On the Ice

16 Jan: Otter to Janet AWS (11 Jan 2018)

A couple of weather cancelation days after our dig-out of the Turn 1 fuel cache, we got to another AWS on 11 Jan: Janet. This site hadn’t been visited since 2013 and needed to be raised. We also wanted to replace the power system there because it seemed to be getting a little low on battery voltage at the end of this past winter. Since it had been almost 5 years since it was last visited, we were expecting the power system to be quite buried. It ended up working out that we could bring 4 of the POLENET crew with us to help dig. This made the visit go very smoothly.

Janet is about an hour and a half’s Otter flight away from WAIS. Along the way, we were able to see some mountains in the distance. When we approached Janet, one mountain stood out among the rest: Mt. Sidley. This is also where the rest of the POLENET crew went while we were at Janet.

Mt. Sidley on the horizon as we are approaching a landing at Janet AWS

Janet upon arrival, with the 4 POLETNET crew in the background on the right: Dave, Austin, Peter, and Alex… Those goofballs.

As is standard with any raise we do, we first got the heights of the instruments, noted any that were buried, and started digging. Once we dug out the enclosure, I checked that the datalogger was still running, that data looked nominal, removed the data card, and powered down the station. Then Marian and I could free the cables and remove instrumentation while the POLENET crew dug out the power system.

The AWS and POLENET groups working in harmony at Janet, with Mt. Sidley in the background

The one thing that gave me trouble with this raise was the pipe on which the aerovane is mounted, one top of the tower. It was quite stuck, and I couldn’t yank it off with either my hands or a big, heavy orange wrench Marian and I affectionately call the murder wrench (think the board game “Clue”) (see picture below).

Me with the murder wrench, trying to remove the aerovane pipe

Finally, I got the idea to just hammer the pipe off, using a channel locks tool to grip the tower section and provide more surface area to hammer. It worked! We could put the new 7-foot tower section on.

The new tower section is on! But as this picture indicates, the shovels are always the stars of the show.

We finished the work in record time for us this field season (~4 hours), and it was a very satisfying day.

Janet AWS after our raise

With the completion of Janet, we were done with all of the AWS raises out of WAIS, and we only had the coastal sites of Evans Knoll and Thurston Island to complete. These last two, however, turned out to give us a lot of trouble…

Dave Mikolajczyk

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