Communications Operators (CO) are employed over the summer period at stations that have extensive field programs or air operations. These are usually Casey and Davis but CO will also be employed at Mawson or Macquarie Island if required. CO may also, on occasion, be employed at remote field camps such as those established in the Prince Charles Mountains.
There are no CO employed over winter and it is the responsibility of the SCTO and CTO to carry out radio schedules with field parties and maintain the daily routine in the communications centre. This routine includes:
- Printing newspapers each morning
- Distributing any faxes that are received
- Providing assistance to expeditioners who may have problems sending faxes, actioning any emails received on the station_comms email account
- Running the ANARESAT telephone call accounting system.
A major part of the CO's job over summer is the flight following of aircraft, both rotary and fixed wing, and the provision of SAR watch for aircraft, boating operations and field parties. As mentioned earlier, prior to the arrival of Communications Operators, or if there is no CO assigned, these tasks are carried out by the SCTO and CTO.
Two communications consoles are installed in the COMCENs at each of the continental stations.
One is in the main communications operations area and the other, which duplicates the facilities of the main console, is installed in a room adjoining the main operations area, known as the "air-ground room".
Each console contains remote controls for HF and VHF transceivers and receivers.
Radio transmissions are recorded by a voice logging recorder.