This week at Casey station 23 October 2009
WHAT'S IN THE BLUE BUILDINGS?
After the success of the last series "Who The Bloody Hell Are They?" CBC have sent the same team of investigative reporters in to find the answer to one of the most common questions asked by school children and visitors alike to the very popular Casey home page: "What's in the blue buildings?"
Also with the opening of the Wilkins Runway and regular flights by the A319 over the summer season Casey, has many international guests as well as Australian scientists visiting the station.
During the station induction the newly arrived guests/boffins are advised that all blue buildings are strictly off-limits.
Casey station sparkies have an access-all-areas pass for obvious reason so, using this privilege, the producer arranged for his team to tag along with the sparkies on their monthly rounds to delve into, and if possible answer, the question.
"What's in the blue buildings?"
Main Power House
Located on Casey's main street the MPH is where all the power consumed by the station is generated. The diesel mechanics are rostered on to maintain the four (4) Cat 3306 diesel donks which drive the Stamford 160Kva alternators. Only two units are needed at any one time for the station to operate but the system will pick up any additional load and start engines as required. Also the additional units allow for servicing or repairs to take place.
The heat generated from the donks is used along with diesel-fired boilers to heat site-services water and buildings on site.
Emergency Power House
Situated just off the main drag, in behind the science building, the EPH gives the station a back-up supply in the case of annual maintenance tasks being undertaken on the MPH or, as the name implies, in an emergency if MPH goes off line.
The two (2) Cat 3412 diesel donks drive Stamford 480Kva alternators. Only one of these units is required to meet the station demands for power when called into operation. When changing over between power houses the station will be without power for a short period of time. Essential equipment is maintained using battery backups.
Entry to any areas of this building is only allowed with the permission of the Met Tech as they will advise if the hydrogen generator, which is located at the eastern end of the building, is in operation making hydrogen which is used to fill the weather balloons.
The two large doors facing west of this building open twice a day at roughly the same time for the release of the met balloons. But to access the balloon-release room when a release is in progress you have to be prepared to don a quite fashionable cape, goggles and hood due to the presence of the flammable gas.
Ring Main Units
Casey has four (4) ring main units located either side of the main drag. One at the eastern end of the red shed and the remaining three to the western end.
Inside these buildings is located a transformer, high voltage switchgear and low voltage distribution switchboard. As the name indicates, the station has an electrical "ring main" run between these buildings which allows for sections to be isolated for repair or maintenance. For all other buildings on site electrical supply will be delivered from one, or in some cases two, of these buildings.
The big blue dome covers our link with the outside world as inside is the dish which allows Casey to send and receive data via satellite. The small building located to the east of the dome houses the fancy electronic devices required for the dish.
End of winter and mirages
With the pending arrivals of a couple of CASA aircraft, a couple of Hercules flights, and then a steady round of A-319 flights, Casey took the opportunity of celebrating the end of the 2009 winter on Saturday night.
For a change from the usual dining arrangements, the dinner was served at 'Rocket's Table' in the Casey wallow. Chef Rodney 'Rocket' Charles had prepared a five course dinner to delight the palate of all and provide for a memorable farewell to our period of winter isolation.
Dessert was a cream meringue with pecan toffee and glazed blueberries and tasted even better than it looked, no mean feat to achieve as it looked spectacular.
After dinner 'Ice Elated', the Casey band, entertained the group with two sets of numbers they had worked on over several months. Mark and Kheyan began the entertainment while Rocket went off to change, then he returned to star once again for the evening by providing the vocals.
After a great night many were slow to surface on Sunday morning, however this was mostly due to Casey having changed to Kingston time at 2:00 am Sunday morning, meaning a late night became a whole lot later in the interval of a single tick of the clock. Everyone has now adjusted to the three hour shift, with many enjoying a beautiful sunny afternoon after dinner this evening. And for those who missed the sunrises at the end of winter, they have the chance to catch up with them this time around.
The word of the week at Casey has been 'transmogrify'. While perhaps not providing the technically correct explanation, it is a much more interesting one for describing the appearance of a wall of very large icebergs surrounding Casey early one morning recently.
Conditions were ideal for the formation of a very impressive series of mirages on the horizon that looked very much like real icebergs until they were studied through binoculars. About an hour later they had faded almost completely away.