Thursday, September 26, 2013

Working on the GOES antenna

 The following work was done in early September.

The GOES antenna elevation drive motor failed recently and required replacement. The ambient temperature was -95 F and the windchill -135 F. The temperature inside the radome was the same as outside. We had three others helping us. It worked out well utilizing two teams. While one team was working the other was warming up in the heated GOES RF shack located inside the radome.

The ice is pretty thick inside the radome.

The GOES antenna elevation motor and gear reducer drive the large greased jackscrew which then moves the elevation. The elevation only drives up to about 5.5 degrees for a pass. The motor to the right is for azimuth.

To remove the motor the 10 meter antenna had to be stabilized since there is no elevation brake. This was accomplished with two 6 ton cable pulley winches with each one attached to a strap and then to the antenna.
Both Pulleys set up. I'm on the right. Photo credit: Kris

Here the left cable and strap are attached to the antenna. Extremely difficult procedure even if it wasn't cold.

This is the drive shelter that we worked in. It is heated but with the roof panels propped open for the strap attachment it quickly became cold inside.

We took turns warming up in the GOES antenna Radio Frequency (RF) shed. This shed in the radome contains the RF equipment required to operate the GOES system. It is maintained at 72 F. Photo credit: Kris
Two straps holding up the 6 ton load. The antenna end of the elevation jackscrew. Photo credit: Kris

The used replacement motor and gear reducer. The tag on it read "tested good 2008". It works great fortunately!

The view out the radome door. Photo credit: Kris

The GOES antenna radome. Photo credit: Kris

The crane and bucket outside the station didn't get much use this winter.

It was a long two days working out at the GOES radome. Internet is back up!


  1. Wow! You have been busy and I was a bit worried not hearing from you. Thanks for sharing the critical details of your job to support the satellite data downloads and the Internet. You are a very dedicated worker and I know that the Pole people are glad you are on the team. Jocelyn was riding on a beautiful Trail of Coeur D'Alene today and her chain broke and she thinks her derailer is out too. Fortunately, a man like you was riding by, offered to help and she was on her way to a place where it would be warmer than camping in 30 F. I'll let you know when I find out what has happened. No worries, she was repairing what she could, just like her dad. Sleep or rest, I am sure you need to think about what you fixed. Thanks for alerting me to the boxes. Everything is here!
    Take care and Love always, Andee

    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

    2. Thank you for all your comments this season. It's nice to know someone is reading my blog. Maintaining these two blogs (last year's too) has been a lot of work that I have been happy to do since most people will never get to experience this beautiful continent. In the twilight of my career this Antarctic adventure has been tops and I hope to return one more time.