Comms!

16 10 2009

Today kind of hit home just how important communications channels are. We’ve been try to get internet down at the old Incinerator Building that is our staging area. There’s no phone to the building and the VHF radios we’re issued have a hard time penetrating the metal siding. So to get a message down there, currently someone has to physically run down the hill (in -50 °C wind chill). The internet connection down there was working for a few hours yesterday, but is out again. I called up the comms shop in town this morning to ask about it, and of course they asked what the phone number down there is so they can call to arrange to come down. Hmm… no comms. In any case, they’re very busy setting up repeaters and stations all over the area (including our field camp at Lake Bonney), so they are very low on people. In the end, I think they’ll be coming down tomorrow.

Building 162 bristles with antennas and communications gear and houses MacOps, the communications hub for this part of Antarctica.

Building 162 bristles with antennas and communications gear and houses MacOps, the communications hub for this part of Antarctica.


The other comms-related issue today was that we hadn’t heard from Maciej, who flew out to Lake Bonney along with Jim and Loralee on yesterday morning. Maciej has been in charge of all our logistics, and when he left still weren’t sure about some of the arrangements for moving us and particularly ENDURANCE out to Lake Bonney. In addition, last night, Bill had received a cryptic email from MacOps, the communications(!) central for the region. The message stated that Maciej had contacted them to tell us that he was coming back to McMurdo today. We were rather confused.
So I went over to MacOps in time for Bonney Camp’s scheduled 11 am check-in (field camps have to contact MacOps once a day or else a rescue team gets mobilized) to see if I could talk to Maciej and find out what was going on. In conversation with the operator there who’d talked to Maciej and sent the email it turned out that their Iridium satellite phone call had dropped out and she realized she may have misinterpreted what he was saying. We called Lake Bonney on the Iridium, managed to get through, and cleared up that Maciej was not coming to McMurdo and that he was having difficulty with… comms. The internet connection was not up yet, the VHF radios were not always getting through and the Iridium phone generally dropped out very fast. Later today, the comms guys got the internet connection to Lake Bonney up and Maciej is now able to send us good old emails.
It looks like from our email… communications(!) that Bill will go out to Lake Bonney this coming Wednesday along with a bunch of “Carps” (handypeople, not fish) and start setting out the bothouse foundation. The rest of us, along with ENDURANCE and the remaining cargo will head out on Friday, and we should be up and running with our first shakedown tests the following Monday. There’s still plenty to do prepping ENDURANCE before then, but more on that later.

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One response

17 10 2009
Maria Richmond

weiterhin viel Erfolg bei allen Vorbereitungen, Muttertier!! PS. das Foto mit der Sonne IST wunderschön

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