We have been fortunate to be able to secure a presentation from Paul Daniels VK0PD / VK2PAD who gave us an illustrated talk on his experience spending the winter at the Australian Antarctic Division Casey station. Paul started with some background on his interest in radio and Antarctica.
Paul did a site survey once down at Casey and the RF noise was not good but found a location for the antennas and operated from the Hobby Shack. Paul took a IC-7300, an IC-705 and HLA-305 PA and ATX converted SMPSU. Paul built a foot switch from workshop rubbish and showed his operating position in the hobby hut.
Paul showed the weather forecasts in Antarctica and the snow storms/blizzards engulfing and breaking the antenna regularly. It emphasised that there are relentless wind and blizzard conditions that saps your enthusiasm over time.
As the building services supervisor he visited the past radio antenna installation however all the V beams were broken and tower installation was condemned.
He outlined some fun stuff they get up to namely a sauna for 25m then into an ice bath for about 10m – yeah right!
Paul outlined an engineering job he undertook to improve safety and there is constant maintenance that is required to combat the relentless weather and this included some RF engineering work on the tandem delta with the comms tech.
Paul played a video of the first plane coming in along with the fog and it couldn’t land! But then an RAAF C-17A came into the next day and Paul got to come back on a nice big RAAF transport plane – nice!
Paul then took questions.
Do you realise that a job in Australia takes three to ten times longer in Antarctica!
Paul talked about operating radio and the polar flutter and outlined that he was operating radio down there not to make quick contacts but to operate radio and have conversations.
Paul described the size limits for the hardware that you can take down to Antarctica and the need to take down things to keep you busy.
Paul answered some late questions about heading south to work for the AAD and the opportunities that working for the AAD present. He finished with the comment that the AAD is a very supportive organisation to work for.
A huge thank you to Paul for this presentation and to Hayden for liaising with Paul.
There is a recording that is available from the REAST YouTube channel.
73, REAST Committee