New Trips, New Questions

As there are new trips coming about because of equipment installs and bring in equipment for the winter as the summer season draws to a close, There are still questions the masses are thinking of, but shy to ask. Here are a couple that came in recently and I thought I would share them with the group. Remember that I have tried to add trivia onlong the throughout my posts and answers to comments, so have fun sharing them with your friends. They will be imporessed with the amount of useless information you have.

Third Trip To The Pole

This is the second attempt to create this blog. The last on locked up my computer about three fourths of the way trough loading pictures. At our baud rates, that equates to a day’s work. I have completed my third trip to the pole. This trip was to provide training to the weather observers down there in how to align a windbird so it is facing Grid North. We don't use true direction down there because at the South Pole everything is north. I'm attaching a few pictures I have been taking lately. A few probably require an explanation. There are a series of tunnels under the snow at the pole to house things such as the wells. They also store food underground (snow) in a large warehouse. There are 45 10,000 gallon storage tanks undersnow to store fuel for the winter. It takes all summer for the C130's to fill the tanks. Every flight drops off extra fuel. The fuel is specially blended to operate in cold temperatures. AN8 is what it is called. There are niches in the tunnel walls that people have created shrines of various sorts. Some are humorous, others are just plain weird. Frost from your breathe creates frost on everything. Apparently, some of the frost layers go all the way back to the fifties. I'm not sure if that is completely true, but what I can tell you is that it is extremely cold down there. For those of you that have seen "Whiteout", you will notice that the station does not look anything like the one in the movie. The one in the movie doesn't look like the old one either. Go figure. I guess they thought no one would notice. I didn't until I was there. The glacier photos aren't as beautiful as they are in person. The flow lines are gorgeous. That and the tops you see poking out a few hundred feet are actually thousands of feet tall. There is up to 2 miles of ice over the top of the ground in places. More snow builds up every year. Antarctica is not as affected by global warming as other areas because of the circumpolar winds. They go around the pole and keep the warmer winds and water out. Some pictures are actually taken here at MCM, like the ships and penguins. The open water is out by Tent Island.

Goings On - More Photos

Well, it's been a while since I last posted. Been really busy getting equipment ready to go out to sites and traveling to the sites. After 3 trips, AWS 100 has the tower relocated about a half mile from the old site. We just received new equipment to replace the AWS equipment at all the sites, so we are going to start with AWS 100. After the guy wires get a chance to freeze in we'll go out the first of next week after I get back from the South Pole and tighten the guy wires and put up the new equipment. Also, here are a bunch of pictures I have made and gotten from other people I was with. I keep forgetting where I left my camera every time I get a chance to upload the pictures to the blog so it takes me a while. That and finding an open slot to pass high speed data to make it possible is sometimes hard to do. Enjoy. If there is something you want to see in particular, let me know. By the way, if you create a login for yourself, I'll know who is posting comments. I promise the information will go no further than that particular purpose. Some of you may notice I haven't shaved for a couple of days.

More Random Photos

I came across some random photos from other folks I work with I thought you might find interesting. Pictures include the MatTrack I got stuck when the front tracks seperated and caused the front drive cog to slip on the tracks and when it was loaded on the magic carpet to tow back to town.(That was on the way back from an excursion to a weather site (AWS 104) 20 miles out on the ice.) I also have just one picture of the trip back from AWS 100. I was concentrating so hard on not getting stuck I forgot to take any until the danger had passed. We also had a rock concert with several local bands we call Ice Stock. Sort of like Woodstock, but a lot colder. Some of the bands were what you would expect to find and a couple were actually quite good. By the way, I also got one of the South Pole.

Aftermath Of Water World Trip

Well, they made a decision on what to do with the tower and remaining equipment. We're going to wait for cold weather to freeze the equipment into the ice and fly out by helicopter to chop it back out and bring it in for refurbishment. In the meantime, we are going to arrange a helo trip to site survey a new location on shore over at Black Island to put up a new station. We have new equipment on hand and will begin putting that out in the field for all the sites beginning in two weeks to replace the existing equipment.

When Disaster Strikes

A funny thing happened on the way to the weather sight today... One of our remote weather stations failed on Christmas day so they asked me to go out there today to troubleshoot the cause. We were about two miles away when we spotted the problem. The tower the gear was mounted to was laying on the ground. AS we approached, there were more and more patches of open water. When we finally got to the site, after a lot of dodging open pools of water, we found the guy stakes had melted out of the ice causing the tower to fall. In fact, the tower waslying in about two feet of water.

Trivia about the South Pole

If anyone is interested in a strange fact: The magnetic South Pole is at 65° 0′ 0″ S, 138° 0′ 0″ E. This is at the edge of the ice shelf below the middle of Australia. This is from 2008 so I assume the real position is nearer 61 degrees S. Just thought you might be interested in knowing that.

Stray Photos - Taken But Not Yet Posted

Stray Photos

Here are some photos I've collected along the way, but weren't significant enough to create an entry. I've been busy helping to get ready for the ice town move from McMurdo to Pegasus. The ice will not be thick enough to support the air traffic in a few weeks, so they move operations out to Pegasus for the remainder of the season. The only problem is that we still have to go out there every day and it is about 15 miles away instead of two. That may not sound like much, but when you are going 15 to 25 miles an hour at the fastest, it takes forever.

The South Pole

The South Pole!

The South Pole Has Been Conquered

Well, I've made it to the South Pole. The trip went fine except we left 4 hours late and the pickup plane arrived an hour early. What this means is that I thought we were going to have 4 hours more time than we ended up with. We were aligning equipment and tuning radios. I got everything done that I was told needed to be done. Unfortunately, there wasn't time to take any pictures to speak of. I took some pictures of glaciers on the way down, but once we got there I had no time until we were back waiting for permission to board.

To boldly go where no man (without a parka anyway) has gone before. To explore new icefields, seeking vistas of beautiful horizons tuxedoed penguins. To perform daring feats of electrical engineering in fascinating and sometimes colorless environs, (except some nights when the sky is on fire). To Live.

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