Time Zones in Antarctica

September has been a rather extravagant month long pre-deployment shopping spree.  This week I have been looking for a watch and this got me thinking about time zones and how many I may need to keep track of.

Most of the communications will be scheduled and conducted on UTC.  Rothera station local time is UTC-3 and there is no daylight savings changes.    Punta Arenas will be on Chile Standard Time CLT (UTC-4) during winter and change to Chile Summer Time CLST ( UTC-3) for the summer.   Faulkland Islands time is as clear as mud.  And the  local time zones will be many and varies for the  field parties and other Antarctic stations that I will talk to on the HF and satellite links.

As the diameter of the earth decreases towards the poles, local time-zones boundaries become increasingly compressed and meaningless.    Field parties will report their local time using the military names  based on the phonetic alphabet Alpha to Zulu.  Every letter of the alphabet is used except Juliet(poor Juliet), so this conveniently makes 24 time zone names.  Zulu is UTC/GMT, Alpha is UTC+1, Bravo is UTC+2  ….and so on except Juliet is skipped so Kilo is UTC+10, November is UTC-1 , Oscar is UTC-2, Yankee is UTC-12.

Rothera station local time is Papa time (UTC-3).  Halley station local time is Zulu time (GMT).  All flying operations will operate on Zulu time (UTC). The UK of course will be Zulu time in winter and Alpha time in summer.

The field parties kit will include a printed schedule of SW broadcast radio stations to listen to news and music.  Because of the mulitplicity of time zones in Antarctica the schedule lists the broadcast times Zulu (UTC) times.  Usefully their are a number of Time Signal Station  that broadcast the current UTC time and helpful information about atmospheric and propagation conditions to help find available broadcast frequencies.  These time signal broadcast are made on 2500, 5000, 10000, 15000 & 20000kHz so they are easy to remember.

So my impossible requirements list for a watch are:
– Ideally will be orange in colour and not too macho or big and bulky
– It should be waterproof, reliable and have a long battery life
– It should show UTC in a large digital display in a 24h format
– It should also show the local Papa time ideally on a traditional 2-hand 12h format
– I like to wear a clip-on Suunto compass on my watch band so I would like this to fit on the band
– Some kind of bevel swivel ring to translate from military time zone names to UTC would be a nice to have.

I am looking for recommendations, so please do let me know if you have a watch that you are happy with that does these sorts of things .


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