Monday, 9 December 2013

Monday 9th December 2013

Today it was a hard struggle to get out of bed. When I finally got up I slugged about and had a long chat and good laugh with Luc over breakfast. Eventually I wandered out to greet the day and got blown off the stairs by a sixty knot refreshing Mawson breeze. After sorting through all the usual email bullshit I halted the old tide gauge and pack it into the RTA crate. 

By then it was nine thirty so I wandered or I should say forced myself up wind to the ARPANSA building. If anyone has experienced this sort of wind before you will know what I’m talking about. The wind strength is constant and it’s like pushing a car up the road and it's exhausting work. It's also hard to breath in a very strong wind, but what was worse it was syphoning the coffee out of my coffee mug in my hand. I worked with Dave over the phone from ARPANSA in Melbourne to get the main gamma ray detector sorted out and up and running again and I also reset the x-cooler for the spare unit. These x-coolers cool down the detector germanium crystal to minus one hundred and seventy degrees and I think with the warm weather we have been having, when I turn on the rim and infra red heaters to melt the snow off the filter it has been heating the room too much and causing the x-coolers to conk out. These heaters pull about five kilowatts so I reduced the room heating to about fifteen degrees and wrote a new procedure to leave the door shut to the filter room when the rim and infra red heaters are on during a blizzard. 

In the afternoon I went out to Bechervaise Island to take a look at the microwave link that’s not working. The wind was howling and the wind chill was about minus fifteen and I had to work with my gloves off so I got very cold. I discovered a burnt track on a circuit board so I made a quick dash back to the workshop to make repairs and then I headed back out to re-install the circuit board and hopefully get it going. Unfortunately there was a short circuit in the waverider transceiver that took the fuse out; everything else appeared to be working fine. By now I was getting hypothermic and one hand had gone off, so I packed up and headed back to the Hag. I will have to come back out when the weather permits to remove the waverider and either fix it or replace it with a spare unit. 

I need to get this system operational fast as the sea ice is now closed and I have to have it running for the two biologists who will be living out there shortly. So far I have fixed eight faults within the system and now I have a ninth to sort out. This system sends all the data from the penguin weigh bridges and counters back to Kingston as well as providing Internet and telephony for the biologists. Once the sea ice is closed and breaks up there is no way of getting out there until all the ice has gone and a boat can be launched which could be as late as March next year. The reason this system has so many faults is that some wacker left the junction box door open and it got full of blizz which is very salty out here, so now everything is corroding. I was meant to replace all this kit but the guy's in Kingston didn't get the drawings done in time.

By the time I got back to station it was dinner time and I was frozen to the core. After dinner I stood under a very hot shower for about twenty minutes until I defrosted. Later I did some washing, changed my bed linen, loaded the new antivirus software on my laptop and then down loaded the ninety megabytes of updates, installed eighty megabytes of a new version of itunes, a new quick time player, a new version of Adobe..... bla bla bla.........what a world we are locked into these days with computers!! Finally late in the evening I got some time to update my blog.

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