Posts Tagged ‘Rothera’

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No flights for seven days

November 14, 2012
Snowy_runway

A panorama from the Rothera hangar to South Cove. On the right is a Basler aircraft called Polar 6 that has stopped in Rothera en route to Neumayer Station and operated by the Alfred Wegner Institute. All other aircraft on station are hunkered down in the hangar today awaiting a break in the weather.

Terry writes:

Haven’t flown since November 7. I have been doing eight-lap runs around the runway in between testing our instruments. Each lap is a little more than a mile. When its too snowy and blowy, I run on the treadmill.

On November 9, the Lake Ellsworth drilling team arrived via Dash-7, and about two hours later we had our first fire drill while I was doing stretches in my room. With the fire alarm blasting, I hurried into my boots and jacket. I hustled down to New Bransfield house, the primary emergency muster point, where each on-site person needed to check in. After a couple of minutes, the alarms ceased, and everyone went back to what they had been doing.

I decided to replace the ten-image 2001 UTC acquisition at Flask AMIGOS-3 with a 0901 UTC acquisition so that Steve Crampton, Rothera’s weather forecaster, could have it available when preparing his 0745 Rothera Time (i.e. 1045 UTC) daily weather briefing for the pilots and field teams. I first uploaded the changes to AMIGOS-2 in Boulder, then AMIGOS-3 on Flask.

On November 11, I worked as a “gash” all day, mostly cleaning the bar after the usual Saturday night revelry, cleaning the upstairs washrooms in New Bransfield, and washing pots in the kitchen. After that, I played guitar after dinner with three other guys in the music room in Old Bransfield.

The weather has been bad the last three days. It had been snowing and blowing in Rothera, and presumably in the Larsen B region. Still not getting the 0901 image on AMIGOS-3. Investigation showed that the updated schedule checker script did not finish loading, so I reloaded a copy this time to a temporary file, verified that the copy loaded ok, then renamed it.

I started getting Roger Stilwell up to speed on the AMIGOS and cGPS instrument upgrade and repairs, as it appears Roger will be replacing Malcolm Airey who will start working with another field group.

Looks like I’ll be flying tomorrow to Scar Inlet with Roger, Daniel, Daniel’s field assistant Ash Fusiarski, and a pilot to service the Scar Inlet AMIGOS-4 and Daniel’s Scar Inlet GPS, and whatever else we might have time for.

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Election news and preparations for flight number two

November 7, 2012

Terry writes:

I was happy to see this morning that my candidate had won. No flying or even a weather briefing, so I spent the entire day writing and dealing with yesterday’s photos. Noticed that the Scar Inlet slot nearest AMIGOS-4 seemed wider than I remembered seeing in previous photos that Ted had taken. Was informed that afternoon that we are scheduled to fly again tomorrow. Our equipment is still in the hangar, and I’ll try to make any lunch preparations tonight, so hopefully I won’t be the one to hold things up this time around. Oh and I’ll try to remember the Canon this time.

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Flight preparations

November 5, 2012

Terry writes:

Mike’s Ablation Valley group left after lunch, the first Rothera-based field deployment of the season. I was informed by field operations manager (FOM) Andy Barker that we are scheduled to fly tomorrow morning to attempt Scar Inlet, Flask Glacier, and maybe Leppard Glacier. I continued charging batteries and repacking equipment. Set up Iridium dial-out setup on Old Bransfield porch. I dialed in and connected to the cGPS unit on Leppard Glacier. I also called the cGPS on Flask, which answered the call but did not connect. I will need to swap out the electronics at Flask.

After discussions with Tamsin and Malcy, I decided against bringing solar panel leg extensions to Flask, and just raise entire station if necessary.

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Battery news

November 4, 2012

Terry writes:

Unpacked equipment in my office. Moved batteries from charging shed to my office. Started minor remaining charging. Tested AMIGOS-1. Noticed some resetting that occurred a few times when first powering up, but then went away, similar to what I had seen in Boulder. Got an e-mail from Chris Hill that the batteries I gave him tested good, but that he would be unable to use them since they are gel-acid and his charger only works with wet-acid batteries. So I told him to just leave them in the AGUNSA warehouse and I would deal with them after I get back to Punta Arenas.

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A belated Halloween party

November 3, 2012

Field assistant Dave Routeldge and Terry (right) at the Rothera Research Station Halloween party.

Terry writes:

After breakfast in the tent, we broke camp, and then piled into the tractor with another group of campers, leaving Ian, Mike, and Mike’s Aberystwyth University post-doc Bethan to do a full day of Mountaineering Training. The three of them will be spending the rest of November and most of December doing fieldwork reconstructing the glaciological history of Ablation Valley on the East coast of Alexander Island on George VI Sound.

After getting back to the station, I did laundry, called Sue and her dad Red at his 90th birthday in Arkansas, retrieved my computer and electrical equipment, downloaded pictures from my cameras, and, most importantly, assembled my costume for the Halloween party that evening. The “fancy dress” room upstairs in Old Bransfield had just what I was looking for: black, elegant, glittery but still understated, except possibly for the shiny cowboy boots. My only slight disappointment was that I had to settle for a cotton rather than a leather skirt.

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Pitching pyramid tents

November 2, 2012
Terry attends camping training in near Rothera Station. Although researchers like Terry have camped on Antarctic ice many times, they have to attend this training to refresh their skills.

Terry Haran participates in camping training in near Rothera Station. Although researchers like Terry have camped on Antarctic ice many times, they have to refresh their skills before each expedition.

Terry writes:

Spent the morning on field training with field assistant Ian Hey, learning about British Antarctic Survey camping procedures and equipment. Then in the afternoon Ian and the other students in my group, including Mike Hambrey, Bethan Davies, and Alex Brisbourne, traveled by snow tractor about six kilometers up “The Ramp” to the field training area next to “The Kaboose.”

We pitched two “pyramid tents” (called “Scott tents” in the US program), wherein my tent mate Alex and I cooked dinner, talked about 60s rock groups (of which he was surprisingly knowledgeable despite being only 39 years old), and went to sleep.

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Training days

November 1, 2012

Terry writes:

I spent all day at training sessions, including Aircraft Familiarization, Station Communications, Environmental & Medical, Vehicle Familiarization (where we got to drive Gators and snowmobiles), and Field Medical Box (where we each got to give a dummy an injection of real but expired adrenaline).

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