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ZD8SC Ascension Island

Steve, WB4GHY is currently active as ZD8SC from Ascension Island, IOTA AF - 003.
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Ascension Island

An unusual territory in the tropics, lost in the Atlantic between Brazil and Africa; a small part of the British Commonwealth - all this can be said about Ascension Island. It is located 1600 km west of the African continent, has an almost perfectly round shape, although the coastline is completely "cut through" bays and coves.

The uniqueness of the island lies in its status: it is a semi-closed zone, where the U.S. Air Force military bases and NASA observation posts are located. None of its 800 inhabitants has the right to permanent residence, despite the fact that in fact many of them have not left the territory for decades. It is also not easy for an outsider to get here: to do so, one must obtain permission from the administrator.

Ascension Island ZD8SC SunsetSunset, Ascension Island. Author - r.brownlow.

History of the island

The island was uninhabited until the early 16th century. Its history dates back to its discovery by a Portuguese expedition led by João da Nova in 1501. At that time, the new land was not named in any way. Therefore, this discovery "didn't count". Two years later, in 1503, the ships of another Portuguese expedition led by Alfonso de Albuquerque docked at the shores of the island. It happened on the feast of the Ascension of the Lord, in honor of which the new geographical name appeared on the map.

Since the island was poor in flora and fauna, and there were problems with drinking water, for the next centuries it remained uninhabited. But in 1815 it was decided to turn it into a British outpost, which was engaged in the provision of passing ships that controlled security on the west coast of Africa.

During World War II, an airstrip was built here and used for cargo planes. In the postwar period, the U.S. leased the territory from the British, where they located a NASA station (now defunct) and an Air Force station (operational).

Today, Ascension Island is home to a large GPS satellite navigation antenna and transshipment bases for NATO warships.

Ascension Island ZD8SC DX NewsAscension Island. Author - AlxTry.

Features of the island

In the central region of the island, at an altitude of 800 meters above sea level, is Green Mountain, which was once an active volcano. All of the soils on the coast are volcanic in origin, with large blocks of rock. There are no freshwater springs here, except for a small pond near the extinct volcano. But it dries up from time to time. Such conditions do not attract settlers at all, as they did not attract colonizers in the past centuries. The main population is British and U.S. military personnel, as well as - the garrison's service personnel (as a rule, they are residents of St. Helena, which is located 1300 km from Ascension Island). The number of people is constantly changing: from a few hundred to one and a half thousand.

On the 91 km square there is the central city of Georgetown, where 500 people live, and several mini-towns (administrator's residence; garrison of the British military; garrison of the U.S. military base).

Ascension Island ZD8SC Tourist attractions spot Crab.Crab, Ascension Island. Author - r.brownlow.

What's interesting on the island?

Dry subtropics prevail on the sparsely populated island. All year round the temperature does not fall below +24, but also does not rise above +28 С. Rains are infrequent: 155 to 800 mm of precipitation is recorded per year. Such a climate does not contribute to the abundance of flora and fauna. On the island grow mainly bush plants, many of which are flowering (ferns, molochai). There are also solitary palm trees, which can be found if you walk inland from the coast.

The animal world of the island, although not rich, is quite interesting. There are many insects, butterflies, earth crabs and green sea turtles. For many centuries, turtles have been the main fodder for sailors. These animals were mercilessly exterminated until the 1930s. History describes cases when sailors caught 250-300 kilograms of specimens, turned them on their backs, and in this state carried them for weeks until they were used to make soup. This human attitude to the ecosystem could not pass without a trace: the turtles began to leave the island. It took many decades for them to return to lay eggs again.

Today you don't see many tourists on the island. Although in Georgetown there is a small hotel for 70 guests, and the wild beaches with volcanic sand are quite suitable for recreation. Three years ago, the first diving club was even opened. According to statistics, about six hundred travelers visit the island every year, most of whom are US citizens. The rest are residents of Great Britain. Perhaps in the near future, the semi-closed island can turn into an attractive tourist destination for those seeking peace and privacy.

ZD8SC. Where is Ascension Island located. Map.

ZD8SC Ascension Island. Sunrise 07-18-2024 at 07:11 GMT sunset at 18:56 GMT
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