KF3AA 1953 Fletchers Ice Island T-3
QSL from the estate of W3EVW
The Ward Hunt Ice Shelf, on the northern coast of Ellesmere Island in Canadas high Arctic, produces tabular icebergs. One of the icebergs from this shelf was 50 m (160 ft) thick and covered an area of 90 sq km (35 sq mi). Between 1952 and 1978 it was used as a manned scientific research station that included huts, a power plant, and a runway for wheeled aircraft. Discovered by U.S. Air Force Colonel Joseph Fletcher, the iceberg was named T-3 or Fletchers Ice Island. It moved around the Arctic Ocean for many years, eventually exiting through the Fram Strait, between Greenland and Svalbard, and moving around the southern tip of Greenland to disintegrate and melt in Davis Strait.
Email received from N5WX:
I arrived on T3 on the 26th of Sept, 1960. The call sign was KG1DT at that time. The only one I know that would know of the KF3AA call is a silent key now. W9NZZ was very involved is handling traffic from T3. When the island got close to Point Barrow, I asked the Air Force Alaska Command to issue a KL7 call because when we would make a call using KG1DT, everyone would turn their antennas toward Greenland and we would loose them. They gave us KL7FLB. Callsigns were issued by the Air Force in the late 50's and 60's but not sure in the early 50's. I became a ham in March 1955 and never even heard of Ice Island back then. I was still in high school.
The C-47 that crashed on the island was stripped and left. We used to use it for target practice. Around 1957 National Geographic did an article in their magazine with pictures of the old C-47. It was interesting doing antenna work in 20 to 50 below temps. Kinda hard to hold on to tools and hardware. The Telerex beam would loose elememts every time the wind would kick up. The aluminum would become very brittle in 50 below temps.
This was the 6 meter beacon setup on Ice Island.
1959 Hamshack on Fletchers Ice Island
Photos courtesy of N5WX
I knew Jim while on Fletchers Ice Island (T3) as we both were stationed at Thule Greenland in 1953 and he took a 3 month assignment to T3. I flew to T3 to spend a couple days with him and resupply them. There were only 9 personnel assigned there at the time. Jim was issued KF3AA by FCC and was the original and only owner issued to that so called country. W4AQF