History of Crozet islands amateur radio activity ...
The Crozet archipelago was discovered in 1772 by navigator MARION and his assistant called CROZET. After this discovery, the French government reinstated its claims in 1837 and 1887. The islands have been administered since 1924 by the Government of Madagascar.
The first amateur activity starts in 1961 from the Crozet islands, with the callsign FB8WW. From then on, the TAAF represent 4 different entities.
The preliminary mission, December 1961 to February 1962.
The first expedition (in the scientific meaning of the word) remained on Crozet from December 21st 1961 till February 4th, 1962. Only 6 QSOs can be found in the log….: 5R8AA, 5R8BC, FB8XX, FB8ZZ and 2 ZS stations. The Mission Head was Alfred FAURE, and the Head of the Scientific mission was M BOST, member of the CNRS (National Center for Scientific Research). Roger BAUDELOT was the radio operator. FB8WW was only QRV on CW, on Saturdays and Sundays on 14020 around 1700 GMT. The equipment was a BC-610, a BC-342 and a 50m long wire..
1st mission, Dec.1962-Fev.1963
A second expedition took place from Dec 15th 1962 till February 15th 1963. The operator was Jehan-Yves BELLIER, ex operator at FB8XX. He was using a military equipment (SCR193) not very adequate for amateur radio operation, and he only made a few QSOs with the USA on 40m.
2nd mission, Dec.1964-
In 1964, it is Marcel BLAISE who operates FB8WW, with some new equipment: an SFR transmitter, a RU-536 receiver and a 7.5m whip. He operates on 14 and 21 MHz. That year, many F stations make Marcel’s log....
FB8WW will be used until 1970, followed by FB8WA (in 1973) up to FT5WI (in 2000).
3rd mission, Jan.-1966-Ddec.1966 and 4th mission, 1967
5th mission, Jan.1968-Jan.1969 and 6th mission, Jan.1969-Jan.1970
7th mission, 1970
8th mission, 1971 and 9th mission, 1972
1973 to 1984, missions 10 to 21
Starting in 1972, each operator was issued a personal callsign. The prefix FB8 was used until 1983.
1987 to the present day
From 1985, the prefix FT was assigned to T.A.A.F replacing the prefix FB then used in Metropolitan France.
Additionnal info :
To congratulate the operators, and encourage them to work the TAAF, the REF issues an award called « DTA » for Diplôme des Terres Australes, or Austral Territories Award. Don’t hesitate to apply for it, and let us remind you that each base counts separately. You need 3 lands for the basic award, and the 4 of them for the Golden award (FT5W, FT5X, FT5Y and FT5Z)
Good luck chasing the FT5 stations !
Usefull links: (in French)
- Histoire de l'émission d'amateur et du Réseau des Emetteurs Français "2nd book : « 1940 – 1970 After WWII – The return » by Gérard DEBELLE - REF 11340 / F2VX
- QSL by Jean Michel F6AJA http://lesnouvellesdx.fr/galerie/galerie.php?page=taaf
Radio REF excerpts about Crozet…
Excerpts of Radio REF January 1962 :
FB8WW : Crozet Archipelago. Possession island
We used to say « there is no smoke without a fire » It is now confirmed, there will be hams active from Crozet for 2 months, and they will get there for Christmas… Nice Christmas present !
We have personally been lucky to work the second operator, ex FB8ZZ, previously. The team is ready to embark, and it will reach Crozet after 9 days at sea. They will stay there for 2 months, and will say goodbye to 1962 from Kerguelen. They are all eager to operate a lot in A1 and A3 modes.
So let’s be on the lookout on 14 MHz, this is where they are likely to start.
I did mention Santa Claus. He might be a little late on these isolated islands, and might only reach for New Year’s Eve.
I was asked to insist on the usual recommendations: « not on the frequency », and « not all on the same day ». The operating times will depend upon their workload, upon the scientific work, and the use of the station for official purposes.
Excerpts of Radio REF February 1962 :
The big event is the start of activity of FB8WW from Crozet. Unfortunately, we have no news, but according to 5R8AA, it has not started yet. Let us remind the frequencies: 14020, 14025, 14050.
Excerpts of Radio REF March 1962 :
The big disappointment of the month is FB8WW. As far as we know, he was worked by 5R8AA and 5R8BC.
Despite our efforts and FB8ZZ’s help, we were not able to work him during the sked period, i.e. between Christmas and New Year’s Eve.
He was mentioned at 0345 on CW on 20m, but at this time, it is unthinkable to have a contact from France.
At the present time, the operators have left the archipelago, let us hope 1963 will be more favourable.
Excerps of Radio REF April 1963 :
News from the Austral Lands.
Let’s remember that, last year, the French Austral Lands Bureau has sent a reconnaissance team to Crozet to evaluate the possibility to set up a meteorological station.
On this occasion, contacts had been made with the people in charge so as to take advantage of this mission to make contacts with a new country. The FB8WW callsign had been issued, to complete those already wellk kown of FB8XX (Kerguelen), FB8YY (Terre Adélie), FB8ZZ(St Paul et Amsterdam).
Skeds had been set up in agreement with the designated operator Roger Baudelot (ex operator at FB8XX). Many stations were monitoring the sked frequencies, but unsucessfully.
Roger Baudelot, once returned to France, gave us some explantions on the lack of success of these skeds.
First, the landing and shelters installation was extremely tiring. The diesel stock for the generators was in limited supply. Lodging conditions were very harsd and did not allow some normal activity on the amateur bands. The equipment on the base consisted in a BC-610 transmitter, a BC-342 receiver, and a 50m long wire.
During the few tetst, only on 20m, 6 QSOs were made: 5R8BC, 5R8AA, FB8ZZ, FB8XX and 2 ZS stations. This first mission took place between December 21st, 1961 and February 4th, 1962.
A second expedition took place between December 15th, 1962 and February 15th, 1963, with the objective to improve the installations. The radio operator was called Jean-Yves, also an EX FB8XX operator. He was using an SCR-193 military equipment, not very adequate for amateur radio activity. Nevertheless, some trials were made, only on 7 MHz, where some QSOs were achieved with USA.
We can still have hopes to make contacts with Crozet, since there are plans to install a permanent mission that will function starting on January 15th, 1964. We will give your further details when they become available.
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