the first three days last week we checked our equipment for transport damage and tested the three radar systems (VHF, UWB, L-Band) in loop-back modes. The balloons were stored for two days at temperatures around -5°C before they were blown-up on a sunny morning. When taking them down next morning they had already noticeably lost pressure, but were not flat. For the transport to LDC we removed the antennas and to protect the primary cross-track balloon we put it on the along track balloon and pulled them to LDC.
Our remaining gear arrived by a Basler flight on Thursday morning. We packed the antenna panels and trusses immediately on our cargo sledge and left after lunch.
Friday and Saturday we installed the electronics in the PB100 passenger cabin. A vent in the cabin made it very easy to route the antenna cables inside, but we also faced some unexpected problems with balloons and other equipment due to the height of and low temperatures at LDC. However, with some help, we managed to overcome these problems and to collect data along two select DELORES (DEep LOking RES) line. We stopped early due to a technical problem which we were able to solve in the camp.
Sunday we checked the system again and were able to solve Saturday's problem and other snags. Based on the outcome of the processing of Saturday's data, we decide to map region B in V-orientation with a line spacing of 250 m and a profile length of 4 km. The length is much larger than the regions of interest, but some processing steps require a certain distance to remove edge-effects.
Unfortunately, we broke a towline and as consequence eight antenna cables before we could finish the planned grid. Luckly we have enough antenna cables with us to replace the broken set. First checks revealed that the antennas with replacement cables work fine. Tomorrow we will check the electronics. In the worst case, we will switch to the UWB receiver and operate with the same antennas.
Little Dome C, 01/Dec
we arrived on 21/Nov in the morning at Concordia station (UTC+8). The flight was shorter than the time shift, so Thursday was our first day for acclimatization to the altitude. Just after arrival we were asked into the station and the unloading of our equipment was done by the station's team. The only duty that day was a safety station tour by the station leader.
On Friday we got all our equipment into a work shelter and started on Saturday to check all rack components visually before testing the digital part of the VHF system. The field server, on which the data will be processed, was also tested successfully.
We also inspected the new PB100 and discussed with the vehicle technicians the options for routing the antenna cables into the cabin and where the two generators could be installed. The cables will be guided inside through vent opening in the upper right side of the cabin. For the two generators the stations' technicians will build a structure attaching to the jerry can fittings on both sides of the cabin.
Unfortunately, we cranked down the oven in the work shelter too much, so we had a cold and slow start. Having everything heated up again, we continued testing, this time focussing on the analog HF components.
Parallel to the tests of the radar, the navigation system was tested static in the shelter.
Once the antenna panels arrive at Dome C, we will perform a static test including the antennas in front of the work shelter before taking everything to the camp at LDC. However, the complete set-up of the VHF radar, including the antenna sledge, will be done at LDC. Thus we hope for a first new data collected along some Dolores lines at the end of the forthcoming week.
on 13/Nov we arrived exactly one week later than originally scheduled and on 14/Nov a first piece of our equipment has arrived at McMurdo, too. We are now patiently waiting for the remaining equipment to arrive.
Today, two LC-130 flights have made in late afternoon/early evening to McMurdo. In case our gear is on board, the earliest date for the Basler flight to Dome C might be Wednesday, however, Thursday (21/Nov) is more likely.
We have talked to the supporting people on site and they are aware of our tense schedule for the measurements.