A tale of improvisation, initiative and resilience

Building a new Automatic Weather Station (AWS)

There’s no shortage of work to do on station, regardless of what some may think. There are always new projects to work on, things breaking that need fixing. From the powerhouse to the kitchen, as well as waste treatment. A lot of the time the different trades support each other to get a job done.

One of the more challenging tasks I had this season was building a new Automatic Weather Station (AWS) for Wilkins Aerodrome with Bureau of Meteorology (BoM) technician Dan ‘Macca’ McNamara. The AWS is an essential piece of equipment required for the runway.

Firstly, the existing AWS had to be retired and transported down to station by Wilkins crew to be demolished and turned into a new, better, stronger more efficient AWS. Throughout the winter, work has proceeded at what seemed at times, a painfully slow and frustrating rate. A lack of some resources, due to our remote location, meant a lot of improvising was necessary, and some of the work had to be done outside in the weather. When we could get the space, work continued in the mechanical workshop. From there it was up to the Green store, then back outside again. We have persevered and eventually gotten there!

The AWS has been sitting outside for about a month now being commissioned. BoM tech Macca has been very patient, showing a remarkable amount of resilience and initiative to get everything wired up correctly, ensuring the new technology can talk to the old.

Everything is looking good at the moment, and it should be ready for the trip up to Wilkins runway in a few weeks. Hopefully the ‘A-factor’ stays out of this one and nothing breaks or falls off it before then!

- Cliff Simpson-Davis a.k.a 'Rowdy' (2021 Casey winter boilermaker/welder)