Lee and I had quite an eventful day on Saturday, February 2.
We finally got priority + good weather for a Twin Otter flight. We had an ambitious day – to visit Schwerdtfeger, Marilyn and Alexander Tall Tower! site in one day.
It was our second day flying with Brent and Darin, they got to know us a little better and asked us a lot of questions about our science. They ended up helping quite a lot with everything, providing extra hands, advice and tools to fix some issues. And they also showed me how to make snow angels. I want to extend my appreciation and my support to all the KBA crew members. Every single person we worked with were wonderful at their job and very supportive with ours!
So, back to our Satruday. Lee and I were joined by Cole – a google maps volunteer, who carried a 360 degree camera. Scwerdtfeger, Marilyn and Alexander Tall Tower! are coming soon to google street view – how exciting is that 😉
The first site we visited was Schwerdtfeger. None of the pilots or fixed wing ops can spell it properly, so the underground name of the station became Schwarzenegger (also misspelled). This station needed the most work – we were replacing all instruments with new set up and possible raising the tower. We actually tried to find this station on Monday, but coordinates on the AMRC website were way off (from 2003!) and we did not manage to find the station. This time we managed to confirm newer coordinates, which were within half a mile of the present station location. The station was too high to raise, so Lee and I preceded with switching the old instruments to new ones. The weather was really nice, the wind was light to non existent, so it was quite comfortable to work. Once we were almost done with the switch, we realized that both the solar panel and the battery power have sockets, and there’s no plug. We ended up making a hole in the battery box and hardwiring the solar panel cable into battery wires. Our captain, Brent, helped us a lot! In the end we secured the connection as best as we could and we hope it will work throughout the season. The station successfully transmitted!
Marilyn was an old station, which had issues with the wind measurements. It is due for a full replacement next year, so we just brought an old style aerovane (and an old style boom just in case) to troubleshoot. We found that the wires coming from the station to the enclosure were exposed and decided to replace the boom entirely. After replacing the boom we waited forever for the station to transmit. That’s when our dear pilots taught me to do snow angels! We created a whole village of them – once I actually learn how to resize pictures I will post a picture here! We never got a signal through Telonics, but as far as I know, Marilyn is transmitting and everything actually worked!
The last station on our list was Alexander Tall Tower! We are switching its transmission to Iridium – a completely new thing for us, so we were anticipating issues. The station is working and Lee successfully troubleshoot the problem with the lower anemometer. We successfully updated the OS and managed to get a couple of successful transmissions. However, since it is a new setup, we might have to visit Tall Tower! again (if we get a chance) to change the program and make sure we continuously get good data via Iridium. Wish us good weather and good luck!