africa.

As described by Charles Darwin, the island was treeless. Nothing was growing and the vegetation was bad. There were 600 goats and sheeps plus numbers of horses. Some animals were imported from the Cape Verde – a neighboring island. These animals include rats, crabs, and even cows. The spring provides clean water to the poor and the road traveller. Everything was managed carefully and the ships would dock at the seaside. This island was considered very productive. People make a shelter here.

Joseph Hooker visited the island in 1843. The botanist explored the area and help to construct trees to the Ascension. The trees grow heavily as the rain poured on them and the soil was vertile. On the continuing year, many ships would come and ship various trees from Argentina’s botanical garden. Trees like pines, bamboos, and eucalyptus were among the lush of jungle in the highest point. Now, it is a tropical forest with a beautiful view.

The first cable was installed by the Eastern Telegraph company. It was in 1899 that the UK could connect to South Africa – making them easy to communicate with their colonies. The Ascension island was part of Saint Helena and the Governor of the city was also appointed to rule the Ascension.

The World War II had made the island to supply aircraft patrol. The US built an army base and air base in the island. It was called WideAwake because the experiment caused the people to wake up.

Ascension Island ZD8JR

Flora and Fauna

Even though many types of trees were shipped to Ascension, the island does have native flora like the Mexican Thorn and the extinct Oldenlandia adscenionis. The island had few plants that were grown heavily but extinct in time. the original flora is decreasing somehow. And the British introduce several animals from donkeys to rabbits that would consume the flora.

There were no native birds in Ascension. The mammals and reptiles would be introduce by the British. And there are quite a few of endemic insects in caves. Flies are huge problem during the summer. The animals include sharks and tuna. Black fish and sailfish are among the protected ones beside the green turtle that’s famous in the island. Tourists would love to go during May month to witness these turtles lay eggs on beaches. The green turtles increase more than 500%.

Cannaries and sparrows would be seen flying high above the island. They migrate from the neighboring continent and nest on the shore.

Ascension Island ZD8JR DX News

The economy

The island’s financial source comes from the military base at WideAwake Airfield. The BBC station also has the facility built in the Ascension. The infrastructure of this island comes from the Ministry of Defence and the offshore operation was conducted by Maersk. This is where the fuel was bulked. The floating hose would transfer the fuel to the airbase for the ship.


The tourism attractions were never famous before 2002. The accessibility of the island becomes better after transportation was managed. There was a limitation of air travel but today, they make it available. There are also hotels and cottages for tourists for accommodation and visitors need to have entry permit for activities like sport fishing or swimming. The NASA also built a base in this island because it is located in the middle of Atlantic ocean. So this makes a great view as well.

As it is beneath the waves, scuba diving is a great activity to do in Ascension. The blue waters offer massive underwater species and the fantastic location is also perfect for snorkelling activity. You can also go fishing and rent a boat to take you to the middle of the sea. The thrilling experience is when you finally catch huge fish for your dinner tonight!


No taxi in the island. And people need to rent cars to travel around the island. the RMS st. Helena would visit Ascension once in a month and most of the transportation you see is owned by the US military. The transportation in and out of the island is strictly maintained by the US government. And the airplane flight is available only once in a week. The commercial passengers are limited to avoid any misuse. But from the British, a regular twice a week flights are from the United Kingdom.

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