Friday, December 18, 2009

Camp Life

I haven’t posted much in the past few days because camp life has settled into a routine, and there is less of interest to report. We get up in the morning, have breakfast, work on the station or make physics measurements, eat lunch, work more, eat dinner, and then usually work more.

Breakfast is usually eggs and hash browns or cereal. Lunch has been soup and sandwiches or gardenburgers, and dinner has varied a lot. Martha has been doing most of the cooking (and the food has been excellent), in addition to melting snow into water. Although our propane stove puts out a lot of heat, it takes a lot of energy to melt snow and this chore takes an hour or two each day.

Martha and Thorsten are both vegetarians (including some fish), and it is easier if we all eat the same thing, so I’ve been eating vegetarian. However, we did bring two ‘steaks’ (I use that term loosely), and Martha made one for me on Thursday evening. Unfortunately, it badly smoked up the tent – I don’t think that we’ll do that again.

The weather continues to be good. On Friday, it was very cloudy, but only about 10 degrees colder than previously. In the morning, it was windy for a while - we saw gusts up to about 15 miles/hour, but they slowed down quickly.

We are beginning to think about the ‘end game’ – making sure that everything critical is done before we leave. We don’t have time to do everything in the detail that we’d like; we are trying to look at everything at least a little bit. As part of finishing up, we buried the antennae yesterday, and also made measurements of the antennae locations.

Work on the station has progressed. It is now fully operational, and we are doing discriminator scans to measure the ambient noise levels. One significant question is how much the radio emission from the wireless internet is seen by the station. To answer this, we took measurements with the internet on and off.

We are also using a small transmitter to bounce radio signals off the ice-water interface below us, returning about 6.5 microseconds (millionths of a second) after we send out the pulse. The return pulse is not large, and the measurement proved slightly tricky - we had some equipment issues, and went through several experimental setups before getting one that worked well. The bottom photo shows the setup in our antenna laboratory building

We are also comparing the antenna properties in air and in ice. Many of these measurements are mutually exclusive, in that they require some of the same pieces of equipment, or in that they will interfere with each other. So, we need to be a little careful about scheduling and setting priorities.


  1. Watching these photos I had wishes of being there, but also I thought all the difficulties that it involves that just heroic people like you can overcome.

  2. beautiful view, I really want to be there, I hope my dream will come true soon

  3. wow, i envy you for making it down as far south as Antarctica! I was recently in bar iloche, but that was as far down as i made it. Much enjoyed reading about your experiences immensely!

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