Sunday, November 21, 2010

Week one back in Mac Town!

On the job.

My address, should anyone want to send something (regular US postage rates) to (and therefore receive something in return from) the Antarctic.

BenUrmston, RPSC
McMurdo Station
PSC 469 Box 700
APO AP 96599-1035

On Saturday, I was sent north 20 miles or so to Tent Island. Scientists at Cape Royds need their internet and the repeater system (to retransmit the signal from the cape back and forth to town) needed new antennas. So I got to climb my first tower, albeit a wee one at about 10 feet high!

The new yagi antennas installed.

With me came Chuck, a comms tech. He would check the equipment at the base of the tower and I would swap antennas if need be. We left were dropped off near the apex of Tent Island and told we had about three hours.

The equipment was checked, and need be. I put on the harness and up I went, all of 4 feet! But a tower I was on, doing the job I got hired for. Off came the cylindrical antennas going both directions and on went the small yagi antennas. I managed to not drop anything, though this would be the tower to drop something on, since the comms tech could simply hand the thing back to me. I got everything tied up nicely with copper securing wire and then down I came - my first space walk completed. (Yes, I'm practicing for future space walks, of course.)

Chuck working on equipment.

We were there for another hour and a half or so. The wind had started out at near 20 knots and when we left was perhaps over 30 knots! It was chilly, but I kept warm (push-ups, small hikes, jumping jacks, lots of food and water) and was thankful for all the Outward Bound and NOLS training that has made me able to care for myself, as I listened Chuck say on the radio, "We're ready to get the hell out of here." I thought, "Speak for yourself..."

Helicopter came back and away we went back to town. Helicopters are truly amazing machines. Blows my mind.

Things are going well in McMurdo. Slowly reintegrating myself into the community and my work team. It's Sunday right now, my one day off a week. Went out for my first skate ski out on the road to Williams airfield. It was a beautiful day and I had a very nice ski. Soon to bed for a good sleep to start the week!

1 comment:

  1. Hey, Ben, love reading your blog. I wanted to let you know that we have a family friend who is also out there -- Michele Koutnik. Look out for her. She is doing ice core research etc. in a field area in the west antarctic ice sheet but heads into McMurdo.

    Take Care

    James Conger