Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Working on a Satellite modem and the 4th of July

We walked out (about 3/4 mile) to the Defense Satellite Communications System (DSCS) RF shed  a few days this week for testing with our Christchurch, New Zealand end terminal.  

DSCS and Skynet RF equipment.

DSCS antenna. Minus 90F inside the dome. It's nice to be inside the dome out of the wind.

Fully geared for the South Pole. Unfortunately goggles can not be used as they immediately fog. I do have a goggle with an exhaust fan but within a minute the fan freezes and stops.

A South Pole all American barbecue.

For the two vegetarians on station we had black bean burgers and tofu hot dogs.

A huge and delicious Independence Day cake. Thanks to Chef Zack.

We even had fresh greens - a real treat!

A fine dinner on the 4th - with black bean burger and tofu hot dog.

I added two of my past dogs Tobi (red collar) and Snugz towards the bottom sitting side by side. Directly to the right is my daughter Jocelyn with her dog Yaki on top of her.

I don't think my wife would do this!
We have been out to RF several times in the last two weeks for satellite link testing. 

The stairway up to the GOES dome.

When I wintered here in 2013 this Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite (GOES) antenna was used to to track the GOES satellite as a South Pole communications system. A Defense Satellite Communications System (DSCS) replaced this system. Eventually DSCS will use this 30 foot dish antenna.
We walked out to RF again the last two days. Often the weather is warmer like this screenshot shows but the wind is up. 23 knots (27 mph) of wind doesn't seem like much in most of the world but at the South Pole it makes a walk quite miserable as the wind works its way through your layers of cold weather gear. 

When the wind is up the snow blows and visibility can drop to almost nothing. It makes finding the station red lights difficult. We've learned how to find our way back by the stars when visible. Even with the snow on the ground blowing by looking up you can occasionally track by the stars. 

There are two main entrances to the station. The "front" door is designated as Destination Alpha (DA). This side door/cargo door is Destination Zulu (DZ).


  1. Brrrrr. How cold is it inside-90f? Charlie wanted to know if You are near where the ice shelf broke off..

    1. Is this Janice and Charlie? The antenna domes are not heated so the outside temp is the inside temp. The station is heated to +62F which is pretty good because the difference to the outside can be greater than 162 degrees. The ice shelf that broke off is about 700 miles away in the Weddell Sea. The South Pole is located on the 300 mile polar plateau. Thanks for writing. Mike

    2. Yes this is Janice and charlie...thank you for the answers. Enjoy reading your adventures in the dark....

  2. I thought I posted last night and then I don't see it today. HMMM. I think I have seen the beer photo before and you would not see me able to load that many packs in my arms! I wish I had a dime for every beer consumed during our marriage! Heck, add my dad's and I would be rich! So, your vegan diet is looking pretty healthy and I hope you are feeling well. I made a curry chicken and vegetables with rice dinner tonight and it was delicious. Cary went right to bed after a long day gardening. I mowed both yards in almost 90F but kept a good pace and am still vertical tonight! No complaints. I know you would be outside more if you could, but just wait till it gets warmer! hahhaahaha? Oh my, I must be a bit delirious! Take care and love always, andee